Look after your plants during our glorious hot summer
I absolutely love summer. I love the heat haze, the smell of eucalyptus in the air, the way leaves hang downward to avoid the sun, the sound of cicadas and crickets, cricket on the radio and the salty smell of the ocean when the Fremantle Doctor arrives.
Summertime is all about early mornings and late afternoons.
You will be amazed how many birds you will hear at dawn and what flowers open up to greet the sun.
Hot days remind us how important green spaces are around cities and towns.
They are the air-conditioners of the environment and the lungs of cities. It’s all about blue skies for weeks on end and the resilience of native plants to bear the brunt of 42C days. Rather than dread it, we need to learn to embrace it.
Changing your attitude can make all the difference — not only in loving where you live but also in making the most of your garden.
With a few handy tips, you will be able to help your gardens survive and thrive. We wear hats and sunscreen when outdoors and there’s no reason why we can’t do likewise for plants.
Plants that get easily sunburnt can have shade cloth or an umbrella put over them and DroughtShield sprayed on leaves and stems. One application will be enough to see them through summer. Never prune in summer — you will expose foliage, stems and branches to direct sun and cook your plants.
The only exception to this rule is when plants are damaged in summer storms and have limbs and branches ripped off.
Always make a clean cut with sharp pruning equipment and keep the plant disease-free.
The vegie patch will also feel the heat once temperatures reach above 38C and they will benefit from a shade-cloth over the top.
You could keep it on from the beginning of December through to March.
We have been experiencing warmer autumn weather and last year March was hot.
Vegetables may also need an extra daytime watering if temperatures are above 40C.
The plants that have severe wilting may not recover.
Capsicums, strawberries, eggplant and squash may get sunburn patches that will ruin the fruit. It will do them no harm to give them a quick spray in the middle of the day.
Sabrina Hahn at City Farm, East Perth.