I am thinking of attaching what is a akin to an "inverted umbrella" to some trees - i.e. underneath the tree canopy, so that I can harvest rain from underneath the tree.

Please note, this is not EXACTLY what I'm doing - so go along with the analogy. I don't want people asking me WHY I am doing this etc.

So, going on with the analogy of the "inverted umbrella" under the tree canopy, to collect rain, I am aware that there will be debris/detritus consisting of (but not limited to):

  • Bird (and other fauna) excreta
  • Dead leaves, twigs etc.

My question is this:

Can such collected water be used to irrigate vegetables (especially salads) - that are often eaten raw?

If the answer is a resounding "No" - then, please indicate what the potential dangers are - and how these may be mitigated against.

2 Answers 2


Yes. Plants get their water from the soil, and soil is made of detritus consisting of organic mater of animal and plant origin similar to what you expect to fall into the rain collection devices. Any such in the water will help the plants rather than harm them.

If you actually hung up umbrellas you may well get man made chemicals in the water, in particular water proofing substances can be quite harmful. This is probably what you should be considering most.


Yes, you idea is possible. However, by placing a water collecting device under a tree to irrigate vegetables you will be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Without the device all the rain that would fall on the tree would end up watering the tree. With the device the tree will be deprived of some water. Whether or not that is going to be significant for the tree in your situation I don't know.

A better solution would be to collect water from roofs of houses and other building and to direct the collected water to storage tanks for use wherever you want.

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