Summer is a great time to spend with the family at the beach, in the pool or entertaining in our backyards. A BBQ lunch and then a friendly cricket match with friends and kids alike.
Stepping out in the sun we follow the slip, slop, slap rules. We slip on a hat and sunglasses, we slop on sunscreen, we slap on clothes to clover our skin, we seek shade, but most importantly we stay hydrated.
Your garden also needs to have a good level of sun care over summer to survive the heat and dry. Follow our simple sun care tips to help keep your soil and garden happy this summer.
Understanding summer conditions and how it may affect your garden soil!
Summer can be a mix of climates around Australia, from scorching heat to pounding rain. Dry weather can cause compaction of the soil’s surface and a loss of healthy microbial activity. Heavy rain can also cause surface compaction and erosion.
Unprotected soils can bake in the summer sun and can reduce or limit nutrients to plant. Soils can heat up due to heat and soil moisture loss can be rapid.
The type of soil you have in your garden, can also affect how it reacts to the summer sun.
- Sandy soil tend to have low moisture and nurtients leech out of it quickly. Hot temperatures cause the soil to break up quickly and become hydrophobic (the soil repels water).
- Clay soil take longer to warm up and cool down. The problem with clay soils is the lack of organic matter which makes it harder to work with over time. They bake in the sun and many types of clay soils become hydrophobic (the soil repels water).
Tip One – Ensure water is going down into the soil!
If you have noticed that water is simply running off or pooling on top of the soil, then it may be hydrophobic (the soil repels water) and require a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner.
A soil wetter breaks down the waxy coating and allows water to penetrate into the soil. For extremely poor soils, mix 100mL Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner concentrate per 9 litres of water and apply every 2 weeks until the soil improves. For a maintenance application, mix 50mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water every 3 to 6 months.
Please ensure Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner is washed off the foliage to avoid burning.
Tip Two – Improve the soil structure!
Add well-rotted compost and manures to your soil improves the structure and fertility of the soil. The warmth of the summer sun helps microbes and micro-organisms break down the organic matter which is a wonderful soil addition.
For a natural solution, try Seasol Plant + Soil Booster, it’s your garden solution to help your plants over summer.
Seasol Plant + Soil Booster
Seasol Plant + Soil Booster is a pelletised plant and soil treatment that can be used anywhere in any part of the garden or soil. It’s loaded full of compost, humic acid and organic matter which as it’s broken down into the soil will provide much-needed nutrition. This is a meal for your soil which will improve moisture content and plant nutrient uptake.
Safe to use all throughout the year, for a general application apply Seasol Plant + Soil Booster at a rate of 100grams per square metre and mix it into the soil. Water in thoroughly after application and apply every 6-8 weeks or as needed.
Tip Three – Apply mulch to keep the soil cool!
Mulching is a wonderful way to protect the soil, it adds nutrients as it gradually breaks down. Mulch keeps the soil temperature and the plant’s roots system cooler. It also can help to prevent water evaporation and helps the soil to retain moisture.
There are many types of mulch on the market, some break down quickly such as sugar cane mulch or pea straw, but they add nutrients into the soil as they break down. Some are coarser such as pine bark or wood chips, these ,however, do not improve the structure of the soil.
Do not apply mulch too thick as this may also cause water to run-off and remember to keep it away from the plant’s trunk or stem.
Tip Four – Water your garden and soil!
Water your garden to help keep the soil and microbes happy and healthy. Depending on the climate you are gardening in will depend on how often you need to water. Try to check the moisture content by putting your finger down into the soil. If you find the soil dry, then it will need watering. If the soil is dry, water it, if you find it moist then it’s fine. Check your garden weekly and in summer check it daily if the temperature is high.
Water early morning or late afternoon as there will be evaporation at these times. With water restrictions in some areas, check the best way to water your garden. Deeper water, less frequent may help get the plants to send roots deeper into the soil.