Garden Pests Series: O…

Thoughts and musings

Garden Pests Series: O…

Lewis | April 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

…is for Over watering.

So far in this blog series, all featured dangers to your garden have been those that in nature. However, as gardeners, we must also bear in mind that even though our actions may be with the best intentions, our efforts can have adverse effects. Potentially, this can revolve around the watering of your garden. There can be a common misconception that because plants need water to survive, giving them a lot of water will only benefit them. However, this is not the case and over watering can often be more serious than under watering, which itself will be featured in another blog post in this series. But for now, let’s discuss the dangers of over watering.

Over watering is actually relatively rare with outdoor plants. Therefore, it is more of a concern for indoor and house plants, but that isn’t to say that there isn’t a danger of it in the Great Outdoors. That being said, it’s likely to be the most common cause of house plant decline. The reasons why over watering occurs are multiple and widespread. A main reason, though, it that plants can differ tremendously in the volume of water it needs to survive at any given time. The factors behind this include the season, temperature, climate and the plant itself.

The “science” behind over watering is actually pretty simple. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the plant is affected by the rate of water evaporation from plant leaves and the rate of transpiration through the stem and roots. As a result, the presence of too much water prevents the diffusion of these gases and considering the two elements are key in the photosynthetic process, the importance of watering correctly is emphasised. Not only this, a lack of oxygen available for the plant roots can cause general stunting of growth and encourages the development of rotting organisms. It can’t be outlined enough that not many plants thrive when they are sitting in dishes of water for a long period of time.

There are a number of visible indications of a plant suffering from over watering. The aforementioned stunted growth is one, with another common indication is the discolouration of leaves to a yellow colour. You should also keep an eye out for defoliation, no matter how fast or slow this process may be. A grey mould that is quite powdery to the touch could also be found around the stems, flowers and leaves. Like many other garden pests, these symptoms can also be potential indications of something else that could befall your plants. However, if there is also rotting roots, you can be quite sure that the plant is suffering from over watering, or water logging.

Often, the damage is already done if you see some of these symptoms. Therefore, please do be careful when watering certain plants. We recommend check water requirements for plants online or from other seasoned gardeners. From here though, all you can do sadly is prevent more damage. For outdoor plants, be sure to check the condition of the soil regularly and turning over loamy soil will help drainage and aeration.

The tricky bit is the watering of plants after you have discovered over watered plants. You can selectively water some areas, leaving some areas dry to help the situation. Also, watering at different times of day will also aid and abet; watering in the morning when less evaporation can occur is recommended, as well as the avoidance of watering in the humid evening conditions, which can cause fungal growth. Finally, to ensure plant pots aren’t holding water, ensure these have drainage holes with gravel lining the bottom to stop clogging.

We hope you enjoyed this article. Over watering isn’t so much of a garden pest than an unexpected risk. However, it has made it onto our list nonetheless, due to the damage it can do, so please be wary of it!