Watering advice in your pocket

Even growers have gardens, but this smart app may have wider applications. University of Melbourne researchers have launched a new iPhone app that factors in local rainfall information and plant type to help gardeners remember how much to water and when. The ‘SmartGardens’ app is free and is available at the iTunes store. The app was designed by Dr Jon Pearce from the Department of Information Systems with Dr Adrian Pearce from Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

“With Summer approaching, everyone wants to maintain a healthy garden using the least amount of water possible, so we have developed an app to let you know how often to water and the duration of watering for your particular location and garden type,” Dr Pearce said.

“Overwatering is the biggest factor in garden water efficiency so the ‘SmartGardens’ schedule is calculated to give your garden the optimum 10mm dose of water for each area of your garden based on average rainfall patterns.”

“The app also shows you the rainfall in your selected area for the past 7 days, allowing you to adjust that schedule based on recent weather events.

“This watering schedule is a good starting point for determining automatic watering system settings and regular hand-watering patterns.”

The ‘SmartGardens’ app links with the www.SmartGardenWatering.org.au website, a garden watering advisory tool, initiated by Geoff Connellan and colleagues from the Melbourne School of Land and Environment and developed into a website in collaboration with Dr Pearce.

The SmartGardenWatering website enables gardeners to input their suburb, plant species, various garden conditions and water tank information, for tailored water efficiency planning. By incorporating the SmartGardens app, gardeners also have a mobile watering reminder system.

“For those of us lucky enough to be going away for the holidays, or who are left in charge of watering a friend’s garden over the holidays, the app can tell you what rain has fallen at a different location. That way you can see if recent rain has provided enough water or not,” Dr Pearce said.

For further information contact:
Dr Jon Pearce, Information Systems, University of Melbourne
Ph: +61 (0)3 8344-1495
Mb: 0413020408
Email: j.pearce@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Nerissa Hannink Media Unit, University of Melbourne:
Ph: +61 (0)3 8344-8151
Mb: 0430 588 055
Email: nhannink@unimelb.edu.au