In the New Year, I resolve to:
- Mulch my perennials after the ground freezes to help them overwinter
comfortably even though temperatures may fluctuate.
- When studying plant catalogs, look for pest- and disease-resistant
plants, such as mildew-resistant phlox, Fusarium-resistant tomatoes and
disease-resistant crabapples that will make my gardening job easier and
keep my plants healthier.
- Send a soil sample to a laboratory to learn what my lime and fertilizer
needs are, rather than guessing.
- Set plants in the ground only at the proper depth-deep planting harms
roots and kills plants!
- Use only the well-drained areas of my garden for plants-unless I
purchase some swamp-loving species!
- Inspect plants carefully before purchasing to find evidence of invaders
such as spider mites, scale insects or mealybugs, or root swellings that
might mean crown gall disease on plants such as flowering cherries or
- Spread a circle of mulch around young trees to keep lawn mowers from
damaging the bark, leading to canker diseases later on.
- Use only a few inches depth of mulch and keep it a few inches away from
trunks and stems of plants to discourage crown rot.
- Scout regularly for symptoms in the garden, so that I can pick off the
occasional spotted leaf before problems escalate.
- Irrigate new trees and shrubs the first two years especially during dry
weather to help them establish good root systems.
- Use a soaker hose or some type of irrigation system for the flower beds
and vegetable garden that won't wet the foliage and encourage leaf
- Obtain a diagnosis when the cause of a problem is unclear or needs
- Prune only in dry weather, especially when pruning plants prone to fire
blight, such as pears, crabapples and hawthorns.
- Encourage beneficial insects and mites by minimizing use of broad-
- Join a Master Gardener class to learn more about the fun of growing and
Happy New Year and happy gardening from the Plant Doctors at The American Phytopathological Society!
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a non-profit, professional scientific organization. The research of the organization's 5,000 worldwide members advances the understanding of the science of plant pathology and its application to plant health.