In many forms of activity there are traditional ways of doing things and gardening is no exception. Horticultural practices are handed down from previous generations and sometimes repeated uncritically in gardening publications without being questioned as to whether they are correct. While many of the traditional practices are still useful today some others need to be looked at again to check whether they still hold true.
I came across an article by David Beaulieu on the About.com website in which he discusses ten gardening myths and explains why the methods are not only wrong, but if they continue to be used will end up harming the plants concerned.

Are landscaping myths harmless? Well, that really depends on what category they fall into. That is, we can speak broadly of two different classes of misguided notions:

  1. Those of a practical nature
  2. Those of an aesthetic nature

Category 2 deals in the subjective realm, so I would not term any landscaping myths of this sort “harmful.” But when it comes to Category 1 (and it’s mainly with this class that I deal in this article), you can, in fact, do quite a bit of harm in some cases if you allow yourself to be guided by these misguided notions. So lest you fall prey to any of these mistaken beliefs, let’s do some myth busting, shall we?
1. In cold climates, all plants struggle to get enough warmth in winter, so the more sunlight they receive, the better.
Why this is a landscaping myth:
Firstly, the “all” in the above statement is highly problematic. Some plants, such as peonies, actually have what’s called a “chilling requirement,” so you don’t want them to get overly warm in winter.
Then there’s the phenomenon of what’s termed “winter burn,” a type of foliar damage suffered by evergreen shrubs, such as?arborvitae. It is not the cold that causes this type of damage, rather, it is excessive sun and wind during the winter.
2. My tree looks like it’s dying, so I’ll fertilize it to try to put it back on the right track.
What’s wrong with this line of reasoning:
If a tree is all of a sudden looking poorly (for example, it has brown leaves when it should have green foliage), the following are examples of possible causes that you should be exploring:

  • It hasn’t been irrigated properly
  • It has suffered mechanical damage
  • It has been attacked by a pest or by a disease

You won’t solve any such problems by fertilizing the specimen in question.

Go to next page to read Gardening Myth 3