Planning your irrigation and garden maintenance for the dry season
Posted on 24 April, 2017 in
Keeping your garden and lawn well-watered is essential during the Northern Territory’s dry season. However, how can this be done effectively? Which dry season gardening techniques can you use to help keep your garden and lawn looking at their best during these months?
The dry season for the Territory extends from May to September. During this time of reduced rainfall, different irrigation strategies need to be used to ensure the sustained health of gardens and lawns. Planning ahead and using a number of common sense Darwin irrigation techniques (that are adapted to suit Top End gardeners) is the key to gardening success.
Dry season irrigation and landscaping tips:
- Water between dusk and dawn. This minimises water evaporation, ensuring that more water reaches the roots of the plants and lawn. According to the Northern Territory’s Nursery and Garden Industry, the best time to water is before sunrise, as this will mean the water is available to the plants during the day.
- Water occasionally (and deeply!). One of the key dry season gardening watering techniques is to water occasionally and deeply rather than often and at a shallow level. By watering deeply, you encourage the plant to grow roots that reach deep into the soil looking for the water. Watering frequently will only encourage shallow roots, which will be more vulnerable to drought. Constant watering will also wash away vital nutrients, leaving plants undernourished and weak.
- More mulch! If you are not already mulching heavily around your plants, then you should start. The effectiveness of mulch in holding in water is particularly useful for sandy soil. Mulch helps prevent a great deal of evaporation and water runoff and is also essential for maintaining the quality of the soil, suppressing weeds, and helping with drainage.
- Water effectively. It’s the quality of your watering, not the quantity. Contrary to popular opinion, you shouldn’t need to water more than 15-20 minutes at a time, depending on the type of irrigation you employ, the amount of mulch you have, and the gradient of the property. Any more than 20 minutes will drain the water past the root zone, taking valuable nutrients with it.
- Know your garden. It’s important that you understand the water needs of the various plants in your garden. Not only may individual plants have different watering needs, but where they are located is also of importance. Are they in an exposed situation where the winds and sun drain moisture from the soil? Or are they located in a more sheltered part of the garden? Take this into account when you put together your watering plan.
Dry season gardening is definitely an art! Gardening in the Northern Territory means being able to adapt to the very different seasons. However, the techniques are easy to master and are based on a traditional, common sense approach to watering.
Moreover, the dry months of our climate in the Territory, without the heavy rains, are an excellent time to plan ahead for your garden. The dry season is the optimal period to carry out those necessary renovations that you’ve been putting off for months. The conditions are well suited to installing a new, more effective irrigation scheme, ready for the heavier rains of the wet season. Or you can upgrade your current system.
Hardy Landscaping is an experienced irrigation and landscaping professional team who can help you keep your lawn and garden looking the best during the long dry months. We are experienced in working with the unique climate conditions of the Northern Territory and provide expert irrigation and landscaping solutions, tailored to the needs of your lawn and garden.
Please contact us to find out how we can help you get the best for your dry season gardening.
Image: Sprinkler mechanism. Credit: jjharrison89