Bush Capital | Choose the right plant with new technology

As the summer sun sits high in the sky and the daily temperatures nudge towards being a tad warm, some would even suggest it’s just plain hot. After all it wouldn’t be a bush capital summer unless we were sweltering under a baking sun with a rather warm north-westerly wind blowing in across the mountains.  

Under these prevailing weather conditions, that plant in the corner of your garden may be showing the tell-tale signs of heat stress, perhaps not thriving as it should. After all, the Limestone Plains can be a formidable environment in which to prosper.  

GOOD CHOICE:  The Plant Selector webtool can help you find trees and plants suited to Canberra’s climate, such as this acacia, Scarlet Blaze.

GOOD CHOICE: The Plant Selector webtool can help you find trees and plants suited to Canberra’s climate, such as this acacia, Scarlet Blaze.

Our nation’s capital is renowned for very hot, dry summers set against harsh, cold winters. It’s this seasonal variation which makes you appreciate the four seasons that is life in Canberra. These conditions are only going to get more extreme with climate change, with the years ahead likely to experience more heat waves as the norm. Worryingly, projections indicate that the bush capital region will have an average of five extra days above 35C by 2030. Now that’s hot. 

Fortunately, growing healthy plants in Canberra’s variable climate has just become easier with the launch of the ACT Government’s revamped Plant Selector and WaterRight Garden webtools on the Actsmart website. 

Over the years many of us have simply bought the wrong plants, which have eventually struggled or just died. Actsmart’s Plant Selector and WaterRight Garden online webtools mean all Canberrans now have advanced technical information at their fingertips to help select appropriate plants for our garden and, importantly, understand how to water them. 

This makes choosing the right kinds of plants and watering regime easy. Actsmart’s Plant Selector webtool provides the latest information on a wide range of plants and is specifically tailored for our region. Information includes plant descriptions, sun and shade tolerance, frost tolerance, watering requirements, fire retardant characteristics and origin.

The WaterRight Garden webtool provides valuable information on how much water your garden and lawn really require and the best time to water without compromising plant health. In doing so, going a long way to conserving ever precious drop of our water. 

Choosing the right plants at the outset and creating a watering routine that is appropriate for our garden’s needs can save us a lot of effort and heartache down the track, all the while making a valuable contribution to the bush capital’s sustainability as we prepare for climate change.  

To view these and other online webtools and their vast array of tips on reducing water, electricity and energy use, visit www.actsmart.act.gov.au.

  • Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service.

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