Gardens|July 25, 2012 11:32 am

How to protect your plants in a heatwave

Going from incredibly bad to incredibly good weather is typical of the UK. Last week we were getting sick a how much it was raining, and now we’re basking in glorious sun shine. However, as the temperatures increase you need to look after your plants.

Here are 5 tips to keep your garden in top shape and avoid your plants getting damaged by the sun.

1. Water!

This sounds obvious but it’s key to your plants’ healthy living. Make sure to water your plants in the early morning, before the sun is at its highest point (mid day).

Perhaps try to give them more water than you normally would, as the soil will dry out over the course of the day.

It’s crucial that when watering you avoid getting the leaves too wet. If there are water droplets on the leaves then they’ll magnify the sun’s heat – resulting in the leaves burning.

2. Use other plants for shade

If you need to replant budding shoots, then try to locate them nearer taller neighbouring plants. These will give them shelter from the sun.

It’s important to locate where the sun will directly shine and where shadow is cast by currently planted plants before you plant the new shoots. Make sure to plant in areas shadow is cast only during the hottest part of the day.

3. Keep grass longer

Having your lawn’s grass cut to a short length isn’t a good idea during a heat wave. The problem is that the heat will dry out the soil, so like tip #2 – it’s best to focus on creating shade and this can be done by letting the grass grow longer.

The ideal length is around 3 inches, so the soil is totally covered by grass.

This means you can water your lawn in the morning and the water will remain in the soil for longer.

4. Use a shade cloth

Shade cloths can be purchased from most garden centres, or you can use landscaping fabric.

This method is best for new plant beds, especially if you’re trying to grow vegetables, and should be treated as a temporary measure to place over plants when it gets really hot.

Simply create a wooden frame over the plant bed, and drape the fabric over the top. This is a good way to block the sun from affecting the plants during the hottest periods.

5. Use mulch

Using dry grass, which is reflective, as a dry mulch will have preserve moisture in the soil. Simply lay it all over your plant bed, tucking it in close to the stems of the plants.

You can grow your own mulch. Just don’t cut a small section of your lawn, so it grows long. Then when the need arises, cut the grass and leave it on your lawn to dry out.

Freshly cut grass will of course be green, but after it’s dried it out it’ll turn a light brown colour. This is when it is best suited to being used as a heat reflector to keep your soil and plant roots damp.

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