COLUMN: Water-wise tips

2016-02-02 06:00

As water is a precious resource, it is vitally important to have a flexible watering schedule that adjusts to changing weather conditions. Installing a fully automated watering system is the answer – it will help save water as well as money.

The advantages are that such as system is fully controllable and flexible, so it can be changed at any stage to suit weather conditions and watering restrictions.

Water at the right time . Choosing to water at the correct time of day will ensure that you reduce evaporation. Watering either early in the morning (before 09:00) or evening (after 18:00) will minimise the chance of mildew infections related to a drop in temperature and damp conditions. Your automated irrigation system can be set to go off before dawn when evaporation rates are at their lowest.

. Water less often in cooler weather and water slightly more frequently and for longer periods in hot weather, taking the current watering restrictions into account.

. Don’t water on windy days when the evaporation rates are at their highest.

. Turn automatic irrigation systems off when it has rained for a couple of days – but don’t forget about the plants that are under shelter or in the overhang of a roof.

Water deeply but frequently

When the soil has been watered for longer periods of time, the roots grow in a downward motion towards the moisture deeper in the soil. This enables the plants to grow better and survive for longer periods without water.

Allow water to reach a depth of 20cm for finer root system plants, such as lawns, vegetables and herbs, and about 60-90cm for plants with a more robust root system, such as trees and shrubs.

Water-wise tips

Run-off water is considered wasted water, so avoid applying water faster than the plant can absorb it. Better absorption can be created:

. Make basins around trees and shrubs.

. On sloping ground make terraces or pockets to hold water.

. Water clay soils lightly, as the soil is more compact and absorbs water at a slower rate.

. Clay soils retain more water, so less frequent watering is essential.

. Sandy soils absorb water quickly, so water at a faster rate.

. Sweep paved pathways rather than using water to spray dirt away.

. When you wash your car use a bucket of water instead of a hosepipe.

Your garden doesn’t have to die of thirst during the dry season. With some careful planning and conservation you can maintain it until the rains begin.

This column was contributed by Stodels. Read more water-wise gardening tips in People’s Post the first week of every month or visit

Win! Win! Win! 

Share your top water-saving tips and stand a chance to win a R1000 voucher from Stodels. To enter, tell us in an email how you are saving water. Send emails to Entries close on Friday 26 February at noon.

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