Water-savvy tips in your garden

2017-04-05 06:02
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GARDENS can be water-intensive. South Africa has a limited amount of water available due to its lower than global average annual rainfall.

The growing population has led to an increase in water consumption and many disadvantaged rural communities still do not have access to adequate clean water resources. This means that urban South Africans with regular access to water need to ensure that every drop is used to the maximum.

Wetec shares some water-saving tips.

• Healthy plants

A plant consists of between 75% to 90% water. Adequate water is especially critical in the first few weeks after planting as the plant establishes its root system.

• When do I start to water?

Most plants are “programmed” to start flourishing after the first spring rains. Take this time to water lightly and spend your time enriching your soil and applying top dressings.

Take the wind into consideration as high winds will increase water evaporation.

• Don’t use water to clean your paving

A broom designed to sweep hard surfaces works better and reduces unnecessary outdoor water usage.

• Use the correct equipment

To avoid water wastage, use watering cans to water pot plants and drip trays to store excess water where plants can use it at a later date.

Don’t use high-powered jets to water fragile or delicate plants as this will flatten and break them and they may never recover from this damage.

• Use the right fertiliser

Cut down on high nitrogen-based fertilisers. Rather use fertilisers with high ratios of potassium and phosphorus. This will encourage the plant cell walls to thicken, enabling them to cope better in drought conditions.

• When do I prune if there are water restrictions?

Light pruning helps plants cope during water restrictions because they lose less moisture through transpiration.

• Regularly inspect your irrigation system

If you have one, conduct regular inspections to detect leaks or problems early. This will help avoid prolonged wastage as well as unpleasant water bill surprises.

Constant observation will let you know if there are any potential problems early on, giving you enough time to find a solution, before it becomes critical.

• Adjust the run times on your irrigation controller

The amount of water your garden needs will be affected by the prevailing weather conditions.

If it’s hot and windy, you need extra water; when it’s cool or the humidity is high, your garden will need less water.

Remember to reduce your run times during winter when most plants are dormant and don’t need a lot of water. Increase your run times in spring and water the most during the heat of summer.

— www.wetec.co.za

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