GARDEN AD­VICE

Pro­tect your plants from hot weather with garden guru Mered­ith’s tips.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

How to keep your plants cool in the heat.

DE­SPITE STILL BE­ING IN THE SEA­SON

of spring, warm days and the oc­ca­sional re­ally hot one leave you in no doubt that sum­mer is on our doorstep. But with ef­fec­tive shade, clever wa­ter­ing, mulch and a clever trick or two up your sleeve, you can com­bat the ef­fects of warmer weather on your garden.

USE PAS­SIVE SO­LAR EN­ERGY IN YOUR GARDEN AND NOT JUST IN YOUR HOUSE

To shade your home from the sum­mer sun, yet still al­low win­ter warmth, grow a de­cid­u­ous tree on the north-west side. A de­cid­u­ous climber grow­ing over a per­gola will pro­vide fast and ef­fec­tive shade in sum­mer but let light in dur­ing win­ter. Pop-up shade and cov­ers may look strange but, when the tem­per­a­ture spikes 40 de­grees Cel­sius or more, cov­er­ing your garden – es­pe­cially sus­cep­ti­ble plants – with an old sheet can save them from dam­age.

WA­TER SMARTLY OVER SUM­MER

This means mak­ing sure that ev­ery pre­cious drop gets into the root zone of plants and stays there. You’ll need to check that wa­ter isn’t sim­ply run­ning off the sur­face be­cause many soils, in­clud­ing those in pots, have this ten­dency. To rem­edy, use a prod­uct sur­fac­tant like Sat­u­raid – or even some soap flakes rinsed in wa­ter – to help break down the waxy sur­face of some soils and help wa­ter to pen­e­trate. To beat evap­o­ra­tion, wa­ter your plants early in the morn­ing or late in the day. And once the wa­ter is in the soil, keep it there for as long as pos­si­ble by mulching with about a 10cm layer of straw, wood chips, Lucerne hay or any other mulch.

Liv­ing shade A de­cid­u­ous vine like wis­te­ria or grape will help beat the heat.

FROM THE EX­PERT

Mered­ith Kir­ton is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist, land­scape de­signer and au­thor of sev­eral books on gar­den­ing.

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