‘Helps to retain more moisture’: The best length to have your lawn during a heatwave

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Temperatures are set to soar around the UK in the coming days, with the Met Office even issuing an extreme heat warning. As the heatwave continues over the weekend, it’s more important than ever to protect plants during the extreme heat. Martine Le Gassick, a creative director at garden design company Stark & Greensmith, has put together several top tips on how to keep plants and gardens thriving during a heatwave.

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The gardening expert also shared the best length to have your lawns during a heatwave.

Don’t cut the grass

Long grass can tolerate the heat better than short grass so don’t cut it too short.

Martine explained: “Leaving the grass taller also helps to retain more moisture in the soil.

“Try to keep your grass six inches during a heatwave.”

Remember the basics and don’t overwater plants

Although it’s tempting to overwater plants, water plants a day or two in advance, and then not again until the soil begins to dry out.

If necessary, water plants early in the morning when the temperature isn’t as hot.

This will lessen the chances of water evaporating in the sun.

Make sure to water the ground near the base of the plants enough to fully saturate the soil.

Add some mulch

Mulch protects the roots of plants from sunlight and helps to retain moisture in the soil.

It also helps release nutrients into the soil.

Mulch will keep the soil cooler and prevent it from drying out.

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Martine added: “Mulch is also great as it improves the soil texture and suppresses weeds and adding this to the bottom of your planter can also improve drainage.”

Avoid filling planters with pebbles or other inorganic mulches

These materials can collect, absorb and hold heat which could cause plants to wilt and die.

Add partial shade to the garden

Adding shade will keep a garden cool and protect plants during a heatwave.

Having partial shade means the soil will stay cooler and retain moisture to keep plants healthier for longer.

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Gardeners could create partial shade by using a shade net, mesh or even an umbrella.

Trellises also work well to block excessive sunlight for shorter plants that can tolerate shade.

Trellises are a “great option” for vining plants that like to climb.

A pergola can also be used to provide filtered sunlight and shade for planters.

Containers and pots

Paler pots will help reflect the sunlight and keep planters cool.

Terracotta or thick glazed ceramic pots will keep potted plants more cool than plastic or dark glazed pots.

Plant placement

Container plants and planters should be kept away from direct sunlight.

Those on patios or balconies facing the south or west will face hotter temperatures during the summer months.

Martine added: “Additionally, be careful about putting containers where light is reflected from walls or fences.

“Planters on gravel or concrete will also absorb more heat and suffer from extreme heat so try to avoid placing them on these.”

Remove weeds

Weeds will compete for plants’ water and nutrients, soaking up water in the soil leaving less moisture for plants to stay hydrated.

Weed the garden at least once a week to avoid this during hot weather.

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