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Plant Watering Myths Dispelled

11:21 AM, Jul 30, 2013   |    comments
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Triad --  We've had so much rain this summer that watering your plants may be the last thing on your mind. Especially if you have containers, you still need to keep an eye on them. They dry out faster. If you go a few days without rain, they will likely need attention.

I have been adding pieces of broken flower pots to the bottom of my containers forever. I don't know why I started. I probably just heard it from someone. Maybe I saw someone else do it. I've been living a lie.

According to Linda Chalker-Scott, in "The Informed Gardener," water doesn't flow freely from fine soil to more coarsely textured soil. If you are putting gravel, sand or even pot shards in the bottom of your containers for drainage, you're ironically slowing down drainage. Water doesn't begin to flow out of the fine textured soil until it has reached saturation. Rather than flowing into the gravel, water just sits in the soil.

You may have also heard you shouldn't water during the hottest part of a sunny day because it will scorch the plants. The theory is that the drops left on the plants will act as magnifying glasses and burn them.

Chalker-Scott says this isn't true either. Just because it makes sense, doesn't make it true.

There is, however, a better and worse time to water. The best time is in the morning. The relative humidity is high so it gives the water time to soak in before it evaporates. Then as the temperature rises, the excess water evaporates off.

The afternoon isn't ideal because that is when the relative humidity is the lowest. More water will evaporate than will go into your plants. Evening is also not a great idea because the water doesn't evaporate but sits on the plants all night. That can cause fungus problems.

"The Informed Gardener" by Linda Chalker-Scott

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