Being 'wise about water' in your garden is as easy as looking at when, how often and how much you water your plants, then following some or all of these simple ideas. You will be amazed at how much water you save!
• Check the soil first by digging down a few centimetres or check your plants for signs of water stress. If the soil is damp or the plants look good, wait another day to water.
• Water infrequently, deeply and throughly (although some sandy soils may need shorter and more frequent bursts.) This will encourage deep roots and greater tolerance to dry spells.
• Direct the water to the roots as this is where plants take up their water. Avoid watering leaves.
• Make sure you are only watering things that are growing - not pavers, paths, gravel or bare ground.
• To reduce evaporation, water early in the day or late in the evening and don't water if it is very windy.
• Check your system once a month for any blockages or leaks.
• Adjust the timer and frequency for summer and winter watering.
• Make sure you can switch it off when it rains - invest in a rain sensor.
• If you have clay soil, adding organic matter and gypsum will help to penetrate into the soil.
• If you have sandy soils, adding organic matter will help water to stay in the root zone for longer.
• Mulching cuts down water loss due to evaporation.
• Extreme temperature variation causes the soil structure to deteriorate, which reduces the soils ability to hold water. In winter the mulch keeps heat from the sun in the soil and in summer mulch will keep the soil cooler.
• Mulch should be ten centimetres deep and needs to be topped up regularly.
• Use straw, compost, pine bark, rocks, even newspaper or old carpet.
• Mulch your shrubs, trees, annuals, veggie patch and don't forget all your pots!
• Placing plants with similar water requirements together in your garden makes it much easier to get the right amount of water to different plants.
• If you have some 'thirsty' favourites, try placing them in one area which is less exposed and which is easy to hand water if they need it.
Article written by Helen Sims (A Primary Industries and Natural Resources Teacher)
Article provided by NGIA