June 2011 Eco-Tip: Dealing with Drought
Despite the recent rain that many of us have had, drought warnings are still out for a number of areas in the UK and this year so far has been very dry. Here are some top tips for us to carry out this month:
1) There is a huge shortfall of wet mud for nest building, so Swallow, House Martin and Swift are struggling. Where possible provide an upturned bin lid with wet mud; ideally off the ground if there is a cat/predator risk or on the ground if there is not.
2) If you have a pond try to keep it topped up with water from rain-butts or local streams. Tap water is far from ideal, especially in areas where the water is chlorinated or fluorated.
3) Focus watering attention on flowering shrubs, especially those that the bees are using. By keeping them well watered you will be able to extend the flowering by up to two weeks. As everything is flowering at once there is a risk of food shortages for bees from late June.
4) Don't cut your grass. The longer grass provides some soil relief against the baking and desiccating effect of the sun. Cut it and you may kill it.
5) Avoid cutting back shrubs and bushes as the shade will help keep the temperature in the garden more manageable. Water rather than cut where shrubs are looking stressed.
Ruth Valerio, 12/09/2011