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Well Water Strong in Iron - effects on plants????

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by ceceharpo on July 14, 2006 03:52 PM
My question is:

Can high iron content in my well water effect my plants greatly?? I have a well that runs water to my hose for outside. All my outdoor plants drink this water.

This is my first 'growing season' at this home, an old farmhouse, and since most the plants here have only been transplanted here this season also, I wonder about some ill effects I am noticing with the plants.

Burnt looking and falling leaves is my main concern.

I transplanted most my things in the really early springtime here. I am in zone 4. All transplants came from a zone 4 also. I planted according to best planting instructions and even try to put the plant in the same direction to the sun as the place they came from originally.

I don't know what the problem is. Raspberry canes, black currant bush, red currant bush, all began doing really well. They grew leaves, flourished it seemed, then, just as the 'flowering' began on these bushes, the raspberry canes died completely, and the currant bushes lost leaves, leaves shrivelled or looked burnt, and the berries, although they looked like they were going to be plentiful with the amount of flowers produced, either dried up or didn't form.

Does anyone have a 'sure' idea, if this is due to iron water (and I mean so much Iron I have to change my water filter on my drinking water EVERY day), or could it be a relapsed problem caused by simple transplanting. I have never had this occur with any other transplantings at other homes b4.

I am thinking it was the iron water.

Anyone's thoughts would be truly appreciated.

Oh, and if you think it is the iron, what do I do to help my plants? Can I give them some other mineral that will counter act the iron?? Does anyone know??

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by woodchuck on July 15, 2006 01:24 AM
My well water has enough iron in it that my plants leaves turn red/rust colored by the 4th watering of the season. It has not affected the output of any fruit/veg/nut producing plant, nor has it had adverse effect on flowers.

To be on the safe side, I would recommend a soil sample for contaminants, and a water sample so you know exactly what you are dealing with.

As far as you changing your filter so often, save yourself some $$,time,effort,frustration, call a water service company, like culligan, and have explain the benefits of a whole house " Iron Curtain", it'll keep your pipes, taps, sinks, tubs,toilets, cleaner. A 'smart' water softener wouldn't be a bad idea either, less laundry detergent, better feeling skin/hair after shower. I add this last statement because your water sounds just like mine. Even with the iron curtain, water softener, I change my drinking water filters every 8months. You could have a line run after the iron curtain to an outdoor hosebib, that is used for watering only your select plants, less iron to them if that turns out to be the problem.

Best wishes,
by netwiz on July 15, 2006 01:55 AM
I second woodchuck's recommendations. We have very similar water problems and the culligan system made a huge difference. My plants don't seem to be affected much by the extra minerals although there wasn't much besides shrubs here. I'm keeping my eye out now that I've planted more flowers and will have one of the hoses put in the filter system if needed.

Good luck and keep us updated on what you find out.

by woodchuck on July 15, 2006 03:48 AM
Some thoughts after letting my post sink in to mine own head.

Watering after the iron curtain wouldn't be bad, but after the softener?, you'll go through more salt, and not many plants flourish with extra salt in their diet.

Iron filters aren't as common to purchase and install yourself as water softeners, most big box home improvement centers now offer 'smart' water softeners that you can install and arent't tied to the monthly charges of a Culligan System.

Another note on iron curtains, it is not a sediment filter, it consists of two tanks that have a media that grab onto the iron particles, it backflushes regularly and the media does wear out eventually, make sure someone doesn't try to sell a sediment filter for an iron problem, you'll be sorely dissapointed.

Call places, have them give you FREE estimates and recomendations for what you want to do with your water, then see what you can get from the stores; depending on how handy you are. There are no 'cheap' solutions, but you can stretch your dollar if you do your 'due diligence'.

Look forward to hearing about the solutions that work for your situation.
by netwiz on July 15, 2006 04:01 AM
I didn't consider the effects of the salt on the plants, thanks for pointing that out woodchuck.

by ceceharpo on July 15, 2006 05:56 AM
Hello and thanks to all with the information.

I should have posted what I already have in this home as filtration.

I have an Iron Master on my home water system, this is the one that feeds the water through one tank, then flushes back, it works well, but it is a very costly system when it comes to the electrical bill.

We also have a Culligan water softener attached, AFTER the Iron Master.

We since had it disconnected, because even after having culligan come and check it, there is much much much too much salt being dispensed through this system. It killed all my house plants, my dog and us can't drink it, and anything it gets on gets horrid white residue on it. So, since culligan didn't know what to do either, we cancelled our account with them and I prefer having the iron hard water than the thick salt water.

My home, 155 year old double red brick, has olllldddd pipes, and a very wierd system of pipeing. I can't put any money into fixing it to a more updated system at this time. The iron master is enough for now.

What I have done however, is in my very large water barrel outside, I have a filter and pump running. From now on, my gardens simply have to be watered by hand, it will take about an hour and a half each night, but it has to be. Until I at least get my soil and water samples done again.

Some plants have adapted well to the soil change and water change, some have done terribly. I will just await the season and see what has to be done for next year.

Everyone, truly, thankyou for your input.

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