For the layman, it’s easy to entertain the idea that watering plants is a very simple process. After all, how hard can it be to just, well, add water to your plants?
As it turns out, there is a lot of nuance and complexity when it comes to watering plants and crops, which complexity only grows in scale the bigger your garden, lawn, or farm is. In fact, there are many things you shouldn’t do when it comes to watering plants, and going about it the wrong way can adversely affect your plants, potentially even killing them.
As irrigation experts, we know a thing or two about watering, and it’s our mission at Affordable Irrigation to help people to understand how to most effectively care for their garden, farm or yard.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about irrigation and watering in general, and in this blog post, we’ll look at what is fact, and what is fiction.
Myth: Watering in the Sun Scorches Your Plants
The context that led to the proliferation of this myth is kind of true, but don’t be misled. Generally, it is advised to not water your plants in the middle of the day underneath the hot sun. There is legitimacy to this, but it led to the widespread idea that the sun can “scorch” your plants, by being magnified through water droplets.
Yeah…that’s not how the sun works. The assumption is that water droplets essentially act as tiny magnifiers hat enhance its power, like the way it heats up through a magnifying glass held by a kid who wants to bully ants. Fortunately, this is a myth.
In reality, watering your plants under the sun isn’t the best idea, but it’s not because your plants are at risk of being scorched. On the contrary, it’s because the hot sun evaporates water faster. Under certain conditions, the water doesn’t get enough time to properly hydrate plants because it’s absorbed so quickly by the unforgiving sun.
That’s why the general recommendation is to water your plants at dawn and dusk. This lets the water set in, making the flowers ripe to absorb the sunlight without losing their hydration.
Myth: You Can Water All Your Plants Equally
This one might not be an issue for you if you don’t have a wide variety of different plants, but one assumption that people make is that plants all have the same watering needs. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Every plant takes its water in differently, and some plants need a whole lot more than others.
When a plant receives too much water, it can actually drown the roots and be counterproductive. And, of course, we all know what happens when a plant (or anything else, for that matter) doesn’t get enough water.
The best advice we can give is to understand the watering needs of all the plants you’re tending to. If they share many similarities and you can afford to put them all under one universal irrigation system and watering schedule, great! But if not, it’s good to accommodate their needs. Building a DIY sprinkler system is a great way to create a custom setup for that kind of thing.
Myth: You Don’t Need to Change Your Watering Schedule
One blessing of irrigation systems is that most of them allow you to automate your watering. If you’ve ever gone outside day after day with a watering pail to tend to a massive number of plants, you’ll know how much of a blessing automated watering can be.
However, it’s not as simple as figuring out when to water all your plants, and then just leaving your irrigation tuned to the same system forever. Seasons change, and when they do, so too will the needs of your plants. Days get longer and shorter depending on the season, weather can be blisteringly hot or unthinkably cold, and different pests might differ from season to season.
These are all factors that might change the ideal watering times of your plant, yard, or garden. Make sure you’re up to speed on the watering conditions of whatever part of the year you’re in — it will save you a whole lot of frustration.
Myth: Certain Plants Don’t Need Water
Repeat it with us — everything needs water to survive. There are no exceptions to this, even if there are certain plants that are extremely resilient without a constant source of water.
You don’t want to make the mistake of assuming that any plant will just “take care of itself,” but many people do, with two types of plants in particular — drought-resistant plants and trees.
Drought resistant plants are exactly what they sound like. They are plants that can withstand long absences of water and are usually found in hot and arid environments. An example would be a cactus.
While drought-resistant plants can withstand long periods without water, that doesn’t mean they don’t need any at all. In fact, most of these plants are quite dependent on it to get “established.” Once the plant has had time to absorb ample nutrients and grow on its own, it’s usually equipped for long droughts. But you can’t just get a cactus and put nothing into it, expecting it to grow or even survive. Water it as much as it needs (which may not be as much as other plants),
Know the Facts When You Set Up Your Irrigation System
When it comes to something like irrigation and sprinkler system installation, you can’t afford to be misinformed. It can be a lot of effort installing and repairing sprinklers, and if your irrigation system is installed on the pretense of falsehoods, you might have to go through a lot of work and money later fixing your mistakes.
While we hope this blog post was useful in illuminating some of the facts about watering, there’s nothing that will serve your irrigation systems more than the touch of a professional. If you’re in need of sprinkler system installation or repair in Arizona, contact Affordable Irrigation Tulsa today!