December, and the beginning of this month have certainly proved to be challenging for gardens and gardeners with both of us feeling a little dried out.
The next three months are probably going to throw up more of the same, so let’s have a look at some strategies to help you and your garden cope with the hot weather.
If your garden is like mine, you will have some plants looking a bit worse for wear with scorched foliage where they copped the brunt of the heat over the last few weeks. The temptation is to go out now and prune all that burnt foliage off to make the plant look better, but don’t do that yet. It’s almost guaranteed that we will get more very hot days, January, February and March can all be extremely hot, and by pruning that damage off you encourage the plant to send out new, more delicate growth which is even more susceptible to the heat. Those damaged leaves will at least provide some protection for the rest of the plant underneath them and can be removed after the worst of summer has passed.
Watering and mulching are the two keys to keeping the garden alive. Water the garden well before any really hot weather, preferably in the morning. Pots will probably need daily (perhaps twice a day) watering and move them into the shade if you can. Covering and shading plants and pots on extreme heat days with umbrellas, shade cloth and the like is also worthwhile. Make sure your garden is well mulched with Sugar Cane, Pine Bark or any of the many other types of mulch. This will dramatically reduce the evaporation of moisture from around your plants. Regular applications of a seaweed tonic, through the soil and as a foliar spray, will also improve your plants resistance to heat stress
Having talked about our hotter weather there are a couple of plants that don’t mind some heat and thrive in our conditions, namely Salvia and Frangipani. Salvia comes in a range of sizes and colours, something to suit any garden. Frangipanis are a small tree, suitable for hot north facing aspects and available with white, pink or red flowers. These are also suitable for growing in large pots!
A last item for this month is to be sun smart in the garden! Wear a good wide brim hat, apply sunscreen regularly and drink plenty of water. Water your garden in the cool of the morning or the evening; this is better for both you and your plants. If you must be out in the hottest part of the day do all of the above to protect yourself.
Contact us or visit your local Stratco store for further expert lawn and garden advice.