Help your garden flourish through summer no matter the weather!

Late-summer continues to deliver weather extremes that have been the hallmark of this summer. While some areas have had unexpected rain and flooding, other regions are reeling from heatwaves with the threat of bushfire never far away.

To keep your patch safe and welcoming, water regularly if it is hot and dry, top up mulches and lightly prune to remove spent flowers.

What to do in your garden in late summer in February 2024 to help your garden flourish through rain or dry heat

Too wet or too dry

Wet soils As the weather has brought such varied conditions across Australia, some gardeners are experiencing a wet summer and waterlogged soils while others have it hot and dry.

Wet soils can lead to root rot and plant death. If your garden is very wet, consider ways to improve drainage including installing extra surface or subsurface drains and creating raised garden beds for plants that need well-drained soil such as lavender and citrus.

Apply Seasol as a foliar application every fortnight (mix 20mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water – standard watering can) to help strengthen plant growth and build up the plant’s resistance to diseases.

Too wet or too dry

Dry soils They also lead to growth problems. If soils are very dry, they can become water repellent so water fails to soak into the roots. If water is pooling on the surface, or running down the inside of a pot, apply a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner to improve the soil and help plants get the drink they need to survive the hot and dry conditions.

When watering apply it via an irrigation system or sprinkler for longer periods, less often, ensures regular deep watering. Water in the cool of the day, early morning is ideal as plants have time to use it, and it helps to reduce fungal diseases such as powdery mildew.

Before watering, check the temperature of the water, as hot pipes and hoses can lead to burnt foliage. For more tips to help your garden flourish over summer check out our summer guide.

What to do in your garden in late summer in February 2024 to help your garden flourish through rain or dry heat
What to do in your garden in late summer in February 2024 to help your garden flourish through rain or dry heat

One hot day knocks hanging plants around

Plants in hanging baskets suffer in the heat, especially if it is fanned by a gusty wind. To keep hanging plants looking good through summer, check them daily feeling the potting mix to see how dry it is below the surface.

On a hot dry day, hanging baskets may need watering several times throughout the day to keep them from drying out and wilting. If you aren’t around to protect plants on very hot or windy days take them down so they are less likely to dry out. A good way to keep a hanging basket from drying out is to sit it in a larger plastic pot. This protects the plant from drying out and also elevates the plant to keep the hanging bits off the ground.

If the potting mix keeps drying out, apply Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner or repot the plant using a premium potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix.

Top tasting tomatoes

No tomato tastes better than the one picked fresh from the garden, which is why tomatoes are such a popular backyard vegetable crop. The best flavours develop in tomatoes when they ripen on the vine in warm conditions. A long, slow ripening encourages the formation of sugars, which add to the sweetness and flavour of the tomato.

Variety, soil, nutrition, watering and management all contribute to taste. Liquid feed with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables every week when tomatoes are in full production for tasty produce and health soil.

Local conditions also affect flavour. A variety that tastes good in one garden or climate may not be as tasty in another. A good way to track down varieties that do well in local conditions is to try locally grown tomatoes from a local farmers market or tomato-growing neighbour.

What to do in your garden in late summer in February 2024 to help your garden flourish through rain or dry heat

Five important jobs for late summer

  • Keep your property fire safe by clearing out gutters, removing fallen debris, ensuring hoses are working properly and checking your bushfire plan.
  • Check plants daily and water if needed. If pot plants are stressed by summer heat revitalise them by placing the whole pot in a bucket of Seasol (mix 40mL concentrate per 9 litres of water) for a couple of hours before removing them.
  • Shade new plantings especially seedlings until strong roots establish. Move them underneath a verandah or tree or cover them with shade cloth.
  • Summer prune roses if not done last month and regularly dead head spent flowers. Check for pest and diseases such as aphids and black spot and treat with EarthCare Rose Black Spot & insect spray in the cool of the day. Never apply in the heat of the day as it may burn foliage.
  • Top up birdbaths daily with clean, fresh water for local birds and insects. If you don’t have a bird bath put out a large saucer full of water and position it near a shrub to provide shade and protection.

What’s bugging my citrus?

Summer is peak time for citrus pests and one of the top pests are scale. Scale can be hard to spot but noticing ants active on the trunk and branches of the citrus, along with sooty mould, a black, crusty growth that covers the leaves, are signs that scale is present. Scale can be flat or slightly rounded and may be black, brown, red or white.

To treat, remove the scale by hand (wear gloves) or use EarthCare White Oil insect spray. Scale on fruit (may be seen on oranges, can just be wiped off the fruit before it is eaten).

Also control ants as they farm scale by moving it around the plant and keep natural predators away. Ants can be controlled by banding the tree’s trunk with a sticky barrier. To keep ants out of pots, stand the container on pot feet and place the ‘feet’ in water.

Enjoying hydrangeas

Hydrangeas continue to be stars of summer gardens. To keep plants looking good, water them a couple of times a week, directing water around the roots. When hydrangeas are water stressed, they wilt to let you know they need a drink.

As the flowers age they can develop tones of pink, burgundy and green providing colour in the garden right through into autumn.

Prune in winter or early spring cutting back stems that flowered in summer and apply homemade compost and organic manure and/or Seasol Super Compost to revitialise the soil to help improve water and nutrient retention.

Cut back to two plump buds, which encourages two new flowering stems. Leave unflowered stems unpruned. Feed with Seasol plus Nutrients Roses & Flowers from spring to autumn for beautiful blooms.