Climate Change: valuable tips to adapt your garden
The consequences of global warming are also being noticed in our gardens. Periods of drought and violent winds dry out the soil, heavy rain damages plants and washes away soil. High heat stresses the vegetation just as much as surprising late frosts. The past few years have clearly shown that climate change is already affecting nature in a wide variety of ways. It is time to adapt to the changes and make our gardens fit for the future. Challenge accepted!
What to do when it is hot?
Heat waves with temperatures above 30 °C are no longer an exception in summer. The increased air temperatures ensure that the soil also heats up. The warmer the soil, the faster the moisture evaporates. If you mulch the beds, with lawn clippings or other organic material, you allow the temperature of the soil to rise less and keep it moister. Dense planting of perennials, summer flowers and shrubs has a similar effect. Parasols and sails protect from the scorching sun, but trees also provide excellent shade in hot weather. They also ensure, that the interior of the house does not heat up so quickly. While stone surfaces store heat quickly during the day and release it slowly at night, ponds, flower beds and green flat roofs guarantee pleasant evaporative cooling.
What to do in times of drought?
In winter it can rain more than in the past, but in summer the precipitation tends to be absent, threatening periods of drought. That’s why it’s practical to collect water in rain barrels and catch basins so that you can draw from the full during dry periods. If the soil has a good composition, it can store water better. Sandy soils need clay minerals to do this, and loamy soils can be loosened with organic materials and sand. Drought is very hard on some plants, but for others it is not a problem. Replacing more demanding species with lower-maintenance ones will save a lot of frustration and watering.
What to do in heavy rain?
Heavy rain poses two dangers for the soil: One is the threat of erosion, and the other is flooding if the water cannot be absorbed. Dense planting helps in both cases. The many roots hold the soil in place and thus protect against erosion. They also loosen the soil, so the soil can better absorb and hold moisture. For the garden, this means that beds should be mulched or densely planted. If the surface is loosened regularly, it can better absorb large masses of water and pass them on to the soil.
What to do in strong winds?
Again, bare soil is exposed to the weather without protection. If the soil is bare, the strong winds will deprive it of water – another reason to mulch or place plants close together. To avoid storm damage, trees and shrubs should be checked regularly for rotten or even dead branches. Incidentally, lush hedges form an effective windbreak.