Sustaining gardens in summer's dry times is a difficult proposition but gardening expert Reg Kidd says with a few clever additions your trees and shrubs can survive the Level 5 water restrictions.
Some people have licenced bores. They have outlayed a substantial cost, but in most cases are prudent in their use.
Cr Kidd said electricity was not cheap to run the pumps, and they were not cheap to install.
They are licenced and controlled by Water NSW, and not by local councils.
Cr Kidd said it was best to have a tank that is plumbed to your toilet and laundry.
He said toilets used 14 per cent of drinking water while washing machines used 16 per cent.
Tanks can also be connected to your outdoor taps.
Ask at Orange City Council about rebates for installing tanks.
You can also ask about showerheads and obtain three-minute shower timers from the council offices.
"Summer is not the best time to re-invent your garden," Cr Kidd said.
"By all means mulch, get rid of non-used pot plants, prune, shade and think about ways to use water more efficiently and effectively."
He said that included watering onto the base of the plants, using water crystals and considering using some grey water.
"In summer disturbed soil loses its moisture rapidly," Cr Kidd said.
It can reduce evaporation from soil by up to 70 per cent.
Mulch is like a blanket on the soil, it can keep it cool and protect it from drying air and winds.
Cr Kidd said wind was the biggest factor in drying out your garden.
"Mulch is essential if you want to maintain your garden through periods of less rainfall," he said.
"Avoid bringing the plant roots up to the surface of the soil. Less frequent watering drives the roots further down into the ground so there is still sufficient soil to protect your plants."
Chunky pinebark, fresh peastraw, lucerne, pebbles and even recycled concrete and bricks are all excellent for weed control and keeping soil cool.
Spread some nitrogen-rich fertiliser with it. This type of mulch can be 25-75 millimetres deep.
Pine bark or wood chips are usually spread at around 25-50mm deep and are excellent for weed prevention.
This may include sawdust, grass clippings, potted peastraw and mushroom compost.
"It shouldn't be laid too thick (2.5 centimetres) as it may prevent water from reaching the soil," he said.
"And added advantage of fine mulches is they break down quickly, attracting worms and improve the soil. You can top these mulches up."
"Soil is a living thing," Cr Kidd said. "Compost increases its organic content and provides the material bacteria that worms need to break down to keep the soil alive and full of nutrients.
"The perfect growing soil is one that drains easily so it doesn't get waterlogged, yet holds enough water to feed the plants."
Cr Kidd said compost will assist these two areas but good soil was needed.
"Without good soil no amount of water will allow your garden to thrive," he said.
"Compost is easily made at home or can be purchased."
"If you're unsure or having problems contact council or one of the councillors," he said.
An information sheet went out with rate notices.
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