Water softeners are amazing for altering the chemical consistency of water. Many people who live in areas with "hard water" choose to install water softeners to reduce the water's calcium and magnesium. Softened water is great for household and personal needs, but has too much sodium for the care of plants. If you have a water softener in your home you need to know how to provide your plants with lower sodium water:
Plain Plumbing: How Does a Water Softener Work?
Are you a mad scientist? Do you understand negatively and positively charged ions from calcium, magnesium, and sodium? If not, you're among many homeowners that prefer to let their plumber understand the way their water softener works. However, to appreciate the awesomeness of the appliance, you should really understand the basics of the process.
Quite simply, without giving a chemistry lesson, a water softener takes "hard" water that contains high levels of magnesium and calcium and treats it with sodium. This causes a reduction in the two minerals but increases the sodium level. The benefits of a water softener include:
- fewer water spots on dishes and cars
- reduction in "soap scum" in tubs and sinks
- detergent rinses easier, resulting in cleaner clothing
- hair has more shine and body
While it may improve many things, water with high levels of sodium doesn't normally improve your lawn. If you use a water softener you need to take steps to cut the sodium absorbed by your lawn.
Thirsty Turf: Why Soft Water Isn't Good for Most Lawns
Sodium is a tricky element. Eating too much salt makes you feel more thirsty. However, salty water makes you feel like you are getting plenty of water while actually dehydrating you in the process. The same thing happens to lawns watered with soft water. The grass absorbs so much sodium that it thinks it's getting enough water to thrive when it's actually dying of dehydration. And, sadly the sodium builds up over time in the soil and growing grass or other plants in that area becomes problematic for some time.
If you have a water softener you can do a few things to reduce the amount of sodium that's soaked up by your lawn. First of all, you can request your plumber install a "bypass spigot" that diverts untreated water to your outdoor water spigot. This provides fresh water for use on the lawn. Or, you can use a rainwater collection system and combine your softened water with natural water before watering. Either method will reduce the amount of sodium absorbed by your lawn.
For more help, contact a company like Johnson Water Conditioning to learn more.