How to Care for your Garden in the Heat Wave - Squires Garden Centres

How to Care for your Garden in the Heat Wave

While we might have worked out ways to adjust to the current heat wave, spare a thought – and a little bit of time – for our gardens and plants who are also finding ways to survive in the current exceptional temperatures.

Sarah Squire, Chairman Squire’s Garden Centres, comments: “You can’t help but notice wilting plants and dry, brown grassy areas but there are some simple steps that can be taken to look after our gardens and plants, helping them through the heatwave and giving them the optimum chance to survive.” 

Here are some helpful tips from Sarah: –

Watering – and at the right time

“I always suggest watering in the cooler parts of the day, early morning, or evening to prevent evaporation.  There is also a thinking that early morning is the better time because it is when plants start to draw water again, versus evening time, when damp leaves can encourage fungal disease and potentially attract slugs and snails.

blue watering can

“I would also recommend watering the base of plants rather than the leaves.  This helps with less wastage as water gets more easily to the roots.

”Other watering tips include thinking of re-using washing up or bath water on ornamentals (but not vegetables) and use a watering can instead of a hose.”

Helpful product:  Value Watering Can 10 litre – £10.99

Apply mulch

“The use of a mulch of bark or light decorative stones, for example, as a topping to the soil will help stop plants drying out and retain moisture for longer.  This remedial action can also help if there are any roots visible on the surface as these can burn in the sunlight unless covered.”

Helpful product: Bed & Border Chipped bark 70 litre

Move container plants to shaded areas

“Container plants will naturally dry out faster than plants in the ground, so it is a good idea to move pots to shadier parts of the garden to provide extra protection or put a sunshade over precious plants shielding from the scorching sun.”

Can I still plant in a heatwave?

“It is possible to plant in the heat however, additional care and attention will be needed.  Water the plant well before planting.  Soaking the base of the plant in a bucket of water is a good way to do this as well as watering the soil where you are going to plant prior to planting, will also help.  Water well immediately after planting.”

If planting in a pot, position newly planted shrubs and blooms in the shadiest part pf the garden until the hottest weather has passed – and again, water daily.

Things to avoid!

There are also some simple things to avoid doing during the heat to limit stress on plants and grass.  Don’t cut the grass as this can cause stress to lawns and soil beneath.  Sarah comments: “Taller grass can create a shadow, helping retain moisture by not over-exposing the soil beneath, so try to ensure grassy areas have height to them and this will also help avoid brown patches that are a result of effects of the sun.” 

Don’t keep greenhouses shut!  These great growing spaces only become hotter in the heat, again another source of stress to plants.  So DO keep open windows and doors to allow airflow.  For plants, fruit or veg really struggling, consider moving it to shadier spaces if possible.

Lawn Care

While there are lots of ‘don’ts’ to looking after lawns during hot spells – don’t feed, don’t cut it (and add some shade where possible) – it is vital any rain reaches beneath the surface. 

“As the ground becomes hard with prolonged dry periods, welcome rain often runs off the surface and doesn’t easily soak in.  To help water get to the roots, DO spike or aerate the lawn before rain is expected.  This will ensure moisture goes deeper beneath the surface and encourages the roots to grow away from the hot/dry surface and down into the cooler, damp soil.”

Helpful product: Stainless Steel Border Fork

Planning ahead …

Sarah says: “With time to reflect on the heat and how we manage the weather’s effects on our plants going forward, a water butt is a great investment enabling rainwater from gutters (when it eventually arrives) to be used to hydrate the garden.  They come in various sizes to suit needs and with many people now on water meters, there is a great money-saving opportunity too, with added environmental benefits.”

Helpful product:  Space Saver Water Butt Kit 100 litre

“As dry spells look set to continue for years to come, perhaps now is a good opportunity to think about the autumn planting of trees and larger plants which provide shade.  In addition, once they are established, larger trees and plants have deeper roots, allowing them to access water further down in the soil that is inaccessible to smaller plants.  Perhaps a timely opportunity to think big when autumn comes and find space to plant some natural shade givers.”

Be aware …

“As the heatwave continues in many areas and demand for water increases, we should be mindful that hosepipe bans may come in to affect and we would encourage people to water their plants without the use of hosepipes and in accordance with any local restrictions put in place by water companies.”

Plants thriving well in a shadier area of a garden


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