In the summertime when the weather is hot…

Let Catscapes landscapes make your summer gardening a pleasure.

Summer

Summer means different things to different gardeners. But for all of us, summer brings common challenges, such as dividing time and effort between keeping our gardens in good shape, and enjoying them during the summer holidays.

1. Take care of budding plants

Does your camellia drop its buds and flowers? As camellias initiate budding in summertime, sudden loss of buds and flowers is often a consequence of the plants drying out, particularly when they are growing in containers. Mulch and water deeply once or twice weekly during hot, dry weather to limit this common and irritating problem.

2. Help pots to stay cool

Potted plants, especially those in terracotta pots, are vulnerable to overheating. Lightly mulch and, where possible, position them out of hot western sunshine. Remember that standing potted plants in saucers of water encourages root rot and mosquito breeding.

3. Water early to avert mildew

Water in the cool of the day. The best time is morning but, if you water in the afternoon, allow enough time for foliage to dry out before sunset. This reduces the risk of mildew and other fungi attacking leaves. Mildew frequently attacksroses, pumpkin, melon, zucchini and cucumber. Spray plants weekly with a solution made from one part cow’s milk to 10 parts water. Repeat after heavy rain or irrigation.

4. Add nutrients to the water

If you can only water occasionally, try to water plants deeply and use that opportunity to simultaneously feed and correct mineral deficiencies. Apply a soluble fertiliser with added seaweed. Water in potassium around the base of fruit trees, especially citrus, banana and lychee, to improve fruit flavour and juiciness. The potassium is important for controlling anthracnose disease of avocado and mango, and it generally helps to improve plant vigour and resistance to foliar fungi.

5. Keep the lawn long and lush

Brown, bare, weed-infested lawns are symptoms of scalping, which means cutting lawns too low. It’s a misconception that cutting lawns low reduces the cutting frequency. Instead, mow lawns as high as your mower permits. Longer turf wears better, but most important of all, a thick sward suppresses pernicious weeds such as oxalis. Should you wish to cut lower cut more frequently. Let Catscapes landscapes scarify your lawn should it be thick. Let Catscapes landscapes professionally fertilise your lawn using their special blends.

6. Keep the water flowing

Check that hoses and irrigation systems are free of leaks, and unblock the nozzles. Clear debris from gutters so that every shower funnels extra water into your rainwater tank. Do you need another, bigger rainwater tank? Use mosquito mesh to stop mosquitoes and frogs from entering tanks and pipes. Let Catscapes landscapes take care of all your irrigation and water harvesting needs.

7. Do hard work when it’s cool

It’s safer, and you’re more likely to do a better job, if youlete energetic work such as mowing in the cool of the day – either before 10am or after 4pm.

8. Protect new plantings

Freshly planted vegetable and flower seedlings are likely to need a bit of sun hardening. Shelter them with 50 per cent shadecloth, old net curtains, dead palm fronds, or leafy branches for a week or two. This helps them establish without harm.

9. Plan shade strategically

Northern boundaries may benefit from some extra shade, but will this make a solar panel or hot water system inefficient? Strategically placing a deciduous tree, vine or some clumping bamboo to shield your house and garden from searing western sunshine is often a better option. For more information on using plants to shade exposed areas of your home, let Catscapes landscapes advise you

10. Boost trace elements

Magnesium encourages robust growth and the production of energy in plants. Gardenias and roses in particular benefit from supplementary magnesium in summer. Also apply it to cymbidium orchids to help initiate flower buds. 1 heaped tsp of Epsom salts to 4.5L of water. Either spray the foliage, or water it in at the roots. If the leaves of citrus, banksia, grevillea, camellia or azalea become stunted and mottled yellow, now is also the time to boost the iron content of soil by applying iron chelates. This acidifies soil and adds iron necessary for healthy growth.

Let Catscapes landscapes take care of all your landscape requirements from design to rejuvenating your garden; from irrigation to lawn care.