Gardening tips for the drought | How to water wisely to save your plants

WATER WISE: Gardening expert Reg Kidd says there are plenty of ways to help your garden with little watering time. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN

WATER WISE: Gardening expert Reg Kidd says there are plenty of ways to help your garden with little watering time. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN

With only one hour a week available for Orange householders to water their gardens under Level 5 water restrictions being water wise is critical to give your garden a chance to survive the drought.

And gardening expert and Orange mayor Reg Kidd says there are also major benefits to be gained by being clever with water.

"It will save you money as you can cut your water use by 50 per cent," he said.

"It is also usually lower maintenance gardening and it is more natural and helps the environment."

Some of these tips apply to people who have tank water to use at anytime.

Household water can only be used on the garden from 6pm-7pm on Sundays.


It's all about planning and preparation.

  • Improve the quality of your soil
  • Grow the right plants in the right soil
  • Try minimising the grassed areas of your yards
  • Use more mulch
  • Water in the morning or the evening. This gives moisture time to penetrate so it doesn't evaporate
  • Train your plants in good water habits. A light sprinkling will not get the roots to penetrate deep. If the roots stay near the surface they are more vulnerable to heating up and drying out.
  • Water the roots, not the leaves. Don't let your precious water blow away in the wind or evaporate
  • Check for dripping taps and hoses.


  • Use soaker hoses, the drip poly-pipe style is available at nurseries and hardware stores
  • Watering spikes attached to bottles let the water drip slowly into the plants' root zone
  • Use drying bottles, containers and drums with holes punched in them to allow water to the root zone
  • Install a water tank. 2000 litres is good for a small garden while 5000 litres is suitable for large gardens.


  • Use liquid fertiliser as dry fertiliser will take the moisture from the soil
  • Control weeds as they are a major water users
  • Use water-storing crystals around plants, shrubs and trees
  • Try anti-transpirant sprays to protect leaves from drying out
  • Use soil wetter to help water penetrate the soil


  • If you are considering putting in new plants go for the drought-tolerant species
  • A lot of natives fit the bill and they have attractive foliage and colourful flowers
  • Read the labels on the plants in nurseries to seek water wise species
  • Exotics from California, the Mediterranean and South Africa are good choices for our climate
  • Cacti and succulents need less water
  • Select Australian grasses for your lawn.


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This story How you can make an hour of watering a week count for your garden first appeared on Central Western Daily.