As much as we want to get on and plant our gardens this summer, we're all a little cautious about planting in this sudden heat!
Here's some top tips to planting in the summer heat successfully:
1. Thoroughly soak the roots
Often, we only consider soaking the roots when planting bare root plants, but soaking the root system of potted plants can have a good effect on the plant's success. Even if the soil still feels a little damp, it's best to give it a good soak to ensure the plant is prepared for the sudden changes.
The best way to do this is by grabbing a container or bucket larger than the pot side, stand the potted plant in it, and fill the outer container half-way with water. Ensure it's placed in a shady area, and leave the plant for a couple of hours to soak up as much water as it requires, to hydrate itself properly.
2. Dig a large hole and add fresh compost
Once you have got the plant sat in its bucket of water, you need to start digging! As hard work as it is, the hole(s) will need to be at least twice the width and depth of the root ball, to be able to establish well. Restricting the roots can lead to many issues, so digging the hole as big as it needs the first time round will prevent these problems as best as possible.
As soon as you've finished digging your hole(s), a fresh layer of moist compost will need to be spread across the bottom of the hole. This ensures the plant will be provided with as much nutrients as it can get from the get-go!
3. Soak each hole with water
Now you've finished digging and preparing the hole(s), plenty of water will need to be provided.
Filling each hole at least 3/4 of the way full with water ensures the surrounding soil has plenty of moisture for the plants, and prevents it from drying out so quickly in the blazing heat, making the chance for success much higher!
If looking to feed the plants with RootGrow or fertiliser, now is the best time to sprinkle a layer on the bottom. Ensure you have left the water to soak in properly (with only a small puddle at the bottom), before doing this.
We highly recommend RootGrow when planting, as it boost the root's ability to soak up nutrients and water from its surrounding environment - which is particularly even more important when planting in summer!
Find out more about RootGrow and fertiliser by reading our beginners guide to fertiliser.
4. Loosen the roots and plant the plant
One of the best ways to ensure your plant will be able to absorb as much nutrients and water from the start, is by gently pulling at the roots to loosen them a little - this is especially important if the root ball seems quite compacted or rootbound.
Once doing this, put the plant into the centre of the hole and water the hole/plant again (try to avoid getting too much water on the leaves, especially if planting during peak sunlight). After the water has soaked in, back-fill the hole with the remaining soil, and press around the plant to remove pockets of air.
5. Add a layer of mulch
Though putting a thick layer of mulch on top of the soil is not compulsory, it is highly recommended, particularly when looking to keep moisture in throughout summer. You may also find this especially handy if you're not going to be at home to water the plants for a longer period of time (the mulch will prevent the soil underneath from drying up so fast).
As you may know, mulch is also successful in supressing weeds, making weeding a much smaller task overall!
6. Continue to water, water, and water!
Now that the plants are safe and sound in the ground, it's important to ensure they get plenty of water throughout the season. It is always best to water less often, but thoroughly each time. Around twice a week is best, but if weather is extremely hot, keep a close eye on the plants and water more often.
One of the best ways to ensure they're getting enough each watering session, is by laying a hose at the roots for a few minutes and thoroughly soaking the soil (hence you only need to do this a few times a week, and not every day).
That being said, if you're still wary about the amount of water your plant is getting, test the soil each day by digging your finger around 2" below soil level - if the soil is still moist, your plant can be left for another day. If quite dry, give the plant a good watering. Continue to keep testing if you're looking to keep a close eye on it.
Remember, your aim is to keep the soil regularly damp, and not to completely swamp the plants!
To round this all up, planting in summer can most definitely be done, you just have to ensure the plants are provided with plenty of water from the get-go. Do not be lenient on how much you are watering, especially in dry and hot spells - remember to test the soil as mentioned if you're unsure.