by: DWAF and NBI
Because gardens are often so water-intensive, it is important to look at the principles of water-wise gardening. Water-wise gardens are also lower maintenance than normal gardens.
The following tips are taken from Water-wise gardening (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and National Botanical Institute, 1998).
• Grow water-wise plants – generally the best suited plants are those indigenous to the area, as they seldom need additional watering.
• Group plants according to their water needs – this avoids wasting water on plants that don’t need it.
• Consider the quality and type of your lawn. Lawns guzzle water, so consider reducing your lawn area. At least use tougher, low-water lawn types such as Buffalo (coastal areas) or Kweek (inland) rather than Kikuyu.
• Maintain your garden – remove unwanted plants, plant more perennials than summer annuals, as they have deeper root systems and so need less watering.
• Improve the soil and mulch. Soil water-holding capacity is improved by higher organic matter content. Mulching (covering the soil with a thick layer of bark, compost, straw etc) keeps the soil much more moist.
• Plant in the right season – For winter rainfall areas this is in autumn and early winter so the plants have a chance to develop their root systems before the dry season. In summer rainfall areas it is spring and early summer for the same reason.
• Water correctly – avoid watering during the heat of the day or in windy conditions.
• The best irrigation system is drip irrigation – it uses 25% of water used by normal irrigation systems with the same effect, and can even be placed under lawns.
Published with the kind permission of Biophile
The Biophile online portal and print magazine deals with matters close to the heart of everyone who shares their concern for the future of our planet and species, and who aspires to lead an ethical, environmentally sound life, in harmony with all of earth’s creatures.
The mission of Biophile is to impart knowledge with truth and integrity for the highest good of all. Biophile is not affiliated to any religious, political or philosophical ideology or organisation. Their ethos is one of co-operation and sharing.