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Heat on to make gardens water-wise

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Eurobodalla water customers can take advantage of a free water-wise garden check-up to learn how to save time, money and water in the garden.

Council launched the program in 2015 to help residents learn easy ways to stop wasting water and create gardens that can flourish in local conditions.

The check-up involves a visit from a member of Council’s environment team who will talk with garden owners about basic landscaping, watering systems and things like mulching and composting. The service is valued at around $100 and participants will receive a voucher for free native plants and a garden hose trigger nozzle.

Eurobodalla Council’s Natural Resource Supervisor Courtney Fink-Downes said the recent hot weather served as a timely reminder to ensure gardens were water-wise.

She said about 30 per cent of water used in a typical NSW house was used in the garden during summer, but a few small changes could reduce water bills and help gardens thrive.

“For example, planting drought-resistant plants native to Eurobodalla will require less maintenance but still provide colour, thanks to flowers, bright foliage and variety of textures,” she said.

“To avoid over-watering and wastage, group plants with similar water needs together and water them in the early morning or evening for the best results.”

Planting with hydrated water-storing crystals lengthens the time between watering and increases plant survival in dry period. The crystals absorb up to 400 times their own weight in water and are effective for up to five years before they biodegrade.

Courtney also recommended raising lawnmower blades and using a mulching lawnmower or leaving grass clippings to help make lawns more drought tolerant and stay greener for longer.

“Mulching plants too helps stop soil from drying out, protects plants from heat and frost, provides important nutrients and helps control weeds,” she said.

“Placing moist newspaper over garden beds before mulching assists with water retention and weed reduction. Adding compost or organic matter to vegetable gardens helps soil to retain moisture even longer.”

Council’s water customers can book their free water-wise garden check by contacting Council on 4474 1000 during business hours. Council also offers range of water-saving incentives, including rebates, to water customers.