Written by Lisa Proffitt | 21st June 2022

MG Living

How to keep your garden glorious in a heatwave

Homes with gardens are selling faster and for higher prices than homes lacking outside space. If your house is on the market and your garden is looking its summer best, don’t let spells of hot weather undo all your hard work.

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Following our top tips below will help your garden to survive the heat and keep your plants thriving this summer.

Apply mulch

The first line of defence against hot weather is to apply a layer of mulch around the plants to protect the soil from direct sun light. Mulch also prevents the soil drying out which reduces the need for watering. All sorts of mulch materials are available at garden centres including compost, leaves and bark chips, and during a heat wave light coloured mulches will reflect the sunlight and help maintain cooler surface soil conditions. Freshly cut grass clippings are ideal as home grown mulch. Leave them on the lawn for a few days before raking up and in a few sunny days the fresh green clippings will turn a light brown and provide perfect mulch.


Provide temporary shade

On scorching hot days, move pots in to the shade or provide some form of sun screen. Garden centres sell shade cloth which can be placed on top of plants to screen them from the sun. Even a strategically placed patio chair can protect a low-growing plant. If you have large container plants that are too heavy to move into the shade, spreading a layer of gravel, stone chippings or bark on top of the soil helps to conserve moisture and protect the plant’s roots from the heat.


Water at specific times

Watering is vital, and at the right time of day. Avoid the middle of a hot day when plants are devoting their energy to dealing with surviving the heat, not to taking up water. The best time to water plants is early in the morning when temperatures are lower. This will carry them through the day to an evening watering session. Watering in the morning also prevents heat scald, which can damage leaves that are watered while the sun is directly overhead. Although to paraphrase gardening guru Monty Don, if your plant needs a drink, let it have one.


Keep lawns at least three inches tall

Taller grass casts longer shadows and will benefit the soil by helping it to retain moisture. A minimum depth for getting a benefit from the shade is three inches, and some professional gardeners set mowers as high as six inches during heat waves or drought conditions.


Avoid pruning

Although it is tempting to prune away unattractive sunburned growth, the outer foliage is protecting the interior of the plant by providing shade. Wait to prune until temperatures return to normal, or even wait until summer is almost over before pruning in case of another heat wave. 


Skip fertilizing

Plants devote all their resources to surviving a heat wave and can’t spare the energy to absorb fertilizer which will just sit in the soil and can “burn” the plant. A plant that has wilted and looks fried may still survive. If the leaves begin to plump up after a good drenching then it should be fine. Sunburned leaves are another sign of heat damage, but if the stems are green or pliable and some of the leaves are green, the plant is still alive.


Don’t forget the wildlife

Birds and wildlife struggle as much as gardens in hot weather, so don’t forget to top up bird baths and bowls during your daily watering session.


If you’re deciding whether to take advantage of the favourable market conditions and sell your home this year, our Michael Graham team would love to offer you their no obligation help and advice. Call us now and if you’re looking for a home to buy or to rent, all of our properties can be viewed here.

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