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Dammetjies - Water Saving Device for garden use.

Unique water-saving device for all plants

Too much water is as bad as a drought


Too much water can be as damaging to plants as too little water, says Dammetjies inventor Geoff Bird.

"That was one of the reasons I went ahead and designed dammetjies for my own garden," he said in an interview.


"Only when seeing the reaction of friends to my dammetjies and after talking to horticulturalists did I realise there is a great need among all gardeners.

"Dammetjies allow you to guage accurately the amount of water to give each plant, depending on the type of plant, the climate and soil conditions.


"Dammetjies act as little storage dams around the base of the plant. It is easy to remember to fill it up say once a week and know that amount of water is adequate. Any more water will not only be a waste, but could actually retard growth or even damage the root system.


"Dammetjies therefore also act as water-saving devices, especially as  water goes directly to the roots and not surrounding vegetation, so keeping to away invaders such as grass or ground covers that compete for the available water."


He said almost every gardening publication carried tips on how to plant shrubs and saplings and also on the importance of proper watering. Common to all the articles was the need to somehow retain water around the base of new plants.


Rand Water's Leslie Hoy and Gail Andrews in a recent article stressed the need to "make a large basin for watering around the tree while it is establishing (the first and second year)  and water frequently during this stage."


They advised that "once the tree is growing well, slowly reduce irrigation to allow the tree to seek its own water supply. Newly-planted trees succumb to lack of water, so avoid planting if water is not freely available."


Hoy and Andrews said the area around the tree that corresponded to the tree's drip line should be mulched to a depth of 10cm.


In another article of planting in dry regions, Louie-Anna Nel advises that once the tree has been placed in the hole dug for it,"fill the hole with the remaining soil, leaving ample space for water to collect during watering. Where the hole is filled with too much soil, most of the water will run off over the edges during watering".


Nel said that even when indigenous trees were planted to save water, gardeners must be aware that "not all indigenous trees are water wise plants, and even trees that are drought resistant need regular watering for the first two years after they have been planted".


In another article, this time on the planting of ground covers, author Joan Wright says that "a slight depression around each plant will help direct water to the root area." She advises that a light mulch will help prevent weeds from germinating and also retain moisture.


Bird said all these authors were in effect telling gardeners to build little dams around their plants. "That is precisely what our Dammetjies do. I tried building earth dams around our plants at home, but the soil invariably washes away and then you have a back-breaking work of having to build up the walls, before they wash away again.


"But Dammetjies are permanent in preventing water from running off. After the first two years or so when the plants are established, you can lift them and use them for other new plants. They blend in with the soil and look neat and tidy.


"Dammetjies are also ideal for keeping mulch around the base of the plant, as well as fertilizers," he said.


To save water responsible gardeners always use

a DAMMETJIE (RSA) or a DAM-IT (UK & Europe)

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