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Red lily beetle

Red lily beetle

You may be wondering if your plant problem will not cost you your plant before the summer is over, or even worse, spread to other plants. Be it a disease or bugs, be it bad conditions, you have to do something. And this starts by going to the root of the problem.

Avoiding problems in the first place

The very best way to avoid plant problems is to have strong, healthy plants. Like any other organism, a weak plant will be more likely to fall victim to all sorts of problems. To do things right from the start, you should know some basic landscaping rules and gardening tips.

The most common problems

Plants are food for many living organisms, so your landscaping may appear to some animals and insects like an open buffet.

Insects

The solution is in many cases quite simple: make the food less appealing and tasty. There are many brands of insecticides on the market that are not harmful to humans or animals, but that will get rid of many insects. You may even make your own pesticides. Just make sure to follow indications, so as not to kill your plants.

Animals

This is a tougher one. Many animals don’t care about taste, unless it is really offensive. So you need to either make it harder for the animals to get to your plants, or live with the fact that some of what you grow will end up in the fauna living in your neck of the woods.

Other common problems

Unsuited conditions are also a common cause of plant problems.

  • Sun conditions: Too much or too little sun. In most cases, the problem is too little sun.
  • Water conditions: Too much or too little water. In most cases, the problem is one of poor drainage. Water that sits there and rots the roots. Too little is not ideal, but it is easier to deal with.
  • Soil conditions: Soil that is either too rich or too poor, too acid or too alkaline. Some Rhododendrons need very acidic soil. Give them a soil that is too alkaline and they simply die of starvation. This may be the easiest problem to fix. Using limestone is often recommended, but your garden center will be able to evaluate the acidity of your soil and prescribe the right solution.
  • Climate conditions: This is the hardest one to fight. If your plant is too far out of its hardiness zone, you may always try protecting it from extreme climate conditions, but you will always be fighting a loosing battle.

Sun and water

Most of us have shady spots around our houses, be it under trees or in the shadow of the house itself. Most plants won’t grow well in shady spots. Unsuited water conditions are also a common problem. Some plants will rot in wetter spots while others will dry in drier spots.

If you think that your plant’s problem has to do with the sun or water conditions, begin by looking for precise information on your plant. To do this, you will need your plan’s exact name. If you don’t know your plant’s name, either bring a leaf to your garden center or send a few good, detailed pictures to your local botanical garden. Use either a good plant finder or the Internet to find solid information on your plant. If you do realize that your plant is in a location that is not suited to it, and if there is nothing you can do to change the conditions, then you may end up having to change the location. This time, you should choose a location that is really well suited to your plant, because it will need lots of energy to overcome the trauma of the transplant.

If you do have shady or wet spots on your yard, you should always be extra careful when choosing plants for those spots. For a few tips, go to one of the following pages:

Have you considered all the options available to you? If not, then have a look at our Landscaping plants page.

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