We take certain things in society to be true just because our mothers or fathers told us they were. Things like: go outside with out a hat and you will catch a cold, never swim less than 30 mins after eating or you will get a cramp and the more you shave, the thicker your hair will grow back. Anyone can argue that these things are true, but research says otherwise.
Just like these little life lessons, some common gardening “truths” are nothing but myths. There are many myths out there so we pulled a few of the most common ones and a little info on why they are not true.
Myth: You should water your grass every day in the summer.
During the hot summer months, your grass will need a drink of water, but watering it every day will actually hurt your lawn. A lawn needs a period of dryness to stay healthy and to ward off insects. Applying about 1-1/2 to two inches, two to three times a week during the summer is ideal.
Myth: You should purchase new seeds if yours are more than a year old.
If stored in a cool, dry place, your seeds can last up to five years. The trick is to keep them away from light, heat and air. One of the best storage containers is a mason jar. After you collect your seeds each year, pour them into a mason jar or air tight plastic container and you won’t have to purchase any next year.
Myth: Newly planted trees need to be staked.
Staking a tree can actually hinder the growth. This practice was started by gardeners and landscapers who thought they were helping the tree stay upright, but unless the area is very windy, it is not necessary. It’s best to avoid staking. If it is truly necessary, tie the trunk loosely to the stake using fabrics such as T-shirts avoid damaging the bark, and remove the support after one growing season.
Myth: Drought tolerant plants don’t need to be watered.
Yes these plants will still survive if they don’t get watered very often but that doesn’t mean you should deprive them. Just like any plant, you should water it if the soil is dry. Young plants are especially susceptible to drought because their roots are getting established.
Myth: Adding fertilizer to the hole will help the transplant’s roots establish
Adding fertilizer to the soil before transplanting is not necessary. In some cases, it’s better to let the nutrient rich soil do all the work itself. Also, adding extra nutrients can make the plant rely on the amount it first received. Then once they are used up, the plant will have trouble adjusting.
Myth: Adding gravel to the bottom of containers improves drainage.
This is one myth that never seems to go away. The idea behind this myth is that it helps ward off root rot, but it actually makes it more likely to occur. Water is pulled down through the container by gravity and builds up near the drainage hole. A layer of gravel at the pot’s base serves as the drainage hole and collects water in the same way. So instead of preventing roots from sitting in water at the container’s base, the gravel simply moves the pool of water higher up the pot, where it can do more