Dr. Chalker-Scott, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Washington State University (WSU), is a champion of the real science behind good gardening practices. And in explaining the science, she busts a lot of myths about fertilizers, mulches, planting practices and how plants work. There are dozens of gardening topics and the associated myths listed on her webpage, Horticultural Myths, at WSU. Each short article will leave you wiser for the reading.
For example, The Myth of Wilting Leaves, addresses the commonly-held belief that leaf wilt is "an indicator to increase water application." In reality, says Dr. Chalker-Scott, watering wilted plants can make things worse "if lack of soil moisture is not the underlying cause of wilt."
Stands to reason, right? But why?
I love the way this scientist ends her articles with "The Bottom Line" – a summary that gives the remedy and/or practical advice. For wiliting leaves in plants, trees and shrubs, the summary points include:
- Be sure to assess soil conditions before irrigating wilted plants.
- If soil is wet, try to aerate through the root zone.
- If soil is chronically wet, consider installing a French drain or other passive means of drainage. [A French drain is a trench filled with gravel or rock or containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area.]
- Alternatively, select trees and shrubs adapted to wet conditions.
There's another "bottom line", I'd say. The science behind good gardening practices should guide our gardening efforts. Fortunately for us, explaining the science is Dr. Chalker-Scott’s passion.
Attend Dr. Chalker-Scott's public presentation Saturday, April 30
Lecture Theatre, Confederation College, 1450 Nakina Dr, Thunder Bay
Tickets $20 at the door
Read Dr. Chalker-Scott's books
The Informed Gardener
The Informed Gardener Blooms Again
Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application
How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants
Listen to her podcasts at The Informed Gardener
Also visit The Gardener Professors blog