Gardening challenges and how to meet them | master gardener | House and garden

Planning and planting your garden while imagining how it will look in the future is creative and fun. Sometimes challenges challenge your vision. This includes pest infestations, plants not thriving, or things over which you have no control such as: B. the weather. What can you do to overcome these challenges?

Some options to help plants recover

For pest problems from aphids to gophers, the UC IPM resources, accessible through Master Gardener’s website, provide science-based solutions. Whether you know the creature invading your space or just see evidence of its attack, you can access information by pest or plant type. Under Plants, there is also a list of abiotic issues unrelated to pests that may affect that particular plant, including diseases such as powdery mildew or symptoms of nutrient deficiencies.

When you consult the Master Gardeners over the phone or at an outreach event, we tend to ask you a lot of questions. A primary question I ask is whether anything has changed in the garden or yard. Have you adopted a new pet? Especially in a new home, pets explore and are curious about their surroundings. Some plants will tolerate a little digging or damage, but some can be overpowered.

A change in available sun or shade is a major stressor for many plants. A tree or large shrub that has been removed, or a new structure blocking the sun, may have appeared months before you noticed the changes in the garden. In the Tulare County Courthouse rose gardens, a series of solar panels shade one of the rose gardens for part of the day. We’ve been observing the plants for a year and while they may have a little less blooms, the sun angle still allows enough sunlight to keep them growing. In the sweltering heat of summer, these plants looked less stressed than the fully exposed gardens. However, some plants may need to be moved to another location when the time of year is suitable. Less than 6 hours of sunlight per day is not enough for some plants to have exuberant vegetative growth or full flowering blooms.

If the plant gets more sun than usual and it’s summer heat, putting up a shade cloth or umbrella can create a nicer environment. Also check your watering timers, plumbing and settings as a power outage may have reset the programming. Use a moisture meter near the base of the plant – the surface may appear dry but the roots may be too moist.

Check the root zone of failing plants

Is the soil completely dry or very wet with puddle water or a smell of sulfur? Gophers and voles chew on irrigation lines that divert water away from plants, causing the resulting leaky hoses to cause excess water elsewhere. Damage to a main irrigation line from equipment may not be apparent on the soil surface but could flood the root zone and impede oxygen to the roots. Mushrooms growing in the area indicate moist soil.

Are there any obvious pest problems like nematodes clinging to the roots? Are the roots healthy, with few root threads or dry and brittle?

A wait-and-see approach, along with some precautions for the plant, such as B. providing shade cover for a plant that was previously in the shade and is now in full sun, or adjusting the watering can bring the plant back to health.

If the challenge has overwhelmed the plant, how can you prevent it from happening again?

Evaluate the site for sun and shade, drainage, existing plants and trees, and ease of watering. When choosing plants, keep gardening considerations in mind such as the time it takes to care for plants that require a lot of attention to thrive or the ability to do the work it takes to keep a plant looking its best.

Soil tests can be performed for pH, nutrients and trace elements. Home test kits are fairly inexpensive, but accuracy varies. A commercial lab will provide an accurate analysis, but they are more expensive. Home tests that can provide helpful information include squeezing a handful of soil to see how it clumps together, digging a hole and measuring how long it takes to drain, checking the dug soil for worms, and using a test kit to test the pH of the soil or probe.

Planting in containers is easier for the gardener and can protect the plants from pests and environmental problems. Pots placed on the porch are easier to monitor for pest infestations, can be moved for sun or frost protection, and provide herbs or vegetables close to the kitchen.

There are great resources out there for creating a plant list for your garden

Native plants are adapted to the area and are drought tolerant. Choosing plants that are native to your garden location and environmental situation is key. The California Native Plant Society website https:calscape.org creates a list of native plant choices based on your plant preferences and. Location.

The Master Gardener website contains lists of trees, shrubs and plants for the Central Valley, as well as an archive of newspaper articles with seasonal tips and plant descriptions to tempt you to find new favorite plants.

Classification of Water Use by Landscape Species: https://ucanr.edu>sites>WUCOLS provides assessments of irrigation water needs for over 3500 groups of plants used in California landscapes. You can search for specific plant names or by region. For our area, the Bakersfield or Fresno lists are the options.

These pages will provide details of mature size, drought tolerance, sun/shade requirements and a list of trees, shrubs or plants. It’s a great way to learn about new options for your garden and to plan for the future.

Gardens are always a work in progress.

Learning new information such as B. choosing plants that are best suited to your site or cultural maintenance to create the garden of your dreams is a good starting point. Bypassing unavoidable challenges makes us more versatile gardeners. Imagine how you will feel next year after completing the challenge and creating a beautiful garden. The master gardeners love to talk about plants, so join us to discuss your gardening challenges. Our contact and event locations can be found on the Gärtnermeister homepage and at the end of the article. We also want to hear about your successes.

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