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Biophile Magazine -- » Water-wise gardening tips

"One of the greatest surprises you'll experience, is when you discover that you can do what you were afraid you couldn't do.
Your obstacles will melt away, if instead of cowering before them, you make up your mind to walk boldly through them." Daily Guru

Water-wise gardening tips

by DWAF and NBI

FILED IN: Green Gardening · Issue 2 · Water


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Because gardens are often so water-intensive, it is important to look at the principles of water-wise gardening. Water-wise gardens are also lower maintenance than normal gardens.


The following tips are taken from Water-wise gardening (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and National Botanical Institute, 1998).

• Grow water-wise plants – generally the best suited plants are those indigenous to the area, as they seldom need additional watering.

• Group plants according to their water needs – this avoids wasting water on plants that don’t need it.

• Consider the quality and type of your lawn. Lawns guzzle water, so consider reducing your lawn area. At least use tougher, low-water lawn types such as Buffalo (coastal areas) or Kweek (inland) rather than Kikuyu.

• Maintain your garden – remove unwanted plants, plant more perennials than summer annuals, as they have deeper root systems and so need less watering.

• Improve the soil and mulch. Soil water-holding capacity is improved by higher organic matter content. Mulching (covering the soil with a thick layer of bark, compost, straw etc) keeps the soil much more moist.

• Plant in the right season – For winter rainfall areas this is in autumn and early winter so the plants have a chance to develop their root systems before the dry season. In summer rainfall areas it is spring and early summer for the same reason.

• Water correctly – avoid watering during the heat of the day or in windy conditions.

• The best irrigation system is drip irrigation – it uses 25% of water used by normal irrigation systems with the same effect, and can even be placed under lawns.

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2 Comments »

  1. WATER-WISE GARDENING: I have a garden services company in CAPE TOWN and want to introduce water-wise gardening as an integral part of what we’re doing.

    QUESTION: “Lawns guzzle water” What is the best time to irrigate lawns? For how long? (using Computer system that we can set.)

    Comment by Thea Wentzel

  2. Ahhh, this is exactly what I was searching for - thanks! :)

    Comment by Mary

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