The Top 8 Myths About Gardening

Myth: Newly Planted Trees Need To Have Stakes

It’s often thought that a newly planted tree needs to have stakes for support. This used to be a landscape industry standard but is now known to cause problems. Staking a tree can hinder its development and growth. It’s best to avoid staking unless the new tree is located in a windy area or on a sloped landscape. Not having a stake to rely upon on will allow the development of stronger and more stable roots. If a newly planted tree starts off with stakes for support, once the stakes are removed, the health of the tree could fail.

Myth: Sunshine reflected water droplets will burn leaves

The diffused rays of the sun are not power­ful enough to cause burning. If it were the case that water droplets burned leaves, farmers would encounter huge losses after each daytime rainstorm. In fact, lawn care professionals often cool turf by spritzing water over the foliage during the hottest part of the day. The only time this may be an issue is if you are doing a foliar spray with a fertilizer during mid-day. The fertilizer sitting on the leaves could then cause burning from the sun. Alway read the full label before applying a fertilizer and follow the directions. The best time to water most garden plants is early in the morning because of higher municipal water pressure, a lower evaporation rate, and the potential to reduce foliar diseases. But if you are left with no other choice, watering midday will not harm your plants.

Myth: Add Sand To Break Up Clay Soil

This myth can actually make your soil worse! By adding sand to clay soil will turn the clay soil into a very hard, mortarlike substance. The best solution to break up clay soil is to use a soil amendment. It will help loosen heavy soils because it is light in composition and also improves nutrient quality. Sand can improve a clay soil, but it must be added until it makes up most of the mineral composition of the soil. Then it’s not clay soil; it is sandy soil.

Myth: When planting, dig the hole twice as wide and twice as deep

A planting hole should be twice as wide as the root-ball but not twice as deep. By doing so, you will encourage the roots of a plant to grow out. This will create stability and allows the plant to readily find water and nutrients. In order to make sure that the root-ball is at the correct depth is to have the top roots parallel with the soil surface and then apply 2 inches of mulch over them for a protective cover.

Myth: Drought-Tolerant Plants Don’t Need To Be Watered

While drought-tolerant plants need less water than other plants, they still need to be watered occasionally. The best way to know if your plant needs watering is to feel if the soil around the plant is dry. If the has little or no moisture, water it. Young plants are very susceptible to drought because their roots shorter and smaller and are getting established. Be vigilant about keeping the soil slightly moist, but not soggy.

Myth: Sprinkling Coffee Grounds Around Acid-Loving Shrubs Lowers The Soil’s pH

Coffee grounds are acidic and mixing it into the soil can affect pH. Fresh coffee grounds restrain plant growth because it can tie up nitrogen in the soil as it decomposes. To lower your soil’s pH without causing a nitrogen deficiency or other nutrient deficiencies, purchase a sulfur-based soil acidifier (available at garden centers) and amend the soil by following the package instructions.

Myth: Painting Pruning Cuts Will Protect Trees From Disease and Insects

Professional arborists gave up the practice of painting tree wounds and pruning cuts along time ago. There is little evidence that pruning tar or any other compound will prevent disease or insects from entering tree wounds. Research suggests that painting the pruning cuts actually slows the tree’s natural healing process of sealing cuts with a tough layer of “woundwood.” The best ways to avoid damaging your trees is to make clean cuts with proper pruning tools and prune during late winter when diseases and insects are dormant.

Myth: Gravel in The Bottom of Containers Will Improve Drainage

Instead of preventing root rot, adding gravel to container plants will make it more likely to occur. Water is naturally pulled down through the container by gravity and then the water builds up near the drainage hole. A layer of gravel at the pot’s base serves as the drainage hole and collects water in the same way. So instead of preventing roots from sitting in water at the container’s base, the gravel simply moves the pool of water higher up the pot. The best way to guarantee proper drainage is to use a potting soil made that contains some coarse materials.

By eliminating these myths from your garden practices, your garden will be more sucessful and healthy.