Our beautiful Hunter region comes with very high temperatures over summer and dry periods throughout the year.
Under Level 1 Water Restrictions, changes to water use in your garden will apply, including watering your garden before 10am or after 4pm using a trigger nozzle, and no use of sprinklers at any time.
Pick your season
The ideal time of year for new plants, installing irrigation systems and other major changes to your garden is in autumn as it has nine months to recover before the oncoming summer heat. Use this time to replace struggling plants with more drought-tolerant varieties for the warmer months ahead.
Once summer hits, it's time to maintain and enjoy your garden. Keep up the mulch, prune your plants and increase shade where possible. Under the summer heat, disturbed soil loses its moisture rapidly and makes it hard for gardens to recover.
Top water saving tips for watering your garden:
- Watering your garden before 10am or after 4pm with a trigger nozzle will help reduce water evaporation.
- Here's a test: before watering your garden, push aside the mulch and put your finger into the soil. If it is moist below the surface, then you don't need to water.
- Many healthy plants in good soils are drought-tolerant and even in dry weather conditions will not need additional watering once established.
- With your existing plants, try watering less frequently and then not at all.
- Observe them for signs of stress, including wilting and leaf fall. You may be surprised how tough many of your plants are.
- Less frequent deep watering assists deep-rooted plants to be equipped to withstand hot, dry days.
- If you're looking for new plants, invest in native plants that are better suited to the Australian climate.
Mulch is essential if you are going to maintain your garden through periods of low rainfall. Mulch acts like a blanket on the soil, keeping it cool and reducing evaporation by up to 70 per cent. Mulch also improves soil structure, increasing water retention, soil nutrients and worm activity.
One of the problems with soil that has dried out is it repels water, wasting the precious water you put on it. Soil wetting agents and water retention products can dramatically improve this. Water crystals absorb water which roots can access as the soil around dries out, while wetting agents enable water to soak in and also hold water in the root zone.