Drip trays are often seen as the best solution for keeping moisture levels for potted plants optimal. But are they really such a good idea? Let’s take a look at all the problems caused by planter drip trays. We’ll also look at how drip irrigation systems can become a viable alternative.
Why Planter Drip Trays Don’t Work
Plants need regular watering. However, when you pour too much water in a pot, the excess will just flow through the soil and gather in the drip tray. All should be fine, except that more often than not, planter drip trays simply overflow. This means that you will just waste water that will never contribute to keeping your plants hydrated.
Making A Mess
Besides overflowing, planter drip trays also have another important disadvantage. As the water overflows, it carries with it particles of soil making a mess underneath and around each pot. This means that you will have to work extra to make sure that the area remains clean. If you have many large, heavy pots doing so can prove to be a real drag.
Overwatering is Not a Solution
Plants can be very particular when it comes to their water needs. Some are more pretentious and need more water, while others can go for days without the water. However, for all of them, overwatering is not a good idea. While water travels through the soil, it washes away a lot of nutrients leaving behind soil that is no longer ideal for growing plants.
Plants can also become suffocated by too much water. Their roots can start to rot, affecting their health.
Creating an Environment for Bacteria and Algae
Still water is not healthy for your plants, or for you. It quickly creates an environment where bacteria and algae thrive. It will affect the looks of your container garden and even make your plants sick. Besides bacteria and algae, still water attracts mosquitoes as they lay their eggs on stagnant water.
You may think that the water from the drip tray will keep the plant well hydrated. However, it will actually just become a source of health problems for the plants.
Definitely Not for Plants Growing Outside
Drip trays are especially a bad idea for potted plants growing outside. Since they are already exposed to all weather conditions, including rain, the extra water kept by the trays will be washed away anyway.
The Alternative: Drip Irrigation
Let’s face it. Drip trays are messy, inconvenient, and they can be bad for your plants. What’s the alternative?
Drip irrigation represents the greenest way to water your plants as water is not wasted in the process. There are many benefits other than consuming water responsibly. Drip irrigation systems are much better than drip trays. Let’s take a look at the main difference between the two systems of watering your plants.
Only Plants are Watered, Not Weeds
A drip irrigation system is designed so that only the roots of the plants receive the much-needed water. Weeds cannot thrive easily without water. A drip irrigation system conveniently leaves the soil between plants drier. This way unwanted plants cannot grow in your container garden.
Drip trays on the other hand create the best environment for weeds to grow. This means you will have to invest more time and effort into weeding them out regularly. Weeds will surely affect some aspect of your garden.
Not One Drop of Water is Wasted
Drip irrigation systems draw their name from the way they are designed. Through little holes in a hose, water drips slowly, nurturing the roots of each plant. Not one drop of water is wasted through evaporation or surface runoff, something that cannot be said about using drip trays.
An efficient drip irrigation system can save up to 50% of the water used by any other watering system, including sprinkling. As for drip trays, they are highly inefficient, and most of the water used does not even come close to nurturing the plants placed in pots.
Better Moisture Levels
Through dripping, water seeps slowly into the soil. This system allows soil particles to absorb water and keeps it there for a longer time. Also, the soil is not washed off of its nutrients, as the speed of water going through it is barely noticeable.
Drip trays, however, do not offer the same benefits. As water goes through the soil, taking away its valuable nutrients, it also pools down into the drip tray far away from the plant roots. While the soil on the surface remains dry, there is an excess of water at the bottom that is never used.
Probably the best argument in favor of drip irrigation systems is that plants thrive best under controlled systems.. The reason? They get all the water they need for growing without ever getting too little or too much. Without experiencing water stress such as overwatering or underwatering, plants reach their growth potential very quickly. This creates a beautiful garden to reward your hard work.
Saving Time and Effort
Drip irrigation designs are increasingly popular because they are very convenient and efficient. After being installed, they function based on a timer, so gardeners only have to turn them on and off, as they need them.
Unlike other watering systems, these require very little time and effort once they are employed. There is no need for carrying hoses around, or cleaning drip trays that get messy and overflow.
Drip irrigation systems are a much better choice. They use very little water. They make sure that the soil has time to absorb the water. Also, they do not hurt the plants by letting still water create a bad environment for plants and humans.
They represent a green solution to watering needs. Now, more gardeners prefer drip irrigation systems over any other watering solution. . Drip irrigation results in healthier and happier plants. It also makes for an efficient and successful gardener.,
Drip irrigation system is the best known watrering solution. But if a drip irrigation system seems like too much effort or is just not practical for the space, PlantPals from GardenWare is a good alternative. PlantPals is a self-contained water reservoir that we and some of our clients have had good results with.