Water and Watering Plants
What's the big deal about watering? Just pour it on right?..........wrong!
Watering plants can be achieved, in just about as many ways a you can imagine.
How and when you water your plants, is an important topic. It certainly can
be done wrong, or in a less than ideal way. In your quest for the perfect
garden, understanding and applying the right watering techniques will bear
fruit...or flowers or vegetables, or...........
The key issues on watering are:
Why bother to read and learn about proper watering techniques? There are
two big reasons. First, water applied at the wrong time can promote the growth
of plant diseases. Second, the amount of water getting to the plant on a
constant basis affects growth in a number of ways. In addition, your watering
efforts can be wasted or inefficient, and that has an affect on your wallet.
I bet you never thought a simple subject like water could be the source of
so much information and learning, did you?
Did you Know? Rain falls at about 19 miles per hour.
Thought for the Day: If you want to see a rainbow, you have to put
up with the rain.
Do you know how to properly water plants!? Read on and see.........
How frequently should you irrigate your garden? The answer to this question
varies from plant to plant. A cactus in the desert needs to take a drink
of water once a month or less. A water lily or rice grows in water. These
are obviously examples at the extreme end of the spectrum. Most plants fall
pretty close to the middle.
For most home garden plants, the answer is ...... whenever the soil begins
to dry out. The general rule of thumb is to keep your soil moist, not wet
The frequency of watering is also a function of the type of soil you have.
Heavy clay soils have difficulty absorbing water. But, once it does, it retains
it for a long time. A good watering of clay soil will last several days,
even in hot, dry weather. Sandy soils on the other hand, do not retain water.
It flows right through, as there is little structure to hold it. Watering
sandy soils every couple days during hot or dry spells is sometimes required.
Adjust your watering plan to provide moist soil conditions on a regular,
consistent basis. Not wet and soggy, and not dry. And, definitely, not dry
one week and wet the next. Water lightly and frequently for sandy soils,
and less frequently for clay soils. Don't water every day. Daily watering
result sin shallow roots. Your plant will learn to depend on this water,
and will only develop shallow roots. Then, you will be a slave to your garden
(if you are not already), and you will be afraid to leave for more than a
day on vacation. Daily watering also affects your pocketbook.
Tip: Allow the top of the soil to dry between watering. This is important,
as plant diseases may harbor in the soil, and tends to concentrate in the
top layer. Drying the soil out between watering, especially during humid
weather, will help to keep disease problems to a minimum.
As we've already said, plants like to have moist, but not wet soil conditions.
This enables the water to break down chemical and mineral components in the
soil into a small enough size to be absorbed through the root system. Check
the soil below the surface. Turn it over with a spade and see if it just
dry on top, or if your watering technique is only reaching down a few inches.
If you know about your water table levels, make sure the soil is moist down
to the water table. You also want to encourage your roots to develop deeply
and tap into water available at lower levels.
As a rule of thumb, apply one inch per week. This includes rainwater
and the water you add. Adjust it accordingly if your plant needs more or
Importantly, over watering results in washing valuable nutrients and minerals
from the soil. You can spend a lot of money on fertilizer, and then wash
it quickly through the soil with little benefit to the plant. This is especially
true with liquid fertilizers.
A lot of gardeners do not know that there is a "When to" and "When not to"
water your plants. We strongly urge you not to water in early evening ,or
at night. Plant diseases thrive in hot, humid weather. They also prefer the
darkness of night. These three combined are a perfect breeding ground. We
strongly recommend you avoid watering at night, as you will only help create
the perfect conditions for plant disease.
Early morning is best. The leaves will dry in the early morning sun, yet
evaporation will be lower. Mid-day is also fine, but evaporation can be high.
Many people have asked about the quality of water as it might affect your
plant. The minerals, chemicals (good and bad), and even pollutants in water
can be absorbed by your plant. If water contains pollutants, your plant can
absorb some portion of it. If it is a chemical harmful for plant growth,
then the plant will suffer. Too high a concentration, and it can die. Recognizing
that the plant can absorb chemicals from the water, those same chemicals
make its' way to the fruit and vegetables you and your family ultimately
The focus of this issue usually comes into question when a gardener is
considering using water from a creek, pond or river. If you are unsure of
the water quality, have it tested or look for alternatives. Small creeks
and ponds in residential or commercial areas are of the greatest concern.
They are less able to dilute pollutants. Insecticides, weed killers, fungicides,
and manufacturing waste all can leach into small creeks and streams. Individuals
have also been know to discard a variety of waste products and chemicals
despite laws and awareness of the environmental impact. Municipal water,
which most of us use is certainly safe. Well water from your well should
be too....assuming you test it regularly for your own consumption.
The high concentration of chlorine in your pool water can have adverse affect
on your plants in large doses. We do not recommend you use the water when
back flushing, especially for fruit and vegetable plants.