WATER (GENERAL): Testing for Water Content in Pots

Culture Orchid Doctor

by Robert M. [Bert] Hamilton (Compiler)

Originally published in The Orchid Doctor in 1980 and 1988

Posted by Sys Admin almost 4 years ago.

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An electronic moisture meter (M-Scape Moisture Comparator) is useful to determine whether there is water in the root zone. OD65-172
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Water (General) Comments
WATER (GENERAL): Alkaline From a Well If your water tests 470 prpm soluble minerals, you will gradually kill all your plants; "softened" water is worse; the pH can be tested with kits available from tropical fish stores, or with test tape (pHydrion papers) ; to use acids such as hydrochloric, nitric or phosphoric (as muriatic), most easily available is the latter: to a litre of water add drops of acid to bring the pH to the right level; use a fertilizer proportioner thereafter at the same rate. Ca81(1)-5 0
WATER (GENERAL): Alkaline From Well So long as there are no excessive salts content, it can range from a pH of 4 to 9, but water with a high calcium content should be kept off the leaves. A83-816 0
WATER (GENERAL): All-wet Culture When some plant supports sagged the pots were lowered so the bottoms were in 1.25 inches of water continuously and they developed perfectly so were not damaged by the immersion. AU85(l)-35 0
WATER (GENERAL): Bath Water Used on Plants It can be only if the detergent used was mild baby shampoo; soaps might be harmful, joined with calcium and magnesium would result in precipitates in the rooting media. A77-527 0
WATER (GENERAL): Best Range The pH range should be 5 to 7 (or 4 to 9 for cattleyas, and the soluble salts should be less than 500ppm. A87-515 0
WATER (GENERAL): Cold Weather Means Less Water Plant metabolism is reduced in winter to low levels and less water is required. F81-17 0
WATER (GENERAL): Contains 11 Grains of Sodium Per Gallon But at recharging the same water contains 2 grains, which is equal to 34 ppm, a small amount for watering. A81-1093 0
WATER (GENERAL): Electrical Conductance Many water departments in municipalities supply the rates of electrical conductance in their analyses; less than 25 X 10-5 Mhos is excellent quality for growing orchids; 25 to 75 X 10-5 Mhos is good; 75 to 125 X 10-5 Mhos is questionable. A67-466 0
WATER (GENERAL): Excess Take-up Cattleyas and cymbidiums can both show signs of too much absorption when cut and placed in water and they become water-marked; removed from water the marks go away for reasons unknown. OA80-143 0
WATER (GENERAL): Fluoridated Water No effect from it has been noticed in culture; A62-485; it is not detrimental; A70-725 0
WATER (GENERAL): For Cymbidiums PH of 7.9 is within a good range providing there are no soluble salts and toxic ions such as sodium and bicarbonate; citric acid of food grade phosphoric acid; in Santa Barbara, Cal., one quart of 75% phosphoric acid is added to 100 gals. water to achieve a pH of 5.5. OA75-179 0
WATER (GENERAL): Heating in the Greenhouse Ceiling Fifty feet of copper line painted black absorbs heat in the water which feeds both the greenhouse and the home supply, requiring less energy to bring it up to the required temperature. OIE88Mar-9 0
WATER (GENERAL): Lack of It If the plant parches during its growing cycle, it can abort its spike. OA84-20 0
WATER (GENERAL): Leaching Effect When pots are leached with water more nitrogen than phosphorous or potassium is leached out. A73-991 0
WATER (GENERAL): Low Solute Plants Those that do better with low solute water are Lycastes (high elevation types), Masdevallias (Colombia), Houlletia and Coryanthes, Brazilian cattleyas, Paphiopedilum wentworthianum and others, Huntleya, Pescatorea and Bollea,the Sophronitis sp.; use your house eaves-trough to fill your plastic garbage can with low-solute rain water. OD87-44 0
WATER (GENERAL): Perils of Poor Water With high solute water, when you water the plants the salts coat the leaves; if the water has 800 ppm. of dissolved salts, the next sprinkling only doubles the coating; if the count is 1800 ppm. it is likely not suitable for plant growth. OA84-11 0
WATER (GENERAL): Sulfur in the Water If sulfurous well water is used for drinking it is not likely to harm plants; it has a high pH value, so potting medias other than bark will prove more satisfactory. A65-1003 0
WATER (GENERAL): Temperature At Application Heat the water before if it is cold; use solar collectors to raise the temperature from 7 dC to about 21 dC before applying to phalaenopsis because it stops cold water damage. Wl1-164If water in the hose system in winter is 50 dF it is too cold; an automatic mixing valve as used in bathroom showers can be attached to a hot water system so water from the hose runs at 68 dF. OIE85Sept-17It should be at least 60 dF for Phalaenopsis; if you can't heat the water, cool the plants down to the water temperature; neat. OIE87Nov-13On phalaenopsis leaves, if the water is 25 dF colder than the leaf, mesophyl damage can occur. W9-205; A87-733Room temperature is best, from 50 dF and up should be safe. OR81-143To temper it, run 50 of more feet of two-inch hose or plastic pipe back and forth under the bench up to the hose faucet; if water runs cold before the watering is finished, desist until the next day. OIE87My-7 0
WATER (GENERAL): Testing for Impurities Los Angeles water tests about 300 ppm. of impurities, which is the "edge" at which New Zealand moss develops live stalks in the pots. OD87-155 0
WATER (GENERAL): Testing for Soluble Salts It is easily measured by an Electric conductivity instrument; municipal water departments test frequently; the results are expressed in mhos as 25x10"^ which equals 25x7 or 175ppm. about the best; or 125x7 which is 8 7 5, which means find a new water source. AH86-95 0
WATER (GENERAL): To Change the Ph Level If the reading is below 5.0 it can be raised by adding sodium hydroxide; a local water conditioning company could advise. A88-35 0
WATER (GENERAL): Trace Elements in Many water supplies contain useful amounts if they are about 40ppm calcium, 20ppm magnesium, 2ppm iron, and less than 1ppm. of boron, zinc, copper, magnesium, sodium or chloride, you do not need to add any. AU84-279 0
WATER (GENERAL): Treatment in Holding Tanks Contamination of water by bacteria, etc., can be eliminated by excluding all light and treating the tank with 45 grams (H oz.) of 35% Lesan, or, 23 grams (1 oz.) of 70% Lesan per 100 gallons of water; continue for a month or two; check the water source. A82-920 0
WATER (GENERAL): Well Water Is it too alkaline with a pH of 8?; the total salt content should be determined to see if the pH is significant and warrants treatment;for acidifying it is better to use nitric acid or nitric combined with phosphoric, than superphosphate. A73-888; well-water with pH 5.0 not raised with lime added in proportioner; best use 1/2 tsp. per 6" pot. A80-739 0
WATER (GENERAL): Well-water Is Cleared Not Only of Saline Content A reverse-osmosis system clears out also minerals that are good for the plants; to replace them regular soluble fertilizer is satisfactory for an organic potting mix, to replace the calcium lost add a little lime to the potting mix, sprinkled lightly over the medium surface. A83-1074 0

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