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Problems caused by incorrect watering

Although irrigation can really boost the yield of your garden, watering the wrong way can do more harm than good.  Here are a few problems caused by improper watering:

  • Frequent shallow watering tempts plants to keep all of their roots close to the soil surface.  When you forget to water for a few days, your plants shrivel up and die.  Instead, you should water deeply (about an inch of water at a time) once a week to promote the growth of deep roots.
  • Sprinkler irrigation in the evening can promote the growth of fungi, especially in sensitive plants like tomatoes.  For these plants, water first thing in the morning on a sunny day so that their leaves can dry off quickly, or use drip irrigation.
  • Explanation of soil crustingRapid watering with a hose can cause soil crust formation in clayey soils, especially if you tilled your soil too fine or during droughty conditions.  A soil crust forms when tiny soil particles are washed into the air pores between larger soil particles, forming a soild mass which prevents further water from soaking into the soil.  To prevent crusting, water clay soil lightly and use no-till techniques.  This USDA factsheet (from which I got the photo) gives a lot more information about soil crusting. 



This post is part of our Irrigation lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:





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