Waterwise Gardening Manual in the Top End - Australia


Published on

Waterwise Gardening Manual in the Top End - Australia

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Waterwise Gardening Manual in the Top End - Australia

  1. 1. waterwise GARDENING IN THE TOP ENDPlease take one FREE!
  2. 2. proudly broughtto you by Power and Water Corporation and the Nursery &Garden Industry NT
  3. 3. contentsWaterwise gardening 4Getting it rightfrom the start 6Waterwise irrigation 10Looking after your lawn 12When to water 13Leaks 14Pools 15Native waterwise plants 16Making your gardenwaterwise 18Nursery & GardenIndustry NT 21Power and WaterCorporation 22More information 23 3 waterwise gardening
  4. 4. waterwise gardeningIn the Top End, people use more thantwice as much water as those living inother Australian capital cities. That makes ussome of the biggest water users in Australia.With increasing populations The garden is a great placeand climate change variability, to start saving water.now is the time for people Being waterwise in theto start thinking about garden doesn’t mean youconserving water by have to compromise onusing it more efficiently. having a beautiful garden.Up to 65% of our water use In fact, if you follow theis outside the house, mostly tips in this book, your gardenin gardens. could look better than ever. planning your garden By planning your garden • Choose plants suitable for • Think about growing carefully, you can make it the conditions in which suitable trees that will look great, be waterwise and they will be placed. provide shade for your lawn. avoid problems years down • Group plants that The lawn is a big water user the track. have similar watering and shade will help reduce requirements. If they’re its water needs, as well as In the planning stages together, it will be easier cooling down your house. you should: to water them more • Think about how tall and • Consider the conditions efficiently and encourage how wide each plant will in different parts of your stronger plants. grow. Try to avoid growing garden. Some areas may • Choose water efficient trees that will eventually receive more sun or shade, plants – ask your local reach powerlines, or plants some may be exposed to nursery for advice on that will make accessing wind, wet or dry conditions. plant selection. the power or water meters difficult.4waterwise gardening
  5. 5. when to water? The best time to water your garden is between dusk and dawn. The optimum time to water is early morning prior to sunrise, as the water will be available to the plant during the day when it is needed.• Plan your reticulation system to cater for your immediate needs and possible garden NORTHERN expansion. Draw a map of TERRITORY your irrigation lines to make maintenance easier. GOVERNMENT – 2030• Visit your local irrigation SUSTAINABLE LIVING specialist for advice on TARGET: the most water efficient Reduce the amount of water that irrigation and water the Territory households use by 20% management programs. by 2015 and a further 10% by 2020,• Think about how much lawn compared to 2009 consumption levels. you actually need. Garden beds require less maintenance and use less water. 5 waterwise gardening
  6. 6. getting it By planning your garden carefully, you can make it lookright from great, be waterwise and avoid problems years down the track. Top End soils are generally the start sandy or clay loams, have low water holding capacities and high percolation rates. This means they don’t retain water and nutrients very well, which can affect the health of plants. The secret to creating a beautiful water efficient garden in the Top End is getting the condition of your soil right, so it is full of healthy micro-organisms to help feed and maintain the vigour of your plants. A good way to test whether your soil is nutrient rich is to see if you have worms. Lots of big worms in your soil indicates good healthy soil. Two easy ways of improving your soil condition are mulch and organic fertilisers.6 waterwise gardening
  7. 7. mulchMulch is a surface cover that The general rules when mulching in the Top End are:you put around your plants • Mulch at the start of the dry season. This way you benefitto retain water, fertilise and by retaining some of the moisture in the soil from the wetbeautify your garden. Mulch season, and the mulch will not break down as quickly as whatis also good at inhibiting it would do in the wet. Otherwise, you can still mulch at anyweed growth. time of the year.Generally mulch is organic • Water and fertilise your garden beds before laying the mulchwaste that has been broken to ensure they are moist and healthy.down until it is full of • Lay 150 mm (15 cm) of mulch around your plant and water innutrients and ready for well to initiate water movement through the mulch layer.the garden. • Do not let the mulch touch the base of the plant – this mayMulch is essential in all rot your plant.gardens because of its ability • Organic mulches break down over time improving soilto retain moisture, reduce structure, so they should be reapplied at least once a year toevaporation and as it breaks maintain their effectiveness. Finer mulches will break downdown, it adds valuable quicker than coarse materials.nutrient content to your soil.Mulches include woodchips,hay, straw and greenwaste.Mulch ideally should be save your clippingscomposted or aged to reduce Grass clippings are great for your garden in the Top End.the risk of burning and You can either spread them finely on your gardendepleting nutrients from beds straight from the lawn mower, add themthe soil. to a compost bin or pile in your yard and wait forDecorative gravels have it to break down so you can use as fertiliser.become popular as a groundcover however they do notimprove the soil and canbe expensive. 7 waterwise gardening
  8. 8. fertilisers Fertiliser will add nutrients Some ideal fertilisers in the Top End are: to your soil which will ensure better plant growth and Manures water retention as well as Aged chicken manure increasing resistance to pests Use in light, regular doses as it is high in nitrogen and and diseases. may burn some sensitive plants like ferns. Water in well. It is best to dig fertilisers into Cow or horse manure the soil or place beneath your Great for building up the organic content of your gardens mulch to ensure optimum and encouraging micro-organisms. up-take by the plants. Prone to weed infestation so remove any weeds if they Slow release organic fertilisers germinate. Use as a light mulch and water in well. are the best and most sustainable products to use Pig manure in the Top End. Inorganic A great nutrient rich manure if available. Apply as a fertilisers may be used top-dressing around the base of your plants and water in. to supplement any trace Packaged organic fertilisers elements that may be lacking in your garden. Organic Blood and bone fertilisers are usually An old standard that still provides great nutrient value manures or composts. for your garden. Follow product recommendations or seek advice from your local nursery professional. You can dig fertilisers into your soil or just lay them on top. Either way they will break down and build up your soil health.8 waterwise gardening
  9. 9. CompostPelletised chicken manure You can buy some great bulk compost products locally orAn industry standard easily make it yourself. Generally compost is a range of organicthat is widely used. Great material, such as grass, food (no meat) and garden scraps putnutrient value to encourage together and broken down. The end result is a nutrient richmicro-organisms. Follow fertiliser to add to your garden. Seek advice on compostingproduct recommendations techniques from your local nursery professional.or seek advice from yourlocal nursery professional. Other soil additivesLiquid organic fertilisers It is advisable to monitor your soil pH to see whether it isThe most effective and acidic or alkaline, and incorporate additives recommendedefficient way of supplying by your local nursery professional if required.nutrients to your garden. Waterlogging of the soilThere are many productson the market including Waterlogging is considered when the soil’s pores are filledfish emulsion and liquified with water, leaving no room for air. Of course, without theseaweed products. fundamental ingredient oxygen required by plant roots, the plant will not survive. This happens by killing the roots directly,Grass clippings or allows the plants to become vulnerable to disease producersGrass clippings are a great such as pythium and phytophthora.addition to your compost. Waterlogged plants generally appear wilted, stunted, a littlePlace light coverings of more yellow than normal and even develop dark spots on theclippings straight onto your leaves. Prolonged water logging can cause loss of leaves andgarden beds to help with death of root tips, or the entire plant. If the area is flooded duringweed control or incorporate the wet season, investigate planting sedges or plants that thriveinto your compost heap for in waterlogged or seasonally inundated areas.later use. Generally you canuse grass clippings in the If some of your plants begin to die during the first days of heatTop End as compost all year after a period of cool weather (dry season), former waterlogginground. The only time to avoid could be suspected. This would be an ideal time to investigateusing them is when your and correct prior to replanting the area.grass is seeding. Waterlogging indicators: • Continuous wet surface • Moss or slimy algae growing on the surface organic • Kills or stunts your plants especially in the wet season fertilisers • Foul odour (similar to rotten egg) when you dig into the surface are the best • Pockets of water below the surface and most To overcome and prevent waterlogging, speak to an irrigation sustainable specialist. You may require a simple surface drain filled with products to gravel or a special drainage system to suit the natural flow of water. Another thing to consider is that poor soil structures and use in the garden beds of deep clay can be contributing factors to drainage Top End. problems. In this case, speak to your local nursery for advice. 9 waterwise gardening
  10. 10. waterwise irrigation Another key to a beautiful and waterwise garden is a good irrigation system. There are many different ways to water your garden and many things you should take into consideration when hand choosing your irrigation system. watering micro This method can be relaxing and very efficient. When doing sprayers/ any hand watering, it is best to have a trigger nozzle. They misters give you excellent control and Micro sprayers or misters have a variety of spray styles are not as water efficient as to choose from. Trigger nozzles drippers. Water loss is more ensure you don’t waste water likely due to the wind and when moving between plants. evaporation. They will still get the job done and your plants watered if watering occurs during early morning prior to sunrise and winds. mini- drippers sprinklers Primarily designed for Drippers are by far the most under-tree irrigation in water efficient way to water sprinklers plants in your garden. They orchards, these sprinklers are recommended for use in slowly disperse water directly There is a large range of garden beds to deliver water to the roots of your plants sprinklers that you can attach efficiently. There are many and come in 2, 4 and 8 litre to your hose and move easily types available, however around your garden. These capacity per hour. Drippers several have interchangeable sprinklers are usually cheap are easy to install and nozzles or deflectors that and can get to all the spots maintain, however it is still allow for the watering of a you need to reach. Use a tap recommended that you install single plant initially to a far timer so you don’t waste water an in-line filter and flush your larger area as required. by forgetting to turn them off. dripper system at the start Avoid watering in the heat of of the dry season to avoid the day and when it is windy. blockages and ant nesting.10 waterwise gardening
  11. 11. pop-upsprinklersThese sprinklers are installed to make watering your lawn easyand automated. It is essential to have a timer on your pop-ups to perforatedmake sure you don’t forget to turn them off. Plan the installationof pop-ups well so the spray reaches your lawn and is not and porouswasted on pavement or roads. hosesA new type of pop-up sprinkler is now available on the market. These hoses allow water toIt has an adjustable radius to provide an even distribution of be applied slowly and canwater. For more information on new water saving products in be moved to hard-to-waterthe garden visit www.smartwatermark.org places. Porous hoses can be buried to supply waterMost irrigation specialists and hardware stores supply directly to the plant’s rootfree fact sheets on designing and installing pop up systems. zone and are great for narrowA well designed pop up system is the most efficient way to garden beds.water lawns. drippers are timers by far the Every waterwise garden needs most water an irrigation timer whether it is a manual timer, or a fully efficient way automatic system run by an to water irrigation controller. They are plants in essential to ensure watering is done efficiently and you your garden. don’t forget to turn your they slowly system off. You may find that installing an automatic disperse irrigation system will pay forwater directly itself in a relatively short period of time.to the roots of your plants 11 waterwise gardening
  12. 12. The typical Top End garden has lots of lawn because it suits our active outdoor looking lifestyle and warmclimate. Although they look terrific and make after your great living areas forpeople, lawns are high maintenance and water hungry. lawn People in the Top End region often over-water their lawns. Here are some ways you can maintain a beautiful healthy lawn without wasting water. When establishing a lawn: • Make sure you have good quality topsoil. Speak to a landscaping specialist to find out how you can improve the soil quality before planting your lawn. • Too often people don’t lay enough topsoil. Make sure it is at least 100 to 150 mm (10 to 15 cm) deep as this will ensure sufficient room for grass roots to keep out of the heat so they can forage for water. • Pick a water efficient species of grass. Generally Paspalum sp. (crab grass) and Zoysia spp. ( zoysia grass) are the most water efficient lawns for the Top End. • Do you need so much lawn? Think of areas where you can pave or use ground covers instead of having lawn. Maintaining your lawn: • Turn your sprinklers off in the wet season. • Don’t mow your lawn too short. Longer blades of grass shade the roots and reduce evaporation. • Fertilise your lawn twice a year with a good quality slow release fertiliser. Avoid fertilisers with high nitrogen levels, as this induces excessive growth and water uptake. • Water only when your lawn needs it. Once or twice a week is usually sufficient through the dry season. • Coring your lawn and adding gypsum to clay soils will aid root growth and improve your lawn’s health and durability. 12 waterwise gardening
  13. 13. when to water Because most Top End soils don’t hold moistureshould well, the rule of watering less frequently and for longer periods does not apply to Darwini turn and Katherine region gardens.off the However, these rules still apply:irrigation? • Water between dusk and dawn. Watering your garden at night minimises water loss through evaporation.Turn your irrigationsystem off during the • Water vegetables around dawn to avoid fungal disease problems.majority of the wet • Depending on your soil type, gradient of your property,season and let the rains amount of mulch and irrigation type, generally you do notwater the garden for you. need to water for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.You should only need Any more than that and the water will be wasted becauseto periodically turn the it will be draining straight through the soil past the rootirrigation system back on zone of your plants taking valuable nutrients with it.during extended periodsof no rain. renting Whether you are renting or own your home, you can always act waterwise. Simply try tap timers or aerators in your yard. depending on can households in your soil type, gradient of the wet/dry tropics your property, use less water? amount of Darwin experiences a short but wet, wet season and then many mulch and months of very low rainfall. Similarly Mackay has periods of low rainfall however by planting appropriately and undertaking irrigation type, water efficient practices outside, have lower water use. generally you do not need to Darwin and Mackay are similiar in size, climate and rainfall patterns.water for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time. darwin mackay, qld 493 65% outdoors Litres per person per day 247 50% outdoors* Litres per person per day * Queensland average. 13 waterwise gardening
  14. 14. Our family was able to leaks A tap that drips once every second wastes 30 litres of water daily. If every home had justreduce our water usage in two such dripping taps, we would waste overthe dry season from around one whole Olympic swimming pool worth of3,000 L per day to 2,000 water EVERY DAY. A cracked or broken pipeL per day just by reducing can waste several thousand litres a day.the running time of ourirrigation system and fixing Use these tricks to find Quick guide to checkinga few broken sprinklers. hidden leaks: for leaks:We found that by reducingthe time each station on ✓ hissing, dripping Be alert to any water ✓ Turn off all taps and water-using devices atthe irrigation system runs or running when the property.by 5 minutes (down to appliances are off.15 minutes per station), we ✓ Write down numberswere able to save lots of ✓ Check kitchen, on the meter.water and that our garden bathroom and laundry for dripping taps and ✓ If the dial is not visiblycontinued to thrive. moving, wait for at washing machine and least 15 minutes (the- Trevor and Maree from Leanyer dishwasher connections. longer the better as Don’t forget hot small leaks may take water systems and air longer to show). conditioning units too. ✓ Unstable paving or ✓ Write down numbers again – concrete and damp have they changed? patches on walls may also suggest you have ✓ If they have, you may have a leak. Ring a leak. a plumber to fix those leaks. L Look out for wet patches in your garden or unusually v vigorous/green garden growth. Check and maintain y your irrigation system and if installing new irrigation, g get some professional advice. B Broken irrigation heads, while technically not a leak, c can waste a lot of water and water areas such as concrete t that don’t need it. The best way to check this is when the irrigation is on, adjust and replace sprinkler heads. E Ella Patterson Water Engineer, Power and Water Corporation
  15. 15. Since moving into our Nightcliff home a few years ago,we have been working towards reducing our waterconsumption, especially in our yard. pools Pools can account for nearlyWe have a large tropical garden and by planting plants one fifth of a household’swith similar water needs together, we have been able water use. Some evaporates,to keep our water use down. However, we do need to some leaks and some goes tosupplement our irrigation with some hand watering backwash. If you have a pool:occasionally, but we can really target the areas usingless water overall. We also replaced our irrigation system • Shade the pool towhich was full of leaks that we just couldn’t find. reduce evaporation.Our large swimming pool is positioned in full sun • Use a pool cover toand required regular top ups due to evaporation. Since reduce evaporationinstalling shade cloth over our pool, we have really and keep the pool clean.noticed that we don’t have to top it up as often. • Keep the pool cleanWe have managed to reduce our water consumption and empty the skimmerfrom about 500L per person per day to 350L per person basket daily to reduceper day. It goes up a little in the dry but we hardly use any filter back flushing.water in the wet season when we don’t need to irrigate • Try a cartridge filter.at all. Our irrigation system is switched off completely • Experiment with howduring the wet. little you can run the - Amy from Nightcliff filter pump and still maintain a healthy pool. 15 waterwise gardening
  16. 16. native waterwise plants16 waterwise gardening
  17. 17. Next time you Some great ornamental Top End natives include: introduce new Acacia gonocarpa Grevillea wickhamii plants to your Acacia nuperrima Holly Grevillea garden, consider Acacia wickhamii using natives to Peltophorum pterocarpumthe Top End. They Alphitonia excelsa Yellow Flame Tree are well adapted Red Ash or Soap Tree Pleomele angustifloia to the local Alstonia actinophylla Native Dracaena conditions, need Milkwood Melastoma malabathricum less water and Native Lasiandra will attract Banksia dentata wildlife. Swamp Banksia Mimusops elengi Mimusops Calytrix existipulata Turkey Bush Murraya paniculata Murraya Chrysopogon elongatus Tall Tamil Grass Syzygium armstrongii White Bush Apple Curcuma australasica (suitable for large gardens, Native Ginger seek advice from your local Grevillea dryandri nursery professional) Dryander’s Grevillea Grevillea formosa Mt Brockman Grevillea Grevillea pteridifolia Fern-leaved Grevillea for more information on native plants and gardening in the Top End, visit Greening Australia’s website www.greeningaustralia.org.au 17 waterwise gardening
  18. 18. making your garden waterwise tropical gardens Most established gardens in • Consider reducing the size Darwin are tropical. A typical of your lawn and replacing tropical garden consists of it with mulched areas. palms, lots of lawn and other • Use drippers rather lush water-hungry plants. than sprayers. There are ways you can reduce Some waterwise plants the water needs of these for a tropical garden are: gardens, while ensuring they • Native ornamental species. still look great: • Xerophytic (drought • Consider removing resistant) plant species. some plants and replacing them with more • Non-invasive exotic species water-efficient species. that are adapted to our wet/dry climatic zone. • Make sure garden beds are mulched.18 waterwise gardening
  19. 19. contemporary gardens In recent years new housing • Mulch all plants, even the estates have boomed in Darwin ones in pots. and Palmerston, creating a new • If building your garden from style of garden. The Darwin scratch, installing efficient contemporary is typically on a and suitable automatic smaller block and incorporates watering systems that are a mixture of potted and garden well maintained, can save bed plants, some lawn as well you time and money. as ground covers, pavers and water features. Some waterwise plants for a Top End contemporary These gardens are designed garden are: to be low maintenance and • Cycads • Yuccas simple in style. They have the potential to be very water • Pony Tails • Agaves efficient if planned correctly: • Spider Lily • Rhoeo • Have less lawn and more • Natives • Vincas pavers and groundcovers. • Dianella • Draceanas • Plant water-efficient • Liriope species in the gardenphoto courtesyof in-scape-out and pots where possible. bush gardens Typically found in the rural • Only water what you areas of the Darwin and have to – try to let nature Katherine regions, the bush take care of the rest of garden is a mix of natives, your block. tropical and potted exotic • Retain as much native species. Generally the areas vegetation as possible. around the house will be well • Think about replacing manicured and structured, and thirsty plants with suitable the remainder of the block will natives near your home – grow freely, usually being low they need less water and maintenance as it consists of will attract more wildlife. native trees and shrubs. Some waterwise plants for Some waterwise tips for the the bush garden are: bush garden are: • Acacias • Use a timer on sprinklers so you don’t forget to turn • Grevilleas them off. • Eucalypts • Use lawn clippings for mulch and compost. 19 waterwise gardening
  20. 20. potted gardens As the apartment • Select water efficient development boom continues species – they don’t in Darwin, many people are have to be native. leaving their houses and big • Use a saucer on the base gardens for high-rise living. of the pot. This keeps This doesn’t mean missing your floor or pavers clean, out on having a garden. as well as holding extra Potted gardens are practical, moisture for the plant to transportable, easy to absorb. Be careful not to maintain and look great. have water permanently These tips will help you in the saucers as many stay waterwise: plants will rot. • Pot your plants into a • Remember to fertilise your premium potting mix potted plants regularly made to the Australian with a suitable slow Standard – it has a higher release plant food. water holding capacity Some waterwise plants so you won’t need to for the potted garden are: water as often. • Cycads • Choose larger and deeper pots – shallow pots will be • Agaves prone to greater moisture • Draceanas loss from breeze and • Frangipani evaporation. • Yuccas • Hand water the plants • Pony Tail using a trigger nozzle on a hose or a watering can. • Bromeliads • Mulch around the plant • Bougainvillea base to retain moisture. • Jade Plant • Desert Rose • Succulents to create a beautiful waterwise Top End garden, see your local nursery, garden centre or garden professional for the right advice.20 waterwise gardening
  21. 21. nurseryand gardenindustry ntThe Nursery & Garden Industry NT (NGINT) is the peak bodyrepresenting nurseries and garden centres as well as allied traders.NGINT also represents a growing number of businesses from theamenity horticulture sector including landscaping designers, suppliersand contractors, irrigation services and garden maintenance. NGINT’s goal is to “build The NGINT is committed better businesses” by helping to promoting and educating and supporting members to the industry and community improve their performance about sustainable water use. and professionalism. Gardening is an important part of our outdoor lifestyle Through the national and it is also essential for Nursery and Garden Industry tourism, recreation, leisure Association (NGIA), the and health. nursery and garden industry has been proactive with It is vital that everyone takes initiatives to address the responsibility for sustainable industry’s key water issues. water use, and in the garden The industry, along with the that means thinking about gardening public, is perceived efficient watering techniques, to be a significant user of the quality of the soil and water. The National Industry plant selection. Water Policy has been For more information presented to key industry about the NGINT and NGIA, stakeholders and community and gardening tips visit groups and provides a www.ngia.com.au or strategic framework for phone 08 8983 3233. developing ongoing projects and partnerships on water issues. 21 waterwise gardening
  22. 22. power and water corporation Around 65% of household consumption and impact water is used in the garden on the environment. and this is where people can Power and Water has make real water savings. teamed up with the Top End residents are some Nursery & Garden Industry of the biggest water users in NT so its customers have the country, and Power and access to the right advice Water is striving to help its on waterwise gardening. customers reduce their water custom for more information on ho how to save energy and water, v visit www.powerwater.com.au, c call 1800 245 092 or p pick up a free copy of the green guide from our customer service centres. Darwin Palmerston Katherine Shop 28, Shop 21, Ground Floor, Ground Floor, Mitchell Centre Palmerston Shopping Centre Government Centre 55 Mitchell Street 10 Temple Terrace 5 First Street22 waterwise gardening
  23. 23. Smart Approved Watermark SAWM stands for Smart Approved WaterMark. It is a voluntary label used on outdoor products such as pool covers or trigger nozzle hoses. It indicates that the product is water saving but does not give it a rating. For more information visit information www.smartwatermark.org savewater!® Alliance Inc savewater! has a range of water conservation information including a home water use calculator which allows you to see where you are using the majority of water in and around your home and how this compares to the Northern Territory average. www.savewater.com.au Greening Australia Greening Australia is passionate about protecting and restoring the health of our land. Native plants are available for sale from their nursery. Visit greeningaustralia.org.au Acknowledgements more Allora Gardens Nursery David Silva – Silva Photography Good Gardens with less water by Kevin Handreck (CSIRO Publishing Gardening Guides, 2008) Jane Dellow – NGINT Power and Water Corporation Disclaimer: This booklet is a general guideline about household water efficiency only. It may contain errors and omissions and may not be suitable for the circumstances of many households. The services of a competent professional should always be sought before any actions are taken in relation to household water efficiency. Individual contributors do not accept liability in any way for any errors or omissions in the booklet and do not accept any liability to any person in respect of anything done directly or indirectly by a person in reliance upon whole or any part of this booklet.23 23 waterwise gardening
  24. 24. waterwise www.ngia.com.au www.powerwater.com.au Phone 08 8983 3233 Phone 1800 245 092 ABN 98 438 929 847 ABN 15 947 352 360 printed under iso 14001 environmental certification guidelines. printed from vegetable-based inks, all waste and by-products of the process have been recycled. printed on monza recycled stock.