Horticultural Horrors

In honor of Halloween being this week, I thought I’d scare you with some photos of horticultural horrors—gardening mistakes that make the staunchest plant person cringe. Please, spare a plant, and don’t make these ghastly blunders.

These poor crabapples are attempting to survive in the parking lot of our local YMCA. Every time I walk past, I shudder. They’re doomed to a short life, as their roots have no place to go. Did the landscapers think that air and water permeate concrete and asphalt?

While we’re on the topic of trees, the drip emitter on the left is precisely placed to wet the trunk, encouraging disease and rot, while the thirsty roots are far, far away. The photo on the right assumes the tree has never grown past the time it was planted. Concentric drip lines should encircle the tree from half the distance to the drip line to twice that… where most of the roots are.

Tying a wire around the trunk and leaving it there is a surefire way to gird the tree. It might as well be a noose.

Have you always wanted a cobblestone lawn? Me neither.

Junipers and arborvitae are among the plants that lack dormant buds along the older parts of their branches and trunk. Shearing them, as has been done here, just results in ugly, brown, dead sticks. It’s vital to consider the both the mature size of whatever you plant and the space available for it, rather than relying on pruning to keep the growth in bounds.

I know this is a thing. It’s just not my thing. These poor trees look like aliens. They’re so scary, they’re just right for Halloween!

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