Worried there might be a hosepipe ban on the horizon? There are some things you can do to protect your garden now.

prepare your garden

After the blistering heatwave and more warm weather coming our way, we could be set for a drought.

Most of England (except for the North West) has moved into a state of “prolonged dry weather” – the step before drought is

This could mean restrictions such as dreaded hosepipe bans might come into action as we approach August.

There are currently no hosepipe bans in place in England, but water companies are already urging people to save water in the face of the hot, dry weather, and localised bans are possible.

The last time a drought was declared was 2018, and many of us have forgotten the havoc it can wreak on our outdoor spaces. If you want to protect your garden from the potential upcoming drought, there are some things you can do now…

Improve soil structure

“Do this by cultivating the soil deeply and digging in large quantities of organic matter, compost, manure, garden waste and organic fertiliser,” advises Martine Le Gassick, creative director at garden design company Stark & Greensmith. “This helps to improve soil structure and water retention, in preparation for a drought.”

Put compost on your lawn

“This will help keep your soil porous and better suited to retaining moisture – overall improving its drought tolerance,” she explains. Elsewhere, Le Gassick recommends adding gravel, as “this helps to retain moisture. Also, when dug through the soil, it helps to avoid drainage issues.”

Avoid over-fertilising

It might be tempting to give your garden all the love you can before the drought hits, but Le Gassick warns against over-fertilising.

“Doing so encourages your garden to grow before a drought, which will result in your garden requiring water, which will be difficult during a drought,” she says.

Get mulching

“Protect your soil and your plant’s health by laying your mulch now,” says Jordan. “Mulching can help trap moisture in the soil, keeping it hydrated during dry weather, as well as supplying more nutrients where needed. It’s a particularly useful trick to use for keeping bedded and potted plants healthy during harsh weather, and can even be used on lawns.”

Jordan’s top tip? “Be sure to give your soil a good soaking before you lay your mulch, and take care to avoid your mulch touching any woody-stemmed plants or risk rotting.”

Do your weeding now

“Weeds in your garden soak up the water in your soil, leaving less moisture for your plants to keep them hydrated. Before a drought, make sure to weed your garden to avoid this,” advises Le Gassick.

Jordan agrees, adding: “It’s best to avoid applying herbicides to kill off weeds, since the hot weather will likely evaporate the product and can even scorch your lawn due to the chemicals they contain. Instead, try regularly hand weeding, pulling them out as soon as you see any begin to crop up.”

Invest in a water butt

“With the looming threat of a potential hosepipe ban, now is the time to invest in alternative ways to collect and store water,” says Matt Jordan, gardening expert for The Greenhouse People.

“Water butts (which catch rainwater from your drains) are great for saving water for when your garden needs hydrating later. And with this month set for some rainy storms, it’s the perfect time to get some water stored in preparation for drier months.”

He says water butts can range in cost – from £30 to a few thousand pounds. But if you really want to save some cash, Jordan notes: “Any plastic bin can be transformed into a DIY water butt with a little creative ingenuity.”

Steer clear of your grass

Le Gassick says: “For lawn care, try to not to cut your grass too short before a drought. Leaving the grass taller also helps to retain more moisture in the soil.” The optimal length for your lawn? Six inches, according to Le Gassick.

(Article source: Silver Surfers)

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