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Common Gardening Mistakes

There is nothing like springtime to get motivated about working in the garden. The birds are singing, the air is fresh and mild, the sun is shining. Signs of rebirth are all around you.

And nowhere do you see our unbridled passion for the outdoors more than in our garden, flower bed and landscaping displays. But some of us tend to go overboard, spending piles only to learn over time that certain plants don’t grow in certain areas or the flowers on that Weigela are the wrong colour. At the other end of the spectrum, there are folks who think that lone boring hedge sitting next to the front steps is a big contribution to the world of horticulture.

There’s a happy medium somewhere between the two extremes. So let’s take a look at those common mistakes made by home gardeners and see if we can work to avoid them this year:

Don’t Be A Quick-Change Artist

Try to live in your house for a full year before making any big changes to the lawn and gardens. It takes a complete year to realize what your plants, shrubs and trees look like in bloom and whether you want to keep move or discard them.

Not Planning Ahead

Earmark 10 to 20 per cent of your budget for construction of a new addition for landscaping. Sadly, construction can eat up your total budget with gardens and landscaping looking like a sad afterthought. If you can’t afford another expense right now, plan garden beds and landscaping in phases.

While you’re at it, draw up a blueprint of your garden plan. Include patios, out buildings and pools in addition to trees, bushes and flowers that are best suited for your soil and climate. Get advice from your local garden centre or hire a landscape designer to help with your plan.

Ignoring Soil Health

Adding supplements to your soil will save you time and money in the long run.  Add in peat moss which helps with water drainage in clay soil and helps sandy soil retain water. In new gardens add two or three inches of organic matter such as compost or manure to the top 12 inches of soil. Be sure to add mulch to your flower beds and gardens. Mulch keeps your soil cool and retains water.

Overwatering

If you’re an enthusiastic gardener you may be guilty of this oversight. Plant roots will drown if sitting in water as, like humans, they need air to survive. If your plant is wilting, though getting plenty of water, that may be the culprit. Leaves will turn brown or yellow and feel soft to the touch with too much water.

Too Little Watering

You are better to water less often but thoroughly. Shallow watering is a common mistake made especially by those who use a handheld garden hose. In this scenario, the top of the plant and the dust and dirt on the leaves gets washed off but little water goes to the roots. This will cause shallow roots which results in plants toppling over and wilting because their roots haven’t grown deeply into the ground which anchors them and lets them draw water from deep in the soil.

Incorrect Pruning

According to Mark Cullen, almost anything can be pruned in the fall without worry of harming the plant. But that rule gets a little dicey when it comes to flowering shrubs. Prune fall flowering shrubs such as Rose of Sharon in the fall. Early flowering shrubs like forsythia should be cut back in late spring or early summer after they have bloomed. Prune perennials in spring but keep sturdier flowers as a food source for birds and visual interest through the winter. Roses are typically trimmed in spring.

Planting sun lovers in shade or vice versa

Those info tags in plants at the garden centre are there for a purpose. Please read them. Though the information is sparse they tell you whether the plant thrives in sun, shade or a combination of the two.

 

 

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