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pH of Tap Water and Gardening

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johnb51:
I checked with my city and found out that the pH of the tap water is 8.8 to 9.0.  This is definitely not neutral.  If I'm using this to water my newly planted trees, is there something I should do to counter this?  How harmful is alkaline water to immature fruit trees?  Does it vary from one type of tree to the next?

murahilin:
I wouldn't really worry about it. I've only used tap water to all of my in ground trees with no problem.

Blueberries and stuff like that would likely suffer with the tap water but mangos, lychee, sapodilla, jackfruit etc are generally fine.

FlyingFoxFruits:
I have same ph, and its been killing plants, while others don't mind at all.  First you'll notice yellowing of the leaves, and if not corrected with a chelated Fe drench or proper water, next comes root rot and death.

Myrciaria are very sensitive ( i will not retype the list of species again that are sensitive )

Eugenia have been killed by this water as well.

Miracle fruits are turned an ugly yellow


You must add 2 oz of white vinegar per gallon, and simply let the water sit out for 24 hours to dissipate the Chlorine and Fluoride, which are totally like adding drips of Round UP to your water when irrigating some species.

If you don't want a problem with city water, just don't grow anything from the rainforests of this planet.  Most of them have acid soils, free of Chlorine and Fluoride in the water (at least I think).

murahilin:

--- Quote from: Anikulapo on March 27, 2012, 11:00:22 AM ---I have same ph, and its been killing plants, while others don't mind at all.  First you'll notice yellowing of the leaves, and if not corrected with a chelated Fe drench or proper water, next comes root rot and death.

Myrciaria are very sensitive ( i will not retype the list of species again that are sensitive )

Eugenia have been killed by this water as well.

Miracle fruits are turned an ugly yellow


You must add 2 oz of white vinegar per gallon, and simply let the water sit out for 24 hours to dissipate the Chlorine and Fluoride, which are totally like adding drips of Round UP to your water when irrigating some species.

If you don't want a problem with city water, just don't grow anything from the rainforests of this planet.  Most of them have acid soils, free of Chlorine and Fluoride in the water (at least I think).

--- End quote ---

I agree, stuff that needs the lower ph, I will add vinegar to a watering can and water it by hand. I am looking carefully at my cambuca to see if it is affected by the tap water.

The trees that Johnb51 planted which were avocado, mango, and lychee should by fine with the regular tap water.

CoPlantNut:
My city tap water comes out between PH 7.5 and 8.5- it varies slightly throughout the year.  Our natural surface water is acidic, so the municipal water treatment plant adds buffering agents to the water to bring the PH up so it won't corrode copper plumbing systems.

For sensitive plants like blueberries and miracle fruit, I'm of the opinion along with Adam that the PH of the water should be adjusted before watering the plants with it.  I've had much better luck doing it this way.

A couple important notes however:


* The PH of your tap water may vary over the year depending on what water sources are being used and exactly what chemical buffers are being added to the water.  It isn't always safe to just add a particular amount of acid (like vinegar) to the water and assume you're going to get the right PH.  Even if the tap water measures the same PH out of the tap all the time, different buffering chemicals can require more or less acid to neutralize them.  I would suggest getting a cheap liquid PH test kit (I have better luck with the liquid drops you put in a little vial of test water than the strips or electronic PH meters) and testing your water every time you adjust it.
* Chlorine will dissipate from water allowed to stand, but fluoride and chloramines (chlorine bonded with ammonia to make it more stable-- now being used by many water treatment systems) will not dissipate out.  If you want to get rid of those, you'll need an activated carbon water filter or reverse osmosis system.
* Vinegar can work, but it depends on what chemicals are in your tap water to make it alkaline to begin with.  I can mix up a batch of water and adjust the PH with vinegar to 5.5, come back a few hours later and measure it again and it is back up to 7.0.  For this reason, I use a commercially-available mix of phosphoric and citric acid designed for use in hydroponic systems.  It's about $35/gallon at my local hydroponics store, but it takes me over a year to go through a gallon; it is a much stronger acid than vinegar.  Once I mix it up, the PH remains stable for over a week.
* As others have stated above, many plants just don't care.  Only some plants are sensitive.  Growing in containers seems to make the sensitive plants even more sensitive to PH than being in the ground, but also makes it easier to give them the exact PH they want.
* As with most everything else, plants don't enjoy huge swings in PH.  If you can't be consistent on adjusting the water PH every time you water, it may be better to just use straight tap water and try to make sensitive plants happier with foliar micronutrient sprays.

Since I'm trying to raise a lot of miracle fruit (and other picky plants like carnivorous plants), I went ahead and got a carbon water filter to remove the chlorine / chloramines, and a 40-gallon tank that I store the filtered water in.  I mix up batches of about 20 gallons of water and fertilizer at a time, adjust the PH to what I want it to be, testing it every time, and then water things with it. 

   Kevin

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