To keep your garden green and fresh, it is essential to maintain high levels of moisture. This is one of the most important garden maintenance tasks. However, it isn’t just a case of watering, since you also need to take measures to retain water in the soil.
As gardening services experts based in Essex, The Constant Gardener team have experience of looking after outdoor spaces all through the year, including in periods of drought or hot summers. Here we look at how to carry out watering or irrigation effectively, and how to make sure your garden gets and retains the moisture it needs to flourish.
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Making Watering Effective
Just turning on a hose at any time of day will not result in effective watering. It’s far better and avoids waste to carry out watering at cooler times of day, such as early morning or evening, so that too much water won’t be lost through evaporation.
Watering is also an area of garden care where prevention is better than cure. The ideal is to keep a garden moist rather than trying to restore moisture after soil has already dried out too much and when plants are already starting to wilt. Part of garden maintenance is checking soil regularly to ensure it has the right level of water for plants to grow well.
Lighter soils need watering more often than the heavy or clay-based soils in some areas of Essex, but clay soils tend to need more water at a time. Targeting the soil above the roots, at the base of the stem, will help plants to grow well. Thorough watering carried out slightly less frequently, rather than brief watering sessions, can help to promote the growth of deep root systems, helping plants to absorb moisture. To funnel water down to the roots, for instance in a flowerbed, one method is to place a flower pot low down in the bed beside the plants and pour water into it.
Which Areas of the Garden Need More Watering?
Requirements for watering may vary depending on the particular garden, type of soil, which areas are in shade and sunshine and other factors. However, in general, newly-planted areas or younger shrubs and trees need watering more often because they won’t yet have grown deep roots. Herbaceous perennials are also likely to need more frequent watering.
Lawn care can require a lot of watering to keep grass looking green and avoid brown patches appearing, and also to prevent disease. Water requirements are especially high for newly-laid lawns or turf. Just watering the surface lightly won’t be enough, as the water is likely to evaporate quickly in sunshine, so it is better to carry out a more thorough irrigation on a less frequent basis. It could also help with lawn maintenance in dry periods if lawnmower blades are kept sharp and at a higher level, as slightly longer grass can retain moisture better. If there are restrictions during a drought period and you can’t water the lawn, any brown patches should disappear in the autumn, once the weather becomes wetter again.
A wide range of watering equipment is available, from watering cans and hoses to sprinkler systems, which are mainly used for lawns, and automatic irrigation systems. It’s also possible to use automatic systems for watering plants in containers and planters, for instance on a patio. Any automated system needs to be set up carefully so that water gets to the right areas and doesn’t end up being wasted, and also to avoid plants being over-watered.
As well as choosing equipment to carry out watering, it is a good idea to collect rain water in a water butt so that it isn’t wasted and can go to where it is needed in the garden. Storing rain water is very helpful if there is a period of drought.
Other Methods of Retaining Moisture
Watering and irrigation are only part of the story when it comes to keeping your garden moist and green. Various other steps are also important, including mulching and composting, which work to retain moisture in the soil. Mulches improve the soil texture, thus allowing water to soak in better and be retained for longer. Grass clippings and garden shreddings are among good mulches for keeping moisture. It also helps to cultivate the soil and dig in well-rotted compost, improving its overall quality.
Weeding is another key to retaining moisture, since it prevents weeds from taking away the valuable water needed for the plants you want to grow. Yet another idea is to consider choosing varieties of plants which naturally only require limited amounts of water and retain moisture well.
If you need expert help from a garden maintenance business, get in touch with The Constant Gardener. Based at Chelmsford in Essex, we can advise you and work out a programme for your specific garden. We work with customers in areas including Writtle, Broomfield, Hatfield Peverel and Great Dunmow.
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