It's hot, hot, hot here in East Sussex, and temperatures have remained warm for many weeks. As we all know, rain is scarce! We would like to remind you to look after yourself. Not only this, but take care of your plants too!
Most people have taken heed of the advice to water newly planted trees and shrubs. BUT... some of you have drowned the plants in your care. Over-watering can be as harmful as under-watering, so take note! Our tree specialists are seeing several young trees that have died due to too much care! Just one can of water a couple of times per week should be sufficient. By watering too much, you risk the danger of not only washing away the nutrients in the soil, but also of drowning the roots so that trees are unable to access oxygen and nutrients.
Moderate amounts of water are required by relatively newly-planted trees and shrubs. It includes those that have been in the ground for up to two years because it takes a while for plants to become established. They need to grow an efficient root system so that they are able to seek out moisture and nutrients from the surrounding soil.
How can you cope with the hot, dry weather? Firstly, keep yourself in good health! Stay hydrated and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself. Did you know that you need to drink around 3 litres of water per day in order to give your body what it needs during warm weather? But don't be tempted to drink more than one litre of water per hour. It tends to dilute the electrolytes in your blood.
As for plants, young and newly planted trees need at least a full watering can around twice per week during hot, dry weather. Don't be tempted to give water little and often. This causes surface roots to grow, at the expense of deeper roots. Not a good recipe for success in the long-term. You can lock-in some of the moisture by applying a mulch onto damp soil, which will help them from drying out too fast.
If you notice your trees and shrubs shedding leaves, don't despair - they are conserving energy and moisture by reducing the need to hydrate every leaf. You need to step in before they start to droop, however.
Going on holiday? Ask a friend or neighbour to keep them hydrated so that you don't come home to a bare twig.
Consider future-proofing your garden. Drought-resistant trees and shrubs might be the sensible choice to cope with climate change. We can recommend Gleditsia triacanthos 'Skyline', the honey locust tree, for example. It's a beautiful tree that can cope with both drought and wet soils, once established.
Happy holidays from everyone here at English Woodlands. We welcome visitors six days per week, whatever the weather!