Gardening expert shares watering hack to ‘combat evaporation’ and keep pests away

Gardening: Expert shares advice for watering outdoor plants

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You may have noticed your plants are drinking a lot more water amid the UK’s hot weather. Plants lose a lot of water everyday through the process of evaporation from the soil. One of the ways to reduce evaporation is to make sure the soil isn’t as exposed to the atmosphere.

Plant expert Alice Vincent has shared how you can “combat evaporation” and keep pests away in a 2019 YouTube video for Patch Plants.

Alice said the trick is to put something on the soil surface.

She said: “To combat the amount of evaporation that container gardens can suffer is by putting something on top of the surface of the soil to stop water from evaporating so quickly.

“This is when I suggest you use gravel.

“Gravels, shingles, slates – anything you like the look of really.

“But what I suggest you do is just cover the surface of the soil with whichever kind of shingle you’re keen on.

“This will stop water from evaporating quite so quickly and the bonus of it is that those rough edges will keep cats and pests away as well.

“They don’t like how sharp it feels on their paws.”

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Alice also suggested using hydrogels which are similar to sponges.

They hold a lot of water and then release it gradually into the soil when the plant needs it.

You can purchase water gel crystals from Wilko for £4 or Amazon for around £5.

The water-jelly granules can last for around four to five years but they do come with their own problems.

Alice explained further: “You can also use moisture retaining crystals when you’re planting your pots up.

“These suck up water and then release it gradually when the plant needs it.

“It means you don’t have to water as often but do check how many you need to put in your container because you don’t want to put in too many.

“They’ll get all swelled up and then damage either your pots or your plants.”

The gardening expert said the best way to water your plant is to simply water them yourself.

She added: “It’s all about compromise and doing a little bit of what works for you at the end of the day.

“Your plants are all different so make sure that you test before you water and you should be just fine.”

Wherever your plants are, the way to work out if they need a drink is the knuckle test.

Simply push your finger into the soil up to the knuckle – if it feels dry at the tip of your finger it’s time to water, but if it’s still damp then you can leave them.

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