Tips to get your garden ready for summer

The months are flying past and before you know it, it will be the end of the year and you’ll be enjoying a summer break outdoors. Rather than spend long days in the garden on your holidays, get a start on these summer gardening jobs. Starting now will help ensure your garden survives the summer heat and looks it’s best for outdoor entertaining.

Here’s a list of gardening job you can begin to do in the lead up to summer.

Give it a spring clean

As spring comes to an end, it’s the perfect time to tidy up your garden. Firstly, get on top of your wedding. Weeds tend to grow like wildfire in the lead up to summer and the seeds spread unless they’re kept under control.

It’s also a good time to remove any spent flowers. Pruning will help reduce the amount of stress your plants will endure during the warmer months. Tidy any dead foliage and give the beds a general clean up.

Boost the nutrients

To encourage robust growth, applying a fertiliser will feed your plants and correct any mineral deficiencies before the heat sets in.

It’s best to fertilise before you mulch as this will help hold the nutrients in place. A soluble fertiliser with the addition of seaweed is a popular choice of many green thumbs. You can also use a slow-release fertiliser throughout the year so that it will release the nutrients gradually.

Care should be taken when fertilising Australian natives as too much fertiliser can easily kill them.

Lay down mulch

Tips Summer Gardening 01
Mulch helps protect your plants from drying out and keeps the nutrients in | Garden: Fig Landscapes

Laying down mulch is one of the most effective things you can do to help protect your garden in summer. Whether you choose pea straw, sugar cane or bark chips, they will all help to keep the soil moist and cool as well as inhibit weed growth.

Mulch up to about 10cms thick keeping it away from the base of your plants. And don’t forget those plants in pots or containers.

Water early

If you are starting to water your plants on the warmer days, make sure you do so early in the morning. This allows for the water to soak in before the heat of the day. Leaving your leaves wet a night also increases the risk of fungal diseases.

If you don’t have an automatic watering system in your garden, it’s a good time to think about installing one before the summer months. Other common options for watering a garden are with harvested grey and rainwater or simply hand watering.

Plan for extra shade

Northern areas of your garden, in particular, may benefit from additional shade to shield the plants from the scorching western sun. Planning for extra shade could include planting established deciduous trees or shrubs or building a structure such as a pergola.

A cost-effective solution would be to use a removable shade cloth to shelter plants that are vulnerable to the heat such as freshly planted seedlings or vegetables. This will help them establish before the summer heat sets in.

If you have potted plants, you can move these to other position in the garden that isn’t in the direct sun. Elevating your pots or standing them in saucers of moist sand can help reduce the impact of heat stress by keeping their roots cool.

Care for your lawn

Tips Summer Gardening 03
Avoid cutting your lawn too short if you want lush, green turf this summer | Garden: Fig Landscapes

Brown, dry lawns are an unsightly component of any garden in summer and don’t encourage you to kick off your shoes. To promote a lush, green lawn avoid cutting it too short as longer turf tends to wear better.

It’s also a good idea to feed your lawn with a lawn fertiliser or a seaweed mix to encourage growth. Applying chicken manure now before any spring rain will also help keep your turf lush. Do this at least two weeks before you host an outdoor gathering to allow for the smell to disappear!