The New Year coincides with the warmer months, so now is opportune the time to summer proof your garden. In a previous post we discussed a few simple preholiday tips, to prepare your garden for some minor neglect, while on vacation. We can use those same interventions to give the plants a helping hand to get through a Gold Coast summer.
5 ways to achieve a summer proof garden
Weeds are undesirable plants and compete for plant nutrition, weakening the desirable species and making them prone to pest and disease. Ideally, pull any weeds by hand, before they seed, or spray them with vinegar if you do not want to use herbicide. Difficult to kill weeds need to be bagged in plastic and left in the sun to rot, before composting.
Rejuvenate the soil
They key to maximising plant vigour and health, is a healthy soil. Conditioning your soil helps retain moisture. Adding organic matter and compost annually, willl improve soil texture and structure and promote soil micro organisms.
Using mulch in your garden controls weeds and keeps the soil cool and able to retain moisture. In new garden areas, soil wetting agents can be added to improve moisture penetration, prior to the addition of mulch.
There are numerous choices of mulch, including organic (sugar cane, pine bark ) and inorganic (scoria, gravel and pebbles, see below).
For optimimum results, a 75 mm layer needs to be added and it is important to ensure a well is created around tree trunks, to prevent rotting.
Water well after the mulch is laid.
Install an irrigation system
Irrigation systems can be complex, especially if you have an electronic system. However, there are simple to install and very effective DIY systems available from your local hardware supplier. These inexpensive systems can be programmed, for a determined length of time, by using a simple battery operated digital timer.
You can choose a sprinkler systems or dripper systems, depending on your garden requirements and pop up systems can be installed in your lawn areas. It takes a little bit of planning to design a system, but it ensures your lawn and garden are regularly hydrated.
Choose waterwise plants
The choice of plants with good drought tolerance can make your garden more waterwise. Succulents (see below), such as Senecio, Sedum and Aeonium and perennials such as bird of paradise, grevillea and westringia are great waterwise plants and are aesthetically pleasing.
So get out this weekend and summer proof your garden, it will pay dividends in the long run and your plants will love you for it!