Summer is officially here! The glorious sunshine over the last couple of weeks has fuelled a garden growth spurt – in fact, plants are growing more quickly than they have in the last decade, and if you want to keep things under control it’s time to spend some time gardening in the sun.
While you’ve got the secateurs out, remove any suckers from the base of trees and roses to channel the plant’s energy back into its main body.
When and What to Water
It’s tempting in this hot weather to get the hose over everything in the garden, but be careful not to over-water or feed shrubs or they’ll sprout out again and require more pruning. Water shrubs once a week only, but keep watering herbaceous plants every day if possible. It’s best to water in the evening from 7pm onwards (or when the garden is in evening shade), to avoid water evaporation and scorching in hot sun.
Keep an eye on plants that look dried out and give them extra water at the base and a feed using slow-release pellets. Red hot pokers are common culprits for getting thirsty, so to make the most of their fabulous summer colours keep them moist and healthy.
Lots of things in the garden are sprouting like mad at the moment, but evergreens like laurels and leylandii and shrubs like forsythia are particular culprits, so it’s time for some summer pruning. Climbers like wisteria can also be cut back – as a reliable guide, cut back each stem to five leaves. Pruning like this encourages better flowering next year, which is particularly important for wisteria, which can be tricky to get flowering well.
Keeping Your Grass Green
As summer gets into full swing, lawns are drying out and yellowing and the growth rate of the grass has slowed. Keep mowing your lawn as it gets too long, but use an aftercut lawn feed to keep the grass healthy. The high iron content of the feed helps to maintain a good green colour. Don’t use a feed more than every three weeks and just give your grass a good water for about half an hour every evening. A sprinkler system with a timer can help if you don’t have the time to water yourself.
July Garden Maintenance
Keep your compost heap turned regularly at this time of year, throwing in any ash from barbecues or bonfires as it helps the material break down quicker. It’s also a good idea to sprinkle compost with warm water to help generate heat and encourage further break down.
Weeds are also making the most of the sun, so keep weeding your borders regularly and keep an eye out for tree seedlings and get them out before they take too strong a hold. Tree seeds can be spread from nearby trees, or sprout from nuts buried by squirrels. Also keep an eye on grass growth into your borders and keep weeding – it’s easy for grass to take over if left to its own devices. If you want a more low maintenance border, you can put down bark chippings to keep down weeds.
For weed growth on gravel pathways or in between paving you can apply a patio weed killer and wait for the plants to die before digging them out, which makes the job a lot easier. Keep on top of this to avoid weeds seeding and spreading.
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