Worst Gardening Advice – Video category

Here at the Garden Professors we try to focus on sharing the best applied plant and soil science information for gardens and landscapes. But sometimes we get sidetracked by information that is SO bad that we need to share it too. So the purpose of this occasional feature – Worst Gardening Advice – is not to poke fun, but to point out the real hazards to plants, people, and the environment by following scientifically unsound practices.

Without identifying which of my GP colleagues nominated this video, we now present how NOT to fix storm damaged trees.


Published by

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 - www.facebook.com/TheGardenProfessors "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - www.facebook.com/groups/GardenProfessors Books: http://www.sustainablelandscapesandgardens.com

9 thoughts on “Worst Gardening Advice – Video category”

  1. My favorite ‘Worst Gardening Advice’ entry comes from the HGTV show “Surprise Gardener” where Susie Cuehlo told viewers to place gravel at the bottom of their planters and pots to ‘improve drainage’. Not knowing, of course, that this practice actually retards drainage because of the behavior of water moving from small pores into large pores (it doesn’t do that very well at all!).

    Normal people yell at their televisions during sporting events. I used to yell at mine during gardening shows. Now I don’t watch them anymore. The house is quieter.

  2. A free assessment is often worth exactly what it costs–or less!
    Does anyone reading this want to be expected to work for free? That advice was not science-based, or arborist-friendly. 🙁

    By my recollection, nowhere in the Certified Arborist exam, or the Board-Certified Master Arborist exam, is this situation covered. There is no question the tree can be salvaged. The 2 failures had little affect on the tree’s physiology. 😉

    What Osmocote lady calls “bracing” is really propping, as defined by the ANSI A300 Tree Care Standard. Real bracing involves the installation of a steel bolt or rod. A 1/4″ brace would take about 10 minutes to install, using a 5/16″ drill bit.

    As for duct tape, I’ve used it temporarily, in emergencies, but of course squeezing stems is a long term problem for the cambium. So is propping with 2″ x 6″ boards, not to mention the ugly factor…

    Pruning storm-damaged trees usually involves cuts to small laterals or buds, despite the old wive’s tale about such cuts. http://www.historictreecare.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/After-the-Storm-from-TCI-Magazine-April-2003.pdf But with proper bracing, that maple might need little or no pruning.

  3. I concur with Guy’s statements. All of them. Free advice is worth what it costs. Nothing. I know a lot of commissioned sales people working for tree and lawn care companies who give out free advice all the time. This lady’s selling Osmocote, correct? Guy and I have over 100 years of collective experience and education, and are both ISA Board Certified Master Arborists. I don’t give that away, just as my doctor doesn’t see me for free (he doesn’t even do house calls!) and my attorney doesn’t see me for free. My time is money. We are both in demand. End of rant. Otherwise, a good post and reply. Video is kind of a cascading series of failures, aesthetically and otherwise!

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