It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Your biggest garden problem is...

(Zone 7a)
There are a total of 112 votes:

Volunteer seedlings. (which ones?)
(6 votes, 5%)
Red dot

An aggressive plant that someone mistakenly planted. (what kind?)
(10 votes, 8%)
Red dot

Poor soil. (clay, sand, rocky?)
(18 votes, 16%)
Red dot

Weather. (too wet, dry, cold or hot?..tell us!)
(11 votes, 9%)
Red dot

Creeping lawn grass or weeds.
(24 votes, 21%)
Red dot

Insect pests (which ones?)
(9 votes, 8%)
Red dot

Annoying critters. (2 or 4 legged?)
(17 votes, 15%)
Red dot

Other. (tell us!)
(17 votes, 15%)
Red dot

Previous Polls

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I am not sure this is my SINGLE BIGGEST GARDENING PROBLEM, but oh my, those Norway Maple seedlings....they are EVERYWHERE! And my area (New England) is not known for rampant fertility, overgrowth, or lush anything. We grow onions, potatoes, and cranberries! But those Norway maples will sprout out of concrete. If I don't pull them up all spring, I will have a forest of saplings by summer.

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9a)

I live in the Phoenix area and definitely my biggest challenge is summer weather ... too hot (especially at night). All plants really struggle, especially if the heat is combined with no rain. But, hey, it's a desert. It's just being what it is!!!! The plants adapt or they are gone.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Since I'm installing raised beds (RB), the soil doesn't much matter. But, last summer's drought did a number on my lawn, that I'm bringing back, slowly, but surely. There are still bare patches and some patches of weeds. Trying to decide which weed killer to spray. I'm tending to shy away from RoundUp, and may look into that new Bayer spray. Roundup is such big guns around my veggies. I have natural, crosswind tunnels in my yard, so there'd most assuredly be drift from anything I spray.

Better do it soon, though, before the fall/wtr season when my yard will be full of brand new brassica seedlings!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Who couldn't say all of the above... LOL
This year for me, it is oak seedlings. The drought last summer triggered a phenomenal reproduction cycle on these oaks (that didn't die after all). I will be pulling oak seeds for a while! Kristi

This message was edited Apr 30, 2012 5:53 PM

Nineveh, NY(Zone 5a)

Planted maximillian sunflower tubers about 3-4 years ago. Now trying to dig them all out. Very aggressive where I have them. I wouldn't mind them in one spot but they have taken over my garden.

Kure Beach, NC(Zone 9a)

A few years ago, I would have said soil is my biggest problem, but I've been amending it with compost, and as the hardwood mulch decays, that helps too.
The heat and lack of rain during the summer is my biggest problem, even for plants in the ground. Thank goodness for soaker hoses.
The plants in pots (I have 27 tropical hibiscus in pots) really hate it!
In a few weeks though, morning glory volunteers may be right up there on the list.

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

Eyes bigger than my hands - cannot keep up with the beds I plant, yet I continue to expand existing beds and dig in more. Weather can be iffy, but our soil is great. No aggressive seedling problems, although I do regularly battle with buttercups. I've rather given up on trying to eradicate them, and try to co-exist with them as a jolly yellow flower. Bugs are bugs, some years worse than others. It's all good.

New York, NY(Zone 7a)

Insects! Just when I think my plants are thriving, a new pest appears. My iris leaves are gloriously full this year, but some of the flower stalks were coming up bent, and in that position they're easily broken. When I took apart a broken stalk, I found these ugly gray aphids -- pale gray and possibly a bit fuzzy, like a mold -- being tended by ants. I had never seen these aphids before last fall, when they killed off a morning glory that was spindly from too much shade. Green, black, and red aphids I'm familiar with, and sometimes the black ones huddle in the folds of iris leaves, but they don't mess up flower stalks just when I've spent a year building the fans to produce them. Maybe the pale gray ones carry a fungus disease or virus that infects the stalks? In which case I change my vote to plant viruses and fungi!

Abilene, TX(Zone 7b)

I can add compost to my soil. I can water ,within reason. Can't control the heat, but except for last year, most of the things I plant can tolerate what we have. But I've got these little white spiders that are making webs all over the place. Then there are these little black bugs, just bigger than aphids that are klling my artemesia. And something got my coneflowers last summer, but I couldn't figure out what. And did I mention fire ants? I hate to spray because of the butterflies, but I've got to control them some way.

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

By far, I am my biggest garden problem!

Somerset, KY(Zone 6b)

My problem is morning glories all over the place and nastimums.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Poor soil. It's not as bad as when we moved in but I still have bad spots. When I first started to garden here I couldn't grow anything. Marigolds and Silver Dust would just burn up. Finally got some weedy plants growing and it slowly started improving from there. Weedy plants are gone now but I have a ton of different plants all around now. Still struggle but am starting to get a better idea of what thrives here.

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

my other is really ALL of the above.........................

Denville, NJ(Zone 6b)

chipmunks are a huge problem here.. there are other digging / plant eating critters.. but chipmunks are my biggest problem

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

I voted lawn grasses/weeds, but I could also have voted, Hot and humid summers, and Sand,sand, and more sand!

Hanceville, AL(Zone 7a)

Insect critters and annoying pests. We have a creek near our garden area and gnats just love to multiply there. So when we garden, they get on our skin and in our eyes. If we can face the wind they are not so bad until they start to bite. Annoying pests include deer, possums, raccoons, snakes, fire ants, armadillos, bean beetles, dogs, coyotes, ticks, etc, etc. Luciee {;^) Thanks, Tim, I forgot about the hot and humid summers. L

This message was edited May 1, 2012 5:55 AM

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Annoying critters: neighbours' cats, lots of them, cra**ing everywhere and killing all the birds :-((


Havelock, Canada

Although I voted creeping lawn grass and weeds, I also had issues with several insects last year. I lost count of all the different bugs. I tried to identify several of them and finally gave up. My peonies got ravished last year and that was the start of the insects. I graduated from being afraid to touch them to squishing them with my bare fingers and dropping as many as I could find into soapy water.

Lily beetles were another huge problem. I finally got some concoction (diatomaceous earth and a recipe) at the Garden Show this year and I am hoping that my neem oil added to diatomaceous earth, soap and water will stop these nasty bugs in their tracks. Now is the time to start so better get busy in the next week. The lilies are starting to pop out of the ground. I am hoping the birds and toads will do their job this year and help with the bugs. Time will tell.

Elaine and Otis

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Bermuda grass and weeds a plenty; plus the heat makes it a challenge to grow things, but I use shade fabric and have moved my veggie garden to the east side of the house where it gets afternoon shade.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Goutweed that came with my house.

Also aphids all over brussel sprouts. I've given up on brussel sprouts. I'm not that crazy about them anyway. Unless they are slow roasted with some caramelization. Yum. But not with a "side" serving of aphids.

Danbury, CT(Zone 6a)

My biggest problem, fungus. We have fungi of all type bother all types of plants. Must be our humidity in the summer.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm changing my vote to roaming cats! Good thing I'm going with Raised Beds for my veggies. At least I can cover the soil to avoid a giant "kitty litter" box!

Calgary, Canada

Quack grass is my first annoyance, and critters are the second.
The squirrels dig, and the birds, when nesting, like the mud from the pots.
I now cover seeded pots with clear plastic bags (vented).
And I am putting up ugly little fences to keep the dogs (of irresponsible owners)
from urinating on the peonies.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I had a hard time deciding which problem to choose, but I settled on: "An aggressive plant that someone mistakenly planted".

We have running bamboo invading the south end of our garden. Getting rid of it, and keeping it out will be an ongoing challenge.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Nifty413 that is hilarious!!! :-D I suspect that is true of many of us (uuummmm like moi), but i voted for insects and particularly ants and parasitic wasps. We have every kind of ant imaginable here in the neotropics...all colors and all sizes. Some of them roam the streets at night and can strip a tree of foliage literally overnight. The problem in the garden is much less severe now than when i started it 4 years ago. I have a butterfly garden and so organic bug solutions are a must and I need to be very careful and inventive about how i get rid of the unwanted pests without harming the butterflies, caterpillars, hummingbirds, bees, lady beetles, etc. On the ants i have been using a solution of water, a bit of dish washing liquid and a few drops of cinnamon oil in a spray and the ants drop dead on the spot. because the ants are crawlers and not flyers, and because they often travel in groups, i can wipe out a few hundred of them as they come over the garden wall. I've also found a drop of honey and some duct tape works well too. so i'd say the ant/aphid problem is 90% better than it used to be. the lady beetles are a great help. i read somewhere that a lady beetle can eat over 5000 aphids in a lifetime. this of course discourages the ants. i know ants are sweet and smart little creatures, but they do need some predators, at least where i live. i would like to start a new international fad..."please, everybody start eating ants!" they are very nutritious and the supply is unlimited! Just fry some up and sprinkle them on your post toasties or something. Of course, the parasitic wasps are now tuned in to where the nice chubby caterpillars are and there are a couple of times a year when they are particularly bad and do a lot of damage. To control the populations, i capture them in glass or clear plastic containers and this is having good results.

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

Vitrsna, I'm in... as long as chocolate is involved, I'm in... Perhaps with a fine wine & some good cheese... I'm there! Gimme some dark chocolate-dipped ants!!

I know we're not supposed to link directly to companies, so, everyone search the Web for recipe sites & companies to get that ball rolling!


West Plains, MO(Zone 6b)

Rocky clay soil. Plus humidity that makes growing roses very difficult.

Dearborn Heights, MI(Zone 6b)

My biggest issue right now is that stray cats keep wreaking havoc on my flower beds.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

o bravo nifty!!! i can feel this taking off..."the international movement to eat ants three times a day"...all the protein one needs. at some time in the distant past i did have chocolate covered toasted ants with champagne. and yes! recipies, creative ones! i can see toasted ants, for example being used in the same way people use salt and pepper. i must tell you that my hero and inspiration is a small 6 year old Mexicana girl named Isabel. Isabel's parents are young, progressive, smart, and thinking about the future of Mexico, the planet, and their family. now Isabel is a very girlie girl whose favorite color is pink, wears pink ribbons in her hair and pink tights, and loves to sing and dance. Isabel is also smart as a whip. from time to time, Isabel and her father go for walks together...just the two of them. Isabel's father taught her how to eat live ants right off the sidewalk! and so, during their walks both Isabel and her father will bend down, pick up an ant, and pop it into their mouths. well, they pick up the ant from the rear end and rip off the heads (some of these ants have very hurtful bites) and then pop them into their mouths... just walking, talking, and snacking. this is why Isabel is both my hero and inspiration in this regard. this is an activity in which i, myself, have not been able to least not to date, but my admiration knows no bounds. i expect within the year that the organization will rate some coverage on CNN. hooray!!!

Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

I selected "creeping lawn grass or weeds". I could also answer "invasive exotic plants". After 23 years, I'm still fighting the bermuda grass that creeps in from neighboring lawns. I just have to stay on top of it during the growing season or it will creep into the veggie garden and take over. 2nd would be the Japanese Honeysuckle. Just when I thought that it had been eradicated, some creeped in over my neighbor's fence. At least, she allows me to come into her yard and dig up the source. 3rd would be sweet autumn clematis. All of the above were growing on our property when we moved in 23 years ago, and the war continues! When the 2 pre-existing silver maple trees drop their seeds, another war begins.

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

too little room

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Volunteer seedlings. Privet, and hackberry tree seedlings for me. The neighbors on all three sides insist on making privets into trees! The birds do the rest.

This message was edited May 2, 2012 6:28 AM

Louisville, KY

Squirrels destroy my tomatoes every year. But this year I have a big stray tomcat and he hates all rodents (decapitates them and leaves them by the garbage can)
I hate his "mo" on this but, I am hoping that I won't have any squirrel problems this year.

Canton--Football HOF, OH(Zone 6a)

The silver maple whirlybirds are more abundant than ever! Since our Spring has been very mild from the beginning, this year, they started falling off the trees super early, and some of them broke off in clumps! I'll be getting the blower vac out!

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

Gophers, nuf said.
Hemlock and thistle, both are miserable to weed.
Palmbob . . . I have lots of extra space for any of your plants needing a new home LOL. I checked out your landscape pictures, wow.

Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

The person in the neighbourhood who sprays my garden with herbicide at night. There's another person who has been targeted and has been hit about 6 times. Targeted hits.

Denville, NJ(Zone 6b)

time for a security camera

Dearborn Heights, MI(Zone 6b)

Quote from growin :
The person in the neighbourhood who sprays my garden with herbicide at night. There's another person who has been targeted and has been hit about 6 times. Targeted hits.

Wow. What in the world is the purpose behind such a thing? That's terrible.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I agree. Although I think my neighbor may have killed the Tangerine Crossvine I planted on the fence between us. :-<

Poison ivy is my biggest garden problem right now ... along with ticks. Other times it's Bermuda grass. And it's sometimes too dry in July and August especially.

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