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How to fix five common garden problems

A lush and thriving garden requires regular care and maintenance. However, many homeowners do not have time for simple gardening practices and, as a result, many yards become unkempt, overgrown or barren. Simple maintenance and knowledge of gardening techniques can make all the difference – allowing you to create a peaceful haven in your backyard.

There are many problems that can affect gardens, but the five most common and urgent are addressed below. These issues can be easily fixed and not only improve the health of your plants and trees but also help you to create a luscious outdoor space that attracts birds and pollinating insects. Here are five common garden problems and how to fix them.

1. Turning soil and raking leaves

These two common gardening practices should be stopped immediately. They are among the worst gardening techniques, yet they are so common. Many homeowners believe that leaves should be raked up and that the soil needs to be aerated. Fallen leaves create a natural compost and groundcover that keeps moisture in the soil. This creates a nutritious and more suitable environment for plants, trees and microorganisms. Leaves should not be raked, unless they fall on concrete pathways or on parts of the garden that absolutely require sunlight, such as a succulent and cacti bed.

Turning the soil is an extremely damaging practice that dries out the mud and kills the beneficial microorganisms by exposing them to dry air and heat. Earthworms, bugs and healthy microbes need damp soil to survive. Turning the ground with a fork creates a compact and dusty bed, making it impossible for new plants to take root. This practice can also create drainage issues as rainwater cannot penetrate the soil. Adding compost or mulch to the flower beds is a far better practice.

2. Patchy grass in shady areas

Another common garden problem is dying lawns in shady areas. Many homeowners do not know that lawns actually need the most care, maintenance and irrigation. The best solution is to plant alternative groundcover in areas of shade, preferably a species that thrives in shadows. Certain grass species require a lot of sun and die in shady areas, so choose one that likes the shade.

Shade-loving grasses tend to grow more slowly and take a while to spread out, but they eventually create a healthy lawn. Remember to minimise foot traffic under shaded areas where the grass is trying to grow. Stomping feet will only slow down the process and prevent new shoots from spreading.

3. Outbreak of weeds in the garden

Every garden has weeds and removing them can be a laborious process. Nevertheless, they do need to be pulled out as they can overrun a garden within weeks. Weeds are the easiest to extract when they are small and do not have established root systems yet. Most weeds are invasive species that suck out water and nutrients from the soil. The best solution is to tackle weeds as soon as you notice them.

Use an old screwdriver or a small gardening trowel to help you extract weeds and their roots more easily. If you do not remove the roots, the weeds will quickly grow back. Focus on one section of the garden at a time, ensuring that all traces of the weeds are removed before moving on to the next section. Be methodical and patient for the best results.

4. Pests and plant diseases

There are many pests and plant diseases that can ruin an otherwise healthy garden. Leaf-eating insects, snails, molds and other invasive plants can turn a thriving garden into a tattered environment. Most insect species form part of the natural life cycle of plants; not all caterpillars and bugs need to be exterminated. These insects form an integral part of the food chain, feeding birds and reptiles, so having them in the garden can be highly beneficial.

If you believe that you have an invasive species attacking your garden, contact an environmentally-friendly pest control service. They can help you to take the necessary action to remove harmful insects, snails and invasive plants. Sometimes, these pests and diseases require specialised knowledge and equipment to effectively remedy the problem for good.

5. Poor tree placement

Trees need to be pruned and trimmed back once in a while. This prevents overhanging branches from damaging walls and also helps to keep the root system from damaging building foundations and walls. Poor tree placement is a common issue that occurs from a lack of knowledge and forethought. The roots from large trees can lift pavements and damage the foundations of houses and walls. Homeowners must avoid planting small trees close to walls, driveways, paths and buildings.

Trees provide shelter and screening but careful consideration needs to be made when planting them. Place saplings about five metres away from boundaries and walls. Rather use tall shrubs and creeping plants to hide walls and create a good barrier. Be proactive if you notice a tree causing problems with walls and buildings – call a professional pruner or tree cutter to help.

These common garden problems can be solved with a little knowledge and time. Alternatively, contact your local garden maintenance service for advice or help. A proper gardening team can restore your yard to pristine condition within a few visits. Be sure to follow best practices when working in a garden to avoid damage to the soil, plants, trees and yourself.

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Written by Joshua Oates

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