It is not always viable to install an irrigation system particularly if you have a rural lifestyle block and no access to bore water or trickle feed. Even semi rural properties have issues with the trickle supply not being able to keep up with irrigation system requirements.
So what is the answer?
There is no complete way to eliminate the need for moisture as all living organisms require it but being ready for the dry spells can reduce the cost of replacing grass or plants that have died because of this.
1/ Mulch mow your lawn from late spring through summer and raise the height to between 40-50mm. Don't mow in the heat of the day but in early mornings or evenings and if you are going to water do it every 2-3 days and for a longer period keeping the moisture levels deep in the soil. Watering everyday for short periods is counter-productive and can add stress to the plant. The same goes for your garden make sure you get the water to the base of each plant around the drip zone.
2/ Start watering from late spring, trying to make up for a soil moisture deficit is often too late and can have limited results.
3/ Use wetting agents- these used properly twice a year in late spring and late December allow the soil to retain moisture better and utilise any rainfall without it leaching straight through the soil. Make sure you apply this prior to rainfall so it is washed into the soil.
4/ Mulch the garden beds prior to summer. By topping your gardens with at least 50mm of good rich mulch it will help the soil to retain the moisture levels as well as feeding the plants as it breaks down. Be aware that using fresh mulch may also draw nitrogen out of the soil as it breaks down so make sure you use and aged product.
5/ Select drought hardy plants and grasses. This can be very difficult to achieve in the Waikato as often the hardy plants are susceptible to frosts over winter so get some professional advice.
What we can do to help?
At Landscape, Turf & Irrigation Ltd we can install specialised irrigation systems that reduce water usage by 50% meaning you are able to Use Water Wisely and conserve one of our greatest assets. If you have an existing system we can make adjustments to this to bring it up to the same specification without completely replacing the system.
We can distribute a suitable wetting agent that you can spray on the lawn yourself for a competitive rate.
We are currently writing up our Mother Nature Guarantee which will be available in the near future that will essentially give you coverage for any living plant that dies within a 3 year period after completion of your landscape project due to adverse weather conditions being replaced at our expense. This will allow clients who do not have the ability to install one of our irrigation systems to have piece of mind that their investment will be protected during periods of drought etc.