The Q&A Archives: Hard Water Deposits

Question: I have young trees in the middle of my lawn, and I use a sprinkler system which runs on well water, to water the lawn. The well water is unusually hard and when it gets on the leaves of the trees, it evaporates leaving hardwater deposits on them and suffocates the leaves; causing them to turn brown and die. Is there any thing I can use to spray on the leaves to dissolve the hardwater deposits, for trees in direct sunlight?

Answer: In a dry climate like yours, I would strongly advise you to water your trees at the soil level, rather than with a sprinkler. You are surely losing lots of water through evaporation, and in dry climates water is an especially precious resource. I suggestyou either set up a drip irrigation system, or simply set the hose around the base of the trees, and allow water to trickle out until the ground is well saturated. You'll be doing your trees a favor, since more water will reach their roots--where they need it--and not leaving deposits on the leaves. In fact, your trees may be turning brown because they aren't getting enough water by the sprinkler method.<br><br>There's a great reference book called "Xeriscape Gardening: Water Conservationfor the American Landscape" by Connie Ellefson, Tom Stephens, and Doug Welsh (Macmillan Publishing, New York, 1992). I highly recommend this as a valuable resource for all sorts of information, from soil preparation to choosing plants for your region, to maintaining the plantings.

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