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Water Quality Studies for Palms in Pots


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I picture Utah having very hard water.  High carbonate in the soils you can see in concentric circles around here. Taking off from different tips I realized I needed water with a lower pH and read somewhere that Spring water is good for plants (?) It has "things in it" that plants love", I was told.   So I've been buying Spring Water for my tropical palms, and then for my more harsh-environment (Cuba, desert) palms I've been using tap water.   I also have been going to an "artesian well" where the water is free and filters through large sheets of rock. Seemed like a good natural source equivalent to spring water. The desert, tap water plants I also tend let dry out more thoroughly. But I want to figure out the best water and soil recipe for best results. 

So I ordered this test strip kit and tested the different water types I've been using.  I read somewhere that distilled water is not so good for plants, but I'm starting to question that.  The internet is full of information with a wide spectrum of quality.   This test kit measures: Nitrate, Nitrite, hardness( not sure how this differs from PH or Carbonate), free chloride, total chloride, Bromide, MPS (monopersulfate--a non-chloride oxidizer), Cyanuric acid, Carbonate, total Alkalinity, and pH.  I would have liked to test for more different types of electrolytes but here were my results. 


My findings:

1.  Salt Lake Valley tap water. Negative for nitrates, nitrites, bromine, MPS, Fe, Cu, lead.  Trace hardness (25 ppm), free Chloride of 25 ppm (barely detectable), total alkalinity between 80-120, Cyanuric acid present between 100-150, carbonate over 120, and a pH approaching 9.0. 

2. Crystal Geyser Spring water.  Trace hardness less than 25, total alkalinity  low but detectable at 40, and pH around 6.8. Other metals, nitrates, chloride etc. undetectable.

3. Arrowhead Spring water.  Trace sulfite detectable at 25 ppm.  Cyanuric acid presence 30-50 ppm. Carbonate presence 120 ppm.  pH 6.8.

4. Arrowhead distilled water.  Everything absent and a pH of 6.0.  Seems like a good   (according Dr. Block's garden tour I saw on YouTube pH of 6 is good for his (mostly tropical) plants. 

5. Great Value(Walmart) Natural Springs Water.  Most things absent but trace nitrate around 10 ppm (not nitrite), hardness of 50, Carbonate of 60, total alkalinity o 80, and pH of 7.6.  Not so great but better than tap, I'm thinking.

6. Salt Lake City Artesian Well Water.  Nitrate around 25.  Very trace Cyanuric acid between 0-30.  Carbonate 80-120.  Total alkalinity 180.  pH...9.0.  Not so great after all.  The only potential advantages over tap water94932378_watertest.thumb.jpg.fc2bf40a67003bfc08ef8f275a83c6e0.jpg

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In a nutshell,  I am hoping for any feedback from other people here who like to learn about and study this stuff, 

1. Which trace elements are best for palm health and seedling development and characteristics of the best water for palms.  Is distilled water in fact the best and superior to Spring Water?

2. Any other important trace elements to test for, or reactions to this little study.

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