‘Plants will suffer!’: ‘Worst times’ to pot new plants – leads to ‘soil losing moisture’

BBC weather: Temperatures building day on day amid heatwave

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While gardens might love a spot of sunshine, gardening in hot weather should be undertaken carefully. The wrong move could make the difference between preserving and protecting gardens and destroying them. From potting now plants to turning a blind eye to weeds, Emma Loker, expert gardener at DIY Garden exclusively shared with Express.co.uk three mistakes gardeners should avoid for the rest of the heatwave period.

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Potting new plants

If a garden is looking a little dry and tired, gardeners may be tempted to plug the gaps with some lush new plants – but the pros advise against this.

Emma explained: “One of the worst times to pot new plants is during a heatwave. 

“Yes, you may want your garden to look glorious for the upcoming BBQ, but I warn against it.

“Soil can lose moisture if you disturb it during a heatwave, leaving less water for your new plants to soak up. 

“While bigger, less needy plants may survive being planted in hot weather, smaller, more high-maintenance plants will suffer.”

Digging up soil during intense heat can cause a loss of water and increased temperature for the soil, which can lead to unsuccessful planting.

Instead, plants should be put in the soil during cooler periods – and if possible, using companion planting to help shade the soil.

Trimming existing plants is also a no-no during times of extreme heat. 

Pruning plants will signal them to grow, which uses vital energy and water which obviously needs to be preserved in heat, so wait until the heatwave has passed to give plants a good trim.

Overwatering lawns

A lush green lawn is a gardener’s goal, so the thought of yellowing turf, dried out and straw-like in the hot sun, can be heartbreaking.

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Watering grass less frequently during this time will help it effectively extract moisture from the soil.

The gardening expert said: “We panic when brown patches appear on our lawn, especially during a heatwave. 

“We’re too quick to gather the hose and douse our beloved grass in water. Unfortunately, this is a big mistake. 

“Lawns often turn brown in the heat but rapidly return to a luscious green when temperatures drop.

“While it’s ok to water your lawn occasionally, watering grass too frequently can make it reliant on water and less capable of extracting moisture from the soil.”

Simply knowing when to water lawns will keep them in top condition.

It’s a good idea to water grass once a week if it’s not raining, but be careful not to flood the grass when watering.

Turning a blind eye to impending weeds

Weeds are typically the number one nightmare for gardeners at the best of times, but during hot temperatures these pesky plants thrive making them harder to remove.

Emma explained: “If there’s one thing weeds love, it’s hot weather, so a heatwave is prime weed growth time. 

“They’ll start to crop up everywhere – from the gaps in your paving stones to dry patches in your lawn.”

To combat this the expert advised: “Get outside and rid your garden of weeds when there’s a heatwave. 

“I recommend the Fiskars Xact Weed Puller. It’s long-handled, so you won’t have to stoop, and it will extract the whole root network, making it less likely for the pesky weeds to return.”

Carlos Real, lawn care expert and managing director of Total Lawn advised against using weed killers at this time, especially on lawns.

He said: “Although your grass can be incredibly resilient at times, it’s best to avoid using any weed killer during the heatwave, as it’s another unnecessary stress for your healthy grass to fight.

“As the heat takes over, plant growth slows down and the leaves dry out, reducing the amount of herbicide that weeds can absorb – so even if you want to remove weeds, chances are they’re not budging until after the sun has gone anyway.”

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