8 Easy to Follow Water Wise Gardening Tips

It is April and still there is no rain forecast for the Cape… 

Extreme water saving efforts are needed in the Western Cape. In an effort to ease the pressure on our water supply, municipalities across the province have implemented level 3b water restrictions for the foreseeable future.

What are the biggest users of water in your home? The toilet and landscape watering. 

For us to have a real impact on the water levels we all need to do our part to use water sparingly, particularly in our gardens, and adhere to the restrictions in place. So what do we do to reduce our water consumption and still have beautiful and productive gardens?

1. Add organic matter to your soil

Organic matter, in the form of compost, chopped up leaves or composted manure will improve the texture and water-holding capacity of your soil. Add at least an inch of compost each year.

2. Choose locally suitable water-wise plants
There are numerous beautiful plants that require minimal to no watering once established.

3. Group plants according to their watering needs
Water-wise plants need minimal watering once established. And by grouping your plants according to their water needs, you avoid wasting water on plants that don't need it.

4. Use grey water
Water that has already been used in the home is usually suitable for watering plants in the garden. Normal household soaps and detergents do not damage plants, but avoid bleaches and strong disinfectants. Allow hot water to cool before applying it to the soil.

5. Water the roots
Pour water around the stem base, beneath the plant's foliage, so that it is absorbed into the soil around the roots where it is needed. The shade of the foliage also helps to prevent evaporation, and neighbouring weeds are not inadvertently watered, too.

6. Reduce your lawn
Lawns are thirsty so think about the lawn space you use and need. Buffalo grass requires less water and less mowing. Just don't cut the grass too short as longer leaves shade the roots and reduce water evaporation.

7. Water early
The best time to irrigate the garden is in the early hours of the day. The weather tends to be cooler then, and the water evaporation risk is lower. Your plants also have the entire day to dry out, which helps reduce fungal diseases too. The second best time to water is later in the day, when the sun is lower in the sky. The worst time is around noon, particularly on a hot, sunny day.

8. Create shade and wind breaks
Wind and sun can dry out plants. Plant fast-growing, hedges and shrubs. 
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