Tips to Conserve Water in Your Garden
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Published by TOP4 Team
Grow your garden while conserving water through these tips.
Group your plants according to their water needs.
Put the plants that need the most water together in a garden bed.
Give your plants the best chance of surviving dry periods.
Don't be tempted to grow plants that prefer shade in full sun. A vulnerable shrub in a hot, dry position will need much more watering to keep it in good condition.
Use liquid fertilisers.
Dry fertilisers take water from the soil but soluble fertilisers, which are applied in liquid form, will encourage plant growth without raising salt levels in the soil.
Control weeds in the garden.
Weeds are great competitors and they will fight with your plants for every precious drop. Use a glyphosate-based herbicide so the soil won’t be affected. Make sure that the herbicide doesn't contact your plants.
Grow your garden on a smaller scale.
Container gardening is fashionable and great fun. Use a good-sized pot, a quality potting mix that holds water (such as 'patio and tub' mix) and group pots together so they stay cooler. Move the pots into the shade during very hot periods.
Reduce lawn areas.
Lawns can consume more water than almost any other part of the garden. Instead of lawn, use paving, pebbles or drought-tolerant ground covers such as coprosmas, lamium, snow-in-summer, or native hebes.
Grow grasses that need less water.
Kikuyu may be considered an objectionable plant and a weed in some instances, however, it has its place especially on coastal sections where other forms of lawn are impossible to establish. It’s totally drought tolerant but suited only to warmer areas as it is frost tender, although it recovers readily the following warm season.
Let the lawn die off completely during very dry periods.
It’s easier to replace lawn than trees and shrubs when the rain falls again. When mowing, leave the grass longer than normal. Longer grass means a deeper root system, and the long blades shade the soil, which also helps keep the soil temperature down.
Train your lawn in good water habits.
Do this in the same way as you would train your other plants. Once the lawn is well established, give long soakings rather than short, light waterings. This will encourage a deeper, more hardy root system.
Grow drought-tolerant plants.
Look for plants with small leaves, hard leaf surfaces or hairy leaf coverings. Many New Zealand natives have evolved to handle periods of water stress. Exotics such as Australian, Californian, Mediterranean and South African plants can also cope well with water stress. In the flower garden, grow Swan River daisy, coreopsis, Californian poppy, cosmos, portulaca and strawflower. Succulents and cacti have also evolved to handle low rainfall periods by combining water-storing stems and waxy leaf surfaces or, in the case of most cacti, no leaves at all (plants lose most water through their leaves).
To further improve your garden, consult gardening professionals.