Most plants require a steady and consistent supply of water. In hot dry climates this is hard to do over the long summer months. There are some simple strategies that can be used in a garden to conserve water and protect plants from drying out during the day. The more techniques that are used the more effective water conservation will be and the healthier plants will look through times of drought.
Mulching is the application of a coarse organic material such as ground up bark, leaves, grass clippings or wood chips to the surface of the soil to hold moisture in and prevent evaporation. Mulching also adds nutrients to the soil and promotes earthworm activity to keep the soil soft and workable. In conditions where there are a lot of rodents or other pests inorganic mulch such as fibreglass and landscape fabric can be used to provide a barrier to plants.
Inorganic mulch is used in areas where there are a lot of windy days, as organic mulch will blow away in strong winds. It’s possible to store this in your shed or at the back of your summerhouse for when is required.
Super absorbent water crystals are a unique crystalline polymer. They are also referred to as hydro gel, polymer crystals or water gel. These crystals are added to the soil and absorb moisture as it is applied to the plants. In times of drought the plants then draw the moisture from the crystals into their root systems to provide moisture. The crystals are non-toxic and safe for both indoor and outdoor use.
They can literally absorb up to five hundred times their weight in water and then release it to the soil or plant roots as they dry out. The crystals naturally decompose over time and dissolve into the soil.
In times of drought it is important to water correctly to ensure as much absorption of the water into the soil and the plants as possible. Slow watering that gives water time to soak deep into the soil is much more effective that a large amount of water applied to the soil in a short period of time. Special trickle irrigation hoses are available to slowly apply water to a large area. Trickle irrigation is best used in conjunction with awareness as to the time of day watering is completed.
Watering should be completed in the early morning before the heat of the day or in the late evening after the heat has dissipated. Watering in the early morning is most effective for most annual and perennial flowers and roses. Bushes, shrubs and trees and ground cover can be watered either in the morning or in the evening.
There are many varieties of plants that are developed to thrive in very dry conditions or with minimal water. Plan your flowerbeds according to the weather conditions for the climate that you are in. Check with your local greenhouse or nursery for varieties of plants that do well in dry weather.
Using natural shelter, such as trees, fences or other shade areas and even summerhouses, to plant beds helps in conserving water in those areas. Try to arrange your gardens to take advantage of shaded areas and avoid planting in open beds in direct sunlight with little or no shade.
Using a few simple strategies can help your garden retain and conserve any moisture over the dry summer months. Use the landscape itself to provide shade and protection from direct sunlight in the hottest times of the day and try to water in the morning and evening for best results.