Gardening Q and A

Raised Bed – Filling With Bagged Products

Q: I’ve built my raised beds but I don’t have a lot of soil to fill them. What should I use? A: I have had good success with Big Yellow Bag,  Scotts Premium Topsoil, Kellogg Raised Bed Mix,  Nature’s Care...

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Pollen Analysis – From Honey

Q: I am interested in matching pollen granules that my honeybees collect with the plant of origin. A: The best help I can find is from a professor at Texas A&M University in Austin. Although Austin is a bit warmer...

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Boxwood Blight – Not This

Q: Is this boxwood blight? A: My plant pathology friend Jean Williams-Woodward says “The plant looks like it is dying from a root problem, not boxwood blight. It is planted next to a stone walkway. It looks like the roots are suffering...

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Blossom End Rot – On Tomato and Pepper

Q: What causes young tomatoes to get a black bottom that turns to rot? A: Blossom end rot is caused by lack of calcium in the sap when the small fruit is growing. Calcium is distributed to the fruit in...

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Elm – Bleeding

Q: My elm tree is bleeding. The top is sappy but the bottom looks like fresh coffee grounds. This is about a foot tall and six inches wide. The tree itself is ancient. A: It looks to me like there...

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Leyland Cypress – Removing Top

Q: I have rows of large (30-40 ft tall) Leyland Cypress trees surrounding a pool which I have been “shaving/pruning” for 14 years. They have become very top heavy and have started to splinter/lean to a side. Wanting to get...

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Lichens – On Sports Netting

Q: I’m a softball coach at Georgia State University. Our back stop netting at our softball facility has developed a “fungus” on it. This growth is starting to cover the entire netting area. A: What you see is nothing more...

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Carolina Jessamine – No Flowers

Q: I have had a Carolina jessamine for four years. It has never bloomed. It appears healthy. A: I think you’re pruning in winter and removing flower buds. Jessamine is a rambunctious grower so cutting it in fall/winter is tempting....

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Hydrangea – Unexpected Green Flowers

Q: What is going on with my hydrangeas? Some are beautifully purple & pink, others are green. They get watered at 6:00 a.m. before work, have about 5 hours of daily sun, liquid fertilizer once a month. A: I think...

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Plant Labels – Making Big Ones

Q: Can you suggest a source for large plant markers, easily read while standing? A: I use metal tags that stand on tall wire legs (everlastlabel.com). You can use a grease pencil or make printed labels on clear tape with...

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Virginia Creeper – Dermatitis Rash

Q: I pulled a bunch of Virginia creeper off of a fence last week. I broke out in a terrible itching, burning red rash just like my husband does when he is exposed to poison ivy. I can roll around...

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Coneflower – Fasciated

Q: My granddaughter spotted this flower in my front yard. It seems very unique. It has one very wide stem and a daisy bloom that wraps around that looks like two blooms made together. A: This is a very interesting...

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Ginkgo – Sprouts From Stump

Q: Our beautiful ginkgo tree was destroyed a few years ago in a storm. We left the stump in place. Now, there are two new trees sprouting up from the stump. What is the best thing to do? A: I...

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Roughstock Bluegrass (Poa trivialis) – Control

Q: A couple of weeks ago, our fescue lawn was diagnosed with having an invasive winter grass called Poa trivialis. The grass has consumed over 60% of my lawn. What would you do? A: You are not going to like...

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Hole in Ground – No Earth Piled Nearby

Q: We built a fire pit in our backyard where the previous owners had an above ground pool. I tilled the grass and covered it with stone. A couple nights ago, we had friends over and one of our friend’s...

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Pea – Caterpillar Damage

Q: I have peas! And bugs, it seems. Time to break out the insecticide dust or something else? A: The pattern of damage looks like caterpillar feeding to me. Any garden insecticide would work to kill caterpillars. But I recommend...

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Kiowa Blackberry – Management

Q: Last April, I ordered three small Kiowa blackberry plants and planted them five feet apart. Last summer, they spread across the ground like a hyperactive ivy covering a 20′ x 10′ area.This year, the runners from last years growth...

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Q: Is there a product that repels deer with ultrasonic sound? A: Ultrasonic repellers are ineffective at detering deer, rats, squirrels and mosquitoes. The University of Vermont says of stationary ultrasonic devices: “Deer quickly become used to stationery objects and...

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