Jobs to tackle in the garden this month

Cassie Pryce

With summer well underway, adapt your gardening routine to suit the warmer conditions and take some time to enjoy your outdoor space in its prime

Quenching thirst

The best time of day to water your plants in summer is early in the morning, or in the evening once the sun has set. This will reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation during the heat of the day, so is much more effective at allowing the roots to soak up the moisture. Different plants and parts of the garden will require different quantities of water, so check the dryness and consistency of the soil to determine what is required to avoid over or under watering. Don’t neglect hanging baskets or potted containers, too; these may benefit from feeding once a week in summer to help replace nutrients that can’t be drawn up from the ground.

Sophie Conran garden thermometer, £29.95, Annabel James 

 

Flowers in bloom

Deadhead flowers in your beds and pots to encourage repeat flowering later into the summer. Not only will this keep your borders looking attractive, but it allows the plants to direct energy into growth and producing new buds, rather than keeping fading flowers alive. Using a finger and thumb to pinch off the dying flower is the simplest way to deadhead, but you may need to use secateurs for tougher stems. Always take care not to damage or break off new buds in the process. 

Rustic garden spade planter, £28.95, Melody Maison 

 

Protecting the turf

In drier, hotter weather, your grass won’t be growing as quickly as usual, so won’t need to be mowed quite as regularly. However, when it does need a trim, remember to set the blades a little higher than normal as slightly longer grass copes better with hot weather and helps to reduce moisture loss; about an inch of grass is a good height to aim for. When it comes to watering your lawn in the summer, use a garden fork to make holes in the ground before watering to help water penetrate the soil if it is particularly hard and dry. 

Sophie Conran garden thermometer, £29.95, Annabel James 

 

Pond life

In particularly hot weather, pond water will evaporate at a quicker rate than normal and may need to be topped up. Rain water collected in a butt is best for topping up garden ponds, as tap water contains chemicals that can affect the balance of nutrients in the pond. Scoop out any large weeds or algae floating on the surface, as these can reduce the oxygen levels beneath the water. 

Bosch Rotak 370 37cm corded electric lawn mower, £120, B&Q 

 

Weed control

Remove and capture the heads from dandelions and other weeds in your garden, before they have a chance to release their seeds and spread wildly. If your crop garden is harbouring weeds, remove them before they reach an inch or so tall, to prevent them competing for light and nutrients that could in turn affect the growth and quality of your vegetables. 

Grigio concrete-effect bird bath, £75, Habitat 

 

Keep cool

Greenhouses can become stifling in the hot summer months, so open the doors or windows on a daily basis to allow adequate airflow. Blinds can be fitted to provide shade if needed, or more advanced ventilation systems may need to be installed if the heat is becoming a real problem. Above average temperatures can also encourage pests, in particular red spider mites, to thrive. Remove any plants that are heavily infested to reduce the risk of spreading and consider introducing biological controls, in the form of other predatory mites and insects, to aid the problem if necessary. 

Palram Harmony 6ft x 8ft polycarbonate greenhouse, £390, B&Q 

 

Release your wild side 

Look out for your garden wildlife, particularly in spells of summer drought. Keep birdbaths topped up (using collected rain water where possible) and put out shallow trays of water filled with pebbles to encourage bees to have a drink safely. Allow hedges and bushes to fill out, as these provide cool and shady habitats for birds and other garden dwellers seeking relief from the sun.