Having a gorgeous garden that you’ve worked hard on is very rewarding. Every day you can look out of your window or sit outside and enjoy the fruits of your labour. The sights, smells and sounds of a thriving garden are pretty hard to beat.
On the other hand, gardening can be frustrating when things start to go wrong. While your plants can’t exactly speak to you, most of them give off warning signs that they’re unhappy. Familiarize yourself with some of these common gardening problems and find out how to fix them!
Choose Plants According to Your Hardiness Zone
Have you struggled and struggled with a perennial, biennial or annual, only to have no luck despite giving the plant everything it needs? You might not be in the right hardiness zone. Hardiness zones are divided geographically depending on climate, and each zone works best for certain plants depending on the average high and low temperatures and amount of rainfall. Make sure you know which hardiness zone you’re located in, then read the labels on plants before you buy them to make sure they’ll thrive in your zone.
Overwatering Your Plants
Every plant has different water requirements, and sometimes it can be difficult to find a balance between too much and too little. If you’re noticing that your plants have stopped growing, and leaves are turning yellow, brown or wilting, this may be a sign of overwatering. If you have mold on the top of your soil, this is a telltale sign. Always make sure you read the instructions for your plants carefully, and pay attention to the amount of rainfall.
Under-Watering Your Plants
Under-watered plants often exhibit curled, burnt and brittle leaves, and can begin to turn yellow or brown. While the symptoms are similar to overwatering, it’s much easier to tell if your plants aren’t getting enough water. Check the soil for cracks and dryness, and consider setting up an irrigation system if you can’t water your plants more often yourself. If you have a garden bed located in the sun that is constantly dry, top it with mulch to help keep the roots and soil moist for longer periods.
Plants Are Taking Over
Plants need their own space, but sometimes an invasive species will take over and begin to choke out the other plants. Invasive species are those that aren’t native to the area, and they can do a lot of damage to native species. Try to plant more native species in your garden beds, and if you really like certain invasive species, keep them in containers so they don’t impact your other plants.
Garden Beds Are Over- or Under-Fertilized
Just like they need water and sunlight, your plants also need fertilizer. But like water, there is such a thing as too much or too little. Too much fertilizer has similar effects as too much water, including wilting, and other symptoms including burnt-looking leaves. Severely fertilizer-burned plants will never recover, but if you catch it early enough, you can try dowsing the area with water to push the fertilizer further down into the soil. Under-fertilized plants, on the other hand, will be weak or produce fewer flowers than they should. Try using natural or organic fertilizers and composts.
Too Much Mulch
Mulch is an excellent way to keep your garden beds moist, warm and will also help to keep your plants’ roots out of the sun. But too much mulch can get in the way of your plants’ ability to get the water and sunlight that they need. If you’re watering your plants often but they still aren’t getting the water they need, check the depth of your mulch. Mulch should always be layered one to two inches thick for vegetables and flower beds, while shrubs and trees can take up to four inches.
Plants Are Getting Too Much Sun
Some plants love full sun conditions, but others will become burnt and parched if they receive too much exposure. Leaves that are brittle and break easily are a common sign of too much sun, and unfortunately, more water isn’t the solution. If you can, consider replanting these plants in shadier areas, or if they’re in pots, simply move them. For a longer-term solution, consider planting more trees and shrubs throughout your garden to provide more shade.
Plants Aren’t Getting Enough Sun
Are your plants looking dull, yellow or mottled? Are the leaves falling off? Is the plant leaning toward the sun? These are all signs of a lack of sunlight and the remedy is similar to those that are getting too much sun. Move plants from shadier areas to areas with more sunlight. If you’re lacking in sunny areas, consider removing trees or shrubs and giving more of your flower beds more exposure to sunlight.
If you’ve tried all of these solutions with no success, there may be a problem with your soil. Find out how to identify and solve some common soil problems from the experts at Dirt Cheap in Kitchener.