Gardening Tips > July > Watering your garden through a Summer Heatwave

Watering your garden through a Summer Heatwave

When to water

During a summer dry spell optimum watering time is either early in the morning to avoid evaporation loss throughout the day or, early evening when temperatures have cooled.

Woman watering summer border Gap Photos 2018

Top Tip: Leaving your watering too late in the evening, will mean the plant sits in water as it won’t give the plant time to draw up the water until the following morning.

How to water

Essex is renowned to have mainly clay soil type.  A clay soil does hold water well and tends to be rich in plant nutrients.  We recommend you give your plants a longer soak at the base of the plant rather than over a wide area once a day if you have clay soil to encourage plant growth.  Be aware that this soil type may still feel damp even when it is beginning to dry out!

Top Tip: Water at the base of the plant, if you wet the leaves, especially when it’s sunny can cause the water droplets to magnify the sunlight, scorching the leaves.

Beds and Borders

Deck chair in coastal-look garden, with watering can and container with Nepeta GAP Photos 2018

The best advice is to give your bedding and border plants a thorough watering to allow the water to sink below ground level and establish longer, fuller roots.  We recommend using a hose to reduce your time spent watering and to ensure you cover all your plants in a deep bed or border.

Applying a mulch of organic matter over soil will supply your plants with additional nutrients and help with water retention.  Using a water storing gel when planting, will help retain water around deep roots meaning less time and money in watering your precious plants.

Containers and hanging baskets

The majority of container and basket plants like to live in moist soil that is constantly damp, but not too wet.  Some can survive when they get a little dry but it is worth taking the time to know each plant’s watering needs to ensure you continue to have strong, healthy flowering plants.

When you water your containers and hanging baskets, make sure you only water the soil and not the leaves as plants uses their roots to absorb moisture.

Top Tip: Keeping an eye on the moisture level is key.  A plant may seem to be in a dry soil, remember to dig a little deeper to ensure the soil isn’t actually still moist.

Lawn

During the summer months, watering your lawn can be a necessity.  However, watering at the wrong time of day will just promote disease.  We recommend you water morning or early afternoon before the heat of the day.  Your lawn needs to be dry before nightfall to avoid it becoming susceptible to outside pressures like insects, weeds and diseases.

Watering in a HEATWAVE

Place plants in pots together in groups. This will increase the humidity around those plants and reduce need for watering.

Cutting back a plant’s foliage can reduce its need for water. So if a plant looks like it is struggling you could cut a third of the leaves back to help it out.

Use a water storing gel or crystals when planting. This will help retain water around deep roots, meaning less wasted water.

Use mulch in flower beds and borders.

Use your greywater whenever possible. Greywater is the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances. Using this water in periods of drought can be very effective. There are some dos and don’ts such as not using it on edible crops.  RHS provide some useful information on using greywater.

Tools for watering 

Watering can or hose?  We recommend both especially if you have beautiful hanging baskets and containers on the front of your property with no access to the outside tap.

Using a hose

If you have a large garden and you don’t want to spend all day watering, then we recommend using a hose.  There are many different types of water hose systems.  Our range of Hozelock products start from a simple garden hose to longer hose reels to extend reach for larger gardens.

Top Tip: To reduce water wastage, make sure you use a trigger gun attached to your hose.  This allows you to target where and when you use the water.

Automatic watering systems are perfect if you are too busy to water everyday or away on holiday:

  • The Hozelock Automatic Holiday Watering System can be used for watering the pots and containers around the garden from the mains water supply, with an automatic timer, a 20 metre hose and stakes for 10 containers. Extension kits  are available if you have five or more containers.

  • The Hozelock 20 Pot Automatic Watering Kit contains an automatic timer and contains everything you need to water up to 20 containers or hanging baskets.

If you are using a water butt to reduce wastage:

  • The Hozelock Water Butt Border Kit provides an alternative method for using a porous hose, it takes stored water from your water butt rather than using the mains supply.

Attach a sprinkler to give your lawn a good soak in very hot weather.

Using a watering can

Smaller gardens, patio containers and front gardens can be managed by the humble watering can.  However, remember:

  • It is best to use a watering can with a fine ‘rose’ end; they produce smaller droplets which sink into the ground more easily.

  • Turn the rose at the tip so that the holes point upward to the sky instead of down toward the earth. This minimises soil disturbance.

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