You want to be a gardener, a good gardener, and like a doctor, ‘do no harm.’ That’s all well and good, but how do you care for and not kill your plants? First, you have to sort out the myth from the facts. There are a wide variety of gardening myths and free advice that are commonly believed and can lead to serious issues. Potential gardeners (and even pros) should look at this list of common (some way TOO common) myths and the follows facts to make sure they aren’t falling for more fiction than fact.
It has long been believed that if one prunes the branches of a tree, especially large branches, the branches should then be covered with tar or paint to help the tree fend off disease. If a tree has been exposed to a fungus, however, sealing the branch off will only cause further issues. Sealing the limb will seal in any bacteria or fungus that has invaded the tree, making it more prone to serious infection. Better to leave the branch or limb open, and monitor for infection
Many gardeners believe that if a plant is showing any signs of stress at all, it needs plant food or fertilizer. While wanting to help is a good instinct, feeding isn't always the case and can even cause serious damage. If a plant needs to be repotted, moved to a new location, or pruned, supplying it with extra nutrients will not solve the problems it is experiencing. Consult an actual gardening manual on your particular plant to get a better handle on just what it may need to insure a long and healthy life.
Let us just say this: organic does not automatically mean safe. Just because organic pesticides are made from non-synthetic ingredients doesn't mean that they're not dangerous. Organic pesticides can be just as dangerous to animals and humans, especially if they are spilled on the skin or breathed in. Handle all pesticides carefully, whether they're organic or non-organic.
Many individuals think that if a new tree is planted, it will also need to be staked and wired. The reality is that tree saplings don't need to be staked unless they're being planted in an area with high winds. Staking the saplings may inhibit their growth and keep them from developing strong limbs on their own. Over time, the sapling may weaken or become spindly, instead of growing thick and strong as desired
Gardeners commonly believe that ladybugs are the best garden predators available, going so far as to purchase them in bulk and release them in their gardens. Unfortunately, ladybugs tend to branch off from one another instead of staying in a large group, and they're far less effective when they're scattered throughout the property. Instead, gardeners should research the pests that are plaguing their property and then purchase predators that will seek out these specific pests.
Another common gardening myth is that all vegetables require full sun in order to produce. In reality, only some vegetables require full sun, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. Gardeners with a partially shady plot may find that they can grow beans, carrots, leeks, peas, radishes, and more without too much trouble. Often, seeing what works in a specific area is a matter of trial and error. Gardeners should take careful notes of what they plant and where they plant it in their garden, and use these notes to plan the following year's garden layout.
Many gardeners believe that watering plants during the day will lead to sun concentrating on the plant's leaves through the water droplets and burning the plant. The reality is that this doesn't happen, and that the middle of the day simply isn't the best time of day to water due to quick evaporation of water and higher temperatures. Early morning or evening is some of the best times to water plants, especially a lawn. However, if you can only water during the daytime hours due to your work or school schedule, your plants won't be burned.
Another common myth is that plants potted in containers will need new soil every season in order to successfully grow. The reality is that while the plants may benefit from new soil, it's not completely necessary. Gardeners on a budget may choose to simply stir a bit of compost into the pots on a regular basis, or add plant food according to package instructions. Most plants can live in the same soil for at least a year before its nutrients are exhausted.