With much of the country suffering the effects of drought, the City of Cape Town implemented Level 2 water restrictions at the beginning of the year.
As a result, residents of Cape Town who use potable water in their gardens are only allowed to water them three times a week – for one hour before 9am or after 4pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays- with those who use borehole water encouraged to do the same. But the implementation of water restrictions doesn’t have to mean a dry and dreary garden.
This, the final article in a five-week series, looks at how to maintain your lawn when there are water restrictions.
“Your lawn is one of the biggest users of water in the garden,” says Nick Stodel of Stodels Nurseries. Here he offers some helpful hints to ensure that you can minimise water consumption, but still keep the lawn in top shape.
Curvy is good but not necessarily for the shape of your lawn. If you are planting a new lawn, select a simple shape which makes it easier to irrigate without water wastage.
For example lawns along steeper slopes, fences and for narrow walkways are very difficult to maintain and water.
Try to harvest water
When planting a lawn try to have a slight hollow in the centre – just a shallowing of the grass – so that you minimise the run off and frequency of watering.
It is essential that you irrigate lawns less frequently but deeply, this encourages roots to utilise moisture deep in the ground, otherwise the roots are concentrated closer to the soil surface and are exposed to a higher soil temperature causing them to dry out faster.
By feeding an organic fertiliser you lawn will require less water to break it down and the feeding will last for a longer period. Using organic food also reduces the chance of burning.
Grass is weakened when it grows too long between mowings but set your mowing levels at the following: Kikuyu, 4 to 6cm; Cynodon fine grasses, 4 to 5cm; cool season evergreen 5 to 7cm, and buffalo, 4 to 5cm.
To conserve water in the summer period, cut the lawn a lot shorter and then dress it with mulch to retain water for a longer period. It will soon grow through to be green and lush.
* Information provided by Stodels. For more water wise and water saving tips you can visit http://www.waterrestrictions.co.za or visit www.stodels.com