As we enter the Summer months and temperatures continue to climb, it's no surprise that the demand for water in the garden increases. Being water smart will help you in a number ways. Firstly, you're doing your bit for the environment. As Australia is a dry climate country, water is not always readily available. When you take up some water saving practices which we'll talk about in a moment, you're ensuring those damn levels remain at a healthy level. Secondly, you're saving yourself some money. Water bills can be quite costly, so being water smart will certainly help the bank account. Thirdly, your plants will thank you. Heat can seriously stress out the flora, so the fact that you're giving them some TLC will ensure they continue to bring you joy all year round. So let's take a look at how water smart you can be
#1 - Choose the right tool to water your garden: A standard garden hose and nozzle is the least efficient means of applying water to plants because so much water is lost as mist, runoff and evaporation. Use a soaker hose or a sprinkler wand.
#2 - Water where it's needed: Don't soak the plant's foliage; it does little good. And don't apply water outside a shrub's or a perennial's root zone. A shrub's root zone is roughly 1 to 3 times the diameter of its canopy, and keeping the water inside this radius will allow it to soak down to where the plant's roots can reach it.
#3 - Check your mulch is allowing water down into the soil: Mulch is great for holding in moisture and keeping the base of plants cool. However, a thick layer of mulch can also form a crust that prevents water from soaking in. Break up crusted mulch with a rake to allow water in.
#4 - Water at the optimum time of the day: If you water while it's (relatively) cool outside, water can soak in before it evaporates on the surface. And if you do it in the morning, that helps the plant to take up the water during the day. Late afternoon or evening is ok, however morning is preferrable.
#5 - Only water your garden with cool water: Don't use a hose that's been coiled up, filled with water and sitting in the sun all day. That coiled hose can act like a water heater, and hot water stresses sensitive plants. Store your hose in the shade.
#6 - Water for the appropriate time intervals: With your lawn and perennials, it's better to give them larger amounts of water at longer intervals than it is to apply small amounts of water frequently. That's because shallow watering encourages shallow rooting. In very hot weather, a ballpark range for watering is every other day for perennials and every three to four days for shrubs. Again, make sure to monitor the soil moisture. Water annuals and container plants as needed. Since container plants can't draw moisture from surrounding soil, it's crucial that their soil remain moist (but not wet).
For more information on water conservation in your garden, please contact Michael of Furner Landscapes.