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A Word on Horticultural Services

Are you sure it's just a lack of water?

As a Irrigation professional I visit hundreds of homes every year, not all of them are installations as I get called out to a large amount of Melbourne's existing residential watering systems. The vast majority of these are just not satisfactory, usually it's a combination of poor materials, no or very little attempt at design and substandard installation techniques. However, in Melbourne it's only a small window of the year (for most suburbs) where a system is essential. It is true that these clients have flawed irrigation systems but also true that the lack of water has been the 'straw that broke the camels back' for what is already a starved and stressed plant environment. In other words, greater water efficiency can be achieved not just by good irrigation design and installation but by also addressing the complete gamet of plant health considerations properly.

Horticulture, like irrigation, can be more complicated than you might think. Sure, you can do a basic horticultural certificate in just a few weeks, or even a diploma and everything in between, but, you can also do a 3 year science degree. So, although a well designed and installed irrigation system is essential for water and time efficiency it's only one part of the equation and all too often I am finding that gardens are severely lacking in these other horticultural elements. Whether it's a lack of appropriate plant feeding or long term pest and disease stressors, innapropriate plant selection or soil profile, lack of correct maintanence etc... The point is that if these gardens are already stressed out it's not going to take much to push them over the edge. In fact, one of the first things I do when visiting some of these properties is talk about testing ground moisture level and often clients are surprised to find reasonable moisture levels a few inches down (where it counts) in areas of concern. I'll often find scale and aphid infestations in those areas of concern. Scale and aphids may be common and easy to identify but other problems are not always that easy, so you can only imagine what else may be lurking beneath the surface.

Believe it or not, I happen to be married to a fully qualified horticulturalist who did her degree at Burnley, Melbourne University. So, I guess I'm lucky in that I appreciate these other factors and always find myself constanty learning, as living with a plant and garden design addict tends to rub off on you after a while! It has surprised me to find so many of these inadequacies in gardens that are supposedly being maintained by gardeners. So what's actually going on? Are these gardeners only being paid to mow the lawn, trim the hedges and leave? Are they on a fixed price maintenance contract that only allows for mowing, trimming and cleaning up? I'm sure it's not always the case but it's seems rather prevalent in my opinion. I would definetly assume that most gardeners are not qualified horticulturalists and probably don't recognise many of these other factors or charge accordingly.

Although it may not be my place to intrude on other peoples business relations, it certainly is my place to try and save my clients uneccesary water usage, particularly when they are not being made aware of the other stressors being inflicted on their plants. So, I thought it was time to spruke the benefits that a qualified horticulturalist can bring to your garden and how this can translate to real water savings when all is said and done. Have a chat to your gardener today or get a second opinion from a fully qualified horticulturalist. You'll find my unashamedly proud recommendation here:       

Are you sure it's just a lack of water?