Summer garden care tips

It feels like summer is hot on the heels of springtime, and it's time to get our gardens ready for the potential impact of an El Nino summer. NIWA has indicated that El Niño continued during October and will likely intensify over the next three months, which means drought, with Auckland expected to receive 50% to 60% less rainfall.

This means mulch, mulch, mulch! Laying down mulch is one of the most effective things you can do to help protect your garden in summer to help keep the soil moist and cool and inhibit weed growth. We suggest using a finer mulch rather than a big chunky one. The finer mulch will break down quicker, adding nutrients to the soil and improving your soil health over time. We recommend topping mulch up every six months.

Mulch at least 5cm but up to 10 cm thick, keeping it away from the base of your plants. And don’t forget those plants in pots or containers.

To encourage robust growth, applying fertiliser will feed your plants and correct any mineral deficiencies before the heat sets in. It’s best to fertilise before you mulch to help hold the nutrients in place and to help them break down.

If you are starting to water your plants on the warmer days, do so early in the morning. This allows the water to soak in before the day's heat. Leaving your leaves wet at night also increases the risk of fungal diseases.

If you don’t have an automatic watering system in your garden, it’s a good time to think about installing one before the summer months. No one ever regrets putting one in, but many people wish they did by the time summer rolls around. In Auckland, you won't need it for a good 7-9 months of the year, but when the weather is warm and dry over summer, a deep soaking is recommended weekly. Usually, this is difficult for people to achieve on busy schedules and during weeks away over the summer break. Pots ideally need to be watered daily during the summer dry stints, so consider this when deciding on whether to install irrigation or not.

If you are thinking about transforming your small outdoor space, contact Martin and his team for a free consultation. Martin, 027 215 7884