Overwatering plants can drown them, lead to root rot, attract unwanted pests, among other nasty effects. Sometimes heavy rains wash through gardens or cloudy days cause routine watering schedules to overwater plants.
Use these tips to prevent overwatering plants no matter where you live.
How Do You Know If You Are Overwatering Your Plants?
Overwatering is a typical issue that many gardeners face. Overwatering can cause root rot, nutritional depletion, browning of leaf margins, yellow or brown patches on leaves, and wilting and curling. You may also notice that your soil is moist or wet. This could be a sign of root rot or overwatering. Overwatering a plant might invite pests and bugs.
Can Plants Recover From Overwatering?
To help your plant recover from overwatering, here are some steps to consider:
- You may be able to rescue your plant by reducing the amount of water it’s getting. Stop or alter your watering schedule until the soil is dry to the touch. In minor overwatering cases, this might be sufficient.
- Consider removing the plant and inspecting its root system for root rot; pruning rotted roots; and eliminating any fungus.
- If your plant is potted, consider repotting the plant into a new pot with better drainage than the previous pot.
- If your plant is in the ground, consider moving it to a new location with better soil, sun or shade, and water conditions.
- When re-potting or moving the plant to a new location, always pay close attention to its recommended soil.
- Consider airing and drying out the roots as part of your re-planting process.
- Also, now is the time to consider pruning leaves, fruit and branches, which will allow the plant to save energy and direct its energy to rebuilding its roots and surviving.
- Research the specific watering needs of each plant species you are growing.
- Consider using a water meter to measure the amount of water being used.
- After re-planting, check the soil every day.
Schedule Your Gardening Routine
Every time you grab your watering can or hose, note the soil dampness and plant wellness in your garden. Reflecting on your notes may provide better guidance for improving your watering routine.
Schedule each watering session into your weekly calendar, but remember that it’s okay to adjust the routine as needed. You’ll never forget when you last watered your plants and avoid giving them too much H2O.
Adapt Your Landscaping for Seasonal Change
It’s always a good idea to check the weather before you go to bed or after waking up. Download a few weather apps and compare their unique features to find the one you prefer. You’ll save yourself from watering in the morning when meteorologists expect a surprise rain shower in the afternoon or stick with a watering schedule that doesn’t work during changing seasons.
Of course, rainy days aren’t the only consideration for your garden’s long-term health. Unfortunately, some regions are facing the impacts of climate change, which can alter everything from frosting schedules to local pests.
Seasonal weather updates are crucial because you may live in an area where wet weather is more likely. People who live in flood zones can renovate their garden landscaping to control water runoff better. It’s an excellent option for people with yards that take days to dry out after heavy rains or flooding. Your new landscaping could include helpful features like permeable concrete or underground drainage pipes to mitigate how long it takes for your soil to dry.
Ensure Proper Soil Drainage
Some gardeners want to raise plants but struggle because they live in an area where there’s mostly sand or clay. You can ensure better soil drainage by mixing compost into your backyard or layering the soil with shredded leaves before planting anything. The layers give the water room to filter past roots and away from potentially waterlogged plants.
It’s always easier to do this step before planting your garden, so consider your options before getting your gardening gloves out during the next growing season.
Add a Garden Timer
Sprinkler systems save time, but they can also cause overwatering mistakes. You might turn your sprinkler on before running errands. If you don’t get back fast enough, the water will continue to soak your plants even after they get all of the watering they need.
Add a timer to your sprinkler system by attaching a hose extension or whatever timer fits with your underground sprinklers. You’ll gain more control over your garden and avoid accidentally forgetting to turn the sprinklers off.
Use a Soaker Hose
A soaker hose may seem like the opposite solution to prevent overwatering your garden. It’s a hose with tiny holes in it that snakes under your plants and remains on. Due to the predetermined water pressure when you turn on the faucet, the hose holds back water and gradually lets it seep into your soil.
Even though the hose remains on, overwatering becomes less of an issue because the water comes out so slowly. It’s also more efficient because the water goes directly to the root systems and avoids the rot caused by soaked leaves.
Learn about Common Overwatering Symptoms
If overwatering is a common problem in your yard, it might happen because you’re not sure which symptoms are warning signs. Learn to spot the most frequent symptoms of waterlogged plants, like:
- Yellowed or wilted leaves
- Soil turned green by algae
- Stunted growth
When these symptoms occur, it’s time to cut back on your watering. It may be too much for the time of year or where your plants grow in parts of your yard that lack efficient drainage.
Stop Overwatering Your Garden
If you use these tips to prevent overwatering your garden, your plants will thrive all year round. Consider factors like your seasonal weather, how well your yard drains, and what your watering schedule looks like to determine the cause. You’ll match the cause with the best solution that guarantees the correct amount of water for your plants.
Evelyn Long is a writer and the editor-in-chief of Renovated. She publishes home improvement and gardening advice for a variety of publications.