While many centuries-old gardening methods are now backed up by scientific data, some of the most prevalent have been repeatedly demonstrated to be either superfluous or outright harmful when put to the test. Therefore, disregarding the following three standard bits of gardening “knowledge” may save you time and effort while virtually likely producing the same or better outcomes. Look aside now, old school horticulturists…
When should we not water the plant?
Traditionally, we have been instructed to avoid watering on hot, sunny days at all costs, since water droplets appear to act as microscopic lenses, concentrating the sun’s rays and burning the leaves of plants. Individuals who adhere to this horticultural doctrine religiously may avoid watering excessively parched, wilted plants in sweltering conditions for fear of burning them. However, water droplets evaporate far too quickly for this “lens effect” to ever occur. The advantages of providing water to severely dehydrated plants at a critical time will outweigh any potential danger. The one exception is that because water evaporates rapidly on hot, bright days, watering in the evening or early is typically more efficient.
While it is still a staple of television gardening shows, the belief that covering a container’s drainage hole with a thick layer of broken terracotta pots improves drainage was disproven over a century ago. Due to the fact that liquids travel more slowly between many layers of substrates than they do between a single substrate, this suggestion may actually result in the pots draining more slowly. This is often recommended for terracotta pots, while plastic and resin substitutes feature several drainage holes. Despite their porous nature, terracotta pots are the least likely to suffer from waterlogging: they have a tendency to dry out too quickly. The only advantage using crocks in pots may be to prevent potting mix from spilling out of drainage holes and creating a mess when plants are newly transplanted. If this is the case, a scrap of card, mesh, or a shard of shattered pottery might be a preferable choice.
Do you have clay soil? Then, according to conventional wisdom, dig in large amounts of sand to open up the structure and increase drainage. However, studies indicate that this would need adding more than 50% sand to clay soil. This is a significant expense in terms of money, the environment, and, honestly, your back and elbows. Swap sand for organic matter such as compost and you’ll need just 5-10% to get an optimum soil consistency, along with the extra advantages of nutrients and microorganisms, for a fraction of the expense and work.
Why Should Plants Not Be Watered at Night?
If your daytime routine is hectic, your gardening time may be restricted to the evening and nocturnal hours. Watering the plants is a critical and regular garden activity; certain species require daily irrigation for optimal growth. Although evaporation is reduced at night, watering your garden at night may be detrimental to your plants.
Watering plants from above, whether with a watering can or a sprinkler system, wets the leaves, flowers, and fruit. The light quickly evaporates this moisture throughout the day, but midnight watering permits the water to remain on the plant for a prolonged period of time. As a result, fungus and bacteria have an ideal environment on the plant’s surfaces for reproduction and invasion. If any of your plants have additional problems, such as broken stems, these pathogens may establish a deeper foothold in your garden and cause substantial dieback.
Similar to human respiration, plants exchange gases and moisture with the surrounding air via transpiration, which involves the opening and closing of microscopic openings called stomata to release water vapor. However, the majority of transpiration activity happens throughout the day while the sun is shining. Any moisture applied to the plants at night cannot be evacuated via the stomata. As a consequence, moisture is retained on the plant, which allows pathogens to infiltrate, resulting in rot and other detrimental effects to the leaves and flowers. Evenings with calm breezes also aid pathogen proliferation; windy evenings assist plants in evaporating standing water or evaporating rainwater that has fallen to the ground.
Watering at night adds to waterlogging if your soil lacks an adequate friable texture. Loose soil often allows water to infiltrate the ground uniformly. However, compacted soil hinders water from gently penetrating the topsoil. As a result, standing water lingers on the soil surface. Due to the lack of sunlight to evaporate the puddle, the roots of your plants become strangled by the lack of oxygen and moisture. The stem and top of your plants may also be injured by diseases or decay if the water gathers around the base of each plant.
Watering at night is particularly hazardous in the cold. With midnight watering, it is easy to produce a fake frost throughout your landscape. For instance, in the evening, standing water on foliage does not have a chance to evaporate. As temperatures decrease, the water freezes over, causing damage to frost-sensitive plants. During the cooler months, it is crucial to water your plants in the morning or early afternoon to ensure that moisture is adequately absorbed into the soil before nightfall.