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Hot summer gardening tips

Summer can be a tricky time in the garden, with scorching heat one day and a cool change the next.

It is also the time when we spend the most time outdoors enjoying the long summer evenings and outdoor entertaining. Here are some handy tips to keep your garden looking its best over the warmest months of the year.

Keep your lawns lush

The team at Lawn Solutions Australia encourage home owners to give their lawns some summer lovin’.

As the lawn industry’s peak body, the experts at Lawn Solutions Australia advise regular deep-watering rather than frequent shallow watering and regular mowing. Regular deep watering encourages a stronger and deeper root system aided by an occasional nutrient boost with an application of high-quality fertiliser. The healthier the lawn the less susceptible to disease and weeds it becomes.

Avoid watering in the heat of the day as you will lose a lot of moisture through evaporation. Water in the morning or evening. If there has been rain your lawn shouldn’t need additional water.

The key to your lawn mowing in summer is to make sure you are doing so regularly. You want to keep on top of the leaf growth, so you don’t remove too much at a time. Removing more than a third of the leaf at any one time, will cause stress to the grass roots.

Mow early in the day or as the sun starts to go down. The hot sun in the middle of the day is more likely to do damage to the freshly cut lawn. And make sure the blades on your mower are sharp.

According to Lawn Solutions Australia, choosing the right lawn-type is one of the main factors in how it will perform over summer and a drought-tolerant, warm-season turf-type like Tiftuf Hybrid Bermuda or St Walter DNA Certified Buffalo, are the perfect turf-types that will handle a harsh Aussie summer.

Mulch makes a difference

Equally known for giving good garden advice is the team at Gardening Australia. Their number one tip for summer gardening is mulch, mulch, mulch.

Mulch keeps soil warm in winter and cool in summer. Hay is an ideal material to use as mulch as it is more gentle on the soil then bark mulch. The hay also feeds the soil as it breaks down. Tickle a small amount of fresh compost into the soil, which will act like a sponge, before placing a thin layer of mulch on top.

Mulch can be used around flower beds, in the veggie patch, on roses and around natives. It will keep weeds at bay and make those that do appear easier to remove.

Mulch twice a year in late spring and again before winter sets in.

Don’t forget to water!

Similarly, water deeply in the morning or the cool of the evening to encourage larger and stronger roots. Check your irrigation system is working properly.

If you are going away on a summer holiday, move pots into the shade where possible and give your indoor plants a good soak before you leave.

And finally, protect vulnerable plants with shade cloth where possible. The RBGSA horticulturalists says to think of it like slip, slop, slap for plants!

Fertiliser to feed your garden

According to the team at the Royal Botanic Gardens South Australia, fertilising is another important summer gardening tip. Use a fertiliser that encourages root growth rather than leaf growth, as young fresh leaves will cause the plant more stress as it struggles to keep them alive. Add fertiliser to plants in the cool of the morning to build up their resistance to heat stress.