‘Worst mistakes’ to avoid in summer that results in ‘reduced flowering’

Royal Horticultural Society share tips on watering plants

Some of the most common garden mistakes occur during summer. Summertime is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, all of that enjoyment sometimes leads to a few forgotten chores.

As much as gardeners worry about getting things just right in the spring, or putting their garden to bed properly in autumn – summer seems to be a time where things can get forgotten about which can lead to a few mistakes.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Fantastic Services’ horticulturist and gardening expert Zach Morgan, has shared what the “worst mistakes” gardeners make during summer and “how to avoid them”.

He said: “During the summer, there are several common mistakes that gardeners often make which can have a significant impact and hinder the health and productivity of their plants.”

1. Overwatering 

Not only during the summer, one of the “most common mistakes” gardeners make is overwatering their plants. While it’s important to keep plants adequately hydrated during hot days, “excessive watering can lead to root rot, fungus development and nutrient loss”. 

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To avoid this, the expert said: “Make sure to water your plants deeply but infrequently. Allow the top few centimetres of the soil to dry out well between waterings, and consider using a moisture meter to accurately determine when to water.”

2. Neglecting watering techniques 

Besides overwatering, improper watering techniques can also “harm the plants” in gardens. Watering during the hottest part of the day can cause “excessive evaporation”, leaving plants thirsty. 

Instead, water the garden early in the morning or in the evening when the temperatures are cooler. This will allow the water to penetrate the soil and be “absorbed by the roots effectively”.

3. Ignoring proper pruning and deadheading

Regular pruning and deadheading are “important tasks” during the summer. Zach warned: “Failing to perform them can lead to leggy or overcrowded plants and reduced flowering. 

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“To avoid that, prune away dead or diseased branches, and remove spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. This will promote healthier growth and maximise the beauty of your garden.”

4. Forgetting to mulch 

Mulching is “essential during the summer” because it helps to conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth. 

Not applying mulch can result in water loss through evaporation and “increased weed growth” in the garden which will compete for resources with the plants. 

A layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, around the base of plants, will keep the soil cool and retain moisture.

5. Not giving plants enough shade

Extreme heat and intense sunlight can “stress plants and cause sunburn or scorching” of leaves. 

To avoid this, provide adequate shade in the garden. Households can use shade cloths, umbrellas, or strategically position plants to take advantage of natural shading from trees or tall structures. This will help protect plants from excessive heat and sun damage.

6. Neglecting pest control

Summer is a time when “pests thrive” the most in the garden. Failing to address such issues promptly can lead to “significant damage” to plants. 

To avoid making this mistake, regularly inspect plants for signs of pests, such as chewed leaves or discoloured foliage, and take appropriate measures to control them. Zach noted: “This can include handpicking pests, using organic insecticides, or introducing beneficial insects to help control populations.”

It’s highly recommended to also avoid using chemical pesticides when treating a garden for pests because they can kill beneficial organisms.

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