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Waterwise Guide to Gardening: A Guide to Saving Water in Established Gardens
 

Waterwise Guide to Gardening: A Guide to Saving Water in Established Gardens

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Waterwise Guide to Gardening: A Guide to Saving Water in Established Gardens

Waterwise Guide to Gardening: A Guide to Saving Water in Established Gardens

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    Waterwise Guide to Gardening: A Guide to Saving Water in Established Gardens Waterwise Guide to Gardening: A Guide to Saving Water in Established Gardens Document Transcript

    • O ET UID EG WIS ING TER DEN WATHE A guide to GAR saving water in established gardens. Edited by John Colwill local gardening expert www.watercorporation.com.au
    • The Waterwise Gardening
    • Guide In the metropolitan area approximately 60% of annual water consumption goes on watering lawns and gardens. In summer this figure rises to almost 80%. This booklet contains up-to-date information on techniques and practises that help save water in your garden even if it has been established for years. If you are starting a new garden from scratch, you will find a wealth of information that will let you plan and install a garden which will cope with our climate and meet your needs without wasting water.
    • ContentsIntroduction ................................................................................................1Garden design............................................................................................2Before you plant.......................................................................................3 Soil improvement..............................................................................3 Soils for containers ..........................................................................5What to plant ............................................................................................5 Lawns .......................................................................................................5 Methods of planting ........................................................................6 Other garden plants........................................................................7 Watering zones...............................................................................11How to water .........................................................................................12 Sprinklers ............................................................................................12 Micro-irrigation................................................................................13 Choice of equipment...................................................................13 Pressure ...............................................................................................14 How much water to apply.......................................................14 Making the most of Watering Zones.................................15 Watering Lawns..............................................................................16 Operation...........................................................................................16 Waterwise lawn management................................................17 Watering shrubs and perennials ...........................................18 Watering fruit trees......................................................................19 Watering pot plants .....................................................................20 Watering hanging baskets .........................................................21 Watering bedding plants ...........................................................21 Watering vegetables.....................................................................21Irrigation .....................................................................................................22After you plant .......................................................................................22 Lawn maintenance.........................................................................22 Mulching gardens............................................................................23 Mulching material...........................................................................24 Applying mulches ...........................................................................24 Changing an established garden ............................................25 How Waterwise is your garden?...........................................27
    • IntroductionIn Perth and the Southwest of Western Australia wehave become used to enjoying a mediterranean climatewhere the winters are mild and wet and the summerslong, warm, hot and dry. However, most of our gardensand garden practices are still based upon northernEuropean models where the climate is cooler and wetterand the plants more delicate. As a result we have had touse a lot of water to maintain the exotic gardens andthe plants that we have become accustomed to growingsince the first European settlers arrived here.However, because there has been a dramatic decreasein the rainfall which charges our dams andgroundwater resources, and a steady growth inpopulation, there is an urgent need to reduce theamount of water that is used. The greatest potentialfor saving water is in the garden.Saving water does not have to mean ‘browning off ’.Most gardeners regularly over-water. In these casesreducing water consumption will have little or no effectat all, sometimes it may even improve the garden. 1
    • Garden designThe average garden is a mix of both water consumingareas such as lawn, flower beds, borders and shrubberies,and hard or dry surfaces such as paving, sheds and pathways.When planning a new garden, or remodelling an old one,consider your needs like:• Utility spaces such as clothes drying, compost and storage areas.• Outdoor living spaces such as courtyards, barbecues and seating.• Special needs such as a vegetable garden, swimming pool, etc.• How much time you have for garden maintenance.• How much money you wish to spend on the garden.The general principles of saving water through gardendesign are to:• Maximise the use of non-planting treatments such as paving and mulches whilst at the same time being aware of the risk of creating hot spots due to large areas of unshaded paving.• Manage lawn areas correctly so as to minimise their water requirement and not pollute groundwater through excess fertilising. Lawn areas form part of our daily lives for recreation and appearance purposes.They should be designed to fit into an overall waterwise garden concept with the total area kept to a size which is consistent with functional and aesthetic requirements.2
    • • Keep planted areas dense and consolidated. Sparse scattered plants are more difficult to water efficiently than those in defined areas.• Make use of windbreaks, pergolas, screens, lattice, shadecloth and vines to shelter the house, outdoor living areas and plants.• Prepare the soil before planting to ensure that plants can make the most of the water which is applied.• Choose plants which have a low water demand.• Group plants in such a way as to allow for efficient watering.• Install a watering system that is both efficient and flexible.• Monitor and adjust the amount of water that is applied on a regular basis.Before you plantSoil improvementAdding organic matter to the soil improves both itsmoisture and nutrient holding capacity.This means thatless water and fertiliser have to be applied and thatthese smaller amounts are then available for a longerperiod. As well as saving on water and fertiliser,there is better plant growth with less stressin-between waterings.It is particularly important to improve the top 15-20cmof soil where a plant’s feeder roots can be found.Old animal manures, compost and proprietary products 3
    • are ideal soil improvers. Mix them in equal parts with thegarden soil prior to planting using the following areas asa guide. Generally the bigger the area prepared,the better the long term result.• Shrubs, groundcovers and climbers – 30cm in depth and up to half a metre across.• Trees – 40cm deep and 1 metre across• Bedding plants – 25cm deep for the whole bed.• Lawns – 15-20cm deep for the whole area.A common problem in sandy soils, when they dry out,is the development of non-wettable characteristics.Water applied to these soils simply pools on the surfacebefore eventually making its way down through one ortwo spots.The bulk of the soil remains dry.Non-wettable soils are particularly noticeable incontainers but are also a significant problem in lawnswhere they can lead to brown dry patches developing.A regular application of a soil wetting agent in spring isrecommended. Always water the material in immediatelyand thoroughly. If the first application does not seem towork, apply a second. Soils which are particularly proneto the problem may need a second treatment in summer.4
    • Soils for containers (including hanging baskets)Choose the best quality potting mix you can affordpreferably one approved by the Australian StandardsAssociation.The water and nutrient hold capacity of potting mixescan be further enhanced by the use of water absorbentpolymers. Some potting mixes may already contain them.Most plants are now grown in soil-less mixes whichquickly becomes non-wettable. One easy way to treatcontainer grown plants is to dip the whole pot into alarger container of prepared strength wetting agent.What to plantLawns• Over a period of three Perth summers, turf research trials by the University of Western Australia indicated that a healthy lawn can be maintained by selecting from a range of warm season lawn grasses suited to our hot summer climate.• Warm season grasses required significantly less water than cool season grasses.• The turf trials also indicated that warm season grasses have an excellent capacity to recover after periods of low water supply, whereas cool season turf species did not recover.The research substantiated the Water Corporation’s advice that a standard drink of 10mm applied three times a week provides the most optimal growing conditions in Perth for a correctly maintained warm season lawn. 5
    • • During the peak summer period, there was some deterioration in the colour of kikuyu but only slight decreases in other warm season grasses. However, they all recovered in autumn. During the same period, the cool season grasses went brown and did not recover. The table below details the research findings. Variety Water Heat Drought Use Tolerance Tolerance Warm Season Couch Types Low Excellent High Buffalo Low Excellent High Saltene Low Excellent High Kikuyu Low Excellent High Cool Season Ryegrass High Poor Fair Tall Fescue High Fair MediumMethods of plantingThere are three ways to establish a new lawn: by roll-on,by runners, or by seed. Warm season grasses are grownfrom roll on or runners.Rolls of instant turf are the most water-efficient meansof lawn establishment. Runners require large quantities ofwater to establish and should be planted only in spring.Instant turf requires daily watering for the first fourweeks until a good root system is established and thenthe lawn can cope with the stress of hot weather.6
    • Most seed grasses are cool season varieties that arenot drought tolerant and perform badly in Perth’s hot,dry summers.Other garden plantsAn average suburban garden may contain a range ofplants which have their origins in many different partsof the world.Some might come from tropical rainforests where lightis limited, rain heavy and frequent and the atmosphereprotected and humid. Such plants have not had todevelop any mechanisms to make them water-efficientor protect them from drying winds.Other plants may come from northern temperateregions where it is cooler and slightly less humid andthey don’t have to cope with high temperatures.Yet others might have originated in harsh desertconditions where their very survival depends onharvesting every single drop of water and storing itfor later use.A large number of our garden plants have their origins inAustralia.Those of local origin are perfectly adapted toour climate having evolved in it over millions of years.To allow for efficient watering, this diverse rangeof ornamental garden plants has to be divided intothree groups according to their need for water. 7
    • These groups are:-• One Drop Plants, the most efficient users of water, which only need occasional watering over summer. Perhaps once every two weeks or longer.• Two Drop Plants, less efficient but still reasonably tough which need to be watered every 3 to 7 days in summer.• Three Drop Plants, which use a lot of water and need to be watered every 1 to 2 days.Some examples of the ‘Drop’ rating of plants aregiven on the pages to follow. A full database ofcommonly grown ornamental plants in WA canbe found on the Water Corporation website atwww.watercorporation.com.au/savewater. For additionalinformation and guidance on waterwise plant selectionvisit a Waterwise Garden Centre.To find one near youcall the Waterwise Helpline on 1300 369 645.8
    • Examples of One Drop PlantsCLIMBERS PERENNIALSBougainvillea AgaveConvolvulus AnigozanthosHardenbergia comptoniana Beaucarnea recurvataKennedia Conostylis candicansMuehlenbackia complexa CrassulaRosa banksia Echium fastuosumSollya GauraStigmaphyllon ciliatum GazaniaTecomaria capensis Kalanchoe LavandulaGROUNDCOVERS VincaAptenia cordifolia YuccaBanksiaGrevillea SHRUBSHemiandra pungens AcaciaMyoporum parvifolium AdenanthosOsteospermum ArtemisiaPhyla nodiflora CeanothusSedum ChamelauciumStachys Cistus Coprosma Cordyline australis Euphorbia pulcherrima Lagerstroemia Lantana Melaleuca Pimelea Plumbago Polygala Raphiolepis Rosemarinus 9
    • Examples of Two Drop PlantsCLIMBERS PERENNIALSAntigonon leptopus AgapanthusHedera AnigozanthosLonicera Cerastium tomentosumPandorea DampieraPelargonium peltatum DianthusRosa Climbing types DietesSolanum HemerocallisVitis PelargoniumWisteria PhormiumGROUNDCOVERS SHRUBSAjuga reptans AbeliaAlternanthera AzaleaGrevillea – Cultivars BauhiniaJuniperus BuddleiaRosa – Groundcover types BuxusScaevola aemula CaesalpiniaThymus CallistemonVerbena Camellia japonica Camellia sasanqua Chamaecyparis Coleonema Euryops pectinatus Gardenia Hebe Ilex Prostanthera10
    • Examples of Three Drop PlantsCLIMBERS PERENNIALSClerodendron BegoniaJasminum ChlorophytonPassiflora Clivia miniataQuisqualis indica FernsStephanotis floribunda ImpatiensThunbergia grandiflora SHRUBSGROUNDCOVERS AcalyphaArenaria montana AcerSagina BoroniaSoleirolia soleirolii Clerodendron Fuchsia HydrangeaWatering ZonesA typical garden bed may contain a mix of two or threedifferent Drop-rated plants.They may look nice togetherbut such a diverse mix can lead to a lot of waterwastage. Knowing the water needs of each plant allowsyou to group the plants together, like with like. A waterefficient garden will be planted into areas, or WateringZones, each of which contains only plants with the sameDrop Rating. Only when the plants are grouped in thisway can they be watered efficiently. 11
    • How to waterNo matter whether you are watering your garden fromthe mains water scheme or by a private bore it isimportant to apply the water as efficiently as possiblethrough a well designed and maintained irrigation system.A properly designed automatic system will use less waterthan a manually operated system.By choosing a Waterwise Garden Irrigator you can besure that you are getting the best waterwise irrigationadvice available. Waterwise Garden Irrigators areendorsed by both the Water Corporation and theIrrigation Association of Australia.They can help youdesign and install your irrigation system to water efficientstandards.To find your nearest Waterwise GardenIrrigator visit www.watercorporation.com.au or call theWaterwise Helpline on 1300 369 645.SprinklersOverhead sprinklers should only be used on broad areaswhich are densely planted.Choose sprinklers that produce coarse sprays of largedroplets that are less prone to wind drift.Use good quality sprinklers which have matchedprecipitation rates. i.e. they all put out the same amount.Cheap sprinklers often vary enormously in their output.Uneven distribution will cause some areas to beoverwatered while others are underwatered.12
    • Micro-irrigationMicro-irrigation is suitable for most areas of the garden,especially general garden beds, shrubberies, pot plants andhanging baskets.These systems are flexible, low cost, easyto install and allow for precise delivery and placement ofwater to the root zones of individual plants.Various typesof emitters are available including a full range of micro-sprays, mini sprinklers and fixed and variable drippers.All micro systems should begin with a pressure or flowcontrol device. If this is not installed the emitters will notwork efficiently and the joints may burst under excesspressure.These vital components are often not on displayat irrigation/hardware stores. Be sure to ask for one.Micro-irrigation emitters are very fine and clog easily,so lines to micro sprays and drippers should incorporatean in-line filter.For consistent performance it is best to use recognisedbrand name products.Choice of equipment• Use a good quality controller which has the ability to run separate programmes for different garden areas or Watering Zones.• The controller should be placed under cover in an easily accessible site.• Gutter mounted rain sensors can be used to disable watering after summer rain.• Solenoid valves should be above ground, grouped together where possible and covered by a valve box. 13
    • PressureIrrigation components are designed to operate within aset pressure range.Too much pressure causes mistingand high evaporative loss.Too little pressure causesuneven application. If in doubt consult an irrigationspecialist who can conduct pressure and flow testing.How much water to applyThe feeder roots of plants grow in the top 15 to 20cmof soil.That’s why soil improvement is confined to thatdepth and it also determines how much water needs tobe applied.In improved sandy soils of the metropolitan area a depthof 10mm of water, applied to the surface, is sufficient towet down to 15 to 20cm.The remainder of the volumeis taken up by soil particles.This 10mm application isreferred to as the Standard Drink.Applying more than 10mm results in water seepingdown past the feeder root zone and being wasted.Applying less than 10mm will prevent full developmentof the feeder root system.The Standard Drink does varyaccording to location and soil type. Further informationon this is available from the Water Corporation websiteat www.watercorporation.com.au/savewater.Every irrigation system has a different output so the onlyway to determine how long to leave the system on for isto measure how long it takes to deliver 10mm.This canbe done precisely using Waterwise Catchcups or14
    • reasonably accurately using containers such as icecream cartons.Making the most of Watering ZonesBy grouping plants together on the basis of similar waterneeds into areas called Watering Zones, you can ensurethat each plant in the zone gets as much water as itneeds and that no plant is overwatered.The result isgood healthy growth using less water.Each zone must be capable of being wateredindependently from other zones with different values.This means separate lines controlled either manually byseparate taps or automatically by separate stationsoperated from a controller.Each plant whether in a 1, 2 or 3 Drop Zone gets thesame amount of water each time the system is turnedon (a Standard Drink) but what varies is the intervalbetween waterings.The following guide to watering in the heat of summercan be used as a starting point.Try extending theduration between waterings as far as possible.One Drop Zone A Standard Drink every 7 to 14 days or longerTwo Drop Zone A Standard Drink every 3 to 7 daysThree Drop Zone A Standard Drink every 1 to 2 daysRemember. Whenever any plant is watered is should begiven the Standard Drink, whether it be a bedding plant,fruit tree or lawn. 15
    • Watering lawnsWarm season grasses have been proven to be bothwater efficient and drought tolerant.They fit into the‘Two Drop Zone’ of the garden.The unique aspect ofwatering turf is the need to ensure an even applicationover the whole area.To achieve this sprinklers should beplaced so that the spray from one sprinkler touches thenext sprinkler and rows of sprinklers should bestaggered. Use good quality part circle sprinklers on theedges to prevent water being thrown onto hard surfacessuch as driveways or paving.Never mix different types of emitters on the same line.Solenoid valves should be covered by a valve box, notburied beneath the soil.Water early in the morning (5am to 8am). Never waterduring the heat of the day.Check your system regularly and replace worn nozzlesor broken seals as necessary.OperationSet your controller to deliver the 10mm Standard Drinkper application then follow the guidelines below changingyour lawn watering schedule as indicated.The following watering frequencies are for idealconditions when there is sufficient water available.When water is short the warm season grasses will easilycope with watering only twice a week. And wateringwith a hand-held hose can supplement watering by16
    • sprinklers. Even at this frequency there is no advantagein delivering more than the ‘Standard Drink’.Month FrequencyJanuary Every second dayFebruary Every second dayMarch Every third dayApril Every fifth dayMay No wateringJune No wateringJuly No wateringAugust Once a fortnight (if needed)September Once a week (if needed)October Every fourth dayNovember Every third dayDecember Every second dayWaterwise lawn managementLawns can build up a spongy layer of brown materialbetween the soil and the green leaf.This is known asthatch, which makes penetration of water difficult andcan lead to fungal diseases.Thatch should be removed by a hard mowing in springor by vertimowing. Most hire shops have vertimowingmachines or advice can be obtained from the LawnMowing Contractors Association.Non-wettable soils should be treated with a soil wettingagent in spring.This eliminates dry patches by allowingwater to penetrate. 17
    • Water early in the morning because in the heat of theday up to 50% of water can be lost to evaporation andwind drift. In addition, water applied in the evening maylead to fungal problems.Moss growing in a lawn may indicate excess waterapplication, poor drainage or insufficient sunlight.A standard drink of 10mm is recommended, any moreis wasted.Watering shrubs and perennialsShrubs and perennials should be planted in WateringZones.Micro-irrigation is ideal for these plants. If you haveimproved soil that is well mulched even the thirstiestof plants (Three Drop) can be maintained on a wateringschedule of every second day in the heat of summer.This can be extended to every third or fourth day asthe weather cools down.Very tough, water efficient plants may only need a drinkevery month or so during their first summer after whichthe micro-irrigation system can be disconnected andre-cycled elsewhere in the garden.Only the soil around the plant root zone needs to bewatered, not the area between plants.This minimisesnitrogen draw-down problems, weed germination andalso the number of slaters.Adjustable emitters can be used to deliver variablequantities of water to precisely the right locations.18
    • Emitters should be exposed to allow for inspection.Even when the water is being delivered precisely to theplants at ground level, it is still desirable to water early inthe morning to minimise evaporation losses.Your irrigation supplier can give you more details ondesigning a micro-irrigation system for shrubs and otherparts of your garden.Watering fruit treesIf the soil has been improved and a good mulch ispresent, all fruit trees in the home garden, even tropicalspecies like mangoes, avocadoes and custard apples canbe kept growing healthily and productively by wateringonly on alternate days during the heat of summer.Where applicable, once the crop has been harvested,the water may be cut back even further.Flat throw, low pressure micro-irrigation sprinklers arethe most efficient means of watering fruit trees.They canbe set close to the ground and easily adjusted to wetthe entire drip zone area without being affected by wind.A simple technique to ensure the most efficient useof water is to shape the mulch like a saucer with thehighest par t immediately below or just outside thedrip line. Place the sprinkler in the middle and adjustthe height until it just throws out to the rim of thesaucer. The water is then caught and directed downto the roots. 19
    • Drippers are generally not satisfactory for fruit trees insandy soils.They only wet a limited surface area and leadto wastage as most of the water is lost to the deepersoil. Drippers are slightly better in heavier soil wherethey have a flatter wetting pattern but even then theyare not as efficient as micro-sprinklers.Overhead watering of fruit trees is extremely wastefuldue to high evaporation losses. It is not recommendedin the home garden.Watering pot plantsMicro-irrigation systems can be installed to deliver waterto individual pots around the verandah or patio.Adjustable drippers allow for different pot andplant sizes.Terracotta is a porous material which allows moisture toescape through the sides comparatively quickly. Beforeplanting up you should water proof the material byeither using a liquid sealant painted on to the inside ofthe pot or lining the inside of the pot with polythene.Make sure that a hole is cut in the polythene to coincidewith the drainage hole of the pot.Self watering pots come in many styles.These pots arevery water-efficient as long as they are maintainedcorrectly.Hydroponic systems are also water-efficient.Though theymay use a large liquid mass, the fluid is retained andrecycled in the hydroponic process with very little waste.20
    • Slow release fertiliser release their nutrients graduallyover the growing season and are the ideal way to feedpot plants.Watering hanging basketsMicro-irrigation systems can be adapted to deliver waterto individual hanging baskets. Adjustable multi outletemitters ensure a large area of the surface is moistened.Protect hanging baskets from the drying winds.Porous basket lines such as coconut fibre or wool shouldbe lined internally with polythene to reduce excessmoisture loss. Make sure that a hole is cut in thepolythene to allow for drainage.Slow release fertilisers release their nutrients graduallyover the growing season and are the best way to feedhanging baskets.Watering bedding plantsPlan your flower beds to be mass displays. Do not placea few plants here or there in odd spots all over thegarden but rather group your flowers together in asuitable area which can be watered independently.Many bedding plants have a high water demand andmay need hand watering on occasions.Watering vegetablesThese are generally high water demand plants whichneed a sunny position. Because of their short life cycleand varying size they are best watered with overheadsprinklers. 21
    • Slowing down hot dry winds is very important. Creatinga windbreak on the exposed side will save a lot of waterand prevent damage to delicate plants.IrrigationThere is more to saving water in the garden thaninstalling an efficient system to water a well designed andcarefully planted garden. Because the seasons change,so too does the water demand of the plants. It isnecessary to adjust the watering programmes eachmonth to reflect these changes.That’s why it’s important to make sure the controller iseasily accessible and that the instruction book is alwayskept nearby. If you don’t have an instruction book youcan contact your local member of the IrrigationAssociation for assistance.After you plantLawn maintenanceFertiliser use is closely related to water use. Over wateringor fertilising will result in the movement of nutrients pastthe root zone, causing pollution of groundwater.Never exceed the manufacturer’s recommendations,apply frequent light applications of fertiliser to keep thelawn healthy and improve its ability to survive on limitedwater. Slow release lawn fertilisers are excellent.They release nutrients over time, feeding the lawn eachtime it is watered. Organic based fertilisers are beneficial22
    • to the soil. Always water immediately after theapplication of fertiliser.Keep mower blades sharp. Dull blades damage the lawnand increase moisture loss. Mowers should be set so thatonly one third of the leaf is removed at one time.This should leave a grass blade length of 10-15 mm.This amount of leaf shades the root zone and reducesevaporation.To reduce moisture loss, avoid mowingduring the heat of the day.There is no benefit in top dressing lawns, this should onlybe done to even out bumps and hollows.Mulching gardensMulching can reduce evaporation loss from the soilsurface by as much as 70%. A mulch should be spreadover the entire planted area to a minimum thickness of50mm. In addition to saving water mulching is beneficialin many other ways.Organic mulches are preferred because they:• Break down over time and feed the plants.• Improve the soil organic matter content as they break down.• Reduce evaporation loss from the surface.• Encourage earthworms and soil microbial activity.• Restrict weed growth and any weeds which do germinate are easy to remove.• Prevent wind and water erosion. 23
    • • Protect the roots from daily temperature fluctuations.• Improve the appearance of the garden area.Mulching materialThe ideal mulching material is one which consists oflarge, but irregularly shaped particles which do not holdany water, allowing it all to run through to the soil below.Raw materials like woodchips, chipped tree waste orsimilar are the best mulching materials. Crushed brick,stone or gravel may also be considered.Soft mulches like lucerne hay, pea straw, seaweed andcompost are most beneficial in areas such as the vegiepatch or underneath fruit trees.Lawn clippings and sheep manure do not make goodmulch, they are best composted.Old newspapers can be used under a mulch for weedcontrol. However, thick overlapping layers of newspapersmay also prevent water penetration.Applying mulches• For general garden use mulches should be spread at 50-75mm thick.• Always leave a breathing space of 50mm around stems and trunks of plants.• Organic mulches enriched with animal manures are enormously beneficial when applied thickly (to 30cm) around the drip zone of fruit trees.They should be topped up as necessary during spring, summer and24
    • autumn to maintain a minimum thickness (after settling) of 15cm.• Vegetable gardens should be mulched with ‘softer’ mulches such as compost, pea, hay or lucerne straw or seaweed.• In garden areas mulches should be topped up as necessary; perhaps twice a year in both autumn and spring.• Mulches should never be raked up, turned over, dug in or disturbed in any way.To do so will damage the fine feeder roots which plants develop in the zone between the mulch and the soil.Changing an established gardenIf your garden has grown over the years with plantsscattered all over the place, you can change it around.Most high water use plants have shallow root systemsand so can be easily transplanted in winter or spring intotheir respective groups in a new site.Hardy, low water and drought tolerant species cannotnormally be moved because of their very deep rootsystems.The type, area and location of lawn in the garden can bereconsidered. Excess areas of grass can be converted tolower water use areas by: 25
    • • Using a herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate. Apply the chemical according to instructions using a garden hose as a marker guide to ensure you get a complete coverage the first time. Feed and water the lawn to get it growing vigorously before applying the chemical. A second application may be necessary for couch and kikuyu lawns because of their strong root systems.After 3 to 6 weeks all the grass will be dead.Dead material can be left in place as a mulch while thenew plants are established.Replacing a lawn area by planting it with a range of lownative groundcovers will ensure an ever changing scenethat is attractive to birds and gardeners alike with far lessmaintenance than a lawn.Your local member of theNursery and Garden Industry Association can help youwith plant selection.26
    • How Waterwise is your garden?Take this simple test to find out. Do you water twice a week? Do you regularly use a soil wetting agent? Do you improve the soil before you plant? Do you water early in the morning? Do you know how much water your plants need? Do you know how much water you are putting on? Do you change your watering schedule according to the time of year? Do you regularly check your irrigation system? Do you mulch your garden beds? Do you really need all the lawn you have? 27
    • Remember, the Water Corporation has lotsof ways you can save water both in thehouse and garden.Simply call the Waterwise Helpline on 13 10 39or visit www.watercorporation.com.au www.watercorporation.com.au ISBN: 174 043 111 1