Garden heatwave advice for plants and wildlife

The UK heatwave looks set to go on as the Meteorological Office has forecast record-breaking heat and a ban on hosepipe use is introduced in Northern Ireland, so Wyevale Garden Centres is offering garden heatwave advice on how to keep  outdoor spaces looking great and how to care for hot and bothered wildlife over the sunny spell.

Gardens and wildlife are a high priority for Brits, with 82% of us wanting to encourage more wildlife into our gardens and with 37% of the view that wildlife is the most appealing garden feature*. Wyevale Garden Centres have come up with the following ten hot tips for gardeners and wildlife-lovers across the UK, which include using seaweed extract to drought-proof plants, how to avoid scorching lawns, using mulch as a protective layer and how to maintain birds, insects and amphibians clean and watered.

David Mitchell, Buying Manager for Horticulture at Wyevale Garden Centres, says: “Our plants perspire 85% more than we do in hot temperatures, so we need to look after them, just as we do ourselves. Raised temperatures reduce the soil’s ability to absorb fertiliser, so be careful what feed you use as granular products can cause lawns to burn. You can also drought-proof plants with an organic fertiliser that contains seaweed, which will enable plants to cope better with drought stress. Adding lots of mulch, such as bark chips, will also provide a barrier to cool the soil and hold moisture.”

garden heatwave

Wyevale Garden Centres has the following six tips to keep gardens in great shape this summer:

  1. SUPER SEAWEED: Drought-proof your plants with an organic fertiliser that contains seaweed extracts. Naturally occurring substances in seaweed such as Mannitol and Betaines are known to enable plants to cope better physiologically with drought stress.

  1. CHANGE YOUR DIET: Raised temperatures reduce the soil’s ability to absorb the nutrition in fertilisers. Too much fertiliser can have the opposite effect and burn plants. Seek out liquid fertilisers that have improved absorption in high temperatures.

  1. GET MOWING: Adjust your mower blade to a higher setting to ensure grass stems provide maximum shade to your soil. Resist the urge to rake the lawn for a perfect finish as cuttings can also provide vital shade. And check mover blades to ensure they give a sharp clean cut to the grass.

  1. MORE MULCH: Don’t be frugal when it comes to adding some extra mulch as it provides a vital layer to cool the soil and hold any vital moisture. Choose well-composted mulches in really hot weather such as bark chips on your borders.

  1. WATER WISELY: Even a well-established lawn will require watering during hot weather. A basic sprinkler is easy to set up however if you have a big lawn it is well worth investing in an automated irrigation system to ensure even and efficient spread of water, ideally with a timer. Timing is important; early morning and late evening are the best times of day to give water enough time to soak into the soil before the sun’s heat builds up and speeds up evaporation and transpiration. Consider an automatic watering system to ensure plants are kept watered for holiday periods.

  1. GET YOUR BUTTS OUT: Invest in a big water butt – it’s an eco-friendly way to keep your garden hydrated and you can also use the naturally collected rain water should a hosepipe ban come into force.

David Mitchell adds: “To ensure your garden stays wild through a hot summer, provide clean water for birds and keep ponds topped up, ideally with rainwater from a butt, so there is enough oxygen available for fish and other wildlife.”

Wyevale Garden Centres has the following four tips on keeping wildlife healthy this summer:

  1. BIRD BATHS: Keep bird baths topped up with clean water so birds can drink and keep themselves clean.

  1. BEE CREATIVE: Put out shallow dishes of water, filled with pebbles, to provide easy drinking places for thirsty bees, chiefly honey bees.

  1. USE IVY: Ivy is often thought of as a menace, but it’s a great provider of food and shelter for bats and birds, and a home for hibernating insects.

  1. PERFECT PONDS: Summer is the best time for pond-dipping. You’ll be able to see water beetles, dragonfly nymphs, aquatic snails and more. At home, make sure you keep ponds topped up with clean water so there is enough oxygen available for fish and other wildlife. Ideally use rainwater from a butt. And remove weeds, but leave them on the side overnight, so any creatures stuck in them can return to your pond.

For more information about Wyevale Garden Centres, visit www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk.

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