A List of Garden Don’ts…
Wow, that sounds negative doesn’t it? The truth is though that it may be a lot easier to just give you a list of garden don’ts than to give long pages of do’s. Why? Because you can do a lot of damage in a short time with the list of don’ts.
My least favorite subject, Sod..I find it unnecessary, especially where it doesn’t want to grow. If you have patches under trees or in walkways that wont grow, go with nature and be creative. There are all sorts of plant alternatives like dwarf Mondo grass, ground covers, thyme, ornamental river rock and mulch. You may surprise yourself how much fun you may have coming up with an alternative solution. Less sod, less water, less maintenance.
Water… Be sure to water adequately, but do not over water. Leaving plants with wet feet for too long will kill them sooner than leaving them dry believe it or not. Wet feet for longer than a couple of days rots the roots, it can kill the smallest plant to a large tree. Be sure your potted plants have saucers and leave a little water in the saucer to be sure the water in the pot is completely absorbed. Watering too quickly can force the water through the soil instead of in it. Allowing the water to sit in the saucer for a couple of hours, then dumping whats left is the best way to know that the plant has had enough. The best way to test if a plant in the ground needs water is to feel the soil. Do not assume a plant needs water, feel about 2-4″ deep and the soil will tell you. Finally, water your plants on a lower setting, I have seen lots of folks practically power washing their plants in an attempt to water excessively. In actuality, watering lower and slowly allows the soil to absorb it more thoroughly and even better, water the entire area once, then go over it a second time. This allows time for the plant to absorb some water before the second watering.
Trimming during the Summer should be pretty minimum unless you have hedges or Roses. If you find you are constantly trimming, you probably over planted. If plants are properly spaced, they shouldn’t need to be trimmed to maintain their space.
Insects and fungus are pretty common in the Summer. If your plants are dry, you will attract bugs. Insects are predators and just like in the wild where the lions attack the weak animals, insects are the same way. They are attracted to an ailing or stressed plant. If you have a plant that continuously has pest issues, you may want to replace it as it is probably bringing bugs onto your property. Learn to recognize sod issues like Chinch Bugs and Brown patch. The sooner you treat these the better your chance of success. Tour your yard frequently, if you know there is a problem you can treat it organically, if you wait too long you may have to resort to chemicals.
chemical use: Just don’t, the end….Ok, if that isn’t enough for you, please do your homework. For that matter, if you never took my word for anything that would be fine as long as you check several other sources to know the facts about chemicals. Chemical fertilizers contain salt that bind your soil and make the nutrients insoluble to your plants. Slow release fertilizers wash into the street, you will never get the value out of that and it hurts the environment. Liquid seaweed is safe for the environment and the plants and it helps to strengthen the plants cellular structure as well as supporting the microbes and fungi in your soil. As for chemical pesticides be sure you go organic until you have no choice but to resort to chemical warfare. There is an organic remedy for just about any problem as long as you diagnose it early. If you cannot find the answer to your problem online, bag up the affected leaves, problem bug or diseased stem and take it to a local nursery for diagnoses.
Last don’t…Don’t be afraid to try something new, gardening is a science experiment. If your too afraid to fail, you are missing out on the excitement of trying something new and succeeding!
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”