Periods of hot, sunny weather are usually welcomed with open arms here – time to enjoy and relax in the garden!
However dry weather also leaves its mark on your garden… (remember that even the occasional shower won’t always provide enough water to penetrate to the roots of your plants).
Here are a few tips on how to care for your garden during periods of dry and hot weather – to help you ensure it will still look it’s best for any barbeques you have planned!
- Make sure you water your plants in the early morning or in the evening. If you water in the middle of the day evaporation is likely to occur and so the water will not get a chance to seep into the soil.
- Mulch your flower beds. This involves watering the soil and then covering it with a layer (about 5-7.5cm thick) of gravel, compost or something similar. This will mean the bed is sealed and evaporation is prevented.
- Pull up weeds: these will be taking the water away from your plants.
- Mowing the lawn with a low height of cut will weaken the grass, so raise the height of your lawn mower.
- You could let your clippings fall to the ground when mowing. This will act as mulch, preventing evaporation. It will also make the job easier for you: you won’t have to keep taking clippings to your compost heap! However make sure the clippings aren’t too long. If they are, they could cause damage by smothering the grass.
It is also important to remember to conserve water as much as possible. No-one likes a hose pipe ban! About two-thirds of domestic water supply is used for gardens in dry spells so we need to be careful about how we use it. Here are a few ideas to help you conserve water:
- Reuse water from your house (this is called grey water). For example use bath water, or water from the kitchen. Don’t worry about soaps or detergents in the water: the soil will filter them out. However, remember not to use bath water on edible crops… it’s not very hygienic!
- Install water butts. With our variable British weather, it’s never a bad time to consider putting in a water butt. Yes, they run dry in sustained periods of dry weather, but it’s free water for the rest of the year! Slimline models are available where space is tight or you’d like the water butt to be less obtrusive – perhaps at the front of your property for example.
- If possible, don’t bother watering the lawn! Grass soon greens up again after rain.