Release from 15.03.2023
Plants brighten up their surroundings and create a safe haven for people and animals to enjoy, providing shade, storing CO2, and regulating the temperature naturally. But they need to be watered efficiently and with pinpoint accuracy if they’re going to make it through hot and dry spells.
More than half of the world’s population lives in towns and cities. In the European Union, that figure is currently standing at about 75 percent and looks set to keep on rising.1 Urban life is the way forward. This means that interactions with nature and time spent outdoors are becoming more and more precious, with gardens and green spaces improving the quality of life in cities more than anywhere else. Studies indicate that regular stays in nature have a positive influence on both physical and mental health.2
Whether they are in an urban or rural setting, though, green spaces are more than just somewhere for people to relax and unwind. Plants absorb CO2 and filter particulates and pollutants from their surroundings, improving the local climate and air quality. Flower beds, vegetable patches, shrubs and wildflower meadows provide a habitat for a host of animals and support biodiversity and the conservation of birds, mammals, and insects. Where there are plants, it is also easier for the soil to absorb and store water in the soil, which will prove incredibly important if extreme weather conditions do become more frequent as expected. Hot and dry spells are being followed by heavy rain more and more. If surfaces are sealed or spaces are covered with gravel to create low-maintenance gardens designed to save on water, the water struggles to soak away or cool and evaporate when it finally does rain.
Saving water with gardens
There are lots of benefits to gardeners introducing a variety of plants to their gardens, patios or balconies, but they need to take care of them and water them in return. At the height of summer, when plants are in desperate need of water, drinking water is increasingly likely to be scarce too. There is a call for water-saving measures at this point, which can impact upon gardens and green spaces depending on just how serious the water shortage is. But this is a tricky situation because gardeners who deprive their gardens of water will see the benefits for biodiversity and the microclimate vanish. Once soil has become hard and dry, it’ll struggle to absorb the water effectively when the next bout of heavy rain arrives. This can put pressure on the drainage system and cause flooding. Therefore, the answer is to apply a clever approach to green spaces and use resources sparingly.
Monitoring, measuring and controlling with smart systems
Drip irrigation can then be used to provide plants with exactly the amount of water they need right at their roots. And because fungal diseases are no longer able to settle on wet leaves, the plants are healthier too. This method ensures that the nutrients in the soil aren’t washed away into deeper soil layers or even into the groundwater. Another benefit is that the system deters weeds, as the available water is largely absorbed by the cultivated plants and flowers. Smart irrigation systems have sensors to measure the moisture content of the soil and local weather forecasts are factored into the schedule too, ensuring that the plants are only watered when they need to be.
More information on efficient water use can be found in the Gardena e-book Clever watering, at www.gardena.com/cleverwatering as well as in the attached infosheets and the press release "Where does the water flow". Find more ideas for natural gardening in the Gardena e-book Sustainable gardening: tips and inspirations for a colourful garden ecosystem.
1 European Union: Degree of urbanisation in Member States in 2020, Statista, 2021
2 Cross-sectional associations of different types of nature exposure with psychotropic, antihypertensive and asthma medication | Occupational & Environmental Medicine (bmj.com)
For over 50 years Gardena has provided everything passionate gardeners need. The broad assortment of products offers innovative solutions and systems for watering, lawn care, tree and shrub care and soil cultivation. Today, Gardena is a leading European supplier of high-quality gardening tools and distributed in more than 100 countries worldwide. Gardena is a brand of Husqvarna Group. Further information on gardena.com.