Heatwave 2020: how to protect your garden in the hot weather

The humid temperatures of August often catch gardeners by surprise, causing grass to dry and flowers to wilt, so get the garden looking its best with these practical tips.

Being isolated in our homes has led to months of carefully pruning and perfecting our gardens. With this weekend set to be another scorcher, many will be looking to protect their hard-earned garden in the hot weather.

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 garden in the hot weather

Photography: Mark Bolton

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GARDEN IN THE HOT WEATHER

Although we look forward to soaking up the sun, our gardens will be parched if we’re not careful. To help, the experts at The Greenhouse People have given their top tips for protecting outdoor spaces when things get hot.

1. WATER YOUR GARDEN

Hosepipe bans are a common heatwave annoyance, but it can save our plants from over-watering when temperatures rise which can cause them to leach nutrients and cut off the supply of oxygen to the roots. Instead, pick up the watering can and provide focussed watering at the base of the plant, so roots can benefit as quickly as possible.

When it’s hot, the best time of day to water is early morning or in the evening. Plants in containers should be watered twice a day, as soil dries out much quicker in pots. Bonus points if you use re-use rainwater from a water butt.

Heatwave 2020

Photography: Emma Lee

See: Small garden ideas – maximise a compact gardening space

2. BUY DROUGHT-RESISTANT PLANTS

If you add new plants to your garden in the summer, plant on a cloudy day and water well if the weather is warm. Increase the plant’s chances of surviving the heat by using half mulch half potting mix.

You might also want to consider drought-resistant plants alongside more heat-sensitive varieties to keep your garden looking healthy. Herbs such as rosemary, marjoram and lavender love the heat and their flavour and become more intense in the hot summer months.

 garden in the hot weather

Image credit: David Giles

3. PROVIDE FOOD

The best way to breathe some life back into plants suffering in a heatwave is providing long-lasting moisture and rich nutrients. Most gardeners can appreciate the benefit of mulching. This can hinder weeds, eliminating the need for hard work when you’d rather be sipping a cool drink in the shade, as well as offer nutrient-rich organic matter to provide a lifeline when things get hot.

If you lay down a thick layer, the top few inches of soil where most root activity occurs will be kept moist and cool. This will increase your crop yield if you’re a vegetable gardener and reduce the amount of watering needed no matter what you’re growing.

An item which will increase water retention is vermiculite. This can be found in potting soil or purchased by itself. A miracle product for gardeners, vermiculite increases nutrient retention and aerates the soil, resulting in healthier plants.

How to protect your garden in a heatwave

Photography: K E Smith

See: Garden trends for 2020 – The latest garden design ideas

4. KEEP YOUR LAWN LOOKING HEALTHY

To keep your lawn lush during a heatwave, it is not necessary to use your entire postcode’s water supply. A well-established lawn should require minimal watering in increased temperatures. Once a week should be enough and your mowing routine should drop to once a week during periods of drought.

Before you mow, check the blades are sharp, to give a clean cut to the grass. When mowing, adjust your blade to a higher setting to ensure grass stems provide maximum shade to the soil. Afterwards, leave the cuttings instead of raking to provide shade and to avoid damaging your lawn.

How to protect your garden in a heatwave

Photography: Annaick Guitteny

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