gardening practices

How to Adapt Your Gardening Practices for a Changing Climate

Gardening image via iStock

The changing climate is sure to have a huge impact on the way we manage our gardens, and our gardening practices, from the rise in temperatures to the erratic weather that’s increasingly likely over the coming years. Finding ways to ensure your garden is more resilient will be the key to maintaining a beautiful outdoor space, however the climate evolves. 

The Impact of Climate Change On Gardens

Nature is essential for our wellbeing. But, as many gardeners will have noticed, climate change is already impacting gardens around the country and, indeed, the rest of the world. The higher temperatures have shifted weather patterns which is causing plants to bloom early and affecting growing seasons

It’s also making it difficult for native plants to survive in the changing conditions, as well as disrupting natural pollination from bees, birds and insects. There’s an essential relationship between gardens and natural variables like temperature, rain and sunlight. When these variables change, it can have a negative effect on many other systems and processes. 

While longer growing seasons may seem like a positive outcome, the reality is these advantages are far outweighed by more serious issues such as an increase in damaging weather, droughts and watering restrictions, and more garden pests. So, what can be done to combat these changes effectively in our own gardens?

Reduce The Use of Gas-Powered Tools

Energy-efficiency plays a critical role when it comes to climate change. It applies to gardening practices, too. Where possible, switch out motorized tools and gardening equipment. Go manual with tools like rakes, push-powered mowers and lawn clippers. But in many cases, it can help to simply avoid these tools altogether. 

For example, if the higher temperatures are causing your lawn to dry out and stop growing, avoiding the mower completely can help maintain it and encourage growth by protecting the soil. Where electricity or gas-powered items are required, switch them out for energy-efficient alternatives, such as LED light bulbs and motion sensor lights, and solar-powered garden products. This will help to reduce your carbon footprint when it comes to your gardening routine. 

Minimize Water Consumption

Water consumption plays a core role in how eco-friendly your garden is, but there are a few ways you can reduce your water usage without damaging your plants. As heat waves and droughts become more commonplace, knowing how to maintain your garden without overwatering will be incredibly beneficial. Installing rain barrels can help you make use of rainfall rather than relying on taps. Drip irrigation can provide a more efficient watering system for your plants. 

Mulching is another process you can try which helps to conserve the moisture in the soil. This can reduce how much you need to water by two-thirds. The soil is covered in compost, grass clippings, bark or straw, to preserve moisture, build soil structure and slow run-off during heavier rainfall. 

Gardening practices image via iStock

Plant Trees

Trees offer numerous benefits for any garden, besides looking beautiful. They offer shaded areas to protect plants, insects and wildlife from harsh sunlight. They can reduce the amount of energy required to cool your home in the summer months, if you plant them closer to your property. But trees also absorb vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, so the more trees we can plant, the better it will be for the environment. If you have space in your garden for trees, they’re a great investment into future generations and the planet overall. 

Choose Native Species

An array of native species in your garden will minimize the threat of invasive species from expanding, while also preserving local plants and incorporating diversity into your outdoor space. Native plants not only maintain pollinator connections where you live, but they also provide better sources of food for local wildlife. 

Non-native plants can outcompete local species and become invasive, so research the plants native to your area and opt for those instead. Without native plants, gardens can essentially become wastelands for birds and insects such as bees, whose populations are already on the decline. This can have a ripple effect on the mammals and reptiles that then feed on them. Restore biodiversity in your garden by sticking to local species when you’re landscaping your garden. 

Final Thoughts

Climate change is upon us and we all need to contribute to making eco-friendlier choices to reverse the effects. This includes adapting your gardening practices. From being mindful of your water and energy usage to considering the wildlife and ecosystems when it comes to the plants you choose to grow, there are various ways you can adapt your gardening routines to the new demands climate change has placed on us. Over time, these steps will not only help to lower your carbon footprint, but also create a beautiful haven to enjoy in the future. 

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