PRE­PARE GAR­DENS FOR MORE HEAT

Gardening Australia - - YOUR PLANNER -

One of the great­est chal­lenges for Aus­tralian gar­den­ers is get­ting the gar­den through the long, hot sum­mer. Mulch helps the soil stay cool and hold mois­ture, so check this and re­new if needed. Wa­ter well be­fore spread­ing mulch and don’t let it come into di­rect con­tact with the plants. Peb­ble mulch is a good choice in bush­fire-prone gar­dens. Move heat-sen­si­tive potted plants into more shade. Check hoses, taps and wa­ter­ing sys­tems to en­sure they are all work­ing well. Train plants in good habits by deep wa­ter­ing rather than wa­ter­ing in short bursts as that only en­cour­ages roots to stay near the sur­face. Con­tinue re­mov­ing dead flow­ers but, as the weather heats up, avoid any un­nec­es­sary prun­ing that might pro­mote sun-ten­der young growth. Erect a frame around the ve­g­ies onto which you can throw a pro­tec­tive cloth on su­per-hot days. Spray soft-leafed or­na­men­tals with anti-tran­spi­rant, which re­duces wa­ter loss and acts as a sun­screen. Ap­ply a soil wet­ter around new plants.

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