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12 April 2013

Saving Water in the Garden

Following the recent dry spell, and with warmer weather on the way, there are various steps you can take to reduce the amount of water you use in the garden. Here are my top ten tips:-

1) Either water your garden in the early morning or later in the evening, and definitely not in the hottest part of the day. You will lose less moisture to evaporation this way.

2) Don't water your plants too often as this will cause their roots to remain shallow, weakening the plant.

3) Concentrate on your young plants and seedlings as they need regular watering more than established plants.

4) Regular weeding will ensure that you are watering plants and not weeds.

5) Using mulches such as wood chips or bark will help to prevent water evaporation and also keep down weeds.

6) Don't cut your lawn too short - this will help it to survive dry periods, and it will soon recover following a day or two's rain.

7) Grow plants that like hot, dry conditions. They tend to have the following characteristics

leathery foliage which loses less water than soft leaves

silver or grey leaves

fleshy, succulent leaves which store moisture

long, narrow leaves which shed heat without losing moisture

small leaves which shed heat and have few pores from which to lose water

spikes which act as ‘fins’ that cool the plant

hairy leaves which shade themselves with their own hairs

Suitable plants include lavender, pinks, thyme, sedums, buddleia, evening primrose, hebes and santolina.

8) Avoid using a garden sprinkler as these are extremely wasteful. Use a hosepipe with a trigger handle so you can control the amount of water you are using, or a watering can. Apply water to the base of your plants so that all the water is going to the roots. Wetting the leaves is a waste.

9) Always check the weather forecast and only water if insufficient rain falls.

10) Add water storing crystals to your compost and use water storing mats in your planters and hanging baskets.

I hope you find at least some of these tips useful.
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