Whether or not plants are in a pot, smart automatic drip irrigation saves water, time and money, while supporting optimal plant growth. Drip irrigation can be installed as an above-ground or underground system.
Gardens, patios and balconies with a lot of greenery and a wide array of plants make a valuable contribution to the environment. If cared for properly, these outdoor spaces can be appreciated greatly by people, animals and plants. As the summer months become drier and drier, it is all the more important to use water responsibly. There are so many ways to facilitate natural cycles.
In the face of climate change, the water cycle is central to any gardener’s efforts in their own outdoor space. When nature awakens from its slumber with the dawn of spring, plants begin to need more water. They soon start to grow new leaves, shoots and blossom. Different types of plants have such different requirements when it comes to water. While species that naturally live in barren earth can survive without being watered, plants that thrive in fresh soil rely on gardeners to water them during dry spells without any rain. Plants growing in pots need to be watered regularly too since the substrate available can only store a limited amount of water.
Water is a precious resource that should be used sparingly and as efficiently as possible given the prospect of dry spells during the hotter summer months. This is where modern technology comes in. Automatic irrigation systems use sensors to measure the soil moisture and cancel scheduled watering cycles when the soil is already sufficiently moist. This can save a great deal of water. Making provisions for dry spells and using collected rainwater is one very environmentally friendly option.
Keeping surfaces unsealed
The choice of surface materials is also an important consideration when setting up a garden with water in mind. Sealed surfaces should be kept to a minimum. If bound gravel or paving slabs with gaps between are used for garden paths and sitting areas instead, the water can easily soak straight into the ground. It can be stored there and gradually absorbed by nearby plants. A protective layer of mulch from organic materials like leaves and cut grass is strongly recommended in vegetable gardens in particular. The wind and sun will not be able to dry out the ground underneath so quickly, meaning that watering does not need to be quite so frequent. The mulch also improves the quality of the soil as it breaks down into nutritious humus over time.
Green roofs also have a positive impact on the water supply – whether they are over a home, carport or summer house. This is because they store rainwater and release it back into the environment slowly through the plants.
Focusing on the future
Climate change is going to impact on gardens in the long term. In fact, it is already affecting the range of plants available. More and more species are being introduced that naturally require less water, including woody plants like pagoda trees and spiraea plants and shrubs like white genepì and catnip. Every plant makes specific demands of its location. By choosing plants according to their natural preferences, gardeners can create the conditions for long-lasting, functioning plant arrangements.
Trees are so important to our environment. They provide shade, evaporate water through their leaves and reduce the temperature around them significantly on hot days. Not to mention that they remove CO2 from the air and absorb it. As much as 500 kg of CO2 is stored in the biomass of a fully grown, medium-sized tree.1 When garden space is limited or when pots are being used on patios and so on, there is a wide choice of woody plants that stay small and can withstand dry spells. They are one option for a future-focused garden that makes responsible use of water resources yet still provides a home for life in many forms.
More information on efficient water use can be found in the GARDENA e-book Clever Watering and at www.gardena.com/cleverwatering. Find more ideas for natural gardening in the GARDENA e-book Sustainable gardening:tips and inspiration for colourful biodiversity.
1 The RHS Sustainability Strategy Report, Royal Horticultural Society, 2021
For over 50 years Gardena has provided everything passionate gardeners need. The broad assortment of products offers innovative solutions and systems for watering, lawn care, tree and shrub care and soil cultivation. Today, Gardena is a leading European supplier of high-quality gardening tools and distributed in more than 100 countries worldwide. Gardena is a brand of Husqvarna Group. Gardena Division has 3,450 employees worldwide. Further information on gardena.com.