When it comes to gardening, most people think that watering is the easy bit. However, if watering isn’t done properly, the plants won’t benefit – you could even damage them. We look at simple tips to keep your garden looking lush and healthy – even in the height of summer.
When to Water
It is important that your garden is properly watered, especially in the summer months. Water your garden two or three times a week, making sure that the water penetrates deep into the soil. A quick spray isn’t enough – this will just make the top layer of soil wet – you want the water to go further down, so that it can be accessed by deeper roots. Try using lower water pressure to saturate the soil and if water puddles on the surface, move on but add more water once the puddle has dispersed. If you have raised beds or pot plants, you will probably need to water them daily on hot days.
Try to water your garden in the morning or in the evening. If you water when the day is at its hottest, a lot of the water will evaporate. Watering cooler soil allows the water to soak deep down and reach the all-important roots. This will also give plants time to take on enough water to cope with the day’s heat, and help prevent wilting.
Avoid Saturating Leaves
You can avoid disease by keeping your foliage as dry as possible. If leaves are constantly damp, they can grow mould; it is much harder for diseases to spread through dry foliage. If you use a sprinkler system, switch it on early in the morning, so the leaves can dry out during the day.
Watering your garden is only half the battle. It is important that you keep the water in the soil for as long as you can, and if the ground is very hot and dry, this can be a challenge. In this case, you need to get mulching! Bark, pine needles, chopped leaves or wheat straw can be spread under plant foliage, covering the soil surface to trap in the moisture. Use 2-3 inches of mulch to protect the soil and plants from the hot summer sun. Mulch does its job in winter, too, when it does the opposite and helps the soil to retain heat).
The best way to keep your garden healthy and green is with consistent watering, but it is always a good idea to keep an eye on plants; if you see one wilting, you know they all need more water. Some plants, particularly those with big leaves, will wilt in the midday sun, no matter how often you water them – but they should recover in the evening, when temperatures cool. As well as wilting, keep an eye out for discolouration or black spots which could be an indicator of disease caused by wet foliage.
If you would like help or advice about gardening, or are looking for someone to keep your garden thriving while you are away this summer, call a local gardener.