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Go for Olympic Gold in the Garden

In this blog post from Gardening Know How, RJ Laverne, manager of education and training for Davey Tree, gives homeowners five training tips for their landscape to take the gold this year. 

Posted: August 16, 2016 

Thousands of Olympians are headed to Rio with only one thing on their minds; gold. The quest to be best is what they’ve strived for their entire career, and for some, this is their only chance.

As we root on our favorite athletes, there is something else competing for your attention: your yard. Now is the time to create a space worthy of a gold medal. Luckily, gardeners have year after year to achieve gold.

The gold standard for the garden is a low-maintenance plant, suited for the space and climate, pest and disease resistant, and beautiful throughout the seasons. Plus, champions must provide added benefits to people and the planet.

However, no gold medalist gets there without training. The first step in getting gold is proper plant health care.

“Just as an athlete at the top of their game is healthy, and better prepared to ward off illness, healthy plants are better prepared to fight diseases and insect pests,” says RJ Laverne, urban forester at Davey Tree and ISA Board Certified Master Arborist.

“Garden Coach” Laverne outlines five training steps to achieve proper plant health:

  1. Find your zone. North America has many different climates ranging from hot and dry to cold and wet. A gold medalist thrives in the climate or “Plant Hardiness Zone” where you live.
  2. Overcome obstacles. Plants, especially trees, provide an incredible range of benefits to people and wildlife — from cleaning the air and producing food to providing shade. What do you and your landscape need to achieve success?
  3. Learn from your mistakes. Plant your future gold medalist in a space suited for its mature growth. Unless you choose a small ornamental species expected to grow 20 feet, do not plant trees near utility lines. Call 811 before you dig.
  4. Get grounded. Plants have different preferences for the soil their roots inhabit. Ensure you’re planting in gold medal territory by performing a simple soil test.
  5. Check out the competition. Some plants have more competition than others when it comes to resiliency. Choose species that can withstand disease and have little to no threat from pests. Plant multiple species that live in harmony together to increase diversity.

Laverne awards five gold medal winners in the all-around tree competition:

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