With water restrictions looming and water shedding in various municipal areas, it is a great idea to become familiarised with ways to create an efficient watering system. If you've prepared for the summer with rainwater harvesting containers like Jojo Tanks and proper tools for administering water wise solutions for your new or existing garden, it is important to be sure your garden is designed to maximise water usage
Mulched soils are the perfect arena for healthy plant growth. Especially in a drought, all that water retention is deeply appreciated by plant roots. While it is still necessary to water plants, if you've been a recent buyer of a Jojo tank unit and have commenced rain water harvesting, you can easily target root zones with your reclaimed water.
When designing your new garden or landscape let hydroscoping form the basis of your design. This simply means grouping each plant variety according to their water requirements. A landscape can have four hydro zones: high, moderate, low and a no water usage zone. Planting in these types of zones, will save 30% to 80% of your water usage. That's a massive saving in the long run!
For the greatest water conservation, most of the landscape should be designed as both no water and low water usage zones. Make the moderate zone relatively small and of course the high water zone even smaller, if you really need one.
No water usage zones
These zones comprise of established local indigenous trees, shrubs as well as many succulent species, and this should be your largest zone. In this zone, one can design rockeries using succulent plants and aloes.
Low usage zone or one-drop plant zone
These plants thrive mainly on the rainfall. Once established these indigenous plants only need a little, if any, watering. In summer they need water once every four weeks and in winter, once every eight weeks. Examples of these plants are Leonotis leonurus, Carissa macrocarpa, Bauhinia tomentosa, Asystasia gangetica, Barleria priontis and Tulbaghia violacea.
Moderate usage or two-drop plant zone
These need to be a small area, as these plants will need more water than that which is provided by the rainfall in our area. In summer these plants need watering once a week and once a month in winter. Examples are PLectranthus ecklonii, freylinia fruitcosa, plumbago auricular and diets grandiflora.
High water usage or three-drop plant zone
These should be confined to as small an area as possible, or even eliminate them altogether, as high water usage plants need frequent watering throughout the year. If it has been included, if possible, position this zone, where it is highly visible, such as a front entrance, where it is easy to water. The following types of plants all have high water needs: lawn, bog or wetland plants, annuals and bulbs. You'll need to water 2 - 3 times every week, and 2 - 3 times every fortnight in winter.
If you have planted an indigenous garden, well then a BIG congratulations is in order!
Your indigenous garden is going to adequately survive the water restrictions. A few more weeks into water restrictions and you will look around and realise that indigenous plants are plants that genuinely can survive these extreme conditions because they have adapted to the water stressed conditions we experience from time to time here in sunny South Africa.