Top Ten GardenLine Horrors (In Honor of Halloween)
In honor of GardenLine actually airing on Halloween this Saturday, I thought it would be fun and somewhat educational to talk about the Top Ten Scariest Things in the gardening world today – GardenLine Horrors in Honor of Halloween. If, after reading this Top Ten List, you have another suggestion or two, please feel free to submit your idea at the link near the bottom. Better yet, why don't you call in this coming Saturday as we go through this list and the suggestions that are likely to come in via email.
So, here are the rules: If it makes me scream in horror when I see it or see people doing it, then it makes my Top Ten GardenLine Horrors. If it makes you scream, and it's not on this list, please submit yours at the bottom. And wherever possible I link an article or tip sheet we've already written in detail on the subject, in case you need any further explanation as why the subject makes me scream. Ready?!?!
#1. The Black Mulch/Dyed Mulch Disaster – I've said it before and I'll say it again: "I don't care what you dye it with; it can't be 'good' for our beds!" If it's ash-infused black, it's poisonous to the beds. If it's food grade dye, that's supposed to be neutral (although research shows slightly alkaline) that too is not "helping" the bed either. I would much prefer our mulches to be slightly acidic, which helps ensure the best growing environment for plant roots, and the more natural, more compost-based ones actually break down beneficially in continuing to build upon our beds.
Read what we've written on the subject in detail:
#2. Weed & Feeds – It still amazes me how many people are killing trees and shrubs in the area, with atrazine-based weed and feeds. Read what we've written on the subject in the past.
#3. Planting Trees (Especially Magnolias) Right Next to the Foundation. Much like the problem with the Black Mulch/Dyed Mulch Horrors, there are just too many uneducated/ignorant landscapers planting things in the wrong places, period. But the Magnolia trend, right up next to foundations has got to stop. Read More.
#4. Irrigation Basics: I screamed a lot just this past Monday and Tuesday as I saw irrigation system after irrigation system running during the early Monday deluge. Even after 4 inches of rain, Tuesday morning irrigation systems were still going off. Yikes!!! Too many people don't have a clue how to run/when to run their irrigation system. While we are on the subject of irrigation, it still scares and amazes me that anyone would hire a landscape/irrigation crew that doesn't have a state irrigation license. Just to save a buck!
#5. Cutting St. Augustine Grass Too Short -- This is actually Neighbor Steve's biggest "scream." You can bank on it that the fools who cut their grass too short are usually the ones that are the most yellow looking lawn, most prone to crabgrass and most likely to get drought damage or chinch bug infestations in the summer.
#6. Crape Myrtle Massacre - We've written about it, preached about it, banged our heads against the wall about it, and still so many people over-prune their Crape Myrtles. Once again (and tell me where you've heard this one before), it can be tied back to uneducated/ignorant landscapers, who don't understand the benefit of little or no pruning of the Crapes. Yes, I am aware that it is also a way to keep crews busy in December and January. Read what we've written about this subject for all these years.
#7. Mulch Volcanoes -- My buddy Robert Reese also calls them Mulch Pyramids, but then again he's from New Orleans. This is when and where people make what looks like a volcano of mulch around the trunk of trees. You only need a few inches, not a few feet of mulch around the base of a tree. If you want to know why it continues to happen, do I need to go back and revisit the uneducated landscaper tact on this again?
#8. Wrong Fruit Tree Varieties at The Big Box Stores: I'll grant the newbies to Texas and Gulf Coast a little leeway on this, but know that we can only grow certain varieties of fruit trees because of our heat and humidity, and our lack of chill hours. So, when a box store sells a Bartlett Pear (and watch 'em this winter and early spring, because they most certainly will) in Texas, it shows how little they know about what works down here, other than what works at getting your money.
#9. Rubber Mulch. This could have easily been lumped into the Black Mulch Terror category from above, but while I actually do appreciate the need to recycle tires, I just don't want that in my landscapes and gardens. Sure, it could make great playground mulch or for running trails or dog runs. But with the amount of dye/paint/zinc/cadmium and whatever else can come out of the rubber, it can't be and will never be good for the gardens or landscapes.
#10. The Butchering of Trees. This is different from the Crape Myrtle Massacre. I love trees and wish people, and tree companies in general, would learn to prune them better. As an example I see way too many Bradford and Aristocratic Pears butchered from the top down. I see way too many people pruning Magnolias from the bottom up, when they shouldn't be pruned at all – same for Pine trees. I've also seen horrific pruning jobs on really well-established oaks – so bad, in many cases, they may never recover.
Did any of those make you scream as well? What else seems like a horror story to you in our Gardening World? Submit Your Own GardenLine Screams:
This Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Shades of Texas
2618 Genoa Red Bluff
This weekend's GardenLine Appearance might make you scream with excitement, if you are the winner of a 65 gallon Montery Oak courtesy of Shades of Texas. You don't have to be present to win, but you do have to be there to register between the hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. No matter when you come and/or when you leave, you will also get some freebies. We will have organic products from Soil Mender, fertilizers from Nelson Plant Food and of course free baby trees from Jon Matthews at Shades of Texas. While supplies last, he is offering up 3 gallon specimens of Crape Myrtles, Laurel Oaks and Hollies.
This is a great nursery that is still the premier tree farm of the Houston area. If you would like to learn more about this amazing place and why we look forward to our yearly visits, read this profile we did on Shades of Texas from a couple of years ago.
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