With the recent wave of hot, dry weather across the UK you might have noticed your garden starting to wither. RHS Chief Horticulturist, Guy Barter, has some top tips for caring for your garden at a time when water is at a premium.
- Trees may shed leaves indicating stress but it is seldom fatal. Established shrubs, roses and climbers don’t usually need watering either.
- Consider re-using water from your home. Wastewater from the kitchen, baths, basins and showers is suitable to water plants and containers.
- Water newly planted trees and shrubs as a priority. Ensure the root ball is wet, checking with a trowel if necessary.
- Where planting is essential and can’t be delayed; puddle plants in, fill the planting hole with water (or better, ¼ strength liquid fertiliser) and allow to drain several times before setting out plants.
- A good soak, to wet the root zone, every 10 days in July and 14 days in August is best. Watering little and often is generally more work, less effective and wasteful of water. However, a ‘good soak’ can mean the equivalent of four 9L / 2gallon watering cans per square metre / yard.
- Move small pots and hanging baskets into the shade. Suspend hanging baskets over a potted plant so run-off water gets used.
- Lawns may brown, but although the leaves die the grass remains alive, ready to regrow once the rain returns. So watering them is not essential.
- Greenhouses, conservatories and polythene tunnels easily overheat. So boost shading and even remove some panes of glass to reduce temperatures.
- Target water where it is most needed. Camellia and rhododendrons lay down buds in late summer, so a good soak every so often then will help.
- Warmth will speed up composting so there should be plenty of excellent compost this winter. Add some water, however if the mix looks dry.
Read more about Making your garden more drought resistant