When you’ve invested time and energy into beautifying your garden in preparation for summer, it can be difficult to maintain it properly without wasting water or having to pour in much more time and energy. We’ve gathered 9 quick tips from all over the internet to solve some of the more common water management problems you might face as you look after your plants this summer.
Pick the right type of watering solution:
1 – Use sprinklers for lawns. These are easy to install and depending on the size and watering needs of your garden, you can even do it yourself. All you need is access to your waterline and a kit from DIY or hardware stores like B&Q or Homebase. Or you can get a simple hose pipe sprinkler which you can attach to your outside tap. The Royal Horticultural Society says sprinklers are best for lawns, so if your garden has other plant life like shrubs, hedges and pot plants you will need another watering solution besides your sprinkler.
2 – Use seep hoses for mature plants with deep roots. These are essentially hoses or pipes punctured with holes. They allow you to water mature plants and plant rows directly. They’re most effective where the soil is heavier because the water would spread as it sinks. You can also hide them underneath the soil to prevent it from interrupting the visual flow of your garden.
3 – Keep it simple with a garden hose or watering can. You can also keep it simple. Using a watering can aim for the stem under the leaf canopy. This ensures the water goes where it’s needed, and also limits weed growth.
4 – Choose the right time to water your plants. The best time of day to water your plants are first thing in the morning or late in the evening when the soil is cool. This is so that the water doesn’t evaporate as much as it would if you were to water your plants in the middle of the day when the sun is hottest. Also, if you wet leaves in the sun, they could develop burn marks, which you want to avoid.
5 – Use the best kind of soil. This is something you would need to think about when you’re designing your garden, or planting new beds. Typically, the best type of soil is clay based soils are considered the best type (naturally this depends on the type of plant). Sandy soils typically hold less water than clay soils, so you might find that you need to water your plants more often if your soil is sandy.
You might want to save water in order to care for the environment, to save money if your water usage is metered or simply live in an area of the UK with a hose or sprinkler ban. In any case, there are lots of ways to ensure your plants are sufficiently nourished while conserving water. Some simple things you could do:
6 – Mulching is always good. According to research, mulching can conserve around a third of the water you put on your plants. Mulch is essentially a mixture of grass, chips of wood and compost which you layer on top of the soil. It will cool the soil and deter weeds.
7 – Collect and store rainwater. It’s simple and easy to do, and you’re essentially getting free water. You simply need a rain diverter kit attached to your drain pipes and roof gutters to direct rainwater to a water barrel during wet months of the year. No excessive plumbing needed. During drier months, you can use that water as a source for your hose pipe and watering cans.
8 – Re-use grey water. Water from your kitchen sink, washing machine or bathroom can also be collected and used to water your plants. Household soap or detergent wouldn’t normally harm plants, but definitely, do not use water from the toilet or with harmful chemicals in it like bleach or disinfectant. You shouldn’t store grey water, so make sure you use it immediately, so it doesn’t harbour bacteria that can cause diseases.
9 – Watch the seasons. Organise your gardening so that you’re planting during cooler periods of the year – lie early spring or late autumn. You’ll need less water for your plants because the water won’t evaporate as quickly.
There’s so much to know, so do your research and understand what’s best for the soil conditions in your own garden. Not every tip can be applied with a broad brush, so tailor your watering to your own needs. Remember that too much water on your plants is just as bad as not watering them frequently enough. You don’t want to stress your plants or waterlog plant roots so keep your watering economical.
This article was submitted by WPJ Heating, a London based heating and plumbing service.