IN THE GARDEN with DOUG - COMMON GARDENING & LANDSCAPE MISTAKES
April is here. And, as I said last week that April is a magical month when it comes to gardening. It is now past April 15, which is the date of our average last frost in our area. Our extended forecast has no threat of any cold nights. Our soil temperature is now in the mid-60’s. I think it is now safe to most gardening chores.
With this nice weather, many more people are now out and enjoying spring planting. With all this increased planting also brings on an increase in gardening and landscape mistakes. Don’t be a victim. Here is a list of the most commo0n gardening and landscape mistakes that I feel homeowners make this time of year:
- NOT HAVING A PLAN - Before venturing out to a garden center, you should have an idea of what it is that you are wanting to buy. Mistakes are made when you don’t have a plan. It may only stand to reason as you walk through the doors of The Great Big Greenhouse & Meadows Farms Nursery that you are just mesmerized by all the flowers and the smells of spring that you may get caught up in all this beauty and forget you’re plan. No problem with adding to your game plan as long as you understand the basic plant care.
- NOT READING LABELS - Whether these labels are on plants or plant products, it is important to have a full understanding of the plant requirements or how to use a specific plant product correctly. Did you know it is a law in Virginia that you are to read product labels? And, that you apply products properly and according to the instructions listed on the container.
- GREAT PLANT BUT WRONG LOCATION - This is such a common mistake. When looking at plants and making a selection, you need to know the growing requirements, habits and characteristics. Too often homeowners fall in love with a plant while shopping. They decide on the spot to plant it. But, they fail to realize the growing dimensions of the plant. In a couple of years, the plant is doing well but has already outgrown its space.
- NOT AMENDING THE SOIL AT THE TIME OF PLANTING - We tend to have heavy, red clay soil in our area. Another problem is that homeowners are left with only hardpan, sub-soil on their lot after the house has been built. Both situations require soil amending when planting. For both woody and herbaceous plants, the planting hole should be dug two to four times wider, but no deeper than the root system. Use this existing soil and amend with some organic matter. Plant no deeper than the root system. Remember: “roots are roots and stems are stems”. In other words, don’t plant the plant to deep.
- WATERING - One of the more common mistakes is not understanding the water requirements of the plant. Some plants require more watering than others. Whether the plant is in the ground or being used as a container garden, you need to learn when the time to water. New plantings need to be “babied” the first year as their roots are still small and not established. Therefore, more vulnerable to drying out quickly.
- PRUNING - The proper time to prune is so important. It is so important that Virginia Tech has created A GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL PRUNING, SHRUB PURING CALENDAR. I keep this calendar handy in order to inform customers about how and when to prune certain plants. Improper pruning can be detrimental to the health of the plant and it could keep a plant from flower as expected.
I hope this list of common gardening mistakes is helpful and helps you to be a more successful gardener.
HAPPY APRIL and HAPPY GARDENING!!!
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