Top 5 Tips for minimising your water use in your garden

Top 5 Tips for minimising your water use in your garden

• Look after your soil.

• Be water efficient whenever possible.

• Plant flowers that need less water.

• Ensure taps, fittings and your hose isn’t leaking.

• Collect rainwater and reuse old water where possible

In dry conditions, it is important that we know how to care for our gardens and especially when there is limited water supply. It’s a precious resource that we all need to protect.  

  1. Be water efficient whenever possible. You can wash your car on the lawn to water the grass at the same time.  
  2. Water at the right time is crucial. Watering your garden in the early morning or evening reduces water loss through evaporation. A good tip is to not put the sprinkler on if it’s too windy.
  3. Don’t use water when another tool will do the same job. Train yourself – and your kids – in good water habits. Be sure to use a broom or outdoor blower to clean paths and driveways rather than a hose. Don’t leave garden taps dripping, you can do just as good a job with a broom and some muscle!
  4. You lawn only needs to be watered when needed. If your lawn springs back after stepping on it, it doesn’t require watering. Remember when you do water, give it a good soaking every now and then is preferable to frequent, light watering. Thorough watering encourages deeper roots, giving you a stronger, sturdier lawn.
  5. Watering seedlings and seed beds early morning. This allows the soil surface to dry a little by evening, and this considerably reduces the possibility of damage by damping-off fungi. A dry surface also slows down the nocturnal movement of slugs and snails.
  6. Potted plants can heat up very quickly. They can heat up a good deal more than the ambient air temperature (as much as 50°C) and therefore use up water reserves quite quickly. On very hot days, daily watering is required and in some cases, watering in the morning and again in the evening is required.
  7. Ensure taps, fittings and hoses are not leaking. One leaking tap can waste more than thousands of litres a month. Use good quality hose fittings that won’t leak or break and waste water.
  8. Mulching plants helps retain moisture. It reduces evaporation and water run-off, a good quality mulch will also provide nutrients to the plants and restrict weed growth.
  9. Rain is the ultimate water saver in the garden.  If it’s raining then its doing the job for you. So turn your irrigation systems off to save water during these times.
  10. Train your plants in good water habits. Less frequent, deep soakings will train the roots to grow down into the soil. Light sprinklings (especially with a hand-held hose) are therapeutic for the gardener, but create problems for plants. They encourage the roots to stay near the surface where they are more vulnerable to heating up and drying out.
  11. Water the roots of your plants, not the leaves. Don’t let your precious H2O blow away in the breeze. Use a soaker hose, a watering system, or direct the water into a plastic tube that carries the water straight down to the roots of the plants. (Hint: an empty soft drink bottle makes a great watering system for an individual plant. Fill with water, punch two small holes in the lid and upend the bottle beside a small plant. The water will gradually seep into the soil.)
  12. A thorough watering, followed by a period of time to allow the soil to at least start drying out, allows air to be drawn in and about the root ball. Plant roots require oxygen for life and for growth, and if they are constantly saturated by frequent waterings they will soon die. But giving water little and often keeps the soil surface moist while the roots below soon die because they do not get any moisture.

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