Landscape Garden Tips | Maintaining Turf and Gardens In Times Of Drought And Water Restrictions

Landscape Garden Tips | Maintaining Turf and Gardens In Times Of Drought And Water Restrictions

By Todd Layt

A lot of the advice for gardens is the same for lawns

Using a wetting agent and aerating the soil in spaces between plants allows water to penetrate (remembering to mulch afterwards). Fertilise in autumn and early spring, preferably with a slow release fertiliser.

Avoid fertilising in the summer and avoid pruning during a drought or hot summer. Pruning may also stimulate new growth, which increases the need for water. Avoid using chemicals in summer, and if you have good tough native plants or other deep rooted plants (except in very sandy soils) where long deep watering can be wasteful, practice less frequent deep watering.

Prepare your clients and help them understand that plants stress out in times of water restrictions. For some plants like Dianellas and Lomandras, the stress won’t be too high, and they will easily recover, but for weaker plants, some may die. Think of this as Darwin’s theory coming true. Survival of the fittest!

Next year install tougher plants. For trees you need to be a little more caring, because they take much longer to grow, and if overstressed, and hit by huge winds, they sometimes end up falling on houses or people, so if your trees are suffering, prioritise water for the trees. For shrubs, survival of the fittest is an option.

No body wants their garden to die, so there are other things you can do to help keep it alive. Mulch is very important, but don’t just put any old type of mulch on your client’s garden. Mulches with lots of fine grade material have been shown to actually reduce the amount of water getting into the soil, as they easily become hydrophobic.

Fine mulches also germinate weed seeds really well, so avoid them like the plague. Only use chunky coarse grade mulch. This will help to let water flow more easily into the garden, and will help significantly limit evaporation of water from the soil.

Windbreaks can greatly reduce the effects of …read more

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