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Underwatering or Overwatering

Posted by kristimama SF East Bay Zn 9 (My Page) on
Sat, May 31, 08 at 2:46

Hi all,
Something I've been wanting to ask for a while, just for my own edification.

Are there differences in the symptoms of overwatering and underwatering?

I know a lot of you have differing ways you tell when your plant needs water. Finger test, dowel, water meter, lift the pot, etc. And a lot of you use that gritty mix you can basically water every day with no overwaterting.

I'm just wondering, without respect to the potting mix or how often someone is watering, if you can look at a citrus' symptoms and know whether things like leave drop, fruitlet drop, etc are caused by overwatering or underwatering. My citrus books list both as a cause, which isn't MUCH help. LOL


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Underwatering or Overwatering

The symptoms can be very similar, if not identical. The reason for this is that chronic overwatering can lead to root system death (rot), which results in the inability of the plant to take in water. So...wilting, yellowing, and all of the other signs of underwatering can be present in a plant that sits in a soggy soil all of the time.

Thus, it's important to understand the 'personality' of the planting medium or planting site, the type of container, the climate, and all of the other environmental factors that contribute to watering frequency. It's never a good idea to let a plant get to the point where it is expressing stress symptoms.

RE: Underwatering or Overwatering

Hi kristie, I hope you had a great weekend...I wish I knew this answer too. In fact I will add one to it...

What is the difference in the look of our plants when a tree has been OVER fertilized as to UNDER fertilized?
Do the same syptoms appear throughout the plant such as yellowing leaves and so on. I think some of us may be either over or under fertilizing andcan't tell the difference..:-)
In fact I am going to post this...
Maybe when we think a plant look sickly, we give more nutrition, when in fact, it already has too much.

RE: Underwatering or Overwatering

Fertliser should only be fed to healthy citrus trees.If you tree looks sick,you should not feed it until it looks healthy.When the tree is sick,its under stress.When a tree is too wet its under stress.So,the motto is dont feed a tree when its suffering from stress.Feed lightly and often,when it is putting out new growth(Always water mix first before you feed to save rootburn).At others times,save your fert!!If there is too much fert in the soil,the nutrients will pass from the plants to the stronger solution in the soil.You should flush your pot 3 times a year with luke warm filtered water to wash out salts and byproducts of digestion by the tree.Its better to feed at half strength,than feed a lot at once(could burn roots).I have 12 trees in pots.Only three of them are putting out new growth at present,those are the ones i am feeding.The rest,i just water heavily,when the mix is almost dry.If you have been over watering,it may take time for the plant to recover and start to look better.Citrus just hate wet feet.48 hours or more of saturation and the roots start to suffer.Young trees are particularly vulnerable due to their small rootball.Good luck.

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