| by Kenneth Chase | No comments

Finding Good Online Gardening Advice – Family Plot

Alright, Miss Carol. Now we always tell folks that they can go
to the internet, and find some of those answers to their gardening
questions, but how do we know if those sites actually have good advice? -Well, and outside, even the majority of them
don’t. So a lot of times you just go to Google and type something in, and I’m not sure how that
logarithm works, but things pop up that aren’t necessarily good sources. I have a few kind of general rules, and first
and foremost, if they’re tryin’ to sell ya something, they may not be telling you the truth, they
may not be telling you the whole truth, and even just omission a lot of times, is the
big crime. I’m particularly suspicious of big box store
sites, because they won’t give you regional information about plants, they’re
gonna make ’em all sound like they’re gonna do well. It is the information that is inaccurate,
especially about size of plants a lot of times. Plants are gonna get bigger, I always tell people, plant tags lie, don’t
believe the plant tags. So there are a few nurseries that I do trust,
and I don’t know if I get to mention those, as far as specifics. One thing I’ve noticed though is online sources, even ordering the plants they’re
not accurate, so one thing I look for, if it’s an online nursery, not only does it give
good information, but do I actually get the plant I ordered. But as far as good information, yes, we do like people to go
to the university sites. We try to research all our information, and
so if it’s a .edu site, but… Stuff doesn’t disappear off the internet often
when it should and things change, as you and I know. New diseases come down the pipe, new pests,
so a plant that we once considered very durable is no longer. So we have to be sure we stay current, and
I always tell people this, I’m gonna mention several good sites. But I like to go to several sites to make
sure I have a consensus. Because any one site could be wrong. So I check with EDU sites, I’ll check with,
there’s good botanical garden sites, the Missouri Botanical Garden site is a very good
site. – Which is one that I go to. – And it pops up pretty quick, and that’s
one thing I like, some of the websites are poorly designed, hard to find the information. So that’s one thing that I like to look for. The other thing that I like to look for are professional organizations, for example,
information about tree pruning or roots, a lot of times, like if you type in tree roots
and foundations, you’re gonna find a whole bunch of garden bloggers who are gonna tell ya, “oh, those roots are gonna bust your foundations.” But we wanna go to those sites that have really
studied tree roots and so the Urban Forestry Association, the Arbor Culture Associations,
any kind of professional association is really trying to get good information
out there, to make sure that their information is reliable and trustworthy, so that you hire
their members. So I look for those. Also if it’s about a particular group of plants, these large well-founded plant
societies. You know, the Magnolia Society, the American
Conifer Society, there’s a Fern Society right here in Memphis, the hydrangea, Mid-South
Hydrangea Society, 400, 500 members. So you and I like to talk about replicated
studies, we’re supposed to repeat studies several times to make sure that this plant
does behave well in all these different settings and over a series of different years. Well imagine if you’ve got four or 500 members
reporting in on this particular hydrangea, or conifer, or magnolia, it’s as good as a
replicated study. And they’re not trying to sell ya anything,
they want you to succeed with that magnolia, they want you
to enjoy the plants that they enjoy, so I certainly do trust that information. – Yeah, the .edu’s is pretty much what I go
by. And I look at several states. The land grant institutions, I’m lookin’ at
all their information. – Very much so and especially with, we’re
talking about plant trials and evaluations, I look for those states that have similar
climate. Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky,
Virginia. I look at all those and see, oh yeah, this plant’s done well for everybody
over a wide range of sites. – Now let’s talk about this, what about Facebook? ‘Cause you know everybody’s on Facebook now,
and they’re putting garden information on Facebook. – Well, I’m not a fan of just anybody’s information,
somebody can put up, even just identify a plant, and they know what it is, they act
like they’re an expert, and a lot of times they’re wrong. But then a lot of these sites have a lot of very informed members
and a few specifics, one that I really love and use a lot is the Tennessee Naturalist
Facebook page. And they’ll known plants in the wild, and
insects and moths, frogs, mushrooms, you name it. So I love that site ’cause usually I’ll have
park rangers, or different informed biologists who’ll come on and tell me. Also the Soil Plant Pest place page is awesome. – Without a doubt is good. – Absolutely awesome. And of course they’re posting pictures of
current diseases and insect issues, so a lot of times I’ll look at that and go, hey, that’s
what somebody just brought in today, so it keeps me very up- to-date. Not to mention that also is gonna give me
recommendations. – Exactly right. That’s one Facebook page I go to everyday. – Yes, it is fantastic. It is a really fantastic. People who despise Facebook and think it’s
all about videos of cats or what you had for breakfast that morning, I don’t use it for
that, and I use it for things that I’m interested in, plants, insects, even dog rescue
groups, a lot of times we’ll network on the Facebook pages. If you’re doing a plant identification say
in Tennessee, then the Tennessee Naturalist Facebook page, or a plant idents, maybe a local Facebook page,
there’s Tennessee birds, all kinds of things like that. But you can be in Hawaii and take a picture
of a plant and probably post it to one of the more international plant identification pages and get somebody that
knows that plant, it’s just amazing, it could be somebody, an expert from India or China. It’s just awesome how all these people can
network and just a little snapshot of a plant, within a minute, you’re told all about
it. People who decide they don’t like Facebook,
they’re just not using it right. – Right, I mean, it has a good purpose. – Absolutely. – If you can do things like that, for sure. Of course, we do that a lot, just put pictures
on there, just to see if somebody can identify them, I know I do it quite often. – Yes, and not only that, for example, in
our plant sales, we will post pictures of the plants that are gonna be in the sale,
and their cultural conditions. So by the time they come into our plant sale,
they know what’ll work in their yard, and already have
their list made out. So yeah, lots of good ways you can use it. Also a few good industry magazines. I like American Nurserymen, ’cause people
like Mike Dura will often write for that. But some of the little garden magazines that
are written often by people, and I’m not saying amateur in a derogatory way, I’m just saying
that often, they have not necessarily done the scientific research behind the article, so look at those with
a little bit of caution. – Okay, I appreciate that good information. That works, thank you.

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