Trees, Shrubs and Roses
Young trees, shrubs, hedges and roses can suffer during a dry spell in early summer. Most of these recover when rain arrives but others can remain affected. These should be watered heavily to get water down to the roots. Watering should be carried out about once every week or ten days if the conditions remain dry at the root. Very often, people notice the trees wilting and water them but do not apply enough to penetrate to the roots. The same happens with showers of rain that are not heavy enough to penetrate, but at least the plants get moisture through the leaves too. Take summer cuttings of shrubs, including clematis and roses.
Containers of all kinds will need frequent watering, even every day if the weather is hot and dry. Fortunately, warm weather also improves the results from flowers in pots and most kinds need warm weather to perform to their best. Feeding is also essential at this stage and can be given in every third or fourth watering. Stake perennial flowers that need it, if you ahve time. Take off the flower heads of foxgloves and lady’s mantle, and others that are likely to shed seeds and give rise to unwanted seedlings. Cut back lupins as soon as they have flowered and they might flower again later.
Lawns can come under pressure in dry weather, especially on light soils. Lawns need to be fed with lawn fertilizer at least twice each year and most lawns need a second feeding now, if they have not already got it. When feeding, be careful to wait until rain is forecast because the grass will scorch if the weather turns dry. Continue mowing but raise the blades one notch in dry weather.
Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
Unless you grow blight-resistant potato varieties, such as Sarpo Mira, it will be necessary to spray for potato blight in most years, especially for maincrop potatoes. The early crop varieties are usually used up by the time blight becomes a problem. Remove vegetables that have gone over and cannot be used to make space for new sowings. Sweet corn is sometimes slow to start in acool summer and do not make great height as a result. Make late sowings of lettuce, peas, carrots and radishes. If the soil is dry, peas and cabbage should be watered to keep the plants growing. Be careful about watering carrots because they often split if a lot of water is given. after a dry spell.
Greenhouse and House Plants
Be sure to water plants in pots or grow-bags regularly, because they can easily dry out. Continue to remove excess growth on a grapevine. Continue watering and feeding greenhouse plants. Train and side-shoot tomatoes and cucumbers. Take cuttings of greenhouse plants, such as pelargoniums, lantana, fuchsia and mimulus.