If you’ve spent the summer gardening at your Lancashire home, it can be hard to watch the effects that this long spell of hot, dry weather can have on all your hard work. And now, United Utilities has warned Lancashire that it needs to restrict the amount of water it’s using to avoid a hosepipe ban in coming weeks.

A hosepipe ban is pretty self-explanatory, but it extends to sprinklers, and outside of gardening, to using a hosepipe to wash a car or fill a paddling pool. One common misconception is that you can’t water your garden at all, however, you can of course use a watering can to do so. This is far more targeted in use, and while it may take longer, it promotes a more sensible use of water.

To get the most from your time, make sure you water either early in the morning, or in the evening when the temperature drops. This means that water will be able to run down deep into the soil before evaporation claims too much of it. If you water in the morning, this water will be more readily available to plants for the long, hot day ahead.

If you do water in the full heat of the day, it’s a long held belief that you also risk damaging leaves, which can become scorched when water dries on them in direct sunlight. However, this has been debated by scientists who have classified it as a myth, according to The Telegraph. Instead those ‘sun-burn’ like patches may be being caused by acid rain, chlorinated tap water or salt water in coastal areas – related to watering but not caused by the sun itself.