Summer can be a great way to enjoy outdoors. Most plants also take advantage of this season where there is abundant exposure to the sun. However, not all plants can tolerate prolonged exposure to the sun. Some garden plants are naturally designed to have minimal sunlight exposure and several hours of shade. When plants have unnaturally longer exposure to sunlight than their tolerable limits, they become dehydrated. To counter dehydration, cut plants off food supplies to some of their leaves and lead them to become discolored. This should not be mistaken for withering, which is the late stage of a dying plant.
The Australian summer can be quite unforgiving, and your plants may not be able to bask under it for long. Therefore, as a gardener, you need to take every possible measure to keep your plants green and in good condition through the hot summer sun.
Some of you may be thinking why regulate the watering of the plants when it’s hot and dry out there in the summer? Why not water the plants regularly? There are several reasons why watering plants should be regulated. For one, you are saving on your water consumption as much as possible. Water consumption tends to spike during the summer, and you also have to use water wisely when it comes to watering plants. The best time to water plants is early in the morning. This just leaves enough time for the water to be absorbed down the soil. Water too early, and you risk having fungi proliferation and plant diseases due to humidity. Water too late, and the soil surface becomes less permeable and you’ll lose much water to evaporation and less for plant absorption. Another reason for regulated watering is to develop resilience in plants. Lowering the frequency of watering will encourage plants to grow deep roots to search for water deep into the soil. Remember that regulated watering only works well with soil-planted garden plants. It’s the opposite for potted garden plants. Watering should be regular, and in small amounts, so as not to have water and soil minerals drain down the holes at the bottom of the pots. Also, hardy plants can get by with no water for a day or two. So manage the watering to not overly water hardy plants and pay proper attention to plants that can’t withstand heat and low hydration.
Improve water circulation and retention
As mentioned earlier, the soil becomes hard and less permeable to water. With this, water should be guided efficiently down the soil to reach the roots. This can be done by creating voids for water to enter. Worms create natural voids in the soil, but can take time to introduce to the soil so you need to prepare them ahead before the summer season. Worms can naturally increase a soil’s water-holding capacity. A good alternative is to use a garden fork. Using a garden fork, put some holes into the garden bed soil and be careful not to damage the roots. Putting water efficiently into the soil will not be enough during the summer. Water loss through evaporation is very high during this season, that is why as a gardener, you need to make ways to keep the water in. Applying mulch to your garden is a good way of insulating the soil from heat and slowing down water evaporation from the soil. Be sure to apply mulch evenly and with the right thickness to allow sunlight to reach the roots.
Use temporary shades
Shades can provide protection not only from prolonged sunlight exposure, but also from hot, drying winds. Australian summer is characterized by a prolonged heat wave and drying winds, which both can damage garden plants. Put temporary shades made of old white sheets during the day. As much as possible, position the shade in a tent-like manner to reflect most of the heat. If not, at least position the shade on top of the plants to protect them from midday sun exposure, where the temperature is at the highest. Hay bales can be natural shades and also provide protection from drying winds. Hay bales can also serve as a support for poles holding shade clothes for the garden. Hay bales can also serve as trellises for vines in the garden. Also, geckos and lizards can inhabit bales and provide natural pest control for the garden.
Transplantation is another natural shading and wind protection method. If you have young or newly planted seedling, you can transfer it under the shade or cover of the stronger plants with established root systems. Partial shading can help ensure that the young plants don’t get too exposed and scorched by direct sunlight. Just make sure that the young plants still get a dose of sunlight, as permanent shade can also be deadly for young plants.
Pruning is a way of helping plants manage water consumption and circulation. It also helps prevent plants from getting damaged by hot winds by reducing their size and making them more aerodynamic, giving less resistance to wind and avoiding bending, breakage and uprooting. Pruning old and large leaves can prevent water loss by evenly distributing water to healthy and newly formed leaves.
Consult expert tips
The Internet has a rich resource of gardening tips you can check to keep your garden plants green throughout the year especially through summer. Gardening articles from Garden-R – a website specializing in garden design and maintenance in Sydney – are very useful when it comes to tips on how to create, maintain, protect and expand your garden. The articles also provide professional tips on landscaping and redesigning gardens and backyards. So, if you have run out of ideas on how to care and protect your garden, there are professional garden maintenance tips you can get from the internet, from books or magazines.
Keeping the garden green and beautiful can be quite tough when the hot summer days come around. It is best to have your garden plants be prepared and protected against the adverse weather and climate conditions. Advanced preparations and knowledge about the potential dangers caused by elements are key competencies that gardeners must have to avoid costly losses in plants and unproductive gardens. Now that you have the basic knowledge on how to protect your garden plants through the hot, scorching Australian summer, you can be confident that your garden can make it through the summer.