Water Wise Gardening
South Africa is a dry country, with an average rainfall of less than 500mm per annum, whereas the world average is over 800 mm. As the need for this precious resource grows, so will its price as well as legislation to discourage excessive use. Sadly, gardens are often singled out for water restrictions and bans, but many people are guilty of overwatering. This is the main reason why gardens consume 30-50% of all domestic water used.
Responsible water usage should be a fundamental element in all garden design, and ongoing water-saving practices should form part of all gardening activities. As the saying goes, ‘Every drop counts’.
- Group plants according to their water requirements, keeping high-water usage plants together and low-water usage plants together.
- Choose low-water-usage plants from low-rainfall areas in South Africa as well as the Mediterranean. Succulents are well known as water wise plants and an attractive addition to any garden.
- Plant endemic, indigenous plants that occur naturally in your region. Once established, they can survive on rainfall water alone.
- Keep your plants healthy; healthy plants have stronger roots and are more tolerant to water shortages, disease and insects.
- Add moisture retaining polymer such as Stockosorb to the soil when planting.
- Remove invasive plants where possible. Visit http://www.invasives.org.za/resources/control-methods/item/392-how-to-remove-invasive-plants.html for a guide on removal techniques.
- Improve your soil structure; soils rich in organic matter hold water more effectively and keep soil well mulched to reduce evaporation.
- Replace lawn areas with hard landscaping or water-wise ground covers.
- Water your garden thoroughly but less frequently.
- Avoid watering on hot, windy days.
- In summer, limit watering times to early mornings or late afternoons.
Another key water-wise garden element is watering or irrigation systems. Whether your ‘irrigation system’ comprises a 5-litre watering can, a hose and hand sprayer or a comprehensive micro or dripper irrigation system, there are simple measures that can be implemented to conserve water.
Small water accessories such as tap fittings, connectors and distributors are fundamental to all watering systems. Leaking fittings are a major contributor to water wastage – check and replace these items regularly to prevent unnecessary water costs. Wonder’s range of watering accessories, nozzles and sprinklers is ideally suited to South Africa’s weather and water conditions. Ensure you know the correct connector size needed when purchasing your items and feel free to ask for expert advice where required.
Entry-level pyramid sprayers are a popular garden accessory, but more complex sprinklers like the oscillating and impulse sprinklers offer wider, more effective water coverage and are well worth the additional investment. Hose reels help to facilitate and improve the ease of manual watering systems. An essential water-saving device for all automated irrigation systems is a water timer. As the name suggests, this device allows your watering times to be pre-programmed and scheduled according to your individual preferences.
What is mulching?
Adding a layer of material to the surface of exposed soil is termed ‘mulching’. Almost any material can be used successfully as mulch, including inorganic materials such as plastic. Organic mulching – using pine bark or compost for example – is preferable, as the material is easily broken down in the soil.
Mulching has several benefits
- Conserves water
- Reduces evaporation of soil surface
- Mediates soil temperatures
- Reduces weed growth
There are different types of organic mulch including
- Wood chips
- Grass cuttings
Stockosorb is a water retaining polymer that increases the water holding capacity of soil. Stockosorb amended soil needs to be watered thoroughly to activate the polymer. Once active, Stockosorb will retain water, preventing runoff and the loss of nutrients. The frequency of irrigation can thus be reduced by at least 50%.
- Potted Plants
- Flower Beds
- Shrubs and Trees
- Hanging Baskets
- Lawns and Sod
Size: 200 g