Gardening Q and A

Puss Caterpillar – White (and Venomous)

Q: I’ve never seen a white caterpillar before, nor one that looks like it is covered with fur like an angora kitten. Do you know what kind it is? Is there such a thing as an albino caterpillar? A: Yikes...

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Leaf-footed Bug – Nymph

Q: We noticed this pretty bug on the side of our car. The bug was gesturing at us with its antennae and abdomen. A: It just wanted to be friendly! It’s a nymph (i.e. juvenile) of a leaf-footed bug, Acanthocephala...

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River Birch Sawfly Larvae – Proper Control

Q: In March I drenched the ground around our two river birches with the Ortho product which has imidacloprid. Each tree has 3 trunks, each about 6 inches in diameter. I used a 40 oz. bottle and divided it between...

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English Ivy – Mature Form, Flowers, Berries

Q: This aggressive ivy look-alike has covered up English ivy and everything in its path while making stubborn mounds several feet high! A: It’s what experts call the “mature” form of English ivy, as contrasted with the “juvenile” phase we...

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Millipedes – Identification

Q: We have an abundance of these things in and around our home. What is it and how do we get rid of them? This one is nearly five inches long. A: It’s a North American millipede, Narceus americanus. There...

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Goats/Sheep – Using for Weed Removal

Q: What do you know about using goats for removal of ivy, privet and the like? A: Goats or sheep can be pretty effective, especially in places where it’s too steep or overgrown to mow. Here are some articles about...

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Barklice – On Crapemyrtle

Q: Can you identify these bugs? I have several clusters of them on my crepe myrtle trees. A: They’re barklice. They feed on bits of bark and lichens but don’t hurt trees. Exotic though they look, there’s no need to...

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Blueberries – Dying Due to Soggy Soil

Q: Blueberries are my all-time favorite food so I was very excited when my husband planted three bushes in the backyard this spring. Two of the three are holding their own, but not really growing, and the third looks absolutely...

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Bean – Flat Pods

Q: For many years I’ve grown pole butter beans but this year the vines look great but there are few beans and they are flat. P. Etchison, Alpharetta, A: Flat beans usually mean poor pollination. Butterbeans are self-pollinating but produce...

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Elephant Ears – What Happens In Winter

Q: I often see big elephant ear plants being used in commercial landscapes. What happens to the plants in winter? Do they give them away? A: Local landscaper Ed Castro says most companies simply compost the plants. It would be...

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Lambsquarters – Grow In Georgia

Q: Does lambsquarters grow in Georgia? When do I plant? A: My father was listening to my radio show several years ago when a listener asked where to get lambsquarters seed. Dad called me later that day to declare that...

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Lubber Grasshopper – Identification

Q: A huge black grasshopper settled for a rest on my Japanese maple. Any idea what it is? A: It’s a lubber grasshopper. Their “skin” varies in color as they grow from nymph to adulthood. Black ones are not unusual....

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Apples – GMO origin?

Q: I ate a Honeycrisp apple that was not “organic” so I’m assuming it’s probably GMO. Seeds inside had tiny sprouts so I threw them in some dirt to see what would happen. They are growing beautifully! Will these produce...

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Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) – Care

Q: I received a plant from my grandmother called “Hens n Chicks”. Some of the hens seem to be dying and the chicks are still going strong. What should I do? A: Hens and chicks, Sempervivum tectorum, is native to...

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Squash – Green and Yellow Two-toned

Q: We have a strange vine growing under our porch that we did not plant. Can you please help us identify what it is? A: It’s a squash that came up from a seed that some animal dropped there. The...

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Oak – Leaf Scorch

Q: This is a picture of a leaf from an oak tree that is shedding leaves now. This tree is among the last to shed in the fall. Any ideas? A: It’s bacterial leaf scorch. Sadly, there is nothing you...

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Hickory Horned Devil – Immature Form

Q: My son moved to Raleigh, NC and sent me a picture of this caterpillar. It’s about 6 inches long. A: It’s a very handsome hickory horned devil, discovered just before it grows its typical orange horns. You might see...

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Knock Out® Roses – Pruning In Fall

Q: Is it OK to prune Knock Out®  roses in the fall? A: This is a fine time to tidy yours up. Remove empty sprays of flower buds, clip out long branches and remove any dead wood. Your plant won’t produce...

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