Planning to get away for a break is a part of summer in Australia. But the last thing you want to happen is to go away on a holiday, only to find a dead garden when you return. So before you head off, it’s time to holiday-proof the garden.
Australia may be the ‘lucky country’, but we’re definitely unlucky when it comes to water. The drought and current water restrictions have had a huge impact on the landscaping and gardening industries, but with some clever water management methods we have managed to get by.
However, now that many of us are about to take some time off over Christmas it is important not to let all that hard work go to waste by leaving your garden unprepared for the harsh summer heat. It is time to holiday-proof the garden so they will survive over the Christmas break.
If you haven’t already done it, make sure you mulch the garden. Mulch has quickly become an essential for all gardens because of its moisture retaining ability. Mulching conserves moisture, so it reduces the need for frequent watering. In addition it also helps to suppress weeds, stabilise soil temperature and protects from soil erosion.
There are many different types of mulch on the market at the moment. These range from inorganic mulches such as carpet, glass and rubber, to the organic forms like pine bark, wood chips and pea straw.
We suggest you put down a thick layer of mulch, at least 75mm, to minimise water evaporation and maximise absorption.
Here at BAAG we have a huge range of organic mulches on offer. To view our range, click here.
Dripper Systems & Water Timers
Installing a dripper system is probably the most reliable way to ensure that a garden gets watered regularly and at the right time. It is also the easiest way to guarantee that the garden will be watered while you are on holidays.
Automated dripper systems are great because they drip water on or near the roots of plants and can be used on most garden areas. By placing the dripper hose above or below the soil or in a layer of mulch, these systems allow for the maximum retention of water. This is because they minimise water loss, by reducing evaporation and run-off.
One huge advantage of an automated dripper system is that you no longer have to ask your neighbours to water the garden while you’re away. All you have to do is set the timer for the times water restrictions allow watering and the everything is done for you.
Granular soil wetters are a fantastic means of maximising water absorption in the garden. Soil wetting agents reduce water run-off by allowing moisture to penetrate deeper into the soil.
Products such as Saturaid and Wettasoil break down the hard water repellent layers of the soil, thus allowing more water to reach the root zone of thirsty plants.
These products work immediately and can be used on sandy, clay or compacted soils as well as potting mixes. They are ideal for garden beds, pots and lawn.
Water Storing Granules
Water storing granules and crystals work differently to the wetting agents but they too are a great way to maximise water efficiency. They can absorb up to 400 times their own weight in water and then release that moisture over an extended period to the plants.
You can mix the granules with water to create a gel that you can then work into the soil. As the gel releases water it moistens the roots. Alternatively, you can mix the granules in with the soil and when they get wet they expand.
Some manufacturers claim that you can reduce watering by up to 75% if you use water storing granules.
Another tip for effective watering if you’re going away for a few days is to use aqua spikes. Simply recycle your plastic drink bottles and attach them to an aqua spike to create an efficient and economical irrigation system.
These spikes stick into the soil and slowly release water, directly to the root zone. The water delivery rate is approximately, 1 litre per hour. However, a good way to slow down the rate is to place some sand in the spike.
These water tubes are similar to the aqua spikes in that they release water gradually and consistently. They hold over 20 Litres of water and can be reused time and time again. Water tubes encourage plant growth and nurture newly established plants and trees.
They will save you both time and money and are a great way to ensure that your plants get watered while you’re on holidays.
Have a great holiday!