Saving water can be tough in the summer – especially when you’re trying to maintain your garden.
During a hot, dry spell, it can be hard to keep grass and plants looking lush.
The average hosepipe uses 170 litres of water in ten minutes.
And when you consider that a five-minute shower uses just 40, it’s clear just how much water this is wasting (Tameside).
And what’s more, it’s often completely unnecessary, as there are lots of simple ways to save water while still maintaining beautiful plants.
Nicky Roeber, online horticultural expert from Wyevale Garden Centres, shares his tricks for saving water this summer.
1. Reuse household water
Instead of filling up your watering can from the garden tap, try to reuse grey water whenever you can. This is any kind of water you’ve already used for household cleaning, like water from the bath or sink. Most household cleaners (like dish soap or detergent) won’t harm your plants, though be careful not to use any that has been mixed with extra-strength cleaners, disinfectant, bleach or dishwasher salt.
2. Help potted plants retain moisture
Potted plants can be very thirsty, as they tend to dry out more quickly than those planted in a bed. You can reduce the amount of watering needed to keep them healthy by choosing a larger container, as these will be slower to dry out. It can also help to mix some water retaining granules through the soil when planting, or use a compost with these already mixed in. Remember to water early in the morning or late in the evening as this will stop the heat of the sun from evaporating the water too quickly.
3. Lawn care
If your lawn is starting to look a little parched after a few weeks without rain, don’t panic and reach for the hosepipe just yet. Yellow or brown grass isn’t dead: it’s actually just dormant. Deep inside the lawn, there a small part that is still alive, called the crown. This means that lawns are actually quite drought-resistant, and can go without rain for up to six weeks. Your lawn should become lush and green again a couple of weeks after the first rainfall — just have a little patience!
Dormant lawns are bit more prone to damage than healthy ones, so it’s best to try to keep off it until it recovers. Mowing the lawn when it’s too short can also stress it out even further, so try to avoid cutting the grass until it’s at least three inches high.
4. Save rainwater
Hold on to every last drop of rainwater. Even something as simple as leaving your watering can and a few buckets out in the garden during a rain shower can make a big difference. If you have a larger garden with a lot of thirsty plants, then you can also install a water butt, which will save the rainfall runoff from your drainpipe so you can use it to water your plants.
Lastly, remember that weeds will compete with your plants and flowers for water, so it’s particularly important to stay on top of weeding during hot dry spells. Applying a good layer of well-rotted, organic mulch to flowerbeds will also help to prevent new weeds from popping up, and it will help to trap water under the soil, too.
With these tips and tricks, you can conserve water and keep your garden looking vibrant. Now all that’s left to do is get out there and soak up the sunshine.