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Good Growing

Busting Garden Myths

The other week I presented a program as part of a statewide webinar series called Busting Garden Myths. It's a fun program that looks at some common garden myths that prevail from various books, old wives tales, stories told over the years, the internet, etc. As an Extension Educator, the information I provide about plants and gardens is a result of research from University researchers. Below are some of examples of garden myths that have been busted.

1) If I treat my yard for white grubs this year, I won't have Japanese Beetles next year.

  1. MYTH - Japanese Beetles can fly between 10-15 miles. They release an aggregation pheromone that tells other Japanese Beetles where to go for a food.

2) Adding sugar to the planting hole when planting tomatoes will result in the tomatoes harvested being sweeter.

  1. MYTH - The sweetness of a tomato is pre-determined by the variety of tomato you plant.

3) Ants are integral to helping peony flowers open.

  1. MYTH - Ants are only attracted to the sugary secretions produced by the peony bud and do nothing to help the flower open.

4) Use salt in an asparagus patch to help control weeds.

  1. MYTH - Using salt in an asparagus patch can eventually cause excessive salt buildup in the soil causing both plant damage and soil structure damage.

5) Apply turf fertilizer early in the spring to help encourage new growth.

  1. MYTH - Early spring turf fertilizer encourages top growth at the expense of root growth. That root growth is necessary for your turf surviving through the summer. If you plan to irrigate your turf throughout the summer, apply fertilizer middle of May.

6) You should always amend the backfill when planting trees.

  1. MYTH - You should only amend the backfill in heavy clay soils. Otherwise, use the native soil to backfill the planting hole. Amending the soil can restrict outwards root growth as it can be easier to grow in the amended soil and the difference between the amended soil and the native existing soils can restrict water movement.

This is just a short list of some common garden myths. If you are ever wondering about the best way to take care of your plants or have a question, contact your local Extension office for help and information.