Gardening Q and A

Dawn Dish Soap (Detergent) – Not Recommended

Q: Why don’t you recommend using Dawn dish soap to help kill bugs and weeds? A: The number one reason I don’t mention Dawn for garden use is that it doesn’t have a pesticide label that permits it. Strictly speaking,...

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Crane Fly – Looks Like Huge Mosquito

Q: We have a lot of these bugs flying around, mating and getting into everything. The research I did points to it being a crane fly. A: You are exactly right: it is a crane fly. It looks very much...

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Large Patch Disease – Zoysia Lawn

Q: When would it be best to put down fungicide for large patch disease on my Emerald zoysia? I want to do my app for spring, but with this variable weather I don’t want to wait to long for large...

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Japanese Maple – Swollen Graft Union

Q: I have this really cool Japanese maple but the trunk is very “swollen”. Is this something I should be worried about? A: As you probably know, most dwarf Japanese maples a grafted onto another vigorous, but not so pretty,...

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‘Cleveland’ and ‘Bradford’ Flowering Pear – Not Recommended

Q: Four of our fourteen Cleveland pear trees have been attacked by the Asian ambrosia beetle (toothpicks of sawdust). The trees are ornamental and do not bear fruit. Should we pull them up to keep from spreading? Can we replant...

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Flea Beetle – On Tatsoi

Q: What’s shotgunning my tatsoi? I’m trying to get an early start to the season. These are in a hoop house. A: This looks like damage from flea beetles. They are common in summer gardens, particularly on eggplant. It makes...

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Pine Trees Severely Pruned on Right-of-Way

Q: This is what it looked like after some right-of-way cutting. The trees were cut at sharp angles like tools for torture instead of being cut off at ground level. Is this normally allowed? Will the trees recover? A: The...

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Fruit Bags – Protect Peaches from Insects and Disease

Q: What do you know about bagging fruit? A: I know that Clemson University is promoting it as a way to grow peaches organically. There are three steps to bagging: Properly take care of your trees to minimize tree stress...

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Slug – on Broccoli

Q: I found these bugs on my broccoli plants. What’s the best way to control them? A: You have a slug, not a bug. A common online remedy for slugs and snails is to press a saucer into the ground...

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Apple – Burr Knot on Trunk

Q: I have black warty growths all over my Fuji apple tree. I think it’s “burr knot”. I’ve removed most of the knots with chisel. Can I save my apple tree? A: I think you have diagnosed the problem exactly...

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Ground Bees – Natural Control

Q: These bees that come out of the ground and make our yard ugly in the spring. What can I use to kill them? A: Wow, that’s a lot of ground bees! I have them too, but I like mine...

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Grape – Air Roots Hanging from Vine

Q: Why are these growing from the muscadine? First time this has happened. Plant is about 6 years old. A: They are called aerial roots. I’ve noticed them many times on the muscadine vines at Callaway Gardens. They seem to...

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Blueberry – Varieties That Avoid Freeze Damage

Q: Every spring I find myself rushing out to put Christmas lights and blankets over my blueberry blooms to avoid them being damaged by a late winter freeze. What causes blueberries to bloom so early? A: Blueberries are triggered to...

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Can I Cover Dogwood Roots With Soil?

Q: I have a big dogwood tree under which the roots are exposed. Can I cover them with soil without harming the tree?  A: If the tree looks healthy, with plenty of green leaves each year, you can add enough...

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Is Ammonium Sulfate and 21-0-0 The Same Thing?

Q: Is ammonium sulfate and 21-0-0 the same thing? A: They are identical! It’s always good to remember in the back of your mind that fertilizers, whether organic or synthetic, are basically chemicals. Organic fertilizers are complex organic compounds; synthetic...

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Is Cottonseed Meal The Best For My Boxwoods?

Q: I have used cottonseed meal for my boxwoods in the past. Is this still the best choice?  A: I think cottonseed meal works great! Commonly sold as livestock feed, cottonseed meal slowly decomposes over time and gradually releases nutrients...

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Identifying Grass – Not Soft And Brown During The Winter

Q: I need to identify my grass so I can follow your lawn guides. In summer it’s a pretty green color, it’s dense and is not the softest grass. It’s brown now.  A: You’ve given me two important clues: the...

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What Kills Smilax?

Q: We have smilax growing up into a dogwood tree through large azaleas. What will kill it?  A: Smilax is very tough to kill with any method other than pulling it or digging it out. If you excavate the roots,...

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