Watering Your Plants (P. Duxbury)

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Watering Your Plants

Plants are approximately 90% water and therefore it is essential that they get enough water to survive. Gardening is all about balance and that applies to the amount of water your plants need to stay healthy. Overwatering can be as harmful as not giving them enough water. The soil that the plants are growing in is a big factor in the amount of water that you should be giving them. If the soil is heavy and doesn’t drain well you will need to give them less water or they could get water logged and the roots can rot. If the soil is a lot freer draining then you might need to water a little more often.

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Too much water can reduce the plants ability to draw oxygen and nutrients from the soil and this is as essential to their growth as the water. Gentle watering is better than heavy watering with a hose as the higher pressure of the hose can cause the soil to turn to mud. Once the soil dries out again it will become solidified. This compacting of the soil after heavy watering makes it more difficult for the plants to grow.

Soakers are a good method of watering provided the flow of water is not too great. Soakers are also excellent when using a timed irrigation system so that the plants get sufficient water when you are away and particularly in the hotter months of the year when the soil tends to dry out more often. If you are using timed irrigation you will need to adjust the timing and the flow of water according to the seasons and always make changes when there have been unseasonal changes to the weather that will require extra care for the plants. Once again, plants need the human touch to maintain that balance.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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