Smarter use of water is the least we can do

Target watering to specific plants. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Target watering to specific plants. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
There will always be a need for watering plants in seasons such as this, but with the changing global climate we need to be smarter and more effective with the water we use.

Wise watering alone will not achieve everything we need to do.  Other considerations around plant selection, how and where we grow our plants will be necessary.

Target watering to specific plants and areas that really need it - choosing the right irrigation system that will direct water specifically to the required area efficiently or by simply holding the hose to water your most important and valuable plants individually.

Collecting rainwater and using grey water are other options.

Irrigating in early morning or evening when the temperature is cooler allows water to soak into the soil for plants to use before evaporating away.

In your vegetable garden where watering is essential, don’t allow the soil to dry out too much or it will take an extraordinary amount of water to rehydrate the soil.

Mulching before the soil dries out is important. There are numerous mulch options that will help with moisture retention and keep soil and roots cooler.

Make sensible sacrifices - plants such as herbaceous perennials can look parched over summer, but will recover when temperatures cool and there is sufficient soil moisture. It is surprising just how quickly a scorched lawn will green up after rain.

Ultimately, we may have to change what we choose to grow in our gardens, selecting plants which look after themselves that won’t require excessive demand on our water supplies.

Garden life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden. For further information contact Robyn Abernethy