Keeping your Garden Green During Water Restrictions
The New South Wales government has been called on to take more drastic action in response to the unprecedented start of the 2019/2020 fire season. Capturing international attention, out-of-control fires in the state have burnt more than two million hectares of land, destroying up to 684 homes since October.
In response, the New South Wales government have announced level two water restrictions – the harshest restrictions put into action since the early 2000s drought – to be in effect from the 10th of December.
Under the level two restrictions, people are only able to water their gardens using a watering can or bucket before 10am or after 4pm. Pools can only be refilled with a trigger-nozzle hose for a maximum of 15-minutes per day, and cars can only be washed using a single water bucket. Homeowners who fail to comply with the new restrictions can expect a fine of up to $220, and businesses can be fined up to $550.
In the wake of such devastation, it’s more important than ever to think about how we use our water, especially when it comes to maintaining healthy lawns and gardens. To help you out, we’ve come up with some tips and strategies for keeping your garden green while minimising water usage:
Timing is everything.
Depending on the size and type of garden being cared for, it’s important to know the most efficient times to water plants and gardens. The Water Corporation recommends that for lawns and garden beds, the best time to water is before 9am so plants have enough moisture during the sunny hours. For potted plants, after 6pm can lead to healthier, stronger growth when compared to watering throughout the day.
Start water harvesting.
There are several ways to capture and recycle water to save it from being wasted. One of the most popular water harvesting methods is to install a water tank that can capture and redirect both rainwater, and run-off water from your roof, into your garden. You can also recycle water used during cooking – water used to boil vegetables is packed with garden-friendly nutrients that double as a fertiliser. Other options include reusing fish tank water, which is rich in nitrogen and phosphorous, or even reusing (soap free!) shower water.
Throw that mulch down!
One of the most effective moisture holding strategies you can employ, a healthy layer of mulch can save up to 70% of water during hot summer days. It also prevents water-thieving weeds from sprouting up in garden beds, and provides vital nutrients for soil.
‘Audit’ your plants and use ‘water wise’ garden designs.
Curating plant species that have lower water requirements can ensure your garden stays lush, even during the peak summer heat. Large leafed plants require significantly more water to photosynthesise sunlight. Replacing these with more water-efficient, narrow-leafed plants such as natives or succulents is much more sustainable. You can also group together plants with similar watering needs to maximise moisture absorption – for more information on effective garden planning, you can visit https://www.watercorporation.com.au/plants
By taking a fresh look at how you garden you can be part of the solution, reduce your water use, and still keep a great looking garden all year round.