Thursday, March 25, 2010

That Can't Be True!............ Can It?

There are tons of different gardening myths out there. Even more than what I thought. The statement of, "If something is said or repeated enough times it must be true" comes into play even in the garden.
How many of these have you heard or believed in?

NO. 1) Young trees should be supported with stakes after planting. (I used to believe this one.)
In nature, saplings develop strong, flexible trunks and branches as a result of bending and swaying in the wind. This flexibility helps them survive damaging winds as they grow older. Staking a young tree denies them the ability to develop naturally, and all too often stakes and ties are forgotten or used improperly and end up causing damage to growing trees or interrupt sap flow. A better strategy is to plant trees small enough to not require support.

No. 2) Drought-tolerant plants don’t need to be watered
All plants need to be watered to become established. Most “drought-tolerant” plants are those that can survive through an average summer without supplemental watering. These plants, however, are usually not drought tolerant in the first year, and regular watering and an application of mulch are good ideas. After that, you can pretty much allow them to fend for themselves, but even the toughest of plants will benefit from a monthly soaking.

No. 3) When planting a tree or shrub, dig the hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the root-ball (Master Gardeners hear this as a question a lot)
A planting hole should be twice as wide as the root-ball but NOT deeper. By applying this planting principle, you will encourage the roots of a plant to grow out, which creates stability and allows the plant to readily find water and nutrients. A good way to make sure that the root-ball is at the right depth is to plant at the same height as it was in the pot or even slightly higher. Many plants are killed by planting too deep. Don’t add compost or potting soil when backfilling the planting area. Most roots prefer to grow in these amended soils instead of spreading out through the landscape.

No. 4) Watering during the heat of the day will "burn" plants
The diffused rays of the sun are not power­ful enough to cause burning. Yes, it's true that it is better to water in the morning, because wet leaves combined with cooler nighttime temperatures can help promote certain types of diseases. Less water will also be lost to evaporation if you avoid watering during the heat of the day. In fact, lawn care professionals often cool turf by spritzing water over the foliage during the hottest part of the day. With that being said, if they are thirsty, give them some water!

No. 5) The bigger the vegetable, tree or flower, the better
Only if you are entering a contest! Usually smaller is tastier and more tender.

And lastly,
No. 6)
Gardening is an Exact Science
I will wait until the laughter subsides on this one. Let me know when you are done.
Just like life, gardening is all about trial and error. It's about celebrating your successes, learning from your mistakes and enjoying the process. Gardens are like people, they're all different. What works for me, may not work for you. We can share our experiences with others, hopefully what we have learned will help someone grow more flowers or more food.
Happy Growing!


  1. Hahahaha! If it were an exact science, I'm not so sure it would be as much fun :)

  2. Great topic! As we all get into the spring mode, I'm sure these issues are timely. I will be delaying my yard clean up at least another day, we got 2" of snow overnite. Happy planting, everyone. Claudia

  3. This is one of the better posts I've read, and though I eventually learned that these were wrong, it was only through trial and error. I wonder why the books still robotically recite these things as fact?