Though all plants need water, there’s a fine line between not enough and too much. Don’t supply enough water, and your crops will fail. Supply too much, and you suddenly have to deal with a failing crop in addition to nutrient loss and runoff issues. However, terms like “enough” tend to be rather subjective. My graduate advisor tended to take a spiritual approach to the matter that was rather amusing at times.
Having several different assistants working in the greenhouse at a time, she noted that some, like churches who practice baby baptism, felt that a “little sprinkle was good enough” while others went for adult baptism approach of “a complete soggy mess”. Fortunately, avoiding overwatering your plants is a fairly simple process to learn, and the techniques we’ll teach you in this article will help you take advantage of being able to optimize growth while reducing water usage.
Absolutely! If you’ve had a biology class in your day, you know that plants take up water for a wide range of reasons. They use the water for everyday actions, such as transporting sugars and nutrients to different areas of the plant. They also use water as part of the necessary components for the photosynthesis cycle, which changes carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates, which in turn are stored elsewhere in the plant for future use, such as making tasty meals for humans. They also transpire water through special pores in the leaves called stoma, which allows the plant to control its temperature during hot weather.
Not providing a plant with enough water causes issues with turgor, or the water pressure that helps keep the plant upright. Lack of turgor is what causes plants to wilt when they don’t have enough water available. It can also cause serious issues with future plant health and can impact your garden’s overall yields. However, overwatering can cause issues as well. Too much water in the soil can drown your plants and cause serious problems with viability. It can also cause issues with root rot, especially in heavy soils, such as those that contain a lot of clay or don’t drain well. Though simple biology tells us that plants produce oxygen from carbon dioxide, they also need oxygen from the air to survive and thrive, including air in the soil.
Beyond the issues that overwatering can cause for your plants, let’s take a look at the actions it can have on your garden as a whole. Overwatering can cause nutrients to leach out of your soil. If you’re using compost to build up organic matter in your soil, it comes with a good deal of nutrition already in the mix, but overwatering causes those nutrients to leach out of the soil you’ve built up.
In addition, these nutrients then flow along with the excess water into other waterways, causing serious issues with aquatic plant and animal life by causing an algae bloom, as the nutrients cause algae in the waterway to grow exponentially, cutting off sunlight to water plants which kills them, which then kills fish and insect life in the waterway through lack of oxygen in the water. Pesticide runoff is just as dangerous, killing smaller plants and animals and concentrating the pesticide in larger fish, causing a threat to human health.
Obviously, overwatering is bad for your plants, but how do you avoid accidentally overwatering them, especially early on when you’re still learning how to garden? Here are some great tips and techniques to help get you started.
Overwatering can be a serious issue with plant production, causing nutritional deficiencies, runoff and other concerns. However, careful management or using other plant production methods such as hydroponics help prevent this problem in the first place. When it’s time to start your garden, consider Fitleaf to be your partner in improving your health through fresh produce. Check out our wide range of informational articles to get started on the garden of your dreams. With Fitleaf, you can live your best life now.
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