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With extreme temperatures experienced in many parts of Australia, there are many sun-scorched gardens that will benefit from a little extra care. Top tips for summer garden survival include:

  • Ensuring a covering of mulch is on the ground to shade the soil. Mulch is applied to reduce evaporation and reduce soil temperatures. The majority of plant’s roots are in the top 10cm of soil and keeping these cool is crucial to extreme temperature survival.
  • A few pieces of shade cloth for extremely hot days is a cheap, quick temporary solution to preventing sunburn on branches and leaves. If extreme temperatures are forecast throwing a piece of shade cloth over the canopy or draping over vulnerable branches early has the potential to save a tree or shrub.
  • If foliage is burnt resist the temptation of pruning off immediately as the burnt foliage will shade protect the stems and vulnerable new shoots from any future extremely hot days. Prune after the danger of extreme heat has gone.
  • Plants will wilt in extreme temperatures, but it’s knowing what is a plants normal response to conserving water in the heat or wilting to the point of no return that is the key to summer garden survival. Observe any sudden changes in a plant. Aside from wilting, bright yellow leaves and sudden leaf drop will indicate heat stress.
  • The addition of wetting agents such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner to all lawn and garden areas will make the best use of water applied. Conserving every drop is important and wetting agents ensure the water gets to the plant’s roots. Mix 50mL of concentate per 9 litres of water (standard watering can or bucket) or use one of the hose-on packs.
  • Plants in small pots should be repotted into larger pots. The more soil in a pot will keep a plant cool.
  • Avoid black plastic pots in sunny areas where the afternoon sun shines directly onto the plastic. The roots of plants are scorched from the absorbed heat. Repot into clay or glazed pots selecting light colours to reflect the heat.

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