Garden myth busting

Mon. Apr. 1, 2019

Click below to listen to my  2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Garden myth busting

It’s April Fools day! To celebrate, let’s pull some tall tales out of the Garden Myth bucket.  

Wound dressing is one of the top myths. We used to think that trees, like humans, needed some sort of “bandaid” after they’ve been cut.  

the red paint was used as a wound/prune dressing. That black stuff is fungus enjoying the paint!

Not so, in fact, there are times that those wound dressings may even inhibit the plant’s ability to heal itself. Tars, emulsions and waxes can dry and crack. 

If water gets behind the crack, it can promote disease rather than prevent it. Bottom line, let the tree heal itself, they’ve been doing it on their own for, well, forever.  

Another busted myth is that we should till our gardens every year. This one’s interesting. It’s gone back and forth for years.

with the caveat that SOMETIMES you need to

Frankly, it still is, however, one thing’s certain, it pulverizes the particles of soil and collapses the pockets that air and water move through.  CAVEAT: if you have clay soil, you may have to till, but don’t over do it. Instead, as you add organic matter, let it just lay on top or use your garden fork to turn it in. It’s like folding ingredients into a recipe.

Garden fork tilling!

If you want to kill creeping charlie use Borax. That’s true, BUT… you’ll likely kill your lawn too and for a very long time.  Borax contains boron which, in high concentrations will wipe out your grass.  Information on Creeping Charlie and Borax from the University of Illinois. There is a recipe but if you don’t follow it exactly, you will kill everything around for years.  

I just had this discussion recently with a neighbor. Perhaps becoming a friend of the little purple flowers of creeping charlie would be easier!

Creeping Charlie


I love listening to the radio as I’m out gardening. However, a myth exists that plants like it too. The belief was that the sound would vibrate and aerate the soil.  UH, there’s no science to back this one up. That won’t stop me from enjoying some times out in the garden!

And one more thing, add sand to loosen heavy clay soil. NO, you would have to add so much sand that it would really become more sand.

Garden myths from Dyck Arboretum