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Thirst quenchers

Published:Saturday | May 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The dry spell has hit Jamaica hard this year, and even though there has been reprieve, it's still wise not to waste water. To this end, plant lovers must know how to satisfy the thirst of their leafy friends, while ensuring they conserve the precious liquid. Below are some tips:

1Water plants in the evening. This will prevent quick evaporation. If plants are watered in the mid-morning or noonday sun, most of the liquid will disappear in a flash. Watering in the evening or nights will ensure that plant roots absorb enough water to last until the next evening's watering.

2Practise mulching. Mulching is the use of leaves, shells, wood chips or tree bark, grass, sawdust or shredded cardboard to cover the soil. Adding several inches of mulch will retain valuable soil moisture, thus reducing the amount of watering needed.

3Use water-soluble aids. These aids reduce plant watering a great deal. An example is Soil Moist Granules (polymer crystals or beads) which, mixed with the soil, absorbs liquid when the plant is watered and releases the water when the soil becomes dry.

4Investing in a few drought-tolerant plants is a plus. The less they need, the more you conserve.

5Move plants. If possible, moving plants indoors or into shaded areas (such as under large trees or on verandas) can reduce watering time.

6Utilise watering cans. Attaching that power nozzle and spraying from your hose like there's no tomorrow can give the feeling that you're doing the best for the plants, but with drought restrictions, employing watering cans can control the amount of liquid used.

7Misting or spraying works. It might seem stingy, but some plants, especially indoor ones, don't need a lot of water daily. Lightly misting twice a day can give the plant the water it needs.

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