Less is More (or at least enough) When it comes to Watering the Garden

Guest Post by:  Sarah Smith

A beautiful garden is attractive, adds curb appeal to the home and creates a recreation area outdoors. The only problem is it takes a lot of water to keep a garden healthy and good looking. Not necessarily. There are several ways to have a great looking garden without using thousands of litres of water. A sprinkler can use up to 1,000 litres of water an hour. Most suburban gardens can get enough water with a 10-litre watering can.Some Tips for Using Less Water on Plants

• If you use a hose, make sure it has a trigger control, so the water isn’t running the whole time. A watering can is the best.
• Water plants in the early morning or at night, so the sun doesn’t have a chance to evaporate all the water before it reaches the roots.
• Only water plants and shrubs when they look slightly wilted. If they are watered too often, the roots will be shallow and the plant weak.
• Keep the weeds away, so they don’t get most of the water.
• Seedlings require more water than established plants.
• Mulch and bark around plants and shrubs will reduce evaporation by up to 75 percent.
A Healthy Lawn
• Choose grass that is suited to dry conditions such as smooth-stalked meadow or fescue grass.
• Soak the lawn infrequently. This will encourage deeper roots.
• If the lawn turns brown, not to worry, it will most probably recover when it starts to rain.
Plant a Water-efficient Garden
Some plants need more water than others to thrive. It is recommended that you ask someone knowledgeable about drought-tolerant plants for your area. Also, find out the type of soil you have, because this will determine how much water the plants need.
If you have the space, make your own compost heap. This will help the garden retain moisture. Another way is to plant plants and shrubs through plastic. This helps retain moisture and control weeds.
Water Butts
Harvesting rainwater is a great way to get free water for your garden. Ask a plumber about water butts and how they can be connected to your downpipe drains. There are also tanks that can be installed by a plumber below the ground. They hold more. Some have a filter system and pump, but simple water butts can be installed and the water used to fill watering cans. The butt can be put on a stand, so the tap is at a convenient level for filling a can. Water butts can hold from 100 to 700 litres of rain water. In some regions, about 24,000 litres can be collected from the roof of the average house over the course of a year.
Plants only use the water that is where the roots are growing. This is in the top 30cm of soil. They don’t use any other water, so make sure you are watering in the root zone, and that water is not draining away underground, running off down the street or evaporating into the air.

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