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How to keep your garden in shape during a wet summer.

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:25 pm    Post subject: How to keep your garden in shape during a wet summer. Reply with quote

How to keep your garden in shape during a wet summer.

Shush, listen, listen, its suddenly gone all quite outside my window, perhaps the rain has finally stopped. I get up from my seat in the hope of catching a glimpse of summer un-obscured by rain droplets, but to my disappointment, I must once again flop back down as another even heavier shower begins.

This kind of "unseasonal" weather is very cruel on anybody who works outside, especially those whose job requires them to cultivate or traverse soil, such as farmers or gardeners. Now while many gardens will have the ability to cope with our recent continual downpours, there are gardens based on heavy, sticky clays, possibly in areas near rivers or turloughs, which may not fare so well. Most gardens will exhibit one or two of the following symptoms, however those gardens with water standing for long periods will display the full host.

For certain weeds, vast quantities of water will produce growth rates comparable only to those seen on steroid fuelled weightlifters or bodybuilders. Hoards of these green invaders such as cleevers, plantains, groundsel, nettles and assorted wild grasses have sprung up over the last few weeks even within mulched beds. These weeds must be removed once the weather drys up.

Soft of leaf and full of flower colour, herbaceous perennials are one of the joys of the summer garden. At this point though, many of the leaves and stems have been battered by winds and their flower heads sodden by continual rain. If we receive a dry spell, some of these plants may recover for this season, although you may have to prune them back to encourage fresh growth and flowers.

Gunnera manicata (giant rhubarb), a perennial that loves a wet summer., photo / pic / image.

If you have a peat or bark mulch finish around your perennials, pleas ensure it is not touching up against their stems as this can lead to crown or stem rot if continually wet. For future plantings, some of the best perennials to cope with wet soil include... Iris, Gunnera, Primula, hosta and rodgersia.

Trees and shrubs.
Most trees and shrubs can survive a few heavy showers of rain, however, where they run into trouble is when there is a prolonged period of water standing above their roots. Soil saturated with water contains no room for oxygen, causing plant roots to suffocate. This lack of air leads to a decline in health showing up as a yellowing of leaves, possible root fungal infection and eventual death of the plants.

To save these plants, get out your garden fork and drive it deep into the soil around the roots, creating pathways for oxygen to travel along. If you have young or newly planted trees and shrubs submerged by water, then I suggest you lift these and replant them in a drier location. For future plantings in areas prone to waterlogging, it would benefit you and your plants greatly to build raised beds and fill them with free draining topsoil.


Waterlogged lawns will look pale green or yellow, because similar to other plants they will be suffering from lack of oxygen to their roots. This what I will deal with next week, "how to revive your lawn after the rain".
I must go now as I think I just saw the sun reappear from behind that rain cloud.

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