Guide to Gardening

Summer Gardening


As we head into summer it’s time to take a critical look at your garden and decide how you’re going to prepare it for the coming heat.

Here are some steps to help you care for your garden during summer:

  • Check watering systems and hoses to make sure they’re working. Buy and replace worn fittings.
  • Apply soil wetters to garden beds, such as Yates® Waterwise Soil Wetter.
  • Remove competing weeds and spread new mulch over garden beds – but don’t make your mulch layer so thick and dense that it ends up acting as a barrier to water penetration.
  • Ensure your plants are well fed and kept moist. Yates® Dynamic Liquid® Soil Improver and Plant Food will gently feed the plants whilst keeping the soil moist.
  • Check the actual plants and see if it’s worth removing some and replacing them with heat-hardy varieties.
  • Don’t forget, though, that every plant needs to be given supplementary water in its first few weeks. It’s important for this water to be applied at the base of the plant, so that it gets into the existing root system.

Don’t let your soil dry out

Soil is the foundation of your garden and is the key to success or failure. In times of high heat, soil can have the life drained from it and the nutrients inside can fizzle out. Yates® Dynamic Liquid® Soil Improver and Plant Food helps revitalise soil and keep it healthy so your plants can draw from it when they are under stress. It is a must-have for summer gardening because it:

  • Helps hold water and nutrients in the soil for your plants
  • Feeds earthworms which help build a healthy soil
  • Assists soil drainage and aeration for deeper water and nutrient penetration, plus more room for roots to expand
  • Gently feeds plants when some fertilisers would cause further stress under heat
  • Supports plant health while under heat stress through its addition of seaweed

Here are some drought-hardy plant suggestions:

1. Mediterranean plants- like lavender have evolved to handle dry conditions. Many lavender varieties are available, with a range of flower colours in shades of mauve, lilac, pink and white. Lavenders prefer drier conditions and respond well to regular, light pruning. If soil is acidic (areas where azaleas grow well) sprinkle some Yates Garden Lime or Dolomite around the base every couple of years.

2. Natives- that are classed as low water users add beautiful touches to the garden. Correas are good examples. There are many different correas, but one of the best is the hybrid with pink tubular blooms called ‘Dusky Bells’. Correa alba has white, bell-shaped flowers and is tough and drought tolerant once established. While correas require little care, they appreciate being cut back after flowering and the occasional feed with a native plant food like Yates Acticote. Most correas do well as understorey plants in dappled shade.

3. Native shrubs- such as grevilleas, bottlebrush and banksias can survive with little supplementary watering.

4. Structural plants- – those that are grown for their shape and the dramatic effect of their leaves rather than their flowers – require minimal extra watering. Lomandras, cycads, yuccas and bird of paradise are some suggestions.

5. Succulents-, which have evolved to store water, are renowned for their drought hardiness, and there’s a wide range available these days. They don’t all look like cacti – even the gloriously perfumed, warm climate frangipanis are classed as succulents.

In Tropical / Subtropical Climates

  • Lawn grubs can rapidly destroy an entire lawn. Armyworm caterpillars can ruin large patches of lawn in late summer by stripping grass foliage. Protect the lawn and control curl grubs and armyworm by treating with Yates Baythroid.
  • Fertilise to replace nutrients washed away by heavy rains.
  • Scale insects are breeding on ornamentals at this time of year. Scrub off with a brush and soapy water or spray with Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray.

In Temperate Climates

  • Pots may need daily watering. Check regularly with a ‘fingertip’ test.
  • Pick zucchinis when they’re small. Ignore and they will turn in to giant marrows!
  • Watch for citrus bugs (stink bugs) and white fly attacking shoots and leaves. Hand remove where possible or spray with PestOil
  • For wonderful autumn rose display (in six to eight weeks time), cut back now and fertilise with Yates Thrive Rose & Flower Plant Food

In Cold Climates

  • Sweet corn is ready to pick when sap in the kernels is milky. Test by pressing with a fingernail
  • Repot cyclamens, ready for their coming winter performance, and fertilise with long-lasting Acticote
  • Clean up debris that provides breeding places for migrating pests like codling moth
  • Cut back lavenders after bursts of flowering

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