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Re: watering practices


Jim,

          I agree, but I think one of the issues is how can this be
accomplished with the most economic use of water; and certainly whether the
soil will be too wet, properly moist, or overly dry depends not only on how
much water is applied, but also upon what it consists of (soilless media,
compacted clay, rich silt loam, etc) as well as whether it is located in a
pot with drainage holes in the bottom, or in a clay soil that drains very
slowly, etc.

                                                               Josh


----- Original Message -----
From: "Island Jim" <jsinger@igc.org>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2003 8:03 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] watering practices


> i always thought the purpose of irrigation was to keep a properly aerated
> root zone moist [not wet] without regard to time of day or night. whether
> that root zone is in a pot or the ground or, for that matter, crawling up
a
> tree is not terribly important. what's important is whether it works [that
> is, the plants thrive] according to the perception of the grower.
>
> At 06:52 PM 4/4/03 -0500, you wrote:
> >Kitty,
> >
> >          I finally got around to reading the AG article you mentioned
last
> >week.  Two thoughts:
> >
> >         I think it again demonstrates the importance of empirical
testing.  A
> >priori philosophizing about gardening just doesn't get it done.  Previous
> >explanations of why watering in the morning was best certainly sounded
> >reasonable, but are proven wrong.  The results of 60-70% better plant
growth
> >are certainly dramatic, and demonstrate the value of controlled tests.
> >Gardening is rampant with examples of misguided advice that previously
> >appeared to make sense.  The practice of covering pruning cuts with wound
> >dressing is a perfect example.  A chemical covering that would keep
insects
> >and pathogens out while the wound healed sounded quite sensible.  But
when it
> >was discovered that the practice seriously slowed the healing process,
the
> >practice was discarded.
> >
> >         Which leads me to me second thought: How can Warren say "home
> >gardeners should benefit from switching to afternoon watering, too"?  His
> >research was focused on containerized plants in the commercial nursery
> >industry.  As you know, this now generally involves soilless media which
> >allows for extremely rapid drainage.  The media generally dries out very
> >quickly, and so it is easy to understand why watering in the midafternoon
on a
> >hot day would be particularly beneficial.  The same practice should work
with
> >containerized plants in the home garden, but that does not necessarily
mean it
> >will help with our plants that are in the ground.  Most of our soils
drain
> >much more slowly than containers, and the soil buffers the effect of
heat,
> >particularly when it is properly mulched.  Further, the soil several
inches
> >down can remain moist for days, which is not the case with containers.
If the
> >plant is well rooted it will not dry out nearly so quickly.
> >
> >         Thus I suspect one would not find the same dramatic improvement.
> >Moreover, the value of early morning watering is that far less water is
lost
> >in the atmosphere.  If you are using sprinklers, on a hot afternoon as
much as
> >half the water can be lost to evaporation if you are watering in the heat
of
> >the day.  It seems, therefore, that morning watering may still be better
for
> >plants that are not in containers.  Again, however, we won't really know
until
> >someone does the proper studies.  But it seems Mr. Warren is jumping to
> >conclusions that are not yet supported by the necessary empirical
> >examination.
> >
> >         I suspect you should keep on getting up early on Saturdays.
> >
> >
> >                                       Josh Haskell
> >
> >                                       Ohio -- Zone 5
> >
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