The recent hot weather has led to struggling plants and yellow grass for many. Now that you’ve put all the effort and money into getting yourself a garden office, you probably don’t want that to be your view. It’s hard to focus on work when all you can see before you is your garden slowly dying. So we’ve put together this guide for you on how to care for your garden during a heatwave, crucially – without wasting water.
A lack of rain nationwide has created yellow grass across the country as well as drying up reservoirs and streams. Warnings on water use and hosepipe bans have been announced and gardeners can’t keep their gardens as well-watered as they’d like to. This situation has left many people wondering how to best look after their gardens during the heatwave, and asking whether their yellow grass, plants and gardens are dead or just resting.
Has yellow grass died?
Yellow grass is a product of drought, which means a prolonged period of hot weather and a lack of rainfall. But there is hope. Your yellow grass may not be dead. Grass had a lot of sun exposure is more likely to turn yellow as the sun stresses the lawn. The best way to tell if your grass is dead is to tug it. If it pulls out from the ground easily, it is probably dead, but if the roots hold firm when pulled, the plants are likely to just be dormant. If the grass is dormant, it should recover and turn green again when the rain returns.
Should you water yellow grass?
Grass is a very resilient plant so you shouldn’t worry about watering it. In areas that are covered by a hosepipe ban it’s forbidden to water your lawn with a hosepipe anyway. Gardeners shouldn’t water their grass during a heatwave because water is so scarce. Increased domestic use of water can have disastrous effects on ponds, rivers and lakes as they become more depleted of water and the wildlife suffers. The more water we use the less there is available in streams and rivers. Water levels can become dangerously low as water companies continue to extract water from rivers. The pollution in rivers then becomes more concentrated and the shallow water heats up leading to deoxygenated water and algal blooms, which can easily be harmful to people and wildlife.
With all that in mind it seems more sensible to leave the watering of the grass in times of drought, but leaving it longer, rather than mowing will help it to recover when the warmer weather subsides.
What should you do with struggling plants in the heat?
You need to be more concerned about your plants than your grass ass they’re not usually as sturdy. An easy way to help plants that are struggling in the heat is to move them into the shade. If you don’t have much shade in your garden you can create shade by erecting your own constructions and decorating them as you wish, or by using ready-made parasols or awnings. Experts recommend only watering the plants that are looking particularly dry, and only using a watering can. Water plants at cooler times of day such as the early morning or late evening and save water by only watering the base. Plants don’t need water on their leaves especially during the heat of the day when water droplets can lead to plants being scorched. Putting down mulch will also help your plants retain moisture without wasting water. In the long term, it might be an idea to include more heat-resistant plants in your garden. Rock Hyssop and Lavender are good examples of plants that do better in the heat and they look great around one of our stylish garden buildings!
How much should you water your garden generally?
If you’re only thinking of your garden aesthetic, then the answer to this question would probably be to water more than usual in this heat. But the UK is set to enter a drought period, so it’s very important to try and conserve water as much as possible. This means avoiding unnecessary water wastage on plants or yellow grass wherever possible. A rain butt for your garden is an absolute must have if you don’t already have one. It probably won’t collect much just now, but it will start working for you as soon as it starts raining again. And had you had one last winter, you might have water to spare now. You could consider collecting waste shower water in buckets to water your garden, as well as re-using washing up water and collecting the used water from your washing machine . . . the plants won’t mind!