The Top 10 Gardening Mistakes
- Clueless Watering
- Wrong Plant, Wrong Place
- Not Giving Plants Enough Space
- Not Knowing Your Zone
- Haphazard Fertilizing
- Not Mulching
- Half-Assed Soil Preparation
- Sun / Shade Fairy Tales
- Not Knowing Your Site
- Listening To People
Many gardeners kill new plants by either drowning them or letting them dry out too much. It’s best to get to know your plant’s moisture requirements and check the soil on a regular basis.
It is good to know whether your plant needs sun or shade, or prefers dry or moist soil. Buy plants that fit the conditions in your garden.
When buying plants look at the spacing needed. A three gallon rhododendron plant looks really cute and compact, but in a couple years it’s 3 to 4 feet across, choking other plants.
Identify the USDA Hardiness Zone of your area. You do not want to plant warm weather plants in a cold weather zone area.
Using too little fertilizer does not do anything for the plant. Too much fertilizer causes plants to grow too spindly, and become more susceptible to pests and diseases. It’s important to read the directions and stick to them.
Mulching reduces evaporation, discourages weeds and helps keep plants cooler, which makes them less stressed during summer months. A three inch layer of mulch is beneficial to the health and well being of the plants.
Soil preparation is important whether you’re growing vegetables or planting trees and perennials. Loosen the soil to a depth of twelve inches or more to incorporate several inches of soil amendments. Ideally, test each site to see what is needed to grow the plants to its fullest potential.
Everyone has planted a tree or shrub in a shady place when it needs full sun. In addition, thinking half day sunlight should be plenty and planting it anyway. The plant will stay healthy for a few years and start to decline. Pay attention to the sun exposure recommendations and plant accordingly.
Every yard has different sun exposure, exposure to wind, flooding in heavy rain or soil conditions. Spend time to get your site before you plant – it will save you from problems in the future.
Listen to the homeowner to get an idea of their yard and what works and does not work for them. Trust yourself and your ideas. You will make mistakes, but become a better gardener because of them.
Adapted with gratitude from the May 2011 Newsletter of Nursery Services, Inc. Please visit their website.