Australian summers can be a challenging time for our gardens. The days get longer and the nights shorter, with Adelaide known for temperatures averaging just shy of 30 degrees in January and February.
If the focus in Spring is on growth, then for Summer, the priority is on survival. Good preparation before the hotter months arrive will make or break your garden. We believe that letting your garden experience a great summer begins in late Spring. We also understand that with our busy lifestyles, it is easy for several months to pass without giving your garden the attention it requires!
The following guide focuses on the basics and will help ensure you enjoy your garden instead of worrying about it.
Check your watering system.
Depending on the rainfall that Adelaide experiences during Spring and the maturity of your garden, it’s not uncommon to only start thinking about switching on your watering system around November/December (veggies and lawns might be a bit earlier). Unlike highly visible lawn sprinklers, garden watering systems tend to be complex – often consisting of an intricate web of tubes and drippers that have been connected over many years. With time parts fail, the challenge being to catch them before this happens!
A helpful trick is to turn on the system one quiet afternoon and slowly walk the garden – listening for hissing or buzzing sounds and looking for moist sections of water pooling (other than the drippers, that is). All solid signs that part of your system needs replacing.
The above is a far better option than waiting until late summer and noticing that a patch of your garden has died during a February heat wave! The above advice is essential if you plan on a summer holiday. Having a watering system you trust to work while away will give you peace of mind and lessen the burden of getting your family/neighbour to do your watering.
Help Your Potted Plants.
Over summer, potted plants can take a beating. The direct heat from the sun and radiated heat from pavers and surrounding buildings can heat pots from both the top and sides. We recommend adding a nice thick layer of mulch to protect the top, and also (depending on the size of the pots), it can be helpful to move them over the summer month to a cooler/shadier part of the garden or cover them with shade cloth. Remember to add a soluble fertiliser via a watering can to feed and balance mineral deficiencies.
Learn to know the signs of heat stress in your garden.
While every garden is different, you will probably notice that certain plants are more susceptible to the stress that heat or a lack of water can place on a plant. Learn to know what plants are the first to droop in your garden. Like a canary in a coal mine, they can give feedback on when you might need to increase your watering duration, top up the mulch or provide extra shade.
New plants will likely need a few years of sun-hardening, so ensure you give them a bit of extra TLC while their root system gets established. Shelter them with shade cloth or give them supplementary hand watering on extreme days.
Keep the lawn thicker over the summer.
You would have noticed that your lawn has started growing at a noticeably faster pace over Spring. Hopefully, you will have made the most of the growing period by topping up patches of your lawn with 80/20 topsoil and applying a round of fertiliser.
During the hotter summer months, we recommend letting the lawn grow a touch longer and thicker. The added depth helps keep the roots moist and makes it harder for weeds to get established. Your lawn will grow at a similar pace, so keeping it thicker will not impact how often you need to mow.
If you are using a watering system for your lawn (which we strongly recommend), try setting the timer for early in the morning. This allows your lawn to soak up the water before the temperatures rise. Remember to give your grass a good deeper soaking a couple of times a week rather than frequent light waters.
Check Your Mulch
As expected from Forsters Landscape Supplies, our top tip for the start of summer (along with mastering your watering system) is to remind you that it is not too late to mulch! Mulching is simply the best guarantee of the success and health of all garden plants — which sounds simple because it is. Our landscape supply yard has a wide variety of Mulches. So regardless of your budget or garden style, we will surely have a mulch that suits you.
A thick layer will help protect your plants from the heat stress of those 40-degree days that will inevitably arrive late summer. It will also give your watering efforts a greater chance of being absorbed vs quickly evaporating.
If you did your mulching in Spring, you might need a quick top-up in several parts of the garden, maybe those areas affected by wash-off during the occasional heavy Spring rain.
Freshen up the pathways
Everyone loves how a yard looks after a beautiful thick layer of mulch gets spread over the garden, so why not give other areas of your landscape the same treatment with a fresh layer of aggregate on your paths or driveway? Even an additional 1 cm will make a big difference.
Forsters offer a range of aggregates that will suit most landscape projects. Try using our landscape supply calculator to ensure you order the correct amount. Or call our helpful staff!
Remember that the UV index for most of the summer days in Adelaide will be in the extreme category. This means that it is very easy to get burnt. Try to do your gardening work early or later in the day. Drink plenty of water, cover up and wear sunscreen!
To retain moisture and keep plant roots cool, check out Jeffries Mulches and Soils.
Green Up Lawn Fertiliser ( promote growth and maintain a good healthy lawn )
Freshen up driveways and pathways around the house and gardens with our Aggregates.
Don’t forget to use our Landscape Calculator to ensure you order the correct quantity.