If you have hot weather forecast, you need to know how to tell if your plants need water. There are also ways to protect your delicate plants from the sun. Clean water is a precious commodity and can be expensive, especially if you have a water meter.
Here are five top tips for helping your plants survive the heat:
- Water early in the morning or – even better – as the sun is going down, that way the water won’t evaporate before it can get to the plants’ roots, and give the plant a good soaking or its roots will start growing towards the surface instead of downwards to find water.
- Direct the water straight at the roots of at-risk plants, which include seedlings and newly-transferred plants (including trees planted within the year) as well as those that are in flower or producing fruit, so that you’re not watering weeds or well-established shrubs and trees that can cope for a week to 10 days without water.
- As soon as you have watered, mulch your plants to reduce evaporation and retain moisture in the soil for longer. Use grass cuttings, home-made compost, shredded prunings from your spring-flowering shrubs or well-rotted horse manure compost. Alternatively, shade plants such as vegetables with horticultural fleece.
- Do not dig your flower borders or vegetable patch unless you have to at the moment, because that can bring moisture to the surface where it will evaporate, although you should hoe or pull out weeds because they are fierce competitors for the moisture in the soil.
- Do not water your lawn! It might be looking a little jaded but it will green up again as soon as the rain returns. Don’t cut your lawn either, or the water inside each undamaged blade of grass will be lost and it will take even longer to recover.