Common Gardening Myths


Gardening is one of those hobbies where it appears easy on the surface and turns out to be actually difficult with its numerous nuances. Things become even more difficult for new gardeners as they fall prey to common gardening myths for improving their soil or creating compost. If you need topsoil for your garden, you can search for “topsoil near me” and buy some from the nearest store. Let’s check out a few common gardening myths.

The Myths

  1. Sand improves clayey soil – You’ll come across this myth everywhere. From online forums to nurseries and even from some veteran gardeners. However, it’s simply not true. While in theory adding sand to improve the drainage of clayey soil makes sense, it doesn’t work in practice. Instead, adding sand makes the soil incredibly hard with the same poor drainage and worse aeration.

That means you get rotting roots instead of a healthy environment for a growing sapling. Instead of adding sand, it’s always better to add organic matter to the soil to improve its structure. Adding homemade compost and growing veggies in the soil improves its drainage drastically over a growing season.

  1. Water burns leaves – You’re advised to not water your plant on sunny days. The logic behind this myth sounds reasonable at a glance. The water droplets on leaves act as magnifying glasses that concentrate sun rays and burn the leaves.

However, when you think about it, it’s nothing more than nonsense. Otherwise, you would be burnt the more time you spend at the beach in the water. Instead, you get more rashes and sunburns when you spend more time outside the water on sunny days.

Similarly, sunrays warm up the water, and since water has a high specific heat capacity, it holds on to that heat and evaporates off the leaves before burning them. Watering the leaves, in general, is a bad practice since it interferes with the ability of leaves to exchange gasses with the atmosphere and cool off by releasing water vapor.

Instead, you should always water your plants at the base in the early morning or the afternoon to prevent water loss due to evaporation. However, if you choose to water your plants from the top down and splash the leaves with it, the leaves aren’t going to burst into flames.

  1. Dress cut and wounds on trees – During the winter season most trees go dormant and that’s the best time to prune your trees since it does minimal damage. However, some people recommend that you dress the fresh cuts and wounds on the tree after pruning to protect the wounds from decay and death.

That’s another myth that makes no sense and makes you waste your money instead. Trees aren’t like humans. They have strong natural healing capabilities. The wounds and cuts don’t form clotted layers of tree sap. Instead, calluses form over the wound and cover it up to protect the tree from infection and pests. When you dress the wound, you interrupt that healing process.

  1. Soil gets acidified by pine needles – A lot of people believe that pine needles acidify the soil. People who believe in such myths would also advise you to plant pine trees around acid-loving plants like rhododendrons and blueberries. While it’s true that freshly plucked pine needles are slightly acidic, they lose that property when they are shed by the tree.

When pine needles are shed by the tree, they are dry and have no acidic content, and won’t have any effect on the soil. If you leave those needles on the ground, they will naturally decompose and break down to fertilize the soil. On the other hand, you can collect pine needles as a great mulching material. However, no need to worry about the soil going acidic when you forget to pick out those dry needles.

  1. Injecting sugar into the soil produces sweet tomatoes – This one sounds ridiculous from the get-go. Despite that, there are a significant minority of gardeners who believe in this myth and spread their false gospel. There is no correlation between the sugar level in the soil and the sweetness in tomatoes.

If you really want to grow sweet tomatoes, choose varieties that have been selectively bred or engineered for their sweet taste. Watering at regular intervals, exposure to ample sunlight, and proper nutrition should help you grow healthy tomatoes that are sweet, nutritious, and juicy.

  1. Keep adding compost to the soil – Compost has many benefits. It adds nutrition for the growing plants, helps to develop microbes for the soil, and improves soil structure. However, it’s not a cure-all you can use in all situations. Instead, too much compost can do more harm than good.

If you add too much compost to the soil and the soil’s organic matter starts hitting double digits, the soil will have a dangerous amount of phosphorus. That phosphorus can leach into the water level and make it toxic and also stunt the growth of the plant. Certain composts also boast high salt content and that’s never good for the soil. Too much of anything can be bad and the same goes for compost.

  1. Always plant in rows – If you like to see plants growing in rows, you can choose to plant them that way. However, it isn’t necessary to do so. Instead, it is inefficient in small gardens. Row planting is ideal for large farms and large gardens. Instead, you need to maximize your potential in a small garden and have a mix of plants that are complementary to each other. Those plants will help each other with shade or nutrients and also confuse pests and reduce the spread of diseases.


Gardening myths are widespread on online forums. While some of them are harmless, the rest are detrimental to your garden and may discourage you away from the hobby. That’s why it’s important to know the truth behind the myth and act accordingly. If you need topsoil for your garden, you can search for “topsoil near me” and buy it from a store nearby.

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