How to save water in the garden this summer

Australia is hot. Over summer, parts of the country can receive up to 11 hours of sunlight, which means hot soil and burnt leaves. Watering your plants is vital, both to keep them hydrated and healthy, and to cool them down after a lengthy exposure. Summer also signals the time when water conservation is at its most important, with reservoirs and dams drying up in the prolonged sun. It is imperative to use water wisely throughout the year, but even more so in summer. Below are tips to maximise your water efficiency.

Water at the right time of day

An adequately watered garden, plant or tree is one where the soil is damp a spade-deep down. If your spade reveals dry soil, it needs watering. You should water your plants in the morning, when the wind and heat is generally at its lowest to ensure minimal evaporation and maximum absorption. This should then be repeated in the late afternoon for the same reasons. Watering in the middle of the day will simply waste water as the hot soil and high sun will cause the water to evaporate quickly, requiring more water to first cool the soil and then make it damp.

Collect rainwater

Collecting rainwater throughout the year is the perfect way to ensure you have a source of free water available when the summer arrives. Using a rainwater pump, it can be an efficient and cost effective way to get the valuable H2O to where it is needed throughout your garden. Choose a covered tank to minimise evaporation and animals, leaves, and other contaminants getting into the supply.

Choose plants that need less water

Hot climate and drought resistant plants are ideal for most parts of the country. Lavender, palms, and of course, cacti, are ideal for hot, exposed areas. This will help preserve water, as well as save you money on irrigation costs.

Use mulch and organic matter to retain water

Mulch is ideal for creating a protective later that will prevent excessive evaporation, while organic matter will help retain moisture around the plant. A course mulch will allow the water to move down to where the water is needed, whereas fine mulches will clump and keep the water at the surface. Organic matter such as vegetable scraps and lawn clippings, can absorb many times its own weight in water, and when mixed with soil will help maintain a constantly damp environment for the plant’s roots.

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