Man as a species has roamed the Earth for over 2 million years. The first advanced cultures began after the great Ice Age some 10,000 years ago. Yet Man’s entire civilization is but a fleeting breath to the Living Earth whose age is estimated at roughly 4.7 billion years.
If the age of the Earth from its origin to the present time were compared to a single day, man’s appearance would come less than one minute before midnight at day’s end! While primitive written records have been found dating back 5,000 years, accurate records of weather and climate have been kept in New Zealand for less than 300 years.
Our official statistics such as one hundred year averages for rainfall, temperature and climate give us much less accurate information about the future than a single postcard could about an entire country. This is because the earth Is a living organism in a constant state of growth and change.
The dramatic swings in New Zealand’s climate over the last decade suggest that greater changes may be on the way. Be alert, prepared and flexible. Adaptability to change has been the secret to the successful survival of most species.
While Auckland’s looming water crisis may be more a drought of correct water resource management than of rainfall, the results could still ruin the lives of many New Zealanders for years to come if we don’t make quick steps. Water is often taken for granted in the same way early settlers did our forests.
While civilization as we know it could not survive without water, It is possible to conserve more than we do now and still maintain a high quality lifestyle. But1 it means making changes to what we are accustomed to.
In the garden this means planting in the wetter months starting In mid to late autumn through winter to early spring. The vast majority of trees and shrubs are dormant above the ground over these cool, wetter months.
However, root development continues which will establish the plant with a good deep root system before top growth starts in spring. Leaves evaporate a lot of water which must be immediately replaced or the plant wilts and collapses. A plant with an established root system replenishes this water from the surrounding soil.
A traditionally spring planted specimen must get this water artificially until it can send down roots to collect water on It’s own. It is essential to conserve all soil moisture possible. Mulch deeply and liberally wherever possible to trap and hold every drop of rainfall.
Mixing water retentive materials like peat moss and compost to the soil in planting holes will soak up water like a sponge. Extra feeding with a balanced fertiliser sprinkled through the mulch will make plants stronger and better able to handle stress in the months ahead.