WATERING - Knowledgebase Question

BULLHEAD CITY, Ar
Question by rkelley6
June 30, 2010
CAN THE CITY WATER WE USE KILL OUR PLANTS?? THE WATER I ERY HARD AND LOADED WITH CALCIUM? HOW TO FILTER OUR WATER??


Image
Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

0

It is not the water itself, but ineffectively applying it that may damage plants. Here's why. Desert soil and water supplies both naturally contain salts, which can accumulate in the root zone over time. Salts dissolve in water. Salt buildup forms where the water stops penetrating. For example, if over time water soaks no more than 6 inches deep, the salts will be deposited where the water stops at the 6-inch mark. If you water plants lightly and frequently, salts will build up in the top layers of soil and damage or kill your plant over time. We see this happen alot with drip irrigation because it doesn't supply sufficient water for deep watering. For example, a drip emitter that puts out one gallon per hour would only put a quart of water on the ground in 15 minutes. Think about dumping a Big Gulp on a tree, and you can visualize how ineffective this would be. Always water slowly, deeply and as infrequently as possible. Short periods of watering cause salts to build up in the top layers of soil and damage or kill your plant. Salt burn shows up as yellowing, browning along leaf edges, and leaf drop. Deep watering?or leaching?prevents this by flushing the salts past the root zone.

Use the 1-2-3 Rule as an easy method to figure out how much water to apply. Small plants with shallow root systems, such as perennials, veggies, herbs, cacti, succulents have roots that reach about 1 foot deep, so water needs to penetrate that far. When the top 1 inch of soil dries out, it's usually time to water again. Shrubs (like your lilacs) have root systems that are 2 feet deep so water needs to soak 2 feet deep. When the top 2 inches of soil dries out, it's time to water. Trees are 3 feet, etc. As plants establish root systems, the time between waterings can be lengthened, but it is always essential to water to the same depth. So you are applying the same amount of water with each irrigation regardless of the time of year, but the frequency changes. As warm weather arrives, you need to water more frequently than during winter. For veggies and small plants, it may be necessary to water daily.

You must be signed in before you can post questions or answers. Click here to join!

« Return to the Garden Knowledgebase Homepage

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Marilyn and is called "Purple Crocus in March"