Common plant issue - read before posting


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One of the most common issues that people have with plants is over-watering. Please take a moment to read through this post - you might be surprised. Over-watering can be far more problematic than under-watering, but most people don't realise they are doing it.

Signs of over-watering:
  • Drooping / wilting leaves
  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Leaf tips turn brown
  • Loss of leaves
  • No new growth
  • Algae on soil surface

Why is over-watering a problem? Plants take in oxygen through the roots as well as water and nutrients, and if there is too much water they literally drown.

Here's how to water:
  • Check the soil with your fingers before you water - if it feels wet / damp, you don't need to water.
  • Water long and deep so that the water gets right down into the roots. Watering little and often is a bad idea - it is far better to water less frequently but deeply.
  • The best time to water is early morning or late evening.
  • Try not to get water on the leaves - wet leaves in the morning may get scorched by the sun, wet leaves at night create a nice environment for mould and fungal diseases.
  • Make sure you have good drainage.

Don't forget that all plants are different, so use your judgement - feel the soil, look at the plant, and follow the above tips.
 
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Over watering is a big issue. Along with the problem is improper watering by not getting the water to the roots and wetting the foliage unnecessarily. The worst tool to have in a garden is a SPRINKLER. They should be banned.

In my relatively small garden, I actually welcome a droughty Summer, since I have enough water and the area is small enough so that I can control watering to the best effect. A wet Summer is usually a disaster.
 
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Remember, plants do much better with long, infrequent watering rather than watering less, frequently. Watering once a week, deeply is recommended for most plants. Also, it is normal for plants to wilt in the afternoon heat. Don't be tempted to water more. Watering too little is much less common then watering too much. :)
 
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Also, it is important to note that you should check a few inches deep in the soil to determine whether it is damp, or not. You made not see any moisture in the surface, but below it will have plenty of water. That's how you encourage a deep, healthy root system. They also sell devices to determine whether it is time to water, or not.
 
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There is no device that will measure dampness in the soil accurate enough to be meaningful. For years there was a scam with moisture meters that was just that - a scam. I don't think they are on the market any more.
 
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Thanks for the sticky @Becky!

Also...MULCH. Holds the water in the soil.
As a data point...I'm in Michigan which is often wet and gray, so I agree with Durgan really. But this summer has been extremely hot and dry. My mulched veggies and perennial beds get watered once about every 7-10 days. My container plants (mostly annuals) lose moisture fast so on the days when it's in the 90s they get a morning soaking every couple of days.

Also what @MaryMary said. :) Big difference between, say, the climate in the Philippines and the climate in Alaska. Knowing roughly what region a poster is in is pretty critical in giving a helpful response.
 
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Thanks for your opinion!@Becky!
"Plants take in oxygen through the roots as well as water and nutrients, and if there is too much water they literally drown,"This knowledge help me a lot...
 
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I use a dry, smooth, sturdy, but with a small circumference stick to "gauge" the soil moisture. I probably learned to do this on this forum actually, but i can't remember exactly where the idea came from. I have various sizes of containers, none of which is higher than 3' (a meter), which is the approximate length of my stick. I can push it into the soil all the way down to the bottom of most containers. When i pull it out, if the stick is bone dry, so is the soil, but if the stick shows some dampness and often times brings up some small bits of damp soil, then i know not to water and frequently have a good idea of how deep the soil is damp or wet. In the garden soil i do the same and push the stick down as far as it will go or i think it needs to go. I can use the same stick to measure other areas if i don't get a water mark. If i do get a water mark, i use the other end of the stick. If i get a water mark at both ends of the stick, i have a backup stick.:)
 

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