En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Restoring fire damage in Bastrop TX
November 03, 2011 - I live in the Bastrop State Park area. We were severely affected by the wildfire and as we are trying to rebuild our home, we are being very aware of the particularities of the recovery process. We lo...
view the full question and answer

How will my Texas Mountain Laurel survive clay soil?
June 09, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Pants: I live in a new neighborhood (brownfield site) in Central Austin where the developers have put fill in the yards. After not much more than 2 inches of topsoil you encounter fairl...
view the full question and answer

Drought affecting native trees from The Woodlands
August 18, 2011 - I've been trying to grow native trees in my yard for the past 3 years and I'm starting to question whether the amount of time required to spend watering them during the long hot season in Texas is r...
view the full question and answer

Dying branches on Texas Mountain Laurel from Kempner TX
September 14, 2012 - The branches on my Texas Mountain Laurel are very dry and brittle. The leaves are also starting to die. The tree has been in my yard for six years and prior to that it sat wrapped in burlap for ov...
view the full question and answer

How to care for newly transplanted Live Oak.
July 02, 2009 - I planted 3 B & B, 6" caliper live oaks in February and they lost most of their leaves during the normal time but when the new leaves grew back the amount of leaves were quite a bit less. I have th...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center