Trees, shrubs and hedging planted within the last two years require regular watering until established. This is a particular problem with the prolonged dry weather but is a necessity if they are to survive. Afte a long drought, don’t be fooled into thinking that a little rain will be enough to water newly planted trees, shrubs or hedging which have large rootballs. Unless the plant is actually standing in a puddle it is unlikely that enough water will soak in to fully hydrate the rootball. For further advice, refer to the watering advice on one of our “How To” pages http://www.wykehammatureplants.co.uk/watering.
Keep feeding seasonal flowering containers, such as hanging baskets, window boxes, and also tomato or pepper plants in pots or bags. You can use a high potash fertiliser, such as a good brand of tomato food, every seven to ten days, and keep a close eye on the watering. Blossom End Rot on tomatoes is caused by a lack of calcium, but is often the indirect result of irregular watering. It might be prudent to use a feed with a little added calcium.
Mid to late August is the time to summer prune Wisteria to encourage flowering next spring. Cut the whippy new shoots produced this season back to about five buds from the base, ready to prune them back again to just two buds in January.
Image: A summer prune now, followed by another in January will promote flowers on Wisteria next spring. For more reliable flowering always grow Wisteria in full sun.
Avoid applying granular lawn fertilisers on exceptionally hot days, or particularly when the lawn is suffering from drought stress. These conditions make the grass more likely to scorch. Always read the label and follow the application instructions carefully. The same applies to feeding plants in general. You must never feed plants with dry roots or when suffering drought or heat stress as this can shock the plant.
If you’re planning on going on holiday it’s well worth investing in a simple automatic irrigation system for pots and containers. If you shop around, a basic drip irrigation kit with a timer isn’t as expensive as you’d think. If possible, you can simplify things by grouping pots together so that less supply tubing is needed.
Peas and mange-tout crops may be coming to an end. But if you keep up with regularly harvesting beans, especially runner beans, and Sweet Pea flowers, you can prolong the crop for weeks to come.
If it isn’t too hot, August is the ideal time to give evergreen hedges their annual trim. Or their second and final trim of the year if two cuts are appropriate. In general, it’s best not to cut evergreen hedges after the second week of September.
If there are gaps in beds and borders, remember that plants in pots can be planted at any time of year as long as the ground is soft enough to dig. If the ground is still baked so hard that you’d need a pickaxe to dig the hole, it’d be best to wait. You could add some seasonal colour displays with pots of annuals or bedding in these gaps. These can then be moved when they go over and when the ground is more suitable for planting a more permanent solution. Take note of significant gaps, and especially areas along boundaries where additional planting for screening and/or security are needed. Start to make plans for the autumn when the conditions will be more conducive to planting.
Any prolonged dry weather creates many challenges. But one real positive is that dry weather boost moth and butterfly numbers. Hopefully, as long as the drought doesn’t kill off the food plants needed for the caterpillars, this may lead to strong populations in the coming year if the weather allows.
It may sound obvious, but find time to sit in the garden and enjoy it! Most people have a seating area near the house, such as the patio area. But remember that the more places in the garden there are to sit down, the more time people will spend in the garden. Therefore, it’s well worth taking a fresh look at other parts of the garden to see where you can squeeze in a bench, arbour seat, or even an extra mini-patio on which to stand a small table and a chair or two.
Need specific advice? Just ask!
If in doubt or if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We’d be delighted to offer our suggestions for your needs and site conditions. Simply contact us at email@example.com or call 01723 862406.