In recent years, we’ve seen more and more examples of extreme weather. This manifests in many different ways throughout the world. In the UK, it has not been as severe as some other – more intense – climates. However, we still see the impacts of this extreme weather. In this article, we will discuss how extreme weather can impact your garden and what you can do to deal with it.
Heatwaves are an example of extreme weather that are becoming more frequent. They can cause all sorts of issues for your plants. Hotter environments mean that your plants use up water more quickly, meaning the soil will dry out much faster. Soil will also dry faster in the heat because water will evaporate from it more quickly. This can lead to dehydration and wilting for your plants. Intense sun can also cause scorching or ‘sunburn’ to leaves; this damages them and impacts the overall health of the plant.
There are ways to protect your plants from the impacts of a heatwave. For example, providing additional shading or moving your plants to more shaded areas. This can protect them from scorching and slow the drying of the soil. Another way to maintain the moisture of the soil is to use mulching. Click here to learn more about the different methods and benefits of mulching.
Frost damage is a risk to your plants that can cause varying degrees of harm. Frost is particularly dangerous for young growth and blossoming plants, making late spring frosts more risky. Spring frosts can cause scorching and browning of leaves. In more severe cases, stems can collapse, foliage can turn black, or – in the most extreme outcome – the plant can die.
There are different ways to prevent and deal with frost damage. Firstly, you could choose plants that are hardy and less sensitive to frost damage. If you’re growing tender plants, place them in a warm spot like a south-facing wall.
Horticultural fleece is your best friend when it comes to protecting your plants from frost damage. When it starts to get chilly, wrap your tender plants in two layers of fleece and mulch the root area to hold warmth in the soil.
Intense rainfall and flooding can cause huge issues for gardeners. For example, waterlogged soils can greatly impact the health of your plants. Waterlogging will show its first effects on the leaves. They will become yellow and start to decay. The plant may also start to wilt, giving the false appearance that the soil is too dry. Waterlogged soils actually prohibit the root system from being able to absorb water and nutrients. Among a multitude of health issues, waterlogged soil can cause the death of your plants.
There are a few different ways to prevent waterlogging from flooding. For example, growing plants slightly uphill, on a mound, or in raised beds. You can also improve the drainage of your soil through cultivation techniques. Having a water butt will help to reduce the runoff from heavy rain.
If you are already dealing with flooding, make sure to collect debris from around drains to stop them from blocking. Avoid walking over waterlogged soils as this can compact them, worsening the situation for the roots. Remove any bits of foliage that have been damaged. After the water has naturally drained from the soil, you’ll need to keep the soil moist. This may seem counter-intuitive, but your plants will now be more sensitive to drought stress.
On the opposite end of the extreme weather scale, we have drought. Similarly to extreme heat, drought can cause intense dehydration for your plants. Depending on how extreme this is, it could cause wilting, stunted growth, or death for the plants.
When experiencing drought in your garden, you’ll need to be more on top of watering than ever. This means regularly checking the soil to see how much moisture it is retaining. You can also mulch the soil to help it hold onto more water.
Water conservation is an important part of dealing with drought in your garden. There are many methods of conserving water, such as collecting rainwater and using more drought-tolerant plants. Click here for a full guide to conserving water in your garden.
Extreme weather can have devastating impacts for many areas of life, including gardening. Hopefully, you are now better equipped to protect your garden against different forms of extreme weather. Click here to learn more gardening tips and tricks.