Tips to get through extreme heat and lack of rain
With one day of significant rain here in May, drying winds around Storm Hector and extremely high temperatures, the soil’s bone dry.
How do you save your plants using the minimum amount of water? If this goes on, a hosepipe ban may be on the cards for some areas.
Here are some tips:
1When to water
Watering in the late evening is best if not then early morning – never in the full heat of the day.
2Don’t give little and often
This encourages shallow rooting and drying out. It’s better to give established plants a thorough soaking once or twice a week so deep roots are reached.
3Concentrate on pots
They will need watering every day. Add water-retentive gel when potting on. If the severe temperatures continue, move what you can into the shade and conservatory/greenhouse plants outdoors.
4Give up on hanging baskets
Hanging baskets will have to be watered twice a day, which is why I don’t use them.
5Prioritise newly-planted plants
They will wilt and be damaged easily. David Austin Roses recommends a watering can full a day in extreme temperatures.
Open all vents and doors in greenhouses. It may be necessary to water tomatoes, etc, in grow bags and pots twice a day. Damp down the floor with water – it will cool the air when it evaporates.
Use a hand mister to increase humidity around tomatoes and runner beans to aid flower set.
8Bye bye lawn
If water use is restricted, sacrifice the lawn. It takes a lot of water to keep it green and grass is capable of surviving extreme heat and lack of water.
If your water butts run dry, use grey water from the bath or shower.
A bit late now but adding lots of organic matter, such as well-rotted manure early in the season, will help preserve water. Mulches will also conserve water – consider a gravel garden.
Remove weeds regularly to prevent them from competing with your plants for water.
12Be aware of your region’s water supply
Check with your local water authority to see the situation in your area – we are incredibly lucky in NE England to have Kielder Reservoir as a vast water supply but we must still use water wisely.