Summer has arrived, and our gardens are bursting with life. Fresh flowers gleaming and verdant foliage lapping up the sunshine of the longest days of the year. During these potentially drier periods it pays to keep a close eye on watering. Seedlings, newly planted plants, trees and shrubs in their first growing season after planting and containers are most vulnerable in dry conditions. Without expansive root systems these plants aren’t able to access enough water, so we need to help them. The best time to water is in the morning or evening. Watering when it isn’t so sunny reduces water loss through evaporation. Give plenty of water, but keep the frequency low, this ensures plants get a good soaking, but are still encouraged to develop their root systems.
Weekly mowing can be a chore, so if you want to reduce your workload, then consider leaving and area of lawn to grow wild, just mowing pathways through it. The long grass can all be cut in the autumn and composted. Leaving areas of long grass is good for wildlife and you may see wildflowers start to pop up as well. If you are mowing a fine lawn, then it pays to raise the height of cut during dry spells. This leaves the grass a little longer and puts less stress on the turf.
Weeding is always important and summer is when the hoe is most effective. Using a hoe slices through weeds and means they can be left to wilt and die on the soil surface. Another job for this time of year is pruning stone fruit trees such as plums, cherries and damsons. These fruit trees are susceptible to diseases if pruned in the winter as their wounds are slow to heal over. Pruning in early summer allows them to heal quickly whilst they are growing vigorously and reduce the chance of infection. It is also the best time to prune spring flowering shrubs such as Weigela, Philadelphus and Forsythia. They need the rest of the season to regrow shoots that will bear next year’s spring flowers.
Take note of pests and diseases on your plants. Pests such as aphids, caterpillars and vine weevil can quickly do a lot of damage, so take action at first sight of problems. If you are having regular pest and disease problems with a particular plant then it is likely to be weak or unhealthy. The most resistant plants are the strongest, healthiest ones. Finally, take time to enjoy your garden in the sun!