With southeast England and East Anglia seeing the driest July on record, homeowners need to be preparing for a drought. Temperatures of over 35 degrees could continue throughout August and following a year with significantly less rainfall (25% less than average), the Met Office has advised people to take precautions against a potential drought.
Gardens are the parts of our homes most at risk during heatwaves and dry weather. For this reason, Jack Sutcliffe, founder of shed manufacturer, Power Sheds, has shared his five tips to help you protect your garden:
To increase the soil’s capacity to hold water, compost is a great addition to your plants and pots. Not only is this a good way to prepare for a drought but It can also protect your garden against heavy downpours. Although these are usually rare in summer, climate watchers predict a few bad storms, so compost is the best solution to protect your plans from these two extremes.
When you mow your lawn, more water is lost than usual. Reducing the frequency of lawn mowing during times of drought, is actually what will help to retain water. On hot days, make sure to mow your lawn during the coolest part of the day. Another good tip for mowing during a heatwave is to leave the clippings on the ground for longer and raise the height of your mower, as taller grass protects the soil and helps reduce water loss.
The biggest risk to plants in high temperatures is the soil drying out. Your first line of defence against this should be to use a layer of mulch around plants to help the soil stay moist after watering. There are many different mulch materials gardeners can use during a heatwave - dry grass clippings from your lawn are a great option.
Getting the right pots is key in ensuring your garden stays hydrated for as long as possible. For example, an unsealed terracotta allows water to evaporate quickly from the soil, which leads to plants drying out and dying much sooner. The best solution for this is to either get an already sealed terracotta pot or seal it with a specialised sealer. The same goes for black plastic pots that will attract heat due to their colour. Choose light-coloured options to reflect the sunlight instead.
The key thing when it comes to watering plants in a drought is to do it less frequently but very thoroughly, as this will get the soil to stay moist for longer. Early morning is the best time of day to water your garden as this will give the soil the best chance to absorb as much moisture as possible before the strong sunshine evaporates it. Evenings are less appropriate for watering, simply because water on leaves overnight can cause fungi to develop.
Jack Sutcliffe, Founder of Power Sheds, also commented: “With more heatwaves coming our way, the likelihood of droughts across the UK is increasing fast. It’s important you take the necessary steps early to protect your plants or it can be too late for them to recover. We recommend following this advice so you can relax in the hot weather knowing your garden is protected.”
To find out more, visit www.powersheds.com/sheducation