En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - February 05, 2010

From: Vancouver, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: General Botany, Watering
Title: Consequences of overwatering plants
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Explain how an error on the high side when watering would affect soil fertility management, IPM efforts?

ANSWER:

This is an excellent question but is too broad for us to provide a very helpful, exact answer other than "ohhh, overwatering can kill your plant". I will respond by giving you a few things for you to think about so perhaps you can answer the question yourself.

When you give a plant too much water it either sits in it or it runs away, depending on the type of soil in which it is planted. Clay soil can hold moisture and drains slowly; sandy soil drains very quickly. A container plant has the same issues depending on the potting medium and the pot drainage. Excess water can drain out of pots sitting on saucers or on the ground, but if a standard pot is sitting inside a decorative outer pot, the soil will become saturated with overwatering.

How would that affect soil fertility?  What makes soil fertile?  Do you know what water soluble fertilizer is?  What if you are growing plants in "potting soil", applying fertilizer and then overwatering so that the water just runs out of the bottom of the pot?  What do you think would happen? And if the pot has no drainage, what happens to the pore space in the soil?  Do you think the plant roots can extract the oxygen they require for respiration from water?

So, do you think the plant will be happy and healthy under those conditions?   And is a stressed plant more or less susceptible to attack by pests and diseases than a healthy one?

I think you can figure out the answer to that question and can put it in your own words!

 

More Watering Questions

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

New growth on live oaks in Houston
September 27, 2011 - My 2 10yr. old live oaks are putting out new growth (branches?) although, here in Houston, TX we are having such a drought. For the last 3 months, I have conscientiously watered my entire yard via ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Cherokee sedge in Spicewood, TX
May 18, 2009 - I have several Cherokee sedges, just planted in March. Three of them are doing fine, but the rest look like they're dying. Some are right next to one that is doing great. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Decline of indoor lemon cypress
June 25, 2008 - I received a lemon cypress as a gift. I have kept it indoors in bright light and tried to keep it moist. When I received the plant the foliage was soft and now it has become brittle and dry even tho...
view the full question and answer

Recycling bath water from Austin
July 03, 2012 - Is using bath water going to hurt my plants or grass? If I use water from the bath on vegetables and fruits will the soap be absorbed by the fruit and/or vegetables thereby transferring to us when we ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center