Wednesday, 8 July 2015


If you plant flora which are already suited to the moisture and soil type of your region, you can overcome the effect of hot, dry weather on your plants. 

During a dry season we are thankful for even a few drops of moisture. However, rather than waiting for it, we should learn to water the garden in the appropriate way. If you plant flora which are already suited to the moisture and soil type of your region, you can overcome the effect of hot, dry weather on your plants. It is good to have native plants but there are other ways to have healthy green gardens too. 

You can design and plant your garden in such a way that it is able to thrive even in dry and warm conditions. Even on a well-established landscape slow changes can have an impact. Having a rain garden is the right option for conserving moisture. In this kind of area, the land is prepared for water to percolate efficiently into the soil and in the vicinity of the plant roots.

The extra water can enter the soil and fill the aquifers the fresh water reservoirs underground. However you must be careful because some aquifers have become contaminated by pesti-cides and chemicals recently.

The principles of water-efficient landscape design is known as xeriscaping' and means planting for dry conditions which should be kept in mind when choosing plants. You should plant plants that can resist drought and water them properly. When putting back plants in a settled garden you should select those that can withstand dry conditions in dry areas and those that can withstand wet conditions in moist areas. 

You should allow for shade and coverage also. When moisture evaporates from plant leaves there is a cooling effect. 75 to 80 per cent of the soil should be covered by plants such as trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. You should put plants that require similar type of watering into groups. Perennials and grasses that can tolerate drought are coreopsis, autumn joy sedum, lavender, gaillardia, blue switchgrass, blue oat grass and Elijah blue fescue. Abelia, caryopteris, cotoneaster, viburnum, potentilla and spiraea are some shrubs that can withstand drought.

Black-eyed Susans, leatris and purple cornflowers when planted in an established way can also resist drought and may not need to be watered each week which depends on their exposure. Moisture-loving plants such as cardinal flower, blue star amsonia, blue flag iris, acorns and other plants that need cool, protected areas would dry up if not irrigated. The plants should have a growth medium that is one part compost to two parts existing soil. If it is rich in organic material it will give the plants help in withstanding dry weather If mulch is used evaporation of water from plants' root zones is reduced. Organic mulches like compost or bark are better. You should never mulch against woody plant trunks and not more than two inches thickness should be spread. You may still have to water them at least during their first one or two years of growth.

Before watering ensures that the water is needed. You should stick your finger in the soil and test the roots for moisture. Alternatively, you can use a moisture meter available at garden and home improvement centers. There will be different drainage patterns in different areas of your garden. You need not water everywhere. If there is no moisture water it efficiently so that enough soaks down and penetrates to the roots. 

If you punch four or five holes into the bottom of one-gallon plastic beverage jugs and fill them with water, you could place them around each plant. The water will drip into the area where the plant can take in the moisture. It is important to water plants in the early morning or early evening so that the lower temperature and lighter winds reduce chances of evaporation. It is better to use a soaking hose than a sprinkling one. An irrigation system that is well timed is good for turf and helps save water. 

It is preferable to have drip irrigation where a porous hose leaks water gradually into the soil but lawns should be watered from above through sprinkler heads. Even if there is no rain for three weeks to a month, turf can survive. When you mow you should leave it a little taller because longer blades give shade to root systems and hold moisture in the soil. Leave some clippings for that. If you reduce the amount of lawn you can cut down on consumption of water. 

Water can be saved by collecting from other sources and keeping it for the garden. Second hand house hold water can be obtained from air-conditioners and dehumidifiers. Gray water from the bath, dishes and cooking water can also be used. Avoid water containing bleach, detergent or fabric softener. Take care to pour it on the soil and not on the foliage. Remove weeds regularly to conserve moisture for plants.

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