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Q.Hard Water And Best Plants To Grow

Zone Edmond, OK | Steve Davidson added on September 28, 2021 | Answered

I live in ZONE 7a and 7b. I put in a well a few years ago because the Water Board where I live doubled the rates and my water bill for an acre of grass and 6,000 sq. ft. of landscaping went from $250 a month to $500… and my landscaping has continually gotten worse…so I recently had the water tested, and here are the sad results… Test Results for Irrigation Water Sodium (ppm) 388.5 Calcium (ppm) 531.7 Magnesium (ppm) 125.6 Potassium (ppm) 3 Nitrate-N (ppm) <DL Chloride (ppm) 56.2 Sulfate (ppm) 2463.4 Boron (ppm) 3.96 Bicarbonate (ppm) 126.1 pH 7.9 EC (╬╝mhos/cm) 4150 Total Dissolved Solids (TDS in ppm) 3694.7 Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR) 3.9 Potassium Adsorption Ratio (PAR) 0.0 Sodium Percentage 31.4% Hardness (ppm) 1843.7 Hardness Class Very Hard Alkalinity (ppm as CaCO3) 103.4 This water may not be suitable for irrigation use because of boron, sodium, EC and TDS levels. Boron toxicity is highly dependent on plant type and can be toxic to many sensitive plants (e.g., fruit trees) at less than 0.5ppm. Most grasses are relatively tolerant to boron at 2.0 to 10ppm. The primary effect of high EC water on c-rop productivity is the inability of the plant to compete with ions in the soil solution for water (physiological drought). The higher the EC, the less water is available to plants. High sodium concentrations cause leaf burn and tends to cause more problems when applied with a sprinklers. TDS cause salts to accumulate in the roo-t zone of the soil and may require leaching of the soil as salts accumulate. My current strategy is to move the sprinkler system zones on the grass over to the well (bermuda) and isolate the sprinkler system for the landscaping to the city water and bypass my water softener. I apologize for the lengthy diatribe here, but am looking for solutions. If you have any ideas on what I can do to improve things, I am all ears! My wife has some beautiful Hibiscus that have done pretty well until late this summer and I think the salt did them in, but if you have ideas about plants that like salty hard water, I would love suggestions. Thanks for your website, I printed off all of your ideas for plants that do well on the coast and am anxious to try some of them out come spring.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 29, 2021

I think bypassing with your well water will be the least expensive, and most lucrative, option. Making that water usable is going to be a monumental task, unless you use reverse osmosis, or some serious water filtration, to remove the contaminants.

Bypassing with well water will remove the need for filtration, unless the water has too much sulfur. This could be too acidic to use for plants.

If you choose to use the city water, then I would make sure to contact your local extension service to see if they can come up with any lucrative solutions to the issue.

This link will help you to find the closest extension service to you:


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