Well water sprinklers near beach kill flowers?

surfsnookAugust 1, 2010

I want to plant a flower garden and toiled through exhaustion in last week's heat putting in a sprinkler system that uses well water. I thought I had made a nice home for my future flowers, and was quite proud of my new system (I am not a handy-man). I live 2 blocks from the beach on an Atlantic coast barrier island, and when I went to a nursery I was told my well water would kill any flowers I planted, especially when the sprinklers showered the leaves. Nursery #2 (where I went for a more favorable second opinion) , told me to use a drip hose for the roots for a month, and then turn the sprinklers on the leaves when the flowers have adapted to the well water. I really want to use sprinklers and not a drip system, as there are already 5 sprinklers on the same line over the lawn, and I was concerned about 2 differrent systems on one line. Any thoughts?

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beachlily z9a

Well, I'm on a barrier island too, a block from the beach and apparently the nursery people are worried about salt intrusion. I can't grow tomatoes, but there are very few other plants that have a problem. Of course, everything in the garden gets watered with well water. I'm thinking they are worried too about planting in this heat. Exactly what are you planting? That may make a difference.

When I was a Master Gardener with Volusia Co., they gave us a very short list of plants that are salt tolerant. I've expanded considerably on that list--most flowers do flourish! Please let us know what you intend to plant!!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 10:33AM
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surfsnook

Wow Beachlily, thanks for writing back. I want to plant some colorful flowers or low shrubs. I was hoping to plant the next week or two. Is that OK? What do YOU suggest I plant?

Please also tell me....do I have to do the drip hose for the roots for a month first, before letting the sprinklers water the leaves and whole plant? I really just want to start right out with my brand new sprinklers...they were a lot of work! (Heck, I drink the well water after it goes through some reverse osmosis process under the sink...I haven't cahnged the filters in a few years.)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 4:16PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

I use well water on all my plants. I am not near the ocean but I just let them run early in the morning before the sun gets strong. Just wanted to comment on the well water issue as it seems fine on my plants. The well water here has a bit of a sulfur smell, which I don't like but the plants and flowers don't seem to mind.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 5:11PM
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beachlily z9a

Surf, remember, I'm north of you so there are a lot of plants you can grow that won't grow here.

Right now my gardens contain the following:
Cabbage, Queen and Roebelenii palms (you can do better than these)
Masses of different Bromeliads
Amaryllis--tall and miniature--lubber's favorite food
Various Crotons--(hurt with the frost last winter)
Spider lilies (hymenocallis latifolia)
Peacock ginger
Blood lily
Red shrimp plant
Large landscape begonia
Three different kinds of walking iris--especially love the Brazilian walking iris 'Regina' that is 4 ft tall
Desert roses
Ground orchids
Vietnamese hollyhocks
Hibiscus
Epihyllum Oxpetalum (night blooming cereus)
Helitrope
Colocasia--teacups and the common Elephant Ear
Alocasia 'Polly'
Tibuchina Semidecandra (tree form)
Kalanchoe thyrisflora 'Flapjack' really cool looking!
Can't forget 120 different cultivars of daylilies
Bulbine Frutescens
8 different colored unnamed frangipani
Mandevilla 'Giant Crimson'
Clerodendrum incisum (Musical Note Plant)
Philodendrons Xanadu and Sellum
Stoke's Asters
Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'
Of course, native live oaks that form the shade garden
Small herb garden
Cybidium orchids
Different phals and cats that live on the patio
I know I've missed a couple of things!

All of these plants survive in salt-laden air and well water heavily intruded with salt. I do experiment a lot with varying success. My lot is 80 ft wide and the backyard is 35 ft deep. The garden is packed in with a shoehorn, obviously.

My own feeling is that I wound not plant right now--too hot and the hurricane season is in full swing. Come about Oct or Nov when temperatures start moderating, that's when things get moved around, tossed, and purchased.

Good luck with your garden! It's a strong learning curve for all of us!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 8:58AM
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surfsnook

Yikers Beachlily, that is one cool list. I am going to find pictures of them all on line, because I don't know most of them, and then go track some colorful ones down in the local nurseries. I'll do my best to wait till October as you advised, but I must admit I am kinda excited to get started.

Sure is nice of you to help me along. I guess when you have both "beach" and "lily" in your name, you gotta be an extra-special nice person! Thanks for your kindness.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 10:11AM
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Irma_StPete(z9 FL)

Surfsnook, congratulations on getting your sprinkler system installed in this very hot, muggy weather. My idea would not solve the "salt-intruded-water-on-the-leaves" threat, but have you considered going ahead and buying some plants now, perhaps re-potting them into larger containers, and placing them where you want them in the landscape, each in a hole with thick mulch on top? If a hurricane comes, you could haul them to a protected place.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 12:15PM
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beachlily z9a

Surf, I do nothing to acclimatize plants to my garden. Nothing at all! Last Thursday I purchased a rose of sharon and set it in the yard. It got watered by the irrigation system with no ill effects. Your well water MAY be more brackish than my own, the only way to tell would be for both of us to get an analysis done. Frankly, I don't want to know how my salt is in the well water! It's no doing much harm to my flowers, so that's good.

If you want to email through my page, I can send you some pictures. And yep, I did forget a few. The agapanthus Africanus (three different kinds) and the bougaanvilla.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 1:52PM
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