Efficient Water Use

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Irrigation is the artificial application of water to soil in order to aid the growth of plants. An image that may come to mind is that of a gardener sprinkling water from a pot onto a flower or a small plant. This is a very simple definition, however, and irrigation usually is a bit more complicated than that.


One of the factors is the combination of soil used, and the kind of plant growing in that soil. Fine-textured soil, like clay or silt, for example, tends to keep water near the surface, while coarser soil lets water penetrate deeper. A plant with shallow roots might not fare well in a coarse soil because it can�t reach water. On the other hand, a plant with deep roots might not get much water from fine soil. You may water your plants regularly, but all that water is just going to waste if it can�t get to your plants� roots.

Another factor is timing. Plants always need water, but there are critical growth stages, like when they are just germinating or are just beginning to emerge from the soil, when your plants really need their water. If your plants don�t get water when they need it most, you�ll just end up wasting water trying to nurse them back to health.

Timing is also important in keeping your soil moist and your plants well watered. Frequent light watering wets the top layer of soil, but doesn�t provide enough water to penetrate deep into the soil. This means that instead of reaching the roots, water evaporates straight into the air from the ground. Occasionally soaking the soil is usually a better idea than frequently sprinkling it.

On the opposite end, you have to watch out for that you don�t over-water your plants. If you don�t give the soil time to dry out, you deprive your plants� roots of oxygen that they need. Like under-watering, this leads to wasted water, and quite a few browning, wilting, dying plants.

These are just a few things you need to know about watering or irrigating your plants, and we can�t share everything with you in this short article. If you want to learn more about water management and efficient irrigation, visit Landtech Irrigation website or stay tuned for more posts here.

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Author: Jim Davis
Jim manages Landtech Irrigation Consultants, a Midwest-based group specializing in high-efficiency irrigation; incorporates water-harvesting whenever possible. Visit Landtech Irrigation: www.landtechdesign.com

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