5 Myths About Gardens

Do I need to ask where you learned gardening basics? I’m betting it was a family member who had a green thumb and passed it on to you.

They probably did quite a few things right. Then again, they might have also passed along some gems of apparent wisdom that just don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny.

You Don’t Need to Water Drought-Tolerant Plants

Not a Good Idea:

 Plants that are tolerant of drought do not really need as much water as your other plants. However, you can not get away with never watering them. If the soil in the container or garden is dry, then you need to water your plants.

This is even more true for your younger plants. Less time for their roots to establish themselves makes them more susceptible to drought conditions.

Better Idea:

 Be vigilant during the first year of any plant, no matter how resilient it supposedly is. Keep the soil a little moist without making it soggy.

Skip Synthetic Pesticides for Organic Ones

Not a Good Idea:

 Poison ivy, snake venom, and arsenic: all three are all-natural. They’re not safe either. In much the same way, organic garden products have quite a few natural toxins that can possibly hurt your garden and others.

Consider pyrethrin as a good example. This insecticide is an extraction from the flowers of chrysanthemums. It’s a natural poison that if used improperly can hurt frogs, bees, and even people.

Better Idea:

 If you simply have to use pesticides, make your choices based on the active ingredients. Balance their effectiveness versus their danger.

Coffee Grounds and Banana Peels Help Some Plants Grow

Not a Good Idea: 

Coffee grounds are known to be acidic, so they can gradually impact the pH of soil and help many shrubs grow. Likewise, banana peels add potassium to the soil, a vital nutrient for many plants. However, in both cases, as microorganisms decompose them, they use up a lot of nitrogen along the way.

Better Idea: 

If you want to lower soil pH or boost the potassium level, do so with additives that won’t deprive the plants you’re trying to help of the nitrogen that they’re going to need.

You Have to Stake Trees That Are Newly Planted

Not a Good Idea: 

Staking isn’t necessary most of the time. Notable exceptions include particularly windy sites or top-heavy trees. Otherwise, some movement can prove beneficial for young trees.

Tree trunks are similar to our human muscles in regards to exercise. When a tree trunk is allowed to move, it gets stronger and thicker. A staked tree is likely to grow taller than other trees. However, their resulting trunks wind up weak and skinny.

Better Idea:

 If you do feel compelled to stake, do it for as short a time as you can and as loosely as possible. Staking usually shouldn’t happen for more than half a year. Use soft materials, such as a stretch of garden hose, to protect the tree bark from having grooves cut into it.

Painting a Prune Cut Prevents Insects and Disease

Not a Good Idea: 

Arborists and many other tree professionals abandoned this particular practice many years ago. There just isn’t much evidence, if any, that pruning tar and other compounds can prevent insects or disease from getting into tree wounds. In fact, research indicates that doing so winds up slowing down the healing process of trees that try to seal cuts with sturdy layers of what are known as ‘woundwood’.

Better Idea: 

Your best bet is making clean cuts using sharp tools. If possible, prune during the later stages of winter, if your area has one, when insects and diseases are both dormant.

In Conclusion:

Successful gardening means knowing how to do things right. Click here t make your gardening fun. Most of what your garden mentor taught you is probably still right, just not all of it. Learn more about tips for beginner gardener.


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