Your Guide to Waterwise Gardening - Perth, Australia


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Your Guide to Waterwise Gardening - Perth, Australia

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Your Guide to Waterwise Gardening - Perth, Australia

  1. 1. Your Guide to Waterwise GardeningWater is a precious resource and Western Replace 50m2 of lawn with aAustralia is being severely impacted by waterwise garden bed and save:climate change, resulting in the driestyears on record. The average Perth ucket 0k g C O2 bill ur s bhousehold uses around half of their water cut yo 27 b s 11 y earin the garden, which makes it a great r y ea da ea h y $8place to start saving water. each c 8 a yWaterwise gardens use less water and arelow maintenance, leaving you with moretime to relax and enjoy your surroundings. JOSH SAYS: Reduced rainfall and extendedFollow the tips provided for a beautiful periods of drought meanwaterwise garden. that water-guzzlingHaving a waterwise garden will: gardens need to become a thing of the • Save water - every drop counts! past. With some creative • Reduce your impact on the thinking and planning, environment (e.g. less fertiliser we can all turn our gardens into beautiful leaching). and productive places • Reduce maintenance (less pruning that are more in tune and mowing required). with our unique Western Australian conditions. • Save money on water bills! Government of Western Australia Department of Transport For more Living Smart information go to:
  2. 2. WHERE DO I START? the nearest accredited centre just Select waterwise plants to create an follow the ‘Being Waterwise’ links from attractive, low maintenance garden that helps conserve our precious water • The majority of your garden should resources. be set aside for hardy “one drop” Waterwise plants which are suitable HOW DO I DO IT? for Perth conditions. Keep the area for thirsty or “three drop” plants (including Planning and Design vegetables and annual flower beds) to Some basic planning is critical to achieve a a minimum, and locate these close to beautiful and waterwise garden – just follow the house for maximum enjoyment. these handy hints: • An incredibly diverse range of • Take the time to observe the micro- Waterwise plants are available, so climate in different parts of your garden you can create any style of garden (e.g. sunny, shady, windy, etc) – this you like – including Mediterranean, will allow you to select plants that are cottage, formal and even tropical best suited to particular conditions. themes! Garden design ideas and • Consider the topography of your compatible species lists are available garden for positioning different plants. from the Water Corporation at Choose hardy, deep rooted plants for sloping areas where water tends to run Plant Selection off rather than infiltrate the soil. Place The Perth area has unique and challenging thirsty plants in depressions where rain gardening conditions due to our (and irrigation) water collects. Mediterranean climate, with long, hot, dry • Group plants with similar water summers and short, cool winters. Consider requirements together so you can using native plants that are ideally suited irrigate them efficiently – this is called to your conditions and need minimal “hydrozoning”. Waterwise Garden watering once established. Local native Centres label their plants as ‘one, two (or indigenous) species have the added or three drop plants’ to assist you with bonus of providing food and habitat for grouping them in the garden. To locate2
  3. 3. local fauna. There is a huge range of Lawn:hardy exotic species that are well suited to Lawns typically need more water thanWestern Australia’s conditions but are not hardy shrubs and ground covers. They areinvasive weeds. You can get some help also higher maintenance, so when planningin choosing stunning waterwise plants for your garden, carefully consider whether youyour garden from a number of places: need lawn, and if so keep it to the minimum • Visit your local accredited nursery area required. or garden centre and enquire about Hardy ground covers or stylish paving species suited to your area. They can can make a great lawn replacement (but also help you to identify your soil type avoid creating heat traps near the house characteristics, including texture and from pavers that transfer summer sun pH (a measure of soil acidity/alkalinity). into the house slab or reflect heat up onto • The Water Corporation’s “Waterwise windows). Plants for Perth” is an excellent If you do decide to have lawn, choose a database of native and exotic plants water-efficient species such as Saltene, that (once established) will flourish Zoysia or one of the soft leafed Buffalos. on one watering a week or less Soil preparation is also important to during summer – follow the links from improve the water efficiency of lawns. • The Wildflower Society of Western Potplants: Australia provides species lists for the If establishing a garden in pots, use a different Western Australian soil types premium grade potting mix – it has a higher – visit the website http://members. water holding capacity so you will not need to water as often.Timing: Unglazed clay pots are porous and dryAutumn (April and May) is one of the best out quickly. Coat these with a sealingtimes to plant in Perth due to the cooler agent prior to planting, but make sure theweather. Give your new plants the best drainage holes are clear.chance to thrive by planting at the righttimes. 3
  4. 4. Preparing Your Waterwise HOW DO I DO IT? Garden - Soil Conditioning To improve the quality of your soil, add and Mulching organic matter such as: Adding soil conditioner to your garden • Compost – make your own with a beds and pots along with a layer of coarse range of organic household materials, mulch can help you create a thriving, with the added benefit of reducing water-efficient garden. your household waste. • Worm castings – become a worm SOIL CONDITIONING - WHAT ‘farmer’ and get your ‘workers’ to CAN I DO? create this wonderful soil conditioner. The secret to a flourishing garden is well • Aged animal manures (e.g. chicken, prepared be ready to get your sheep, cow, horse) – these are great hands dirty! for growing veggies and other hungry A well conditioned soil: exotic plants. Remember that manure • Is filled with plenty of organic matter is nutrient rich and should be used and abundant soil life. lightly. It may also harm some native • Has a pH (soil acidity/alkalinity) plants. There are specialist slow neutral to slightly acidic (pH 6-7). release fertilisers for natives – just ask • Is free draining while still able to retain your local nursery for further advice. moisture and nutrients. • Packaged organic fertilisers (e.g. The first rule of successful, low blood and bone, chicken manure maintenance gardening is to feed the soil, pellets and liquid organic fertilisers) not the plants. A well conditioned soil will – these feed your plants and also support plants without the need for regular improve the soil (just follow the applications of chemical fertilisers, which product recommendations). can quickly leach through our sandy soils • Organic mulches – these break down and contaminate groundwater and water to improve the soil. ways.4
  5. 5. Organic matter can be dug in prior to WHYplanting or laid on top of soil in an already Benefits Soil Conditioningestablished garden. Either way, it willbreak down and improve your soil. Always Improves soiladd soil conditioners prior to planting structure as welland at least twice a year to established as moisture and plants. Check your soil pH with a kit from nutrient retentionyour local nursery. Most plants prefer a EncouragespH of around 6-7. If your soil is not withinthis range, the local nursery will be able microbiological  activityto recommend an appropriate product Makes plantsto adjust the pH level, or suggest plants healthier suited to the conditions.Remove all weeds from your garden Reduces the water needs of yourarea – weeds compete with plants for soilnutrients and water. Apply wetting agent to plants, helping you your soil in early Spring and late Summer save waterto counter Perth’s water repellent soil. 5
  6. 6. MULCHING HOW DO I DO IT? Mulch is best applied at the end of WHAT CAN I DO? winter or the beginning of spring while There are three main types of mulches the ground is moist from winter rain and – feeding mulch (such as pea straw, before the hot, drying winds of summer. shredded lupins or lucerne hay), woody Condition your soil prior to mulching, lay mulch (such as wood chips or prunings), mulch around your plants (keeping clear and permanent mulch (such as gravel or of the stem) in a layer about 5-10cm thick. pebbles). Good waterwise mulches have Course woody mulch should be reapplied coarse and irregular texture, allowing annually. water to penetrate and the soil to breathe, whilst reducing evaporation and keeping Before mulching: the soil cool. • Remove any grass, weeds and dead Soft mulches (such as feeding mulch) plants from the garden; break down rapidly to feed the soil and • Put in any new plants; need topping up regularly. These are • If installing an irrigation system, suited for fruit trees, vegetable gardens such as a drip system, do so before and other hungry plants. mulching. Woody mulches are better suited to MULCHING TIPS deeper rooted hardy plants (such as Free mulch (shredded green waste) is natives) and are ideal for exposed areas often available from your local council. as they are less likely to blow away. It can also be purchased cheaply Permanent mulches are mainly used from commercial tree loppers. Mulch for landscaping effects but also play an Net is a local Perth company that important role in retaining soil moisture. arranges free mulch deliveries from tree These are best suited to plants that have lopping contractors (for more info visit modest feeding requirements and don’t drop leaves (such as succulents).6
  7. 7. WHY HOW DO I DO IT? Benefits Mulching Plan for Efficient Watering Group plants in your garden together Improves moisture and nutrient retention in the soil  according to their water needs so you can irrigate them efficiently without over Suppresses weeds  or under watering. A good place to start is Encourages with a Waterwise Garden Appraisal from microbiological activity  your local Waterwise Garden Centre. Watering Times Makes plants healthier  The best time to water your garden is at Looks great  dawn when there are minimal evaporative losses and the risk of plant based fungal Prevents soil erosion in windy areas  diseases is reduced. Irrigation run times vary depending on the application rate of Reduces the water needs your irrigation system, but typically range of your plants, helping you save water  from 10 – 15 minutes per station. For assistance in determining ideal run times consult one of the Waterwise GardenMaintaining Your Irrigators – you’ll find contact details forWaterwise Garden - these by following the ‘Being Waterwise’Efficient Watering links from CAN I DO?By applying the right amount of water inthe cool hours of the day and using dripirrigation you will save water and allowyour garden to thrive. 7
  8. 8. Watering Rosters Gardens can only be irrigated on your The Water Corporation’s Water Efficiency allocated days either during the morning Measures include a roster system for (before 9am) or the evening (after 6pm water users across WA. In Perth and and reticulation systems must be switched surrounds, there is currently a two day off during winter). These water efficiency a week roster for scheme users and measures have reduced water use in Perth an additional day for bore users. Your by 45 million litres per year. To find out household watering days are determined more about water efficiency measures, by your house number (the last digit). visit House or Lot Watering Days for Bore owners Numbers (ending in) scheme and bore water users additional day (2 days) 1 Wednesday and Saturday Monday 2 Thursday and Sunday Tuesday 3 Friday and Monday Wednesday 4 Saturday and Tuesday Thursday 5 Sunday and Wednesday Friday 6 Monday and Thursday Saturday 7 Tuesday and Friday Sunday 8 Wednesday and Saturday Monday 9 Thursday and Sunday Tuesday 0 Friday and Monday Wednesday8
  9. 9. Reticulation Systems - Drip Hand WateringIrrigation and Sprinklers Hand watering can be a very efficientSubstrata (under the mulch) drip irrigation method of watering – particularly if youis the most efficient way to water your use a ‘trigger’ nozzle to ensure minimalplants. Water is applied directly to the water wastage when moving betweenroots, eliminating evaporative losses and plants. It is important to ensure not to overoverspray. As the water is applied to the water using this method. Try to keep handsoil rather than the foliage, fewer fungal watering to twice a week except in very hotdiseases are experienced. Drip irrigation are reasonably priced and easyto install and maintain – please refer to the Diversified Water Sources‘Installing Drip Irrigation’ section further You can utilise rainfall by diverting waterbelow for more information. from gutters or laying paving to direct run off into garden beds to recharge soilSprinklers come in many varieties. The moisture. By doing this, even light rainfallmost efficient for Western Australia’s events can benefit your plants. Tanks canconditions are the heavy droplet type be used to store water for garden use butwhich reduce wind drift and water loss. the types of small tanks that are suitedIf using sprinklers it is very important to to urban lots soon run out in summer.position them to get maximum uniformity Household greywater can also be usedof application over the area being in the garden by redirecting shower, bath,irrigated. Avoid watering in the heat of the hand basin and laundry water through anday or during windy times. When using a ‘approved greywater system’.portable sprinkler and hose, always use atap timer to ensure you don’t waste waterby forgetting to turn the sprinkler off.For irrigation advice and support visita WaterWise Irrigation Design Shop –you’ll find contact details for these byfollowing the ‘Being Waterwise’ links 9
  10. 10. Installing Drip Irrigation performance. Your Waterwise Irrigation Design Shop can assist you in making HOW DO I DO IT? the correct choice – you’ll find contact Drip irrigation is a watering system that details for your nearest shop by following saves water by delivering it in drips rather the ‘Being Waterwise’ links from than a spray. It is easy to convert many existing irrigation systems to drippers. There are two main types of drip irrigation: Spacing Drip irrigation supplies a controlled Button drippers are individual dripper units amount of water to a limited portion of soil that are manually attached to poly pipe surrounding each plant and relies on the and have either a fixed or adjustable flow properties of the soil to spread the water rate. They are best suited to small pots laterally. It’s important to tailor your system and hanging baskets. to your soil type, as water moves very Drip-line products are fixed flow drippers differently through sand, loam and clay. set at regular intervals inside a length of poly pipe during the manufacturing Soil type clay loam sand process. They are ideal for garden beds Dripper interval 50cm 40cm 30cm as a substitute for sprinklers, particularly in Line spacing 50cm 40cm 30cm narrow and irregularly shaped situations. In addition to a timer, a typical drip Installation irrigation system will include a filter to Drip irrigation can be installed into existing prevent drippers from blocking up, as garden beds and laid in various patterns to well as a pressure regulating valve and suit the planting layout. Simply lay the drip vacuum relief valves. line on the surface of the beds and mulch over the pipes to conceal them. If you are There are different drip products designed irrigating a veggie patch or annual flower for specific applications, including bore beds where the soil is regularly worked, the water and greywater, and equipment lines may be left on the surface so they can such as a filter is required for optimum be lifted when digging.10
  11. 11. Once you have run the lengths of drip line called trifluralin, a chemical that rapidlyalong your garden beds, connect one breaks down when it makes contactend into the poly pipe supply line using a with the soil. In sandypunching tool and drip line connectors. soil, thorough soilThe other end can be capped using a conditioning is requiredpiece of poly pipe – simply fold the end to ensure even wettingof the drip line and slip a small piece of of the root zone.the poly pipe over the end. Removing For more informationthe poly pipe `cap´ allows the drip line on installing a dripto be flushed of debris for maintenance. irrigation system andIf you are laying out a number of lines for general information on creating aacross a garden bed, the drip lines productive and waterwise garden – seeshould be connected to a blank poly pipe Josh’s book The Green Gardener by`collection´ line that is capped off at both Penguin Books.ends, so that if one end is opened, all To have an irrigation system installedthe drip lines are flushed through the one professionally, consult a Waterwisepoint for convenience. Secure the drip line Garden Irrigator. Contact detailsin place using pins made from stiff wire. for both can be found by followingThe use of drip line irrigation under lawn is the ‘Being Waterwise’ links frombecoming increasingly popular. Installing under roll-on lawn prior to laying isthe easiest method, but there are alsomachines available that can insert driplines into established lawns. You will needto take measures against root intrusion ina subsurface area. This can be done byincluding a root-intrusion guard, a filter-likedevice that continually doses the irrigationwater with a small amount of herbicide 11
  12. 12. Waterwise Garden Maintenance By planting a waterwise garden you can Tips: reduce your water consumption and save • Regularly check your irrigation system money on your water bill. for leaks and blockages. Also check for dripping taps; YOUR WATERWISE CHECKLIST Waterwise • Adjust your irrigation controller Garden already New doing  Action  according to the seasons and switch it Checklist off in the event of rain and over winter; Choose • Apply wetting agents to aid water waterwise plants penetration if you have non wetting soil; Condition the • Regularly top up your mulch to retain soil moisture in the soil; Add mulch • Remove weeds – they use water too!; Switch to drip • Sweep paths and driveways rather irrigation than watering them. Stick to watering roster days WHY? The typical household uses about 660 Collect rainwater litres of water per day (this is about 290 Reuse grey litres per person per day). These volumes water are steadily decreasing with the application of water conservation measures. Water Apply soil wetter use in the garden is around half the total Minimise lawn water demand for a typical household. areas During 2010/11, Living Smart will be offered to around 10,000 households in Perth’s eastern region as part of the Perth Solar City program. For more information on this Australian Government initiative, please call 1300 993 268 or visit Living Smart Ambassadors are Tanya Ha (expert in environmental living and the author of Greeniology and Green Stuff for Kids) and Josh Byrne (sustainability specialist, presenter on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia program and author of The Green Gardener). The information in this brochure is provided in good faith. However the accuracy or appropriateness of the information is not guaranteed. The Living Smart brand has been developed by The Meeting Place Community Centre, the City of Fremantle, Murdoch University and Southern Metropolitan Regional Council to support a suite of programs developing capacity in community sustainability.12 PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER