Five things not to fuss over this season


There are things in nature that appear worse than they are, just as in life. And gardening is a haughty manipulation of nature where we only win part of the time. That being said, I thought I’d offer some comfort to help you begin this gardening season on a positive note. Buckle up – here are the top five things not to sweat this year, in no particular order.

• Lichen on the trees is probably my favorite no-sweat plant issue. It can look like mold on the branches and trunk, when actually it’s part algae/part fungus, and it’s a good indicator that the environment is clean. Score!

Preventing crabgrass … it’s too late. Treat with herbicide or pull like the dickens and make a mental note to apply pre-emergent granules next March.

• Sealing the pruning cuts you’ve made to your tree. Trees will recover from this naturally, assuming the pruning is done properly, and the tree is healthy. Anything you apply to the “wound” is only going to impede healing and could potentially cause issues for you later. Skip it.

• Mulching, if you are tight on money or don’t have the time. Your garden isn’t going to turn on you if you skip a year. Sure, it looks pretty and (I think) smells nice, but your soil can take a pass just once if it has to. Consider turning the existing over to refresh it, instead.

• Spraying for “all the bugs!” The ingredient you spray to control the real pest is the same that will wipe out the bees and butterflies. If it’s a  must, use a systemic insecticide that’s taken up through the roots into the plant for feeder pests to ingest and suffer from, rather than knocking off the innocent bystanders, too.

I leave you with one last thought. Gardening is a hobby where you can get down and dirty with no shame. Take that and run with it. Happy gardening!