Here’s some tips for reducing damage to plants during a Sunraysia heatwave:
* Mulching the garden is a very important step in reducing the amount of moisture loss in the garden (Lucerne, Pea Straw and Dry Grass will even do the job). There are many commercially available mulches also.
* Drip irrigation can be run during very hot times, but overheads can cause damage to the garden if used during the heat of the day.
* Shade for you plants can be achieved in the long term by planting shade canopy trees in the right place (just have a little patience while they grow!).
* Shade in the short term can be made from temporary structures with shade cloth, light cloth to cover plants and shade crops. You can even use a hardy crop of sunflowers to shade your sensitive plants for a season while shade trees are establishing. Herbaceous perennials (for example, Salvia varieties) make good shade crops.
* Keep lawns taller during hot periods. This will shade plant and cool surface areas (and gives you a good excuse to not mow the lawn this weekend!). Try not to fertilise lawns during hot periods unless under regular irrigation and fertiliser has coating to reduce burn to leaf.
* And don’t forget the birds! Keep their water points topped up and out of reach from cats. Remember – birds are part of the ecology of your garden.