With seven water companies across southern and eastern England announcing that they are introducing hosepipe bans, some as early as April, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the trade body of the garden industry, has some key advice for gardeners on how they can keep gardening as usual through the careful use of water in their gardens this spring and summer.
HTA Director of Business Development, Tim Briercliffe advises, “”The south and east of the country are facing drought conditions in 2012 but there is absolutely no reason why gardeners can’t keep going and still have great looking gardens. By following our tips for water efficient gardening everyone can do their bit to save water whilst maintaining gardens so critical to the health and social wellbeing of the nation.”
He adds, “Gardeners can do their bit now by saving as much water as they can and using it efficiently to help limit the effects of drought.”
With the annual UN World Water Day also taking place on 22nd March, there never has been a better time to start conserving water.
The HTA is issuing the following water efficiency advice and is asking the nation’s 20 million gardeners to take action, get involved and water wisely in their gardens.
• If showers are forecast, do not water your garden
• Water early in the morning or late in the evening when evaporation is minimal
• Be sure to deliver water directly to the base of plants. The use of a drip-watering system will help ensure this.
• Plant trees and shrubs in well-rotted, water-retaining compost and cover soil with 2-3” (5-7cm) layer of mulch
• Don’t worry about established lawns turning brown. This shows the grass has stopped growing, but most lawns will recover completely when the rain returns
• Don’t cut lawns too short, as longer grass sends down deeper roots and provides more shade
• Collect rainwater off greenhouse, shed, garage and house roofs in water butts
• Mix water-storing granules in with potting compost when planting up tubs and hanging baskets
• Collect and re-use grey water from the bath or kitchen sink to water plants
• Keep borders well weeded as weeds compete for moisture
• Use a bigger pot and more compost to cool the soil and conserve moisture
• Provide shelter by planting in a spot that is protected by walls, fences, hedges or other plants