Gardening Q and A

Pine Bark Nuggets – Can I Till These To Amend Soil?

Q: I mulch my flower garden with colored pine bark nuggets. Is it okay to till in these nuggets to amend the soil? A: To my knowledge there is no harm in the dye used on these chips. I would...

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Pollen Count High – Good For Bees?

Q: I heard that pollen counts are getting high. Is this good for bees? A: Not really. Most of the pollen drifting around is from trees, which are typically wind-pollinated. They don’t need insects to carry pollen from flower to...

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Pickling Cucumbers – Short And Curling Up On Ends

Q: I plant pickling cucumbers each year but lots of them are short and dumpy and curling up on the end. What causes this? A: Easy – the pickles didn’t get pollinated. On this year’s vines, notice that there are...

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What Fruit Plants Are GMO?

Q: I saw strawberry plants for sale that had “GMO free” on the label. What fruit plants are GMO? A: As far as I know, only Hawaiian papaya might be fruit that’s a GMO (genetically modified organism), but note that...

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Japanese Maple Tree Died In Dry Heat – Replace Now Or Wait Till Fall

Q: One of our young Japanese maple trees did not survive the heat and dry weather. Can I replace it now or would it be best to wait until this fall? A: If you’re attentive to watering in dry weather,...

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Using Shingles To Warm Ground Around Tomatoes – But Are They Toxic To Soil?

Q: I heard you talking about using shingles to warm up the ground around your tomatoes. Shingles sound like the perfect weed barrier: won’t blow away, won’t deteriorate, heat up the soil, etc. But are there toxic chemicals in them...

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Spruce Tree – Drying Out Top And Bottom

Q: We bought a spruce tree at a big box store and planted it a year ago after Christmas. It was growing throughout the year but was just recently began drying out top and bottom. A: Spruce trees rarely survive...

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Florist Azaleas – Can I Plant It Outside?

Q: I received an azalea after the death of my father. The label says “Place in a cool location, avoiding excessively hot and cold areas.” Does this mean I can’t plant it outside? A: In my experience florist azaleas are...

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Emerald Green Arborvitae – Dying And Getting Lighter In Color

Q: I planted a long row of Emerald Green arborvitae six years ago. They did well until last fall. Now four have died and the fifth is getting lighter in color. A: Arborvitae and Leyland cypress all over north Georgia...

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Ivy – Will It Die If I Cut It Off At The Base?

Q: Everyone says that ivy will die if you cut it off at the base. But this has been done on some large trees in my yard and that darn ivy is still alive after a year! A: It may...

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Fake Article – Adding Eight Things To Soil For Better Tomatoes

Q: I saw an article online that listed eight things to add to the soil to grow better tomatoes. I’ve never heard you mention any of them. A: As soon as I saw “Apply baking soda to get tomatoes that...

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Camellia – Buds Opening And Falling Off

Q: My camellia was absolutely covered in buds but now that they’re starting to open they are falling off. By the time they finish I will be able to shovel all of them off the ground without any of them...

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Tulip Bulbs – Where Do They Come From?

Q: Where do tulip bulbs come from? Do they grow from seed? A: Yes, originally they came from seed. To make a superior blossom, growers transfer pollen from flower to flower and wait for a seedpod to form on the...

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Where Are All The Mature American Beech Trees?

Q: Why don’t I see many mature American beech trees in the area? I see a lot of juveniles with tan leaves but mature trees seem to be limited to low areas. Is the climate a limiting factor for American...

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Is It Worth It To Use Stored Year-Old Tomato Seeds?

Q: Is it advisable to use year-old tomato seeds that were stored in the house? Are there extra steps that should be done to ensure successful germination? A: Unless you have a rare heirloom tomato variety, saving seed isn’t worth...

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Leyland Cypress Trees Dying – Are They Just Too Old?

Q: Thirty years ago I planted fifty Leyland cypress trees as a privacy screen. They are now forty feet high, but some of them appear to be dying from the bottom up. A friend told me that they have had...

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Lawn Fertilizer – Can I Use It On Trees And Plants

Q: I bought a fertilizer meant for lawns (32-0-8) to use on my bamboo. Can I also use this on trees, camellias, hydrangeas, azaleas and other perennials? A: I think it would be better for the shrubs to use either...

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Do Blueberries Need Full Sun Year Round?

Q: Do blueberries need full sun at all times of the year? My planting spot gets full sun for eight months a year but in winter my house blocks the sunlight there. A: I think you’ll be fine if the...

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