Your trees and shrubs are having a tough time in the drought.
With only a hour's watering a week (6pm-7pm on Sundays) under Level 5 restrictions and little help from any rainfall they need some help to survive.
Gardening expert Reg Kidd has some top tips to keep your garden going.
TREES AND SHRUBS
- Soil preparation is important. Condition the soil by adding organic matter. This helps improve soil structure and helps retain moisture and nutrients
- Use a wetting agent to help overcome water repellance in many compacted soils
- Mix water storing crystals through the soil, so they sit around the root zone of your tree or shrub
- Consider augering some holes around the dripline (outside canopy line and/or halfway toward the trunk)
- You can use hand-operated augers or add an attachment to a cordless drill (see photo below)
- Drill down about 200 centimetres at least. Add water absorbing crystals which are available at a nursery or hardware store with a nursery section
- Then apply mulch around the tree/shrub
- This means when you hand water (also you can use a bucket with grey water from your shower etc) you know it is getting down into the root zone and not running off
- Also you can use old plastic drums with holes punched in the bottom to slowly drip water into the augered holes and closer to the root zone where the feeder roots (smaller, finer ones) absorb water
- Use a fairly sublime fertiliser like Seasol or Charlie Carp which stimulates the feeder roots
- You don't want to encourage too much top growth at this time because the plants will require more water due to increased transpiration loss
- Water in the cool of the evening to reduce the chance of evaporation
- Check that your soil is not repelling water. If it runs off and does not penetrate much you need a wetting agent (ask at a nursery)
- Water established trees and shrubs deeply and slowly but less frequently
- Water storage crystals can hold up to 400 times their weight in water so they are useful in the garden bed, around trees/shrubs or pots
- Add liquid soil wetter when pots become dry or when the soil becomes compacted
- Make a small dam from mulch around tree or shrubs, or plastic surrounds, to stop water running off the soil
- Mulch should be at least 75 millimetres thick.
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