Mistakes we make every time we water our plants Previous item How to water your plants Next item 5 secrets to transplanting...

Mistakes we make every time we water our plants

Sometimes the technique we use is not correct and as a result we damage and even destroy our plants.

What are the worst ways we water, which I am listing for you, just be sure to avoid them!

Water with softened (soft) water. According to expert agronomists, the main factor that causes serious damage to plants is soft water. Many homes are supplied with hard water, so owners install water softeners and connect the outside tap to the system to prevent stains when they wash their cars. Unfortunately, the same water when they water the garden and the plants die due to poisoning from the salts in the soft water. You can only do this if you stay in coastal areas where the plants are salt tolerant.

We often give them “Quick Showers”. I get chills when I see various friends running from plant to plant with a sprayer in hand, wetting the leaves! Plants drink water from the roots, so we need to water those roots – deep in the ground – in order for our plant to grow. When a plant has grown properly, all that is needed is to water deeply, and quite slowly, so that the water reaches a depth of 15-20 cm for horticultural and perennial plants and a depth of 30 cm for trees and the bushes. The best tactic is to water slowly and with a frequency of one to two times a week to help your plants grow properly, have strong roots and have strong, healthy and drought-tolerant plants. In most areas, close to 2.5cm of water (rainfall plus whatever you add) is a good target – but don’t you know it also depends on the soil and the plant’s water settings. When the soil is sufficiently moist, an above-ground part of the plant can withstand drought without being damaged.

Let the newly germinated seeds and young seedlings dry out! Newly planted seeds and plants are the exception to the previous “no quick showers” rule. We will need to water our new plants frequently until they can grow roots in the ground. When we plant seeds and tiny seedlings, we should water lightly as needed – even every few hours with warm water – to keep the soil moisture constant. Gradually, we reduce the frequency, as the roots develop. We should also check the soil at the base of the plant frequently to make sure it is not dry, because then the roots will never grow, so our plants will be constantly dependent on frequent watering. Even larger plants need a little extra water to help them settle well into the soil, even “low-maintenance, or drought-tolerant plants.” It is not correct to water only the existing roots: be sure to keep the soil around and under the plant moist, so that the roots can develop properly under the soil. In the case of fast-growing annual flowers and vegetables, this can be a matter of two weeks, while larger plants may need more watering, particularly during droughts, for a year or so.

Spray, Water, Done! Water needs time to soak and moisten the soil, especially when the soil is dry. Water overflowing from the ground surface is excess water, wasted time and energy. Use special watering hoses or automatic watering systems that slow down over a large area for maximum efficiency (what you gain: moments without standing over the plant with only the watering hose as company).

We water only the shoot. How easily we forget that roots grow and extend deep into the soil, beyond and below the trunk and stem of trees and plants! Generally the roots extend underground at the same range as the plant’s branches and the tree’s crown, like an underground mirror of the plant. When we aim the hose at the stem of a large plant, it means that most of the root – especially the young and strong roots on the outer periphery of the rhizome – is often not well watered. Better to water the entire area under the plant, or tree and a little more (to reach deep into the subsoil).

We water by wetting the plant from the leaves! I often say to kindergarten children when we teach gardening: “Leaves don’t drink water, only the roots drink water, so water where the roots are.” Wet leaves can often become infected with plant-damaging pathogens. So don’t wet the leaves, direct the watering straight up and into the soil as best you can.

Watering under the hot sun, a crime! Warm temperatures speed up evaporation, so the hotter the weather (especially when it’s already windy), the more water will be lost before it can enter the soil. The best time to water is when there is a cool breeze – and it allows the plants to soak up the water before the sun and heat of the day can evaporate the precious water that runs through the leaves and helps the plants stay healthy.

We water the soil bare before we plant! Water evaporates into the air from the moist soil and is lost. A natural mulch, such as small pieces of wood, mulch, bark chips, straw, bits of dry greenery, creates a barrier that slows down this process and retains soil moisture for a longer period after watering. Ground cover speeds up water absorption, makes it easier for soil microorganisms to keep plants healthy and happy, keeps pests away, and makes life easier for all of us. So, we never water on bare soil!