American Gardening 20(257): 831 (Nov. 25, 1899)

Use Cold Water

RECENT experiments at the Wisconsin Station have fully demonstrated the uselessness of warming water to be applied to plants through the soil. Many cuttings of Coleus, transplanted tomato plants, beans, radishes and lettuce were used in the repeated experiments, the temperatures of the water ranging from 32 degrees to 100 degrees. The plants receiving water at a temperature of 32 degrees—freezing point—grew as well and yielded as well as those watered with water at 70 degrees or 100 degrees. "The soil about the roots of the plants so quickly regains its original temperature that no check to growth is likely to result." These tests were made in the greenhouse, and in the open ground ice water was used in watering beans and radishes with results fully as good as when warm water was used. "From the results of these and numerous other trials the conclusion appears fully warrantable that the growth of ordinary field and garden crops is not affected by the temperature of any water ordinarily available for irrigation purposes."

American Gardening 20(259): 831 (Dec. 9, 1899)

Cold vs. Warm Water
John Craig
Iowa Agricultural College

To the Editor of American Gardening

THE results secured at this station last winter, in using water of different temperatures in watering plants, do not agree in all particulars with those reported by the Wisconsin Experiment Station, and quoted in your issue of November 25. Plants under glass were used only. The results of our experiments may be summarized as follows:

(1) There was practically no difference in the results secured by the use of water between 45 and 75 degrees.

(2) Water at temperatures between 32 and 34 degrees had a distinctly dwarfing effect upon all plants treated.

(3) Water at temperatures between 75 and 100 degrees caused a weak and somewhat spindling growth.

(4) Hardy plants, like Geraniums, were less influenced by cold water than tender plants like Coleus.

(5) The best Geranium plants were grown by the use of water near the freezing point, while the poorest Coleus were produced by the same temperature.

I am not prepared to say that there is "nothing in" this watering business.

American Gardening 20(261): 878 (Dec. 23, 1899)

Cold vs. Warm Water For Watering Plants
Frederic Cranefield
Wis. Exp. Sta., Madison, Wis.

To the Editor of American Gardening

A note by Prof. Craig in the issue of December 9, discussing the influence of cold water on the growth of plants, prompts me to give a brief review of the work done at the Wisconsin Station that readers of American Gardening may be better able to compare results.

A variety of plants were watered with ice water, among others beans, tomatoes, Coleus, Geraniums and Begonias. Similar plants were watered with water at 50°, at 70° and at 100°. After trials covering two years. it was concluded that:

1—Water at as nearly the freezing point as was possible to obtain, produced short-jointed and stocky plants, but in no case affected the health or vigor of the plants. Coleus plants so treated were excellent in every respect, with well-developed colors and healthy foliage.

2—There was no discernible difference between the plants of Coleus, Geraniums, etc., watered with water at 50° and at 70°, but in the case of the vegetables, a slight difference was noted in the yields.

3—Water at 100 in many cases caused a rather spindling growth, in the case of the Coleus, etc., but affected the yield of tomatoes, etc., but little.

The above refers to plants grown in pots and on raised benches. Similar results were obtained with plants in solid beds and in the open ground.

I fall to note that the results differ greatly from those obtained at the Iowa Experiment Station, except in the case of Coleus. One point cited by Prof. Craig is worthy of careful consideration by every greenhouse man—viz.: "There was practically no difference in the results secured by the use of water between 45° and 75°."

Similar results were obtained at the Wisconsin Station.

This is really the important point and the one that affects the florist. It is not expected that florists will use water at 34° nor at 100°; these points were selected in our work here as the extremes, with intermediate temperatures that more nearly represent the temperature of water used in greenhouses. If the temperature of the water available for use in the greenhouse is 45°, will it pay to put in an expensive tempering apparatus to raise it to 75°?

In the light of our present knowledge of the subject, it is reasonably safe to say that the money might be expended more profitably in other directions.


Cranefield: Cold vs. Warm Water for Greenhouse Plants. 14th Ann. Rpt. Wisc. Expr. Sta. 1897

Cranefield: Cold vs. Warm Water for Plants. 15th Ann. Rpt. Wisc. Expr. Sta. 1898