10 Tips for Protecting Your Garden from the Summer Heat
Stand in the summer sun for just a few minutes and you’ll begin to feel the effects. Just like you, your garden gets hot, too.
As the climate warms and the frequency of hot days increases, the risk of your plants being damaged in summer grows. Luckily, with a bit of forward thinking, there are simple, sustainable and cheap methods of giving your garden some protection.
1. Water deeply and regularly
This may be an obvious one, but we mention it because it’s that important. Ideally, you want to water your plants early in the morning, allowing water to soak into the soil before evaporation begins. Some people choose to water plants in the evening (which again is better than watering during the heat of the day) but night watering means your plants don’t dry properly. This increases the chance of fungus and mildew.
To water deeply, apply more water for longer periods of time, even if this means watering every second or third day. This will encourage plant roots to sink more deeply into the soil, giving a buffer between the hot sun.
2. Raise the height of your mower blades
Cutting your grass a little longer than usual is important in the summer months. The grass won’t dry out as quickly and the roots will be better protected by the longer blades. Also important is the watering of your grass – deep watering 2-3 times a week will again ensure the grass roots sink deeply. The goal is to always get that buffer between roots and the hot sun.
3. Add some mulch
Any organic matter, be it shredded wood, straw or a mix of grass clippings and shredded leaves can help protect your plants by adding to the soil structure. Spreading a layer of mulch over your soil is one of the best things you can do for your garden in summer. Mulch blankets the ground and provides a shield for the soil from the harsh sun. This helps prevent evaporation and keeps soil cooler so your plant roots are healthier.
4. Protect potted plants
Potted plants are vulnerable in summer because they can quickly heat up – especially terracotta and ceramic pots. The good news is that potted plants can be easily moved out of the peak summer sun. They can also be removed and placed in a bucket of water for 30 minutes if you find a good watering is not enough. To ensure your potted plants stay cool, place them on a saucer of sand and keep the sand moist at all times. Sand is better than a water-filled saucer, as water can cause root rot and can attract mosquitoes.
5. Be careful of hot water
It’s never a good idea for the health of your hose to leave water in it, and the water left within a hose can get quite hot. So hot, in fact, that it can scold your plants and grass. Always ensure you empty your hose of water and flush any water away before watering.
6. Shield your patio
We know you’re proud of your patio and want to indulge in your new outdoor living. But bear in mind that the strong Aussie sun can take its toll both on you and your patio. Provide a shady refuge and invest in a patio umbrella. This will give you a beautiful spot to sit, protect your furniture and keep your tiles cool underfoot. Alternatively, you can choose ‘cooling tiles’ like Limestone, which stays cool in a light colour no matter how hot it gets.
7. Beware of wind
Hot windy air can quickly dry out soil, plants and mulch. Therefore a living screen such as a hedge or fence is recommended. Airflow is important though, so choose a fence solution that allows for air movement. If the air can’t circulate your garden will turn into a heat trap.
8. Cover your veggie patch
Certain varieties of vegetables can get sunburnt in the peak of summer so erect a shade cloth over your veggie patch. Apply a soluble fertiliser every two weeks, too. And add some Seasol to the mix to strengthen plants. Water and harvest in the mornings.
9. Install a rainwater tank
Many gardeners believe that rainwater is more beneficial to plants than tap water. Rainwater contains all the natural minerals and nutrients plants love without the added chemicals. If you have space and the budget for a rainwater tank, you can also save on your water bill, making it a great long-term investment.
10. Prevent leaf burn
When you spray water, fertilisers or chemicals onto plant foliage in hot, sunny weather you can cause leaf burn. The water on the leaf acts like a magnifying glass, intensifying the sunlight on the leaf – similar to using a magnifying glass to burn paper. To prevent this, simply follow instructions on fertilisers or chemical sprays and only ever water in the morning or evening.
Want to transform your garden into a summer haven this year? Talk to the team at Armstone and check out other great advice and ideas with the Armstone Blog.