Others’ mistakes in the garden can provide valuable lessons

We can all learn from each other’s garden mistakes. Here are a few that come to mind:

n Topping trees: Many homeowners get sold on the erroneous notion that topping trees saves branch drop and maybe roof damage. The truth is, removing a tree’s crown sets the tree up for rapid decay and decline.

n Too much busy-ness: When you’re an enthusiastic gardener, it’s fun to have one of each thing, but try to congregate your experiments into one area. Or find a way to pull the look together by repeating some of the same colors and plants in other parts of the landscape.

n Too much of the same thing: Besides being monotonous, too many of the same type of plant sets up a monoculture, which may then become susceptible to an invasion of pests.

How much more fun to have a selection of viburnums, hollies, elaeagnus, leucothoe and other flowering and fruiting shrubs that will provide multiseason interest and feed (or house) the birds.

n Planting too deeply: If your tree looks more like a telephone pole, it’s planted too deeply. Plant all trees and shrubs at the same level as they grew in the nursery.

Courtesy of Marie Hofer, gardening editor on HGTV.com, for Scripps Howard News Service

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