Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

Most Plants Are Not Tomatoes…



But it feels like most people plant them as if they were. We see tons and tons of sick, unhealthy plants, especially trees and shrubs, that have been planted by well-meaning, and sometimes even professional, gardeners who bury the root crowns of the plants. It’s reached the point that we automatically check if the crowns are buried whenever we look at someone’s garden. Nine out of ten times, if a tree is sick, the crown is buried. I’m not sure why people plant that way. I probably did it years ago, too, but I don’t remember the thinking behind it. I guess the plants seem more solid when their trunks have a lot of dirt holding them in place. Also, I think it might be because people’s first gardening experience is with a tomato.

Tomatoes are one of the few plants that actually benefits from having the root crown and stem buried. If you bury the root crown (the spot where the stem or trunk meets the soil and starts to put out roots) and the stem of a tomato plant, the branch nodes will form new roots and you’ll get a more vigorous plant. If you bury the root crown or stem of most other plants, the stem will slowly rot and the plant will die. It can take a long time, sometimes years, for a plant to die from a buried crown, so a well-intentioned gardener might never learn why their plants tend to mysteriously kick the bucket. It’s the most common cause of problems when we consult on sick plants, and I have a theory that it’s one of the most common causes of black thumbs. I know at least one black thumb gardener who was losing plants for that reason.

A few plants, like tomatoes, benefit from being planted a bit deep. I have a short list, which I hope to add to over time, of those plants below. Let me know of any I should add to the list. (more…)