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Be water wise on your garden amidst water restriction risks.

| Going green

As South Africa faces water challenges brought on by seasonal climate changes - Rand Water and the South African Green Industries Council have called on industries and consumers to use water sparingly this season - climate change is affecting the way South Africans care for their green spaces especially as weather conditions continue to change.

Yohina Maharaj, Buyer for Garden Nursery at Builders, shares some tips and tricks for avid gardeners to care for their greenspaces and be waterwise this season. “While the coastal gardener is experiencing salty, sandy and typically harder than usual gardening conditions, inland gardeners will need to focus on being prudent with their watering habits,” explains Maharaj.

Watering Wisdom

With climate change affecting the survival of many plant species and with research from South African Nursery Association indicating that severe changes in weather patterns will impact species generation in Southern Africa – this is why gardeners must be smart about how they get their green fingers working. Methods such as drip irrigation can save up to 60% of water used by sprinklers, water harvesting is another way to collect and redistribute rainwater throughout the garden as well as scheduling your watering routine can help your garden thrive.

Smart Plants

For all the conscious gardeners, your plant choices can also play a huge role in making sure your water-levels stay under control. Group the plants in your garden according to their water needs such as Coprosmas that have a waxy coating that maintains water levels, Vygies are very tough and can take different weather conditions, Salvias are quite easy to grow, the fur on their leaves stores water making the water magnets. South African favourite, Agapanthus have thick fleshy leaves that make them drought resistant and very waterwise.

Soil Preparation

As we come out of winter, we may notice that the soil is low on nutrients and needs a bit of extra care. The foundation of a healthy garden begins with the soil so start by testing your soil to understand its composition and pH levels. One of the biggest steps to help you figure this out is by using a Lifespace Soil Test Analyser 3-Way which you can simply plug in the soil area you want to check, and you will know whether you need to water your soil, amend its pH levels, or adjust its lighting. Most of the South African soil is between 6.5 and 8, so a PH level of 7 will be good for both plants and gardens across the country, once this is done you can prepare your soil with organic matter like compost or mulch to improve its structure and nutrient content.

Pruning Like a Pro

Pruning away dead leaves and branches is an essential way of preparing for new growth in the sunny months. This is what most South African garden lovers would have done in the winter season to prepare their garden for spring and summer. You can learn a few tricks on how to trim back overgrown branches and shape your plants for on the Builders blog for tips such as deadheading and heavy-duty pruning.

Essential Hand Tools

Every aspiring gardener needs a set of basic hand tools. For several types of gardening activities, you will need a master tool to give your DIY job an expert finish. For soil preparation, you will need the Lifespace Soil Test Analyser 3-Way, for light-pruning you will need heavy-duty bypass secateurs – this pair of clippers comes with coated blades that cut easily and a one-handed, spring-operated, closing mechanism, for the heavy-duty pruning that usually has ranches thicker than 12 mm, you need Bypass loppers are perfect for branches that are slightly bigger and out of reach. For the savvy gardener, soak hoses are also essential for redistribution of water back into the soil – to avoid wastage.

“Fellow gardeners will also have to consider challenging these changing weather patterns with creative ways of keeping their green spaces healthy, and a crucial factor in this is reviewing their gardening routines. Another important tip to remember is that there is no cut-off time for pruning, but the sooner you do it, the sooner you start seeing fresh growth.” Concludes Maharaj

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