Archive for January 24th, 2011

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Six Steps to Healthy Plants

January 24, 2011

Whether you’re a novice, passionate or occasional gardener, by following a few steps you can keep your plants looking their best. These simple effective steps introduce you to the basics of maintaining healthy plants that will reward you for years to come. 

  1. Zone:  Select plants for your zone by buying from local nurseries. Utilize the knowledge of nurserypersons, neighbors, garden club members, cooperative extension agents, and master gardeners.
  2. Size:  Minimize pruning by placing plants and trees where they have ample growing space for maturity, away from buildings and overhead utility lines. Avoid overcrowding plants so they don’t have to fight for nutrients.
  3. Exposure:  Sufficient light is one of the most important elements to plant growth. Improper light duration and magnitude can stunt growth, burn foliage, or even kill plants and trees.
  4. Temperature:  Select plants that will survive in your areas lowest winter temperatures. Most plant tags provide cold/heat zone data listing minimum hardiness and heat tolerance temperatures.
  5. Water:  It’s no secret plants can’t live without moisture. When and how much water a plant needs will vary according to the variety and soil type. Don’t put water-loving plants and trees in an area with little water or drought resistant plants in soil with poor drainage. Follow a regular water schedule using timers wherever possible.
  6. Nutrition: Nutrients is crucial to plant health. Your soil’s texture and fertility will determine how much and what to add for moisture retention, proper drainage, or organic material. A simple soil test kit (available at most nurseries) will offer data on your soil’s composition. The three main ingredients plants need are: 

Nitrogen (N) promotes vigorous leaf growth. Phosphorus (P) encourages good development of roots, flowers, and fruit. Potassium (K) promotes cell division and strong stems.

Follow the above tips and your plants will give you satisfying results year after year. Remember, small regular maintenance is easier than a field of copious tasks. Copyright © 2011 Dianne Marie Andre

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