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PPG_Blog_jan_image 2_water wise in the garden

There’s no doubt that hot, windy summer conditions can take their toll on Melbourne’s gardens. But there are many ways to ensure your garden survives the heat, without having to run sprinkler systems 24/7. You’d be surprised how little water is really needed to keep gardens and lawns verdant. And smart planting can also reduce the need for watering.

Here are 10 simple tips to maintain a water wise garden throughout the summer months:

· Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period without watering. They also require less fertiliser or herbicides. Group plants together based on similar water needs.

· Don’t overwater your lawn. Lawns only need watering every five to seven days in the summer, and every 10 to 14 days in the winter. A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks.

· Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. A garden hose can pour out more than 2000 litres in only a few hours. Use a timer to remind yourself to turn sprinklers off.

· Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches, or to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture.

· Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces evaporation and waste.

· Check all your tap, sprinkler and hand watering devices and connections and replace those that have sprouted leaks. Litres of waters are lost through leaky connectors.

· Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas.

· Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.

· Install irrigation devices that are the most water efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of efficient devices.

· Use a broom or blower instead of a hose to clean leaves and other debris from your driveway or paved areas.

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