Love Your Garden? Here’s How To Keep It Healthy

You can be the keenest gardener, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be mystified if you notice one of your plants has disease. You’ll want to know how it happens and whether it will spread and will all your plants that you have been carefully cultivating will die. You’ll wonder how to get rid of it, and the most important thing to understand about preventing disease in your garden is learning where it came from.

Disease in your backyard can only happen when you have a plant that gets sick and then a fungus or bacteria that attacks the plant and its environmental conditions promoting the disease. You want to have a healthy garden, whether you are planting vegetables or planting evergreen perennials. The last thing you want to do is to wait for a problem to pop up and find that the entire garden has died on your watch. If you had plants that were overcrowding others you’d be the first person to look up tree removal and cut back those plants. If you had hedges that were being overbearing, you’d cut them back to allow your plants to grow. So you have to consider that the best defense against plant disease is to be good on the offense and know what to look for. If you love your garden, here is how you can keep it healthy.

Image source: Pexels

  1. Start by learning how to examine plants. When you go to a home store to buy new plants to plant in your garden, you have to learn how to examine them so that you can tell if there are any signs of disease. The fastest way to prevent disease from encroaching on your garden is to avoid installing it in the first place. One of the hardest things to learn is what a healthy plant should look like, and it can make it very difficult to know if the one that you want is sick or not. It’s a good idea to verse yourself with books or magazines or even catalogs that could show you what a healthy plant specimen looks like for the particular plant you’re looking at. There should be no purchasing of plants with rotted stems or insects or any dead spots. These will not replenish when you plant it in the ground. 
  2. Make sure that you are using fully composted yard waste. Compost piles are supposed to be there to help to nourish your plants, and not all materials that you’re put into a compost pile would decompose at the same time. There are some materials that can degrade sufficiently enough to be put in the garden, but if you keep that mixed with compost that is not degraded enough, this can cause problems through composting and can push together high temperatures for a long time, which kills any pathogens in the material. If your plant debris has not undergone this process, you could reintroduce potential disease into the garden. This can be avoided if you are unsure about how your compost pile is acting. You should avoid using any yard waste unless you know it’s completely composted.
  3. Have you seen any insect damage? Insect damage is not just a condition or a cosmetic issue. Bacteria and viruses can only really enter a plant through an opening, and insects that have left bite marks don’t leave them perfectly sealed. Aphids, for example, are one of the most common carriers of viruses and diseases that can infect plants. It’s actually become a very serious problem for commercial producers over the past decade. Insect attacks are another way to put a plant under complete stress, and that can render it far less likely to fight off disease, much like humans.
  4. Make sure that you put in the time to clean it up.Cleaning out the garden in the fall before the frost really sets in for the winter is a smart idea, even if you’re living in a good climate. Not only is this an effective deterrent to a disease spreading, but it’s a good way to control any particular diseases in place. Diseases on dead leaves and debris can overwinter and attack the new leaves as they emerge in the spring. However if you reduce all of the dead leaves each fall you’re going to have a garden that is growing healthy stems and foliage in the spring.
  5. Look up the correct fertilizer. Did you know that specific fertilizers are better for specific plants? You have to take care when fertilizing your plants because too much fertilizer can burn the plant and the roots, which reduces their ability to effectively absorb water. This will lead your plants to be more stressed out from drought, cold, and heat. If your plants are starved for nutrients, they will be smaller and they’ll be better affected by leaf spots. Getting soil tested will help you to get the right information on the nutrient levels in your soil and that can help you to choose the right fertilizer.

Image source: Pexels

  1. It’s all about timing when it comes to pruning. It’s always a good idea to trim down your trees and your shrubs in the late fall and winter, rather than wait until spring. Wounded tree limbs, for example, can become infected over the winter, and that can kill your tree with disease. If you allow the disease to establish itself when the plant is dormant, you’re going to have some problems later on. One of the best ways to prevent this is with late winter pruning. Of course, storms in the winter can cause more damage, but it’s always better to trim back broken limbs rather than ignore in somebody to do this for you because it is dangerous work.
  2. Make sure that your plants are in the right place. Plants that love the shade should never be put into full sun and vice versa. It will cause them to grow poorly and be much more susceptible to attack by disease and insects. If you want your gardening to be successful, you need to make sure that you are using plants appropriate from your zone. Putting shade loving plants in the sun can be a big problem. You will end up with a plant that is covered in powdery mildew, which will then attack the rest of the area. Plants have good defense systems and these can swing into action when plants are under attack. However, if you are putting them under stress in the first place, they’re not going to be able to react with their full potential.
  3. Make sure that you are watering them properly. You know that you need to water your garden, but so many diseases can thrive in water just as much as the plants do. It’s important that you understand that the pathogens in the air and the soil need water to be able to reproduce and grow, and you want to still avoid giving those diseases a good environment while keeping your plants moist. Soaker hoses as well as drip irrigation can help you here rather than just heading over to your lawns or your plants with a hose. Make sure that you hold any plant leaves out of the way when you water roots because problems are often exacerbated when the leaves are soaking wet because problems are often exacerbated when the leaves are soaking wet. You have to remember that you’re not just giving your plants a drink if you waterlog them. Waterlogging the soil will mean that you end up promoting some of the fungi that can rot the roots and suffocate them. This will then make them very easy targets for further damage and disease.
  4. Avoid overcrowding. If you want to keep your garden healthy and bright, you need to make sure that you are not crowding out your plants. Trimming these down will prevent crowding damage and old stalks on plants that are prone to mildew. Crowded plants end up creating their own humidity, and that can allow diseases to thrive. When you are spacing your plants, keep them away from each other enough that they won’t crowd over or lean into each other when they are growing. Plants that are too close together will grow poorly as they will compete for the light and the water that you are giving it. This will weaken your plant and make them much more susceptible to an attack or disease to thrive. If any of your plants are rotting or dying and an infected area comes into contact with a healthy one this will promote even further disease across your garden. All of this can be avoided if you can avoid crowding your plants during the planting, and you separate them if you see them growing the wrong way into each other.

You deserve to have a healthy garden by springtime, and getting on top of it now will do wonders in future.

Author Profile

Lisa Ehrman
Lisa Ehrman
Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.

About Lisa Ehrman

Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.
This entry was posted in Home. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Love Your Garden? Here’s How To Keep It Healthy

  1. Christa says:

    Once I overpruned some elephant ears. It was a very sad thing. They all died.

  2. Suzie B says:

    Insects have been the bane of my existence this year! They are terrible to try to get under control!

  3. Maria Egan says:

    My biggest disappointment in my garden this year was the size and number of blooms on my hydrangeas. I hope they are better next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.