Check the health of your plants

The easiest way to limit disease in your garden is to avoid introducing it in the first place. Getting a disease with a new plant is not the kind of bonus that any of us wants. One of the hardest things to learn is what a healthy plant should look like, making it difficult to know if the one you want is sick.

It is a good idea to collect a few books, magazines, and catalogs that show what a healthy specimen looks like. Don’t take home a plant with dead spots, rotted stems, or insects. These problems can easily spread to your healthy plants and are sometimes hard to get rid of once established.

  • Before buying, decide the type of plant (flowering or foliage), its shape, size & what would suit the décor of your house.
  • Always buy plants from known sources & registered dealers. Plants in nurseries must be classified under categories based on shade-loving, sun-loving, or semi-shady with proper spacing.
  • It is wise to buy healthy & established plants with a good rooting system & in proportionate size of the pot.
  • Look at the plant very carefully especially underneath the leaves for insects & pests; observe the new growing soft tips carefully. Check if the plant has any spots on the leaves, insects, diseases, or any burning marks.
  • Damaged/curled leaves should be rejected, even if offered at a very low price or free of cost. Because such plants may harm & contaminate your other garden plants also.
  • The plant that you are buying should be suitable for your climate. When purchasing exotic plants, remember that very few homes are ideally suited for them & can provide the same growing conditions as it was in the greenhouse.
  • Never buy a plant whose foliage is unusually shining or glossy. The artificial leaf shine spoils the crown of the plant.
  • The premises of the retailer or grower from whom the plant is being bought is also necessary. The facilities of a nursery should be clean & hygienic.

Usefully composted yard waste

Grass clippings, pruning, and other cut-offs from the lawn or garden are thrown away by most people. This is a huge waste because all of those things can be reused. You can compost them to recycle the nutrients in your garden, improving your soil without using extra fertilizer.

Buying your fertilizer or compost works fine, but you never really know what you are putting into the soil when you do that. With homemade compost, you always know exactly what you are getting.

Water properly

Watering in the morning is best. This will allow the water to soak in before it evaporates from heat and dry wind, allows the leaves time to dry out if they get splashed, and plants will have the moisture to draw from during the heat of the day. Late afternoon is second best, just be sure the foliage will dry out before nighttime. Avoid watering in the heat of the day because water will evaporate much faster and any overspray on the leaves can cause them to burn.

  • Focus on the root zone.
  • Water only when needed.
  • Water deeply and thoroughly.
  • Water in the morning.
  • Mulch everything.
  • Use the right tool.

Treat your soil

Healthy productive plants start with healthy garden soil. The soil feeds the plants so it must be fertile to support plant life. Soil must also be loose to allow for root growth, drainage, and air circulation.

Healthy soil will be rich in nutrients, minerals, and organic matter. The organic matter is the key, since it provides nutrition for the soil, promotes a bio-diverse sub-culture in the soil, which benefits plant life, and promotes drainage and aeration for the soil.

Clean up in the fall

It is always best to clean out the garden in the fall, even if you live in a moderate climate. This is not only an effective deterrent to disease but also a good way to control diseases already in your garden.

Diseases can overwinter on dead leaves and debris and attack the new leaves as they emerge in spring. Iris leaf spot, daylily leaf streak, and black spot on roses are examples of diseases that can be dramatically reduced if the dead leaves are cleared away each fall. If you are leaving stems and foliage to create winter interest, be sure to remove them before new growth starts in spring.

Clean your gardening tools

Garden tools should be cleaned to control disease and prevent transferring any bacteria or dangerous elements into your garden. In addition to the other methods of garden care, clean tools can help keep your garden healthy longer.

Prune damaged limbs at the right time

Trimming trees and shrubs in late winter is better than waiting until spring. Wounded limbs can become infected over the winter, allowing disease to become established when the plant is dormant. Late-winter pruning prevents disease from spreading to new growth. Although late-winter storms can cause new damage, it is still better to trim back a broken limb than ignore it until spring is underway. Always use sharp tools to make clean cuts that heal rapidly, and make sure to cut back to healthy, living tissue.

Destroy the weeds.

Weeds are garden killers. They can suffocate the roots of your healthy plants, harbor pests, and become an unsightly nuisance. Weeds take up space and resources that your plants could be using, so weeding your garden can keep it healthy and growing.

Protect from animals.

Set up a barrier around your garden bed, like a wire fence, to keep herbivores, critters, and other garden pests from destroying your plants. Wire fencing keeps your garden safe, while also keeping it visible and exposed to the sun (traditional fencing can sometimes block direct sunlight).

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