A beautiful backyard can make summer so much better, but it does take some work. Tristan Eastaugh, Product Manager at Cyclone, shared some tips for keeping your outdoor space under control and looking good this summer.
Mulch mulch mulch: Mulch can reduce evaporation from the soil surface by as much as 70 per cent when applied correctly, so it's a vital ingredient in obtaining a water-wise garden. It can also help to suppress weeds, prevent soil erosion and even-out temperature variations. Spread a 5cm layer of mulch evenly over the soil (organic mulches such as straw and bark break down over time, helping to nourish and improve the soil) but don't place it too close to the stems of plants.
Fruitful planning: Deciduous trees that bear summer fruit benefit from a good prune as soon as the crop is harvested. Summer cuts heal quicker, so there's less chance of disease entering the plant. It also helps promote a bumper crop for the following season. Start by removing any dead, damaged or diseased limbs. Then tackle any structural flaws like crossing or rubbing limbs and branches that grow inwards. Finally, cut back one third to one half of all growth made since spring.
Prolong perennial colour: 'Dead-heading' spent flowers not only keeps plants looking tidy, it can prolong the flowering of some perennials and encourage another flush of flowers.
Ruffle up the roses: Most of us think of rose pruning as a winter job, but if you want to get the best out of repeat-flowering varieties, such as Autumn Damask or Gypsy Boy roses, then summer pruning is a must. After each flush of flowers simply prune off a third of the growth in a rounded shape using a pair of hedge shears (really). The straight blades afford precise pruning.
Improve your soil: Adding compost to your garden beds helps nourish and enrich the soil by encouraging healthy microbial activity, as well as improve its structure, drainage and moisture holding ability. Add a good balance of 'green' matter, like vegetable peelings and lawn clippings, and 'brown' matter like dry leaves, shredded newspaper and straw to the compost mix.