Landscape Bad Management Practices

Landscapers and homeowners alike are very excited during plant growing season. People in my neighborhood are busy with their lawnmowers and are shopping for new plants. But did you know that many lawn and landscape problems are caused by people and not insect pests or diseases?

Some common landscape problems caused by people are not having the right plant at the right place, scalping the lawn, installing plants too deep, planting too shallow, over watering, lack of irrigation, too much mulch, and mulch too close to trees. In addition, planting trees too close, improper pruning, mechanical injury, and chemical injury. Cutting the lawn lower than the species recommended height causes shallow roots and induces stress on the grass. Plants with shallow root will not be able to tolerate drought and winter stress. Raise lawnmower blade during time of drought and reduce cutting frequency. In addition, plants that are installed too deeply will appear to be striving in the first few years of establishment but later show signs of failing. On the other hand, shallow plants do not have strong roots and will not stand against light winds. In addition, plants need adequate water to survive, over watering can increase disease incidents. Water plants when plants show signs of wilting or soil feels crumbly when handle. Mulching- While mulch keeps plant root moist, suppress weeds and reduce mechanical injury. Placing mulch too close to the tree trunk will cause the trunk to stay wet and facilitates plant disease.

Lawn mower and weed trimmers frequently damage tree trunk which can later provide a site for disease. Planting trees too closely is also a major issue; it prevents proper air circulation and encourage diseases such as lichens. Close planting also leads to unnecessary pruning. It is important to consider the mature size of the tree before planting. The purpose of pruning should be, to remove dead, diseased, or damage wood, to improve and maintain health and appearance. Also, to minimize risk of branch and stem breakage. Sometimes, it will be necessary to prune plants that are too close to buildings, walkways or driveways that interfere with traffic flow. Bear in mind, that not using the proper pruning tools and techniques can affect the health of plants.

In addition, plants can get damaged by movement of herbicides from target areas to non-target areas, this movement refers to as drift. This means that wind should be taken into consideration when applying pesticides. Avoid applying pesticides if wind speed is 10 miles per hour or more. Also, take in consideration that beneficial insects such bees and butterflies are important pollinators and care should be taken not to harm them. Do not apply herbicides when plants are flowering, this may lead to bees kill.

For more information on lawn and other horticulture topics, you can contact Grantly Ricketts with UF/IFAS extension in St. Lucie County at 772-462-2847 or email


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Posted: June 10, 2021

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Lawn, Turf

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