Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Say No to “Preventive Treatment”

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When I see people spray all their trees and shrubs with dormant oil or apply a white powder of dubious origin on all their vegetables, I find them terribly pessimistic. They expect to have problems. As laid-back gardener, I never expect to have problems. On the contrary, I am always amazed when I have them! I specifically choose plants that like my conditions and are naturally resistant to insects, disease and drought, trying to create an ecological balance where plants take care of themselves and where problems are rare. So rare that my first reaction is to grab the camera for a photo of the infestation rather than carry out a treatment.

My suggestion? If you have the same problem year after year, yank out the plant in question, as it is obviously not happy under your conditions. Instead grow plants that do like what you can offer and you’ll see your problems disappear!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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