As I’m writing this, another searing hot and dry day rolls by, fires rage across the northern end of the Sunshine Coast and in the Hinterland and we cower in our air conditioned houses (for those of you that way inclined), on shady verandas and in pools. The thought of planting trees is perhaps as far from your mind, as is jogging up a volcano!
The hot dry weather is certainly having major effects on existing plantings and established native vegetation, let alone considering the undertaking of new revegetation or gardening work, but on a positive note use this time to remind you how important trees are not just for the wildlife but our own comfort in providing cool, shady retreats from the heat and moderating an increasingly warm dry environment.
One of the benefits of a long dry spell is that it keeps the weeds under control, so preparation for planting is a just that much easier. But when it comes to the actual planting what can you do to help your plants survive the heat?
Water is crucial to the survival of plants (sorry for such an obvious statement – bit of a no brainer really!) The key to survival is making sure your planted stock has access to moisture. You may notice that many of the plants in your revegetation projects (planted a few years ago) are still thriving in spite of the dry weather and that’s because their roots are deep in the soil and still have access to moisture. It’s mainly plants that have very shallow roots or are newly planted that are in danger of drying out and succumbing to heat stress.
Newly planted stock is especially vulnerable because they have just been taken from an environment where they were watered at least twice per day. Don’t plant stock in open conditions, that has just come out of a shade house, because in this heat it will be crisp and brown in no time at all. At the Brush Turkey Wholesale Nursery except for the shade loving plants all our revegetation and garden stock is grown in full sun to provide tough and resilient stock for planting.
Hot Weather Reveg Tips:
- If you can’t water your stock at least once per week (1-2 litres per plant), then don’t plant and wait. Then plant when it’s raining or consistent rain (ideally at least 25mm per week) is predicted.
- Pre-soak your tubestock in a bucket of water to make sure all air bubbles are expelled from the potting mix.
- Dig a shallow swale on the lower slope of your planting, to help catch and hold water, make sure the top of the tubestock is covered with 10-20mm of soil.
- My favourite new addition to planting is coir peat, this is used in a pre-moistened state and helps the soil hold additional moisture and gives your plants the reserves they need to survive.
- Mulch, mulch, mulch!
- Tree guards to provide shade and protection.
- Ideally do all of the above.
And remember to keep planting for a cooler, greener future.