Smart sprinkles: water-wise tips to keep your plants alive

  • 21 August 2018 | Tumelo Buthelezi

There are times when a plant looks unhealthy or begins to lose its leaves. Don’t be quick to assume that it’s dead; it might still have a pulse. Even if it hangs its head and appears to be on the brink of death, you might still have a chance to revive it if you just give it a little pampering.

But before you give the plant some life liquid, here are a few things to consider if you want to help your plants live long and protect them from untimely deaths.

Give the right amount of sprinkles

During these water-scarce times, it is best to help conserve clean water by using grey water in the yard.

Water your plants cognisant of the fact that different types of vegetation require different amounts of water. Close-to-the-surface sprinkles for big flowers, thick shrubbery and trees will only lead to poor root growth and inadequate nutrient absorption. If you understand the particular hydration needs of your plants, you can also avoid suppressing the breathing air of the roots and drowning the plant by waterlogging.

Feed the roots of plants with enough water to go deep into the soil, keeping in mind that excess litres don't end up flowing away unused. You can moderate your quantities using simpler water-saving tips or by plugging into some highly accurate technology that will let you know how many litres have been used. One of the oldest tricks for watering grass is to put a small dish on your lawn while watering to act as a timer guiding your sprinkles by collecting water – this will alert you to how much liquid has been used.

If you have a garden, collect rainwater in a container and use it to hydrate your plants – and save some money on the water account at the same time.

Water your plants at the right time

Provide your plants with a balanced diet of adequate sunlight and hydration. The best time to water them is in the morning before the sun comes up. It is around this time that the roots are able to effectively absorb all the nutrients they need. Cool soil retains water better and allows plants to take in sufficient quantities before the heat of the day makes the water begin to evaporate.

All is not lost if you are unable to water early in the morning, though. The late afternoon is still good, as long you do it early enough to allow the leaves to dry before nightfall – leaves that remain moist throughout the night create favourable conditions for plant diseases to develop.

Some outdoor plants don’t need to be watered often but make sure in your occasional watering sessions that you offer them plenty of water (rather than a little water frequently).

Invest in a smart automatic irrigation system

If you need to use a hose for nourishing plants, best you meet their hydration needs with a soaker hose. While you may spend a little on installation of an irrigation  system at the beginning, you will be able to lower your monthly water bill and save as the irrigator will only be applying the necessary amounts of water across your lawn.

A soaker hose is a highly efficient way to water as it allows water to slowly seep out through tiny pores along the length of the rubber hose at a flow rate that the ground and plants can absorb. This means that the water is delivered directly to the roots where it is most needed.

Spring will soon be among us with gifts of life for plants and animals. So make sure this new season of rebirth doesn't find your flora in a morbid state, getting too much water or too little nourishment. Your plants may seem somewhat depressed at the moment, but the good news is that there is a chance they can be revived if you consider applying these tips.