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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 31, 2017

Master Gardener Educates Little Silver Garden Club on Landscaping Mistakes

The January 12 meeting of the Little Silver Garden Club featured a talk and slide presentation by Monmouth County Master Gardener Debra LaGattuta about “Ten Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid.” Using slides to demonstrate the common mistakes, Ms. LaGattuta told members about the harmful effects of some landscaping decisions, and suggested alternatives for homeowners.

Some of the chief landscaping problems include mulch volcanos, crowding and size of plants chosen, improper pruning, high maintenance designs, and use of invasive and aggressive plants.  Many of these mistakes are committed by landscapers who may be unaware of the future difficulties caused by improper planting and choice of plants. Mulch volcanos, for example, are common throughout our area. They mound the dirt up on the tree trunk, and cause the root mass to be suffocated, leading to disease and decay. Proper mulching leaves the tree trunk free of mulch, and creates a flat “donut” of mulch around the base of the tree, without mounding.

Choosing plants that will grow too big for the space is another common problem, Ms. LaGattuta stated. Homeowners and gardeners should do research before choosing plants; even simply looking at the tag that accompanies a shrub or tree can provide helpful information about the projected height and width. Situate your plantings far enough away from your home and its entrances so that they will not crowd the area when they are more mature.

Debra LaGattuta received her training through Monmouth County’s Master Gardener program, which is affiliated with Rutgers University. Rutgers and the Master Gardeners provide free advice and information to all residents about plants, their environments, pests, and diseases that may plague our environment. Call the Master Gardeners with any questions at (732) 303-7614 or email The Rutgers Cooperative Extension office is located on Kozloski Road in Freehold.

The Little Silver Garden Club will next meet on February 9 at 9:30 a.m. at the Women’s Club on Rumson Road, Little Silver.  The February program will be a demonstration using dried flowers and plants. Visitors are always welcome! For more information, contact club president Diane Primavera at (732) 643-8546 or vice president Kathy Heller at (732) 938-4609.