Maintaining Plant Health
Tips for a Thriving Garden
February 20, 2020
After you’ve spent the time picking out and planting your plants, the work isn’t done yet. Maintaining plant health doesn’t have to be hard, but it has to be done in order to keep plants looking their best. It also creates less work for you, because you don’t have to worry about curing a plant disease or dealing with pests. Here are some tips to make it easier.
Preventing Plant Disease
Plants contract diseases in different ways, whether through a fungus, pest, virus, or certain weather conditions. Even though you can’t control the weather, there are other ways to prevent the catalyst of the disease from happening. One of the best ways is to be proactive at the very beginning.
Examine plants before buying. Starting from seed is one thing, but buying a plant already rooted is another. While it may not look exactly like it will when fully grown, you can still check for any dead spots, rotted stems, or visible insects or signs of infestation. Check the roots and make sure they’re firm, white, and healthy-looking. Not planting an already sick plant in your garden is a great way to keep disease from spreading.
If you’ve had problems with disease and pests before, look into different disease-resistant varieties. Certain plants resist pests, deer, rabbits, and other garden disasters like drought. Other plants are more resistant to different types of diseases that have plagued their kind before. It’s easy to find these varieties with a little research and help from a nursery expert.
Once you have your plants, you want to plant them where they can thrive. Most plants come with notes on where they prefer to grow—such as in full sun or shade. Follow these instructions for optimal results. If you want to buy a plant that’s not appropriate for your growing zone—like planting a palm tree in Minnesota—don’t expect great results.
Also, keep in mind how large your plant will get. Plant large trees and shrubs somewhere they won’t run into a public area, power lines, or any structure. Overcrowding plants also leads to more chances of damage and disease. Evenly space them out according to their variety recommendations so they have room to breathe. Trim any overcrowding to limit the chance of disease and allow plants to get the proper amount of water, light, air, and nutrients.
Maintaining Plant Health
Once the right plants are in the right place with the right amount of space, you still have work to do. Maintaining healthy plants still requires the right amount of food and water. Feed your plants with nutrient-rich fertilizer, mulch, and fully composted yard waste. Make sure any plant debris in your compost pile is not already hosting pests or disease.
Keep an eye out for bugs and react accordingly. While healthy plants are more likely to resist too much damage, some bugs also carry spreadable viruses.
Clean out the garden in the fall once your plants have died for the season. This prevents any new disease from forming and gets rid of any disease that could have already formed. Keeping the dead debris around allows disease to overwinter in the garden and pop back up in the spring.
Test your soil to see how much nutrients it really needs. Providing too much or too little fertilizer causes plants to stress.
Regularly prune dead, damaged, and diseased branches from trees and shrubs. Any other pruning should be saved till late winter or early spring. Use proper pruning tools for the best results.
Professional Plant Maintenance
Whether you want to start off on the right foot, prevent a planting problem, or need help resolving a current garden issue, enlist a professional arborist or garden expert to get your garden in better shape. Contact Elite Tree Care for more information on maintaining plant health and what you can do now to help your plants in the future.