Stupid plant tricks

Blog reader Ray sent these photos of his weeping peach, weeping crabapple, and a Hydrangea paniculata, along with this comment:


“When a tomato grower extrapolates his applied knowledge to his landscape, before learning otherwise.”

(Translation for those tomato avoiders like me:  they are all planted too deeply, which tomatoes like.  Trees and shrubs, not so much.)

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

11 thoughts on “Stupid plant tricks”

  1. I have also been having issues with the images loading on Chrome. The page constantly loads and Chrome says that it is waiting for your server.

  2. I’m also using Chrome and not having any problems. The page is always slow to load, in Chrome or IE, but if I hit the icon twice(it’s on my favorites bar) it loads quickly. Re the pictures, I hope the owner of those trees can dig them up and fix the problem. They’re all beautiful plants. But if it looks like a pencil stuck in the ground (or fence post or telephone pole) it’s not planted properly.

  3. Do tomatoes really like to be planted deeply? Is there any research on that?
    I thought it was a trick to keep leggy seedlings from falling over.

  4. I agree he should dig them up early this spring and replant and correct height. I always plant my tomatoes deep-esp the indeterminate heirloom types I grow-they get over 5 feet tall!

  5. Michael, Thad and other Chrome users, our IT person’s advice is “don’t use Chrome.”
    Sorry, that’s about all I can tell you.

  6. I’ve grown tomatoes successfully without planting them deep. I think tomatoes merely tolerate deep planting, but don’t require it, much like aquatic trees tolerate flooding but don’t require it. With normal trees and shrubs of course, burying the root collar is just bad, but if you’re lucky they MAY tolerate it.

  7. If you don’t stake or cage your tomatoes, they will sprawl all over the place. They will also put down roots everywhere the stems touch the ground. The unscientific thinking is that the bigger the root system, the better the plant will do. When I was a kid growing up in tomato farming country, all the farmers planted them deep so they would develop that larger root system. I still do it. (See what you started, Linda?)

  8. Plants and trees ar
    e kind of like relationships some baseball players have with their coaches. Some require some deep rooting while others do just fine with just a surface type relationship. Either way they both can perform just fine.

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