Some Best Management Practices
The body of research on botany, horticulture, environmental stewardship and associated items is immense and fascinating. However, we Master Gardeners of Prince William have learned some rules of thumb / best practices that generally allow us to be successful in almost any project. For example:
- “Right plant, right place” – Plants better survive when sited in the environment similar to that in which they evolved (sun, shade, wet, dry…)
- “Use native plants” – Botanicals that have adapted over the ages to our local environment will be hardy to disease and insects as well as more easily surviving drought and other climate extremes
- “Get a soil test” – The starting point for building excellent soil conditions to support a flourishing plant life; the soil test provides guidance on when to lime, fertilize and what formulations (if any) to use
- “Group plants with similar irrigation and fertilizer needs” – Saves water and saves plants
- “Life is water based” – Our gardening and lawn projects must protect water quality from our local streams to the Chesapeake Bay for future generations
- “Use natural nutrients” – The use of manures, plant-derived compost and mulches results in less fertilizer, pesticides and yard waste
- “Follow good cultural practices” –Selecting healthy disease-free plants and seeds; proper watering and fertilizing; hand pulling weeds or hand picking/pruning diseased portions of the plant; among other cultural practices can do wonders for plant success and pest management
- “Eliminate or at least minimize the use of chemicals”— Protects beneficial flora and fauna, protects the environment and may even be beneficial to the well-being of the potential user. Contact the Help Desk before use, if possible. Read and follow all directions on pesticide labels.
The Next Level of Detail
More information on selected gardening topics is listed in the subsections to this page. These include introductory material as well as more detailed references and resources. The following sub pages are provided as start points on your quest to achieve natural resource excellence. (Again, you are invited to call the Help Desk.) Enjoy!