Millions Of UK Gardeners Prepare To Face Hose Pipe Bans | Love The Garden

Millions Of UK Gardeners Prepare To Face Hose Pipe Bans

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By Steve Dalton, Chief Gardener

With many areas of the country announcing hosepipe bans, and the threat of more to come, millions of gardeners are facing tough times ahead. But don’t throw in your trowel and let your garden go to ruin!

Even if your area isn’t facing a ban, there’s plenty you can be doing to save precious water resources and keep your garden looking lush and healthy through the hottest of summers. Here are 15 top water smart hints and tips that will help keep your garden greener and healthier even in the driest of summer months:

Lavender is drought tolerantStachys byzantina, lambs earCistus Halimium White, good in dry sandy soilsGrey Santolina, another plant that thrives in dry soil

  1. Raise your mower blades to mow your lawn slightly higher and less frequently – this’ll help trap in moisture and stop your lawn turning brown.
  2. Mulch, mulch, mulch… After watering your flowerbeds and borders, apply a layer of mulch, not only does this trap in water around plant roots it also encourages root growth. Organic Blend Soil Conditioner will also feed for up to 6 weeks.
  3. Use a contact weedkiller such as Weedol Gun! Rootkill Plus regularly to stop weeds competing with the plants your want – don’t hoe or weed by hand as this can release soil moisture below the surface.
  4. Collect rainwater in water butts – these are essential during prolonged dry spells with sizes available to suit most gardens. Ensure it is fitted with a cover to stop debris falling in.
  5. Use your household water – low levels of soaps and detergents are harmless to plants, so rather than pouring it down the drain use it on your garden.
  6. Check your soil before you start to water – it may just be the surface that is dry, thus preserve you precious water for when you really need it.
  7. Prioritise your watering – young plants and seedlings should come first and then plants such as sweet peas, which stop flowering in dry soil.
  8. Water your plants at the best possible time – when it’s cool in either mornings or evenings, this will reduce the amount that evaporates straight form the surface.
  9. The best defense against drought is healthy plants – regularly feed your plants and they’ll develop a healthy root system that will cope better during a drought.
  10. Concentrate watering in newly planted areas, established plants usually have an adequate root system even in the driest conditions.
  11. Use decorative wood chips that not only look great but prevent surface evaporation and trap moisture in the soil.
  12. Incorporate organic matter into beds and borders to help retain moisture – soil conditioners enable your soil to retain nutrients and moisture whatever your soil type.
  13. Feed your lawns well – a healthy lawn, with a good root system, will make the most of any water that’s there and help it stay greener longer.
  14. Cultivate your soil less in the driest season – hoeing, forking and digging will allow valuable moisture to escape so only do it if it’s really needed.
  15. Choose your plants carefully – grey-leaved plants, such as lavenders, santolina and stachys, are all suitable for dry soil. Drought-resistant plants, such as cistus, are especially a good idea for sandy soils.
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