Weeding Out Common Gardening Myths

Outdoor power equipment provider, STIHL Australia have launched their ‘I beg your garden? Weeding out the everyday myths’ by Trevor Cochrane, informing Australians on many gardening do’s and don’ts ahead of the Spring gardening rush.

“The beauty about gardening in Spring is you are always learning something new,” said Cochrane, “Compiling this report gave me a fantastic chance to reflect on the tips I have learnt and some of the strange questions I have been asked over the years.”

With over 30 years in horticulture, Garden Guru host Cochrane has had many strange questions and has taken the time to debunk some of the biggest myths he’s come across so far. From discussing the best ways to trim trees and bushes, to the best way to maintain a lush lawn, Trevor has the answers.

“I hope the information in this report helps encourage people to look differently at their backyard. It’s important for people to understand how best to look after their garden and to ensure spending time in their backyard is a pleasure and never a chore.”

Is it better to mow your lawn fine or let it grow long?

It’s a strange one because our preferred mowing height is something that varies by state. West Australians are obsessed with the bowling green look, while Victorians generally are happy with a shaggier grass covering. So, what’s better? Well the truth is, more cover in winter means less weeds, a healthier looking lawn and fewer problems, but come summer you can go either way. I think the type of grass you have also determines the height you choose. With broadleaf grasses like Buffalo and Kikuyu being better left a bit longer while fine leaf forms such as Couch or Zoysia grass look better in a manicured environment. STIHL battery lawn mowers feature a single lever height adjustment making it suitable for just about every lawn and season of the year. Be sure to do your research on your grass type to determine the best height setting for it.

Do lemon trees grow better when urinated on?

If you haven’t heard the story, many people swear by the fact that when peed on, their lemon tree produces bigger, better fruit and the tree is healthier. The truth is they are right, human urine provides an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace elements for plants, and can be delivered in a form that’s perfect for absorption quickly by the plant boosting its growth. So peeing on the lemon tree is usually very good. Be conscious that its raw nutrient and the nitrogen can burn. It can also cause lots of growth and little fruit if you over do it.

Is garlic really a natural pesticide?

If you’ve followed vampire movies you’ll know they don’t order garlic prawns at a restaurant, and whilst it doesn’t kill them it scares them off. The same goes for most sucking insects when it comes to garlic. The pungent aroma and antiseptic straits associated with garlic are too much for most sucking pests like aphids. Chilli is another pungent herb that scares insects off and if it’s a large marsupial like a possum that’s causing you issues you can upset their sinuses with white pepper or a mix of white pepper and garlic on the foliage, applied on dusk.

Is gardening good for your mental health as well as physical wellbeing?

Absolutely, gardening is well documented as a great way for people to overcome stress related illnesses and it’s a combination of down time, slowing the mind down to take in the things happening around us, re-engaging our senses and clearing the mind along with natural grounding ourselves with nature that makes such a difference. If you doubt me, try this test. Check your blood pressure. Then grab a beer, wine or cold drink after a stressful day at work, take your shoes off and walk outside on the lawn maybe with the hose in your hand watering randomly where you feel it’s needed. Ten minutes later walk back inside and take your blood pressure. I’ll bet it’s dropped and more importantly that you just feel better. If there’s one good outcome from Covid19 it’s got to be we are all able to spend some more time in our gardens and this is good for the body and mind.

Should we try to remove bugs and insects from our gardens?

Attracting bugs into your garden might not sound like something that you want to do, but it may surprise you to learn that insects are an integral part of any successful garden. Some insects help control and reduce the population of detrimental insects, otherwise known as pests, and are also responsible for the pollination of ornamental flowers and food crops. Providing a safe haven for these insects to hibernate and breed within your garden year round will encourage healthy pollination and keep nasty parasites away. A bug hotel is a great solution.