Find Your Zone

View Zone Map
McKay Nursery Company

10 Common Garden Mistakes

Mar 20, 2019 7:01:00 AM

Written by

McKay Staff

in Problem Solvers Gardening 101

It is huge feat to start a new garden. It also is a lot of hard work to get a beautiful garden that compliments your home and yard. Great gardens have a lot of knowledge that goes in behind-the-scenes, like us. Learn from our years of garden mistakes! We want you to be successful in your yard. Start your garden off right with our 10 tips that will help you create the lovely garden you’re looking for.



1. Overwatering and Underwatering

Whenever a new plant comes home, it can be tempting to overwater, just to make sure it has enough. Yes, it’s good to water new plants more than usual when first planted to help get the roots established, but after the first few days, watering in intervals is better for plants. Otherwise, all the air pockets around the roots are filled, causing the roots to literally drown. Many gardeners are also guilty of underwatering, which can be just as fatal as overwatering, since lack of moisture around the roots causes the plant’s roots to shrivel and dry up. Click here to see our YouTube video on how to properly water and test your plant to make sure it already has the right water levels.



2. No pruning

Meticulously pruned shrubs at a garden center look wonderful, but they don’t just stay that way. Many new gardeners find this important task intimidating and therefore forego doing it, which is a major no-no. Your  plants will get out of hand and lose their perfect shape. Not pruning also affects fruiting trees and berry bushes, since both generally rely on pruning. New fruit often comes from new branches. If there isn’t any pruning allowing for new branches to grow, the yield of fruit will be much smaller. Check-out our YouTube page on how-to pruning videos that you can follow along on.



3. No soil preparation

It’s easy to just see soil as soil, something you dig a hole and plant a shrub or tree. However, plant success is actually largely dependent on your soil. Preparing your garden bed can significantly change the outcome of new plants. Turn the soil at least once, though twice is ideal, to create lighter soil. Putting in compost or old leaves can also increase aeration, giving new seeds and plants a better chance of establishing roots. Read another blog post of ours to learn what kind of soil you have and how to properly care for it.



4. Allotting for Wildlife

You bring home beautiful plants, get them in the ground, and over a few weeks are destroyed by rabbits, deer, or other non-garden-friendly critters. Creating a garden that lasts requires a little research about possible wildlife in your area that could prove harmful to your garden. There are a variety of plants that can still make your garden look lovely, while being resistant to unwelcome visitors. Read these other blog posts regarding deer resistant plants, rabbits and welcoming pollinators, and how to attract hummingbirds. 



5. Sun versus Shade

Another common mistake among gardeners is to plant their new plants in the wrong place. Shade-loving plants love the shade because that is where they thrive. The same goes for sun-loving plants. Before you plant anything, make sure you look at the surroundings around where you were thinking of planting. Where is optimum shade? What could cast shade on your plants that need the sun? Are there spots where shade-lover would get roasted in the sun? Plan before you plant. Learn more about sunlight requirements on our other post here.



6. Too many pesticides

A lot of new gardeners might think that pesticides are the key to a better looking, better functioning garden. Pesticides do have some benefits, but use caution. Some can do more harm than good, and too many pesticides will scare away one of the biggest benefits your garden can have: pollinators. Pollinators are one key to success in any garden.



7. Placement

Many troubles that come later in your garden start at the beginning when first planting. New plants aren’t fully grown yet, so it can be tempting to plant everything way too close together, creating major problems a few years down the road. Find out more about placement in this blog post.



8. Choosing the wrong plants

When you go to your local garden center, don’t just choose the first plant you see or the easiest one to get. Inspect your plant before purchasing it. Check for pests. You don’t want to bring an infestation of bugs home to your garden. Look for wilted or discolored leaves which can signify disease. Reserve the right to be picky with your plants. Choose the most vivacious plants you can find. Remember your sunlight requirements and soil.



9. Ignoring labels

The new gardener’s survival guide comes right with the chosen plant. The labels included with the plants you purchase are there for a reason. On them is all the info you need to have success with your plants and ultimately, your garden. Spacing, sun, depth, and watering needs are all included on the label. Be sure to take advantage of the information to have optimum planting. For more tips on following the labels, check out our blog post.



10. Not planting right away

This last tip might be the one that gardeners are most at fault for. It’s tempting to bring home plants and leave them in the pots until later, or for the next day, or sometime that’s less warm. The less time you leave your plants in the scorching sun, drying out, the better chance they have for establishing roots in their new home.


Create the garden of your dreams by following these simple tips and avoiding the common mistakes. Shop our plants online for last-minute additions or stop in for inspiration and advice at our retail garden center, Winterland Nursery. Don’t forget you’re not alone! Start now and let McKay's Landscaping Services help you create the landscape you’re looking for. 

Post Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

click here to log in