Environment Matters Spring/Summer 2019

‘Tea Tree Blossom’ by S Armytage, 2016 p’comp

Ipswich is drought declared, what can you do?

Tips for a more resilient garden in low rainfall periods:

1. Plan and design – take advantage of site conditions like aspect and prevailing winds, existing trees and shrubs and make plant selection and design decisions to best suit the site, such as planting what is locally native. Also, plant during the wet season where possible – in SEQ this is typically during the summer months. Plants will also thrive during the warmer months as they grow more effectively in warmer soils. During extremely dry conditions (as we experienced last summer), planting in autumn and/or spring can be more effective as evaporation rates are reduced, and manual watering will be more effective. 2. Improved soil – add composted organic matter to both increase

4. Plant groupings – put plants together that require similar amounts of water. This allows you to apply the minimum amount to keep them healthy. 5. Mulch – it will keep down weeds and retain water in the soil. However, ensure that you frequently break up the mulch to ensure that it does not form an impenetrable barrier. 6. Limit turf – large expanses of grass require large amounts of water. 7. Maintenance – regular maintenance such as pruning will increase plant vigour and health. Council’s free plant program has a great selection of drought tolerant native plants that will thrive in your garden with limited watering. See ipswich.qld.gov.au for more information.

dry, in a process called hydrophobia. Soil hydrophobia can also lead to soil nutrient losses. Course textured, sandy soils are the most susceptible to repellency. Hydrophobia doesn’t allow the water to reach the roots of plants, where it is needed most. Help the hydrophobic soils by adding organic matter. assistance during dry periods. Watering deeply, with thorough soakings on an occasional basis is preferred over regular light watering as it will encourage plant roots to deepen, and the soil will retain more moisture. Water during periods where minimal sunlight occurs to allow more water to be absorbed. Sprinklers can result in greater water wastage than direct water application or micro-irrigation and dripper systems. 3. Efficient irrigation – even our natives may need an extra bit of

water holding capacity and promote healthy plant growth. Soils can repel water if they become excessively


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