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The Pros and Cons of Using Softened Water in Garden Maintenance

wateringcan200So you are considering a softened water system or you have already installed one in your home. You might be asking yourself if this treated water, while great for reducing scaling in your water pipes or lessening your need for heavy detergents, is a safe and effective alternative for watering garden plants. The following information will help you determine a system that works best for your home and your happy, healthy garden.

Some Benefits of Softened Water

  • Hard water causes pipe build-up known as scale. Installing softened water increases the efficiency of water flow, potentially saving you in maintenance and service for home appliances connected to your water supply system.
  • Due to decreased residue, softened water saves on time and possibly household chemicals required for cleaning.
  • Similarly, softened water may reduce the amount of toilet soaps and bath powders you need.

Cons of Softened Water for Your Garden

  • Softened water contains small amounts of sodium. Although safe to drink, this trace amount builds up over time if regularly applied to soil. Salt can interfere with soil structure and plants’ ability to draw water. Therefore, while short-term, infrequent use of softened water will not harm your garden, it is inadvisable to solely use softened water for garden maintenance.
  • A water softening unit removes minerals and replaces them with another ion, typically sodium. Although rainfall helps the problem by washing away salt from soil, there remains no real benefit to using softened water in your garden. Additionally, if you regularly run large amounts of softened water into your garden, you incur undue costs to run the unit and for utilities. Softened water for garden maintenance proves more wasteful than plain tap water or, even better, natural rainwater.
  • While softened water provides many benefits inside your home, outdoors the circumstances differ. The impact of softened water varies depending on the particular plant. But in general we know that plants, and the soils they inhabit, can only tolerate so much sodium content. There would be no real advantage to running water that is intended for your garden through a softener system. This is not to dispute the practical, hygienic and possibly even health benefits to owning softened water. If you limit use to your sinks, showers, water heater and the like, you can enjoy the benefits of softened water and keep your garden well.

After carefully considering the pros and cons of using softened water, it is to every homeowner best interest to ask for professional advice whether or not softened water works best in one’s garden maintenance. Important water maintenance information can be found at Lagan Water.