Six ways to save your garden from drought
Following a very dry winter and with higher temperatures predicted to continue across the UK, the threat of a hosepipe ban is a real prospect for the summer. A garden can take years to recover from drought, giving gardeners some big problems.
Britain’s green-fingered, however, still have time on their side and can take some preventative measures to keep their gardens as lush and healthy as possible.
Read these top tips from Elaine Gotts, lead horticulturist and Joost Bovjin, lawncare expert, at gardening specialists Scotts Miracle-Gro:
Mulch to save your gardening
Mulching – or applying bark - is an excellent preventative treatment. It holds water in the soil and prevents surface evaporation - keeping moisture around the plant roots where it is needed most. Mulching also helps to prevent weeds which will sap valuable water from your beloved plants. Ideally you should also pull out existing weeds before you mulch.
Ensure soil is wet before applying bark, there are a range of bark options to suit your garden.
- Save water while you can
Another great investment is a water butt. Conserving water should be an important part of gardening, meaning you don’t have to rely on the tap every time. From recycling leftover water from your domestic chores to collecting and harvesting rainwater, so that none is wasted, water butts may just help you save your garden during a ban. Water butts can be purchased from most major hardware retailers.
- Choose the right compost
If you are watering a hanging basket containing ordinary compost and it has dried out, it is likely you will experience water pouring out of the bottom as the existing compost is not able to absorb it.
Switch out your existing compost for Moisture Control compost; it absorbs more water making any watering you do more efficient. Moisture Control compost contains something called ‘aqua coir’ - a combination of coir and a high rate of wetting agent, that keeps water close to the plant roots and makes watering less messy and efficient.
- When watering…
Water plants and your lawn at the very beginning or end of the day to ensure water soaks in properly, not the warmest part of the day when it will evaporate in seconds.
- Protect your pots
Move plants to larger pots. Small pots heat up quicker meaning a quicker rate of evaporation. Deeper pots mean the roots can dig deeper in search of moisture.
Position any plants in containers away from full sun or hot patios in the hottest hours of the day. This will avoid them drying out too quickly and the plants wilting.
- Lawn care
In general, using a proper, balanced fertiliser helps protect your lawn against stresses such as drought. A well fed lawn will look better and perform better than an unfed lawn; it will be healthier and have stronger roots in order to absorb water and nutrients. Overall, it’s advisable to feed lawns well before periods of drought to ensure uptake, instead of feeding once drought becomes an issue.
Many EverGreen & Scotts products feature a Watersmart formula which helps build thick, green lawns with stronger roots, better water and nutrient absorption helping to protect lawns against heat, drought and other stresses.
Top tip: By raising the mowing height the lawn will develop a deeper root system. Try not to mow on hot sunny days to reduce transpiration losses of the grass.