Gardening Q and A

American Chestnut – Identification

Q: How can I tell the difference between American chestnut and Chinese chestnut? A: Rather than going over the details, check out these two links from the American Chestnut Foundation. Identifying American Chestnut Trees Chestnut Identification...

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Canna Leaf Roller (larger)

Q: What is biting my canna leaves? A: It’s a canna leaf roller, specifically the larger canna leaf roller, as opposed to the lesser canna leaf roller. A moth, called the Brazilian skipper, lays her eggs on the canna leaves. When...

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Weeping Mulberry – Pruning

Q: On one of my weeping mulberries I have thinned out some dead bark and on a second I have not. They are both about 8 feet tall. How should I prune these? There is a lot a dead, “knotty...

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Pine – Galls, Yellow Powder

Q: This morning we saw a pine tree with five of these knots on it. When I touched it with a twig, a powdery pollen-like substance puffed from it. A: The galls are caused by Eastern gall rust. This fungus...

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Grass Spider – Identification

Q: I only see these webs in the early mornings. Once the sun shines on them they disappear. A: It’s the web of a grass spider. You can easily guess why it’s called that. The spiders roam through your lawn...

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Asian Ambrosia Beetle – On Fig

Q: Earlier this spring I thought my fig tree was budding out. Now it looks dead and has those white things on it. Any idea what is the problem? A: You have an Asian ambrosia beetle infestation. Cut the limb and...

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Cabbage Aphids – Control

Q: I picked cabbage from my garden this morning and the substance is on the underside of the outside leaves. Is it safe to eat? A: I think they’re cabbage aphids. Our winter cold wasn’t enough to kill them this...

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Hibiscus – Killed by Cold

Q: I bought and planted a tree-form hibiscus last year. Its blooms did great. Dropped it leaves in fall. As spring has approached it looks dead. Does it take a bit longer to wake up? A: I’m sad to say...

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Christmas Cactus – Droopy After Repotting

Q:About 6 weeks ago I repotted our old root-bound Christmas cactus. It remains droopy even though most of the buds have bloomed. It’s in a window that receives afternoon sunshine.  A: If the spot in front of the  window blinds...

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Hickory – Trunk Damage Caused By Root Rot

Q: I have a hickory tree that has been attacked by a nasty bug. How can I save it? A: The splitting of the bark on the trunk makes me suspect this is not a bug infestation. It looks to...

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Apple – Saving an Old One

Q: I bought an old farm that has two apple trees left on it from an old orchard. I’m trying to prune both back to health, but discovered a rotting wound at the base of one of them. I dug...

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Magnolia – Freeze Damage

Q: Several of our Southern magnolias, which have naturalized in our woods, are dead and/or dying.  There are 8-10 dead, all ages & sizes.  What do you think it is? Date: 3-25-17 A: I showed your pictures to a tree expert...

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Asian Ambrosia Beetle – On Dogwood Trunk

Q: I purchased a young dogwood from “big box” store and planted it a few weeks ago. A couple days ago I noticed small white cylindrical sticks on the bark. They’re powdery and brushed off easily but reappeared the next...

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Effects of Cold on Fruit Trees

Q: My back yard peach trees have already blossomed. They are 4 years old and 6 feet tall. How should I protect them from the upcoming freeze? A: Not much can be done. Your trees are too big to cover....

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Camellia – Multi-colored

Q: I have a multi-colored camellia in my back yard. You wrote that you cannot purchase one like it. I definitely did no grafting. As you can see, a lot of the petals have fallen to the ground but there...

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Pear – Grafting

Q: I want to save a pear tree belonging to my grandparents on a small farm. I know for sure that it is at least 100 years old. The tree has not received any attention in years, yet it hangs...

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Mistletoe – No Control With Herbicide

Q: Now that my oak tree is dormant, can I spray 2,4-D on the mistletoe while being careful not to wet other plants under the tree? The mistletoe is high up on the tree but I may be able to...

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Pull-Behind Aerator – Evaluation

Q: I’m considering buying one of these pull-behind aerators. Do they work well? A: Well, let me pull out a calculator and check. The goal of aerification is to have approximately 10 holes per sq. ft. This machine looks like...

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