WATER AND YOUR GARDEN – A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH
On the 22nd of March we celebrated World Water Day, a day set aside by the UN in their endeavours to recognize and encourage the protection and sustainability of the vital resource of water.
“As we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must value water resources and ensure their inclusive management if we are to protect and use this vital resource sustainably for the benefit of all people.” ~ UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
As so artfully said on the “Garden Tips” website “With water shortages already a seasonal way of life in many parts of South Africa, maintaining a beautiful garden is increasingly becoming a science rather than an art. But it can be done. The key to gardening successfully in a time of climate change is to make very drop count!”
If we were all to make every drop count, even in our gardens, then surely this would help towards the UN’s endeavours to ensure the protection and sustainability of water? With this in mind, we share some tips on how to optimize the water usage in your garden for the best, eco-friendly results:
2. HOW MUCH TO WATER
There are simple, basic principles to apply when it comes to the quantity of water to give your garden:
Plants should get a really good soaking to allow the water to penetrate deep into the soil. Some roots can be 30cm or more down and moisture should penetrate to their tips, preventing the roots from turning upwards for water
If you can see roots coming through the soil, this may be an indication of insufficient watering where roots are looking to the surface for moisture
Be cautious though not to overwater as the excess cannot be absorbed and will simply be lost as runoff.
3. HOW OFTEN TO WATER
Different areas and different gardens have different watering frequency requirements so there is no hard and fast rule that applies to all, but here are some ideas that should help you along:
First look to the weather and obviously water less in the cooler weather or if it has just rained. If you are in an arid region, water more frequently. Our weather on the coast is often moist, even in the drier season, and water should be less frequent especially in the summer rainy months
Plants with deep root systems hold water for much longer and can therefore be water less frequently.
Plants with shallow roots cannot hold much water and therefore will need watering more often
Look at the type of soil in your garden – sandy soil which drains fast will need more water
Lawns should be watered deeply and less frequently. This will encourage deep root growth and make the lawn more resistant to drier seasons and even drought. Your lawn should ‘bounce’ back after you’ve walked on it. If it doesn’t then it needs more water.
If you find yourself in a drought area, click here to read our blog article on caring for your lawn during times of drought.
Remember to reduce watering in shaded lawn areas as here the lawns will retain their moisture better
4. ADAPTING YOUR GARDEN
Gardens can be adapted to use water optimally. Consider becoming a water champion by adapting your garden in the following ways:
Reduce the amount of lawn in your garden by introducing cobbled or paved pathways. When laid correctly, these can make beautiful garden features
Group together plants with similar watering needs, and make sure those with high watering needs are in areas that capture the most rainfall or running water
Plan succulent garden patches into your garden layout. These can be laid between gravel and rock, and are super water-wise and so beautiful to look at
Make clever use of rain water flow by directing water from gutter downpipes either towards garden beds, or into a rainwater harvesting system. Harvesting water in this way can make a huge difference to your metered water usage and is a massive step in the right direction towards water-conservation
A drip irrigation system is also a very effective water-wise method watering.
Still confused or concerned? Our team are always at hand to give advice, feel free to contact us !