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The Gardening Coach: July

PUBLISHED: 18:20 28 July 2014 | UPDATED: 18:28 28 July 2014

Water plants in the cooler temperatures of the evening

Water plants in the cooler temperatures of the evening

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Judy Shardlow gives her top tips for looking after the garden during the hot weather

Long periods of hot dry weather put a strain on our gardens, so it’s essential to look after plants and trees at this time. The most important thing is to ensure your plants are in the right spot in the first place. Irises, lavender, salvias and thymes all love sun-baked borders and will thrive in the hottest spot in the garden. Other plants will need more shade and more moisture. So take time to find out about the different areas in your garden and buy plants well suited to each area.

If you planted trees, shrubs and perennials in the spring, keep a close eye on them. Young trees can take up to three years to establish fully and will need thoroughly watering during long periods of hot or dry weather. Shrubs and perennials also need watering during hot or dry weather throughout their first year.

Finally, don’t forget to water correctly. Water sprayed into the air or on leaves is wasted. Aim for the soil at the base of the plant but be careful not to wash soil away. Water thoroughly in the evening, and if very hot weather is expected, follow with a deep mulch of organic matter.

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July gardening tips.

Prune long whippy wisteria stems back to five leaves from the main branch. Wisteria is best pruned in summer and winter for productive flowering.

Divide congested bearded irises after flowering. Uproot the plant, gently pull apart the scaly rhizome and replant, ensuring the top of the rhizome is not buried.

Protect your fruit – hungry pigeons have a beady eye on your fruit bushes, so net them before the fruits ripen.

Lightly prune beech hedges. Follow with a sprinkling of pelleted chicken manure at the base of the tree.

Lift first early potatoes. Nothing beats the taste of your own spuds!

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Judy Shardlow is a Herts-based gardening coach

01438 833858 heartwoodgardencoaching.co.uk

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