The Q&A Archives: Alkaline Water in Southwest

Question: I have recently purchased a home in Anthony New Mexico and discovered the water is very alkaline and not drinkable and very harsh on some plant life. Is there any way to neutralize the water or treat the well? Gardening is my hobby and especially growing roses. The roses in this housing development all have brown tipped leaves and look terrible.

Answer: Water throughout the Southwest tends to be full of salts. Watering slowly, deeply and infrequently as possible to leach the salts below the root zone is recommended no matter what type of plant. I suggest you look in the yellow pages for companies that specialize in improving the quality of household water. Also, native plants have adapted over centuries to the alkaline water and don't suffer from its effects. There are lots of colorful flowering shrubs, perennials, and wildflowers that do extremely well in New Mexico. An excellent nursery and catalog is A High Country Garden, 2909 Rufina Street, Santa Fe, NM, 87505-2929, 1-800-925-9387. Their catalog is loaded with information. Good luck!

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