Our poor plants are suffering with this dry spell, even farmland in Devon is really suffering. The water boards are now saying there will soon be a hosepipe ban for watering the gardens. There are many things that can be done to help our dear plants.
Here are a few of my suggestions that I am doing at the moment:
- Bark chippings – is a way of holding moisture within the ground. Make sure you just surround the roots of the plant. It will also help to supress weeds that are taking valuable water away from your main plants and will act as a decorative top dressing.
- By putting decorative stones on top of pots you will reduce water loss and also keep the roots nice and cool. I always recommend when planting, to use clay pots as these hold moisture better and for longer and keep the roots cooler.
- By placing saucers under your pots excess water can drain into the saucer and be used as a reservoir and raises the humidity around plants.
- By grouping plants together you will create a micro-climate for humidity and they are less likely to dry out and you are less likely to forget watering them.
- If you find that your pots have totally dried out and then you heavily water it tends drain very quickly, therefore I recommend putting a few drops of washing up liquid on the top surface of the soil. This will break down the molecules of the soil and allow the water to penetrate and percolate down to the roots more evenly.
- Cut the bottom end off a plastic bottle, pierce holes on the plastic lid and stand the bottle, lid down, in the soil. The bottle acts as a reservoir and releases the water slowly which is more beneficial than one big soaking. You can also add feed to the bottle so it slowly releases, boosting the plants health and making them look greener and less stressed.
Cut a large circle from recycled cardboard, make a slit to the centre. Place it around your shrub and give the cardboard a good soaking. The cardboard acts as a wick and holds onto the moisture
- Watering is best done in the evening as the plants have chance to recover after a hot day. They are able to absorb the water a lot better and be able to cope the next day. If you do have to water during the day, avoid soaking the leaves as this will cause leaf scorch.
- Irrigation systems are good but can be expensive to install. One benefit is they can have a time switch and you are less likely to use so much water as it comes through as a dripper so you are less likely to waste water as it only goes where you have placed the irrigation system.