The Informed Gardener Blooms Again by Linda Chalker-Scott

May  (book 2): 14 May 19 It’s a continuation of evidence= base garden information from the informed gardener.

We need to have sustainability to help control environmental neutrality. We also need to help restore vacant gardens. Practices are supported by scientific study.

Myth; Garden practices used long ago are even more relevant today

heavy chemical pest management. spray and pray!
1. does it make sense
2. is it usable? work, or make sense??

could use mechanical stress
beating trees ????
need to evaluate

posted May 2005

Myth: Certain species will thrive, lean on, nestle with, and support each other in groupings

putting human relations to plants

plant not being mobile must make changes to grow or may hurt other plants

companion plant is to ague to be useful
posted July 2005

Myth: Biodynamics is a scientifically sound approach to sustainable management of plant systems.

it’s a series of lectures
has more recognition in Europe

can find procedures listed on web (page 18)
organic methodology was added to biodynamics

posted September 2004

What’s wrong with my plant?
1. Does a problem exist?
2. Does it meet plants environmental needs
3. Make a list of everything that’s been done in the area of your plant
4. look for damage patterns
5. look for spread of damage over time
6. use other resources to confirm your diagnosis

Myth: Fertilizers sprayed on the leaves of trees and shrubs are more effective than those applied to the soil

Studies say it’s good for max growth

reality: study in 1950, leaves are good for absorption. Could cause chemical interaction. Could lead to leaf burn

only use micronutrient for foliar spray
only temp solution

posted: March 20o5

Myth: Unless you’re a poinsettia, increased light can’t hurt

high intensity will lead to delaying the leaf senescence
lights can delay winter dormancy
posted February 2004.

Myth: If a plant develops red leaves, it means it’s phosphorus deficient

red is from water-soluable pigments
normal red leaves, even at maturity
salt stress
could be wounded, or from pathogen

no reason why leaves turn red
page 42 gives many examples of leaf reddening

Myth: Unless it causes visible damage, touching or brushing has little effects on plant

plant respond to touch

since plants a immobile
could lead to shorter leaves
could be shorter and more thicker
page 48
posted August 2005

Myth: Landscape trees need to be headed back in the nursery to develop proper branching

topping trees have multiple trunks
tree topping can not be approved scientifically

posted February 2005

Don’t trust nursery tags!!

posted November 2004

Myth: Leaf milting shows the need for more water

it’s all about soil with shortage of oxygen which lowers the amount of water the roots can take in.

some times for plants in container
posted April 2003

myth: decrease fall irrigation to force landscape plant into winter dormancy

don’t stop watering plants
light to dark ratio
could cause drought stress
fine roots might die
don’t overwater at this time
posted February 2003

Weeds adapt to your garden. The Dandies adapt size to the mower

Myth: Arbor day/earth day is an ideal time to install trees

for all volunteers to work together

planting is based on the last frozen day i.e. for root growth

use arbore day to keep landscape maintained…not to plant
posted October 2001

myth: a bleached solution is the best disinfecting pruning wounds and tools.

do not use chlorine bleach for disincentive bleach (page 78)

use alcohol dips (ethanol)
or copper compounds
Household cleaners

posted January 2005

Watch out for pressure treated lumbers4

CCA is hazardous to both humans and animals

some veggies suck up some chemicals in their roots

don’t use pressure treated lumber in vegetable gardens
posted June 2005

myth: Low-oxygen root zones can be aerated by installing vertical aeration tubes.
for street trees
3 to 4 inch plastic pipes

good for container trees
studies show this is not effective (to deliver oxygen)

no scientific evidence to increase oxygen concentration
posted October 2003

myth: vibration from traffic causes soil compaction in adjacent landscape

rain drops and animal traffic

sandy soil is pours and will settle the most to vibration. Dry soils are less likely to compact than wet ones. Compaction results will dissipate over depth.

no evidence that vibration will compact soil.
posted April 2006

myth: use of drought-tolerant plants reduce residential water consumption

xerophytes store water (for droughts)

means home owners had to increase watering

need to establish a good root system

July 2003

How to avoid phosphate overloads in your landscape soils:
look at the n-p-k level. look to having a p=0

myth: add Epson salt
better for seed germination

could be used in growing some fruit

To much Epson salt leaves a high quantity of magnesium.

need magnesium
on page 114 it gives direction if Epson salts to apply

its not for ornamental landscape

no need to add any extra salt (even for tomato’s)

posted April 2007

myth: Adding gypsum to your yard or garden will improve soil tilth and plant health

changing particle size (calcium sulfate)
it’s for clay soil
gypsum effects are short lived

good on heavy clay
adding is a waste of money
posted: January 2004

Can use peat moss to hold water

peatlands is suffering from climate change (page 125)
posted July 2006

myth: super-absorbent water crystals will reduce your work and help keep your plants healthy

Use of polyacrylamide (PAM) the use of synthetic polymers (soil stabilizer etc)

they form a gel and release water as they dry
results for use could be only 18 months

access to polyacrylamide gels are dangerous to humans and other organisms

posted October 2007

myth: amending your soil with organic matter will improve water quality in streams

to much organic material warns of pollution
cause surface water pollution
add organic matter as a mulch
posted December 2004

Fungicides kill good things too!

Use woodchip as mulch

don’t use black walnut woodchips in mulch
posted June 2003

myth: Wood-chip mulches tie up soil nitrogen and causes deficiencies in plants

wood-chips do not bind up nitrogen
woody mulches conserve water
wood chips do not deplete soil nitrogen
wood chip mulches decrease weed seed
posted July 2007

myth: Wood chips made from diseased trees will spread pathogenic fungi and bacteria

disease transmission to a health plant is remote
Age chips before using

Posted December 2002

myth: recycled rubber mulch is an environmentally friendly, nontoxic choice for landscape

rubber mulch was less effective in controlling weeds in perennial plots than were wood chips
it could ignite
touted and permanent ground cover
do car ties have leachate?
rubber has to much zinc
do not use rubber for landscaping, and flammable
posted September 2005 (58%)

myth: Un-composted yard waste mulch is harmful to plant life and negatively impacts water quality

Yard waste is not rich in nitrogen
plants treated with pesticides should not be used in compost
clean yard waste is a natural mulch
posted May 2003

Buying ladybugs for your garden is a bad idea

can spread parasites and disease over the entire country.

myth: Aerobically brewed compost tea (ACT) suppresses disease

ACT was found ineffective for disease control
can demonstrated to have e coli.
posted October 2005

myth: Seaweed extracts reduce disease, improve production, and increase stress resistance in landscape plants

they are antioxidants
good for turf health;=
fewer documentation on foliar growth

seaweed extracts are aggressively marketed
though, can stimulate root growth
posted November 2005

myth: Success in the lab guarantees success in the field

reducing fertilizer and pesticides

concerns are for environmental safety

Harpin is a protein all about cell culture responses
Harpin is not recommended
posted April 2005

myth: milk sprayed onto rose leaves will prevent fungal and bacterial disease.

could be good for black-spot

reduce leaf viruses
milk fat can produce an order

no scientific evidence
posted June 2006

myth: Corn meal gluten is an effective organic herbicide
posted Jun

From MG Buds:

This book was a refutation of the last book we read, Trowel and Error, scientifically negating many of its suggestions.

While there were some interesting items presented in the book, for the most part I found it rather pedantic, making much ado about very little. It was a rather dry read. I also found that the author sometimes refuted garden lore even though she had no scientific basis to do so. The book gets a 3 🙂 score.

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