Protecting plants in hot weather

The weather has gone scorchio! When it is hot you need to take extra care to look after your plants.  The first line of defence is of course watering.  Watering is best done first thing or late evening.  If you water at lunch time the sun is at its hottest and much of the water will just evaporate.  Also you can even cause leaf scorch – by watering!  Of course if you see a plant absolutely wilting in the heat then by all means give it some more water, just make sure you water at the root of the plant and not just the tops.

One of the best ways to conserve water around plants is to mulch.  Mulch  is a material that is spread around the soil to retain moisture.  You can often see bark chips used for this purpose.  Although mulches come in quite a variety of materials: gravel, straw mulch, cocoa hulls, weed suppressant fabric, grass clippings, and even compost.

Remember to ventilate your greenhouse, in fact when the sun is so hot it is baking the pavements(!) you may even need to add shading to the greenhouse.  This can be done with special paint (which has to be removed as winter approaches and is quite a faff).  A good idea is to water the ground inside the greenhouse even if it is on stone slabs.

Tubs, hanging baskets and pots can really suffer in high temperatures.  One good tip is to place ice cubes on the surface of the soil and they will melt away, slowly releasing water as the plants need it.

And don’t forget to protect yourself!  Wear a sun hat if need be, and always apply sunscreen.  Enjoy the hot weather whilst it lasts.