Gardens are one of the most beautiful creations of mankind. They are almost magical! Where do you think those garden fairies and pixie fairies come from? Other than being a visual and mental treat, gardens are also the symbol of a self-reliant lifestyle. Whether it’s a vegetable garden or a patio flower-bed, a true-blue garden lover will cherish it and do everything in their power to protect it. But, what about the environmental problems that plants face on a daily basis? Get to know about the 10 most deadly environmental problems and their solutions through this article. Because, your hard work deserves a better yield.
From planting the seed to nurturing it to its full glory, there’s always an inextinguishable fire which lurks inside every garden lover’s heart. Gardening seems to be a pretty easy job and we do have a beginner’s guide for first-time gardeners. Dig a hole, put in some seeds or position your plant, add dirt and water as you watch them grow.
However, the truth is, gardening requires a lot of attention and pampering — from choosing the perfect gardening tools to picking the correct saplings.
So, for conquering this uneasy path, we are here with 10 problems every garden lover faces and ways to overcome them.
1. Insufficient Sunlight
Sunlight is one of the most essential ingredients that a plant needs while maturing. If you’ve observed, plants and trees tend to grow towards sunlight and stoop if there’s an absence of it. You certainly wouldn’t want that, right? Providing proper and sufficient sunlight for your plants will make them stronger and immune to many diseases.
But if, for some reason, you can’t provide your plants much sunlight, we would suggest going for a grow light. These are the best alternatives for a sunlight which provide the right intensity of lights, duration, and even the color if you have an indoor garden. Make sure to get the advice from a botanist regarding the intensity and duration required.
2. Stunted Growth
The most common reason for stunting of plants is paying less attention to soil beds. This is something most of us forget. When we arrange some damp soil in spring for the seeds and seedlings, we fail to understand that soil tends to dry up and becomes rock solid. Such an environment is not good for the budding seeds as their roots won’t be strong enough to penetrate deep. Without proper breathable soil and enough nutrients, the plants will be left stunted.
To overcome this situation it would be wise if you try double digging the garden bed before sowing the seeds in the first place. Add plenty of compost and leaf molds to make the soil loose enough for the longer run.
3. Bothersome Weeds
Weed growth has been a perennial garden problem and an everlasting headache for every enthusiastic garden lover. Just like all other plants, weeds thrive in both sun and summer rains. These are the most annoying little plants who come uninvited to your pretty flower bed. Weeds suck all the nutrients and water that you’ve been supplying to your plants — leaving them to starve.
There are many ways to clear your garden from weed invasion. You can try the traditional method by plucking out the weeds by hand or using weedicides. But, there is a fair chance of hurting your seedling when you spray the chemical. We would suggest using natural remedies such as spreading corn gluten meal, adding a fairly thick layer of mulch, spraying vinegar, or even pouring hot water.
4. Ugly Black Spots
Photo by Carsten Niehaus, from Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
Most of you might be frustrated with those ‘ugly black spots’ that show up on your baby leaves. This is one among the many common problems that happen in a plant’s life cycle. These black spots are mainly caused by fungal infections on the leaves. They pop up when the weather is warm and wet. Well, in short, humidity is the villain here. The leaves with this infection develop few black spots on the upper side, turn yellow, and fall off.
To counter this situation, you can try spraying disease resistance sprays. Also, try to keep the plant in a place where it can get rid of the excess moisture and stay dry. Make sure that the new place you found for your plant has enough air circulation.
5. Self-Sterile Plants
Every garden lover might have a story of a plant that turned out to be the black sheep of the flock. For example, most of you may have purchased a berry bush at least once in your life. You must have waited for a lot of years hoping the flowers would bloom to fruits. But, all you were left with was disappointment. This is an example of a self-sterile plant.
Well, there aren’t many remedies for this situation but, you have two options: either get rid of it or plant another one and wait.
6. Infectious Powdery Mildew
Photo by Scot Nelson on flickr (Public domain)
Powdery Mildew is like diabetes. You can control it but, can’t cure it. People who own veggie gardens might know what we are trying to say here. This type of fungal disease can be found throughout North America and especially affects veggies such as melons, cucumbers, and squashes. Plants affected by powdery mildew are left with a gray or white powder on the leaves — causing them to deform and die.
As we said above, you can control its spread but can’t cure it. So, the only remedy is preventing plants from getting affected. Remove all the infected parts of the plant and destroy them.
Remember not to compost as there is a good chance the disease can spread on to other plants through the wind. Also, make sure to spray a few fungicides and give plenty of air circulation to plants.
7. Colonizing Aphids
Tiny, yet packs a punch! Aphids are the worst nightmare of every gardener. These are bugs who have a specialized mouth to suck out all the fluid and sap from the leaves and stem of a plant — leaving it to dry out. They are tiny but prolific insects that attack in colonies.
The best way to vanquish them is by spraying them off the leaves with water. You can also try spraying plants with insecticides and insecticidal soap sprays. Another widely used solution is by bringing back the garden-friendly insects like ladybugs and lacewings so that they will finish off these sap-sucking aphids in no time.
8. Disastrous Drought
The scarcity of water is a major issue every garden faces during summer time. Insufficient water in the soil causes it to break down and creates cracks. This will cause loosening of the roots and a brown tint on the green leaves.
Regularly amend the soil with compost to boost the nutrition and improving the moist spots beneath the soil. You can also try adding layers of mulch to the soil to maintain its moisture. You can also try using drip hoses to minimize evaporation. The best remedy to withstand the drought season is by watering the flower beds in the morning when the temperature is low.
9. Calamitous Blossom-End Rot
This disorder is mainly found in vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, melons, or eggplants. You might have come across a water-soaked or a black hardened spot on the tomatoes in your garden. Well, that’s your cue from Mother Nature that your garden has calcium deficiency. Blossom-end rot usually occurs when the calcium content of the soil bed is depleted.
To combat the blossom-end root disorder, add lime to the soil. Maintain the pH level of the soil near to 6.5 and make sure you keep the soil moist throughout the growing season.
10. Animals and Rodents
This might be one of the most troublesome situations you face when putting up a garden. Well, you might have never thought rabbits, hare, and pikas could do a lot of harm to your garden. But, guess what, they do. Rabbits and pikas might look cute but, don’t be deceived by their looks. When it comes down to diet, these guys are monsters. They love to feed on the tender shoots of young plants — leaving away all the traces of the plant’s growth.
You can try putting up a wooden fence or a chicken-wire fence all through the boundaries of your garden. You can also try planting plants with a pungent odor, for example marigolds and onions, all along the garden’s perimeter.
Other than just providing nutritious veggies and fruits for your dining table, gardening offers various health benefits too. It has been proved that it is one of the most stress-relieving ways to spend time. Well, what else can be better than playing in the mud and getting your hands dirty? Cultivate this beneficial hobby, if you haven’t already, and maintain an enviable garden in your backyard. And, regarding the various environmental problems that might affect your darling plants, read our guide and act swiftly.