This could be a stupid question.

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Jocko, Aug 3, 2022.

  1. Jocko

    Jocko Guided by my better half.

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    Can you overwater plants that are planted in the ground? I know you can overwater pots and containers but I am worried in case I am overwatering the garden. When I water the garden it all soaks away quite quickly and I don't have plants standing in puddles. Also, when I dig a foot or so down into the ground I don't strike the water table. So is it safe to keep watering frequently without doing any harm?
     
  2. burnie

    burnie Gardener

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    I guess with both of us living the North East of Scotland and during a "normal" Scottish summer we can see rather a lot of rain, I wouldn't worry. If you have clay and poor drainage, then yes plants can drown, I'm on sand here and don't have the problem and of course as I mostly grow in raised beds, the problem doesn't arise.
     
  3. Clueless 1 v2

    Clueless 1 v2 Gardener

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    If there's no puddles forming then I'd say, with a few exceptions, it would be nigh on impossible to overwater plants in the ground. The few exceptions, from my own experience, would be certain Mediterranean herbs that are adapted to being periodically drowned, then going through long spells of hot and dry weather. I blame over watering on one of my rosemary bushes turning yellow.
     
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    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      I'd say yes you can, watering every day with a hose is just not natural unless you are in a rain forest.

      Might work ok with ferns and that kind of thing that likes to be perpetually wet but not more usual plants than like to dry out a bit between waterings.

      You Also can wash the nutrients out the soil.
      If you let your shrubs struggle slightly they will put down longer roots looking for water.
       
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      • Selleri

        Selleri Koala

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        Agree with @pete , even though drowning and rotting is unlikely, keeping the top of the soil constantly damp could impact the way the roots grow.

        If the roots don't grow deep but rather spread in the top foot or so, hard frosts could damage the plant and taller plants could blow over in high winds. And of course, if the top of the soil suddenly dries out (when you are on holiday), the plant would be rather helpless.

        Watering when plants clearly need it is probably the best way to keep things in balance.

        And on another note, I nowadays feel guilty with the impact watering with tap water has on resources. Even if I can afford the water, I find it wasteful as purifying, storing and pumping the stuff into my tap consumes quite a lot of energy. Greenie soapboxing over, promise! :biggrin:
         
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        • gks

          gks Super Gardener

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          Over watering will not just wash away the nutrients but also the top soil. Sounds like there is not enough organic material in the soil, horse manure, spent mushroom compost, old compost or mulching etc will help to retain moisture.
           
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          • NigelJ

            NigelJ Total Gardener

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            I favour waiting until a particular plant or plants are looking "tired" for a couple of days and then put the hose on gently for a while and give the area a good soak, then leave until they go over again probably a week two later.
            Also quite of plants wilt over the day and pick up over night so have a look both am and pm if they are wilted in the evening and ok the next morning; then no water.
             
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            • Jocko

              Jocko Guided by my better half.

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              I only get the hose out about once a week but a couple of shrubs appear to have dried out and I am concerned that they have been drowned, not dried out.
              I planted some trees and they say to water them every day, to begin with, then ease back on watering but still to water once a week for the first year.
              Most of the garden has been given a top dressing of farmyard manure because the topsoil seems to bake hard, and we regularly feed with Growmore pellets.
               
            • pete

              pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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              I seem to remember you saying you have clay soil.
              Although the manure is good as a top dressing once a year I'd suggest cutting back on the watering and use a hoe to break up the soil on the surface.
              I might be visualising it wrong but with clay the water puddles which then forms a crust when it dries, it's best to just break up the surface rather than keep adding more water.

              Trouble is the watering instructions don't know your conditions .
              And some plants require more water than others.
              I remember you planted a Fremonadendron some time ago, they actually prefer very well drained conditions especially if planted in clay, on the other hand you could probably water a Hosta until the cows come home and it will love it.
               
            • Jocko

              Jocko Guided by my better half.

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              I would need a backhoe to break the surface. Think concrete. I have started digging small holes with a Post hole digger and putting compost and manure in them.
              And it now looks like I have lost my second Fremontodendron, planted in the same area of the garden. I will just have to give up on growing one of those.
               
            • Clueless 1 v2

              Clueless 1 v2 Gardener

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              There was a guy on telly a good while ago now, advocating 'no dig' gardening. He explained how he uses tap rooted annuals and biennials to break up the soil. He explained how the tap root will find its way down through the hardest soil, then when it dies, you're left with a hole in the ground as the root rots. I've never tried it myself, but it looked interesting.
               
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              • pete

                pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                Sounds bad, I can't think much can survive in that .
                In hindsight before planting any thing you needed to dig the border over and incorporate the manure as you went. Even some sharp sand would help.
                Your seem to be just making planting pockets rather than improving the whole bed.
                 
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                • Jocko

                  Jocko Guided by my better half.

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                  The whole area was rotovated twice before we did the planting. Once in December then again in July.
                  It is too much work for me to dig over by hand (the post hole digger is all I can manage) and now that it is full of shrubs and perennials I cannot get it rotovated again.
                  The holes I dig and fill with organic matter are not for planting but just to try and get some goodness into the ground. I have also put down Horticultural Gypsum and in the worst area, "Clay Breaker".

                  The shrubbery 24-6-22.jpg
                   
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                  • Clueless 1 v2

                    Clueless 1 v2 Gardener

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                    Clay is not that bad, as long as it's not just clay like in my front garden. I get loads to grow absolutely fine and I'm on clay soil. It's all clay round here.

                    If you're top dressing with anything rich and organic, the worms will drag it under.
                     
                  • Jocko

                    Jocko Guided by my better half.

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                    I actually found my first worm the other day. He must have been heading from next door this side to next door that side. He was treated gently and put back in a hole.
                     
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