More Summer Garden Maintenance Jobs for June
It may be June, but there are still plenty of summer garden maintenance jobs to be done!
Most shrubs in the garden are producing plenty of fresh, young shoots now and these are perfect for making softwood cuttings. Take a few shoots from the side of the shrub, where it won’t show, and take more than you think you will need because they probably won’t all take. Cut shoots about 10 cm long from the plant just above a bud or leaf and remove the lower half leaves. Put the cut ends of the cuttings into a pot of 50:50 mix of peat free compost and vermiculite and place in a shady area. Make sure they stay moist and in 6-8 weeks’ time most should have rooted and can be grown on as new plants for free.
If you can, use a mulch to preserve water. Mulches are ‘coverings’ placed on the surface of cultivated soil. They can be applied to bare soil or to cover the surface of compost in containers.
Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of materials as a mulch and have found the best one to be well rotted bark – that’s the very fine sort, not the thicker pieces of bark used in car parks. This breaks down gradually to release nutrients into the soil and helps improve its structure. It will need replacing when it has fully rotted down and the key is to apply a really thick layer. An 80L bag will cover an area of about 1 metre.
There are many benefits of mulching, including:
- Helping the soil to retain moisture in summer
- Suppressing weeds
- Improving the soil texture
- Deterring some pests
- Protecting plant roots from extreme temperatures
- Encouraging beneficial soil organisms
- Giving a decorative finish