Gardening Q and A

Toad – Identifying Droppings

Q: I’m trying to figure if this animal dropping is from a toad or cat. I’m kinda not thinking cat because it’s on concrete every time and we have three labs so I don’t see cats often. We do have...

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Japanese Maple – Asian Ambrosia Beetle toothpicks

Q: My Japanese maple appears to have fallen victim to some sort of attack. Some of the limbs and branches have begun to sprout some kind of growths and the leaves on the affected limbs and branches are wilting. What...

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Butterfly Bush – Spider Mites

Q: My four-year-old butterfly bush is starting to die. I am perplexed as it has been a great performer. No pests or mildew seen. A: Is there any chance of herbicide or other pesticide applied nearby? The twisted leaves reminds...

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Raspberry Sawfly – Identification

Q: There is something eating my red raspberry leaves. This happened last year after planting and is starting again this year. Can you suggest an organic solution? A: It looks like raspberry sawfly. Sawfly larvae are inconspicuous. They feed from...

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Apple – Brown Corky Skin, Russetting

Q: This brown ring is on most of my apples on this years crop. What is it and can it be treated? A: It looks like apple russet, the brown scarring that sometimes appears on the skin of apples and...

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Snake Skin – Identification

Q: I found this snake skin in my garden. It makes me nervous to be working outside. Any ideas what it is? A: I’m not expert enough to positively identify a snake by its shed skin but because this is...

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Muscadine – Dropping Little Fruit

Q: I was out looking at my muscadine vines this morning and the fruit seems not as plentiful compared to previous years. Looking on the ground, I see these small fruit. Is this possibly a pest chewing the small stems...

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Hosta – Vole Damage

Q: My hostas looked beautiful, until suddenly one totally wilted. Now, ten days later, the affected one seems to have a “phoenix arising from the ashes”! Is this from a vole? A: I think this is a vole damage. Voles...

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Bacterial Wilt On Tomato – Streaming Test

Q: Do you think this is bacterial wilt on my tomatoes? Seemed to be totally healthy and then one by one they just wilt and not come back. I tried your wilt test. A: Bacterial wilt is a soil-borne disease....

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Virginia Creeper Vine – Three Leaflets?

Q: Does Virginia creeper vine always have five leaves? A: Not always! Virginia creeper USUALLY has five leaflets that form leaves along the vine but I have seen vines that sported 5, 4, and even 3 leaflets together. That’s why...

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Coneflower – Aster Yellows vs Coneflower Rosette Mite

Q: I discovered deformed blooms on my coneflower, which I suspect to be caused by aster yellows. I immediately dug up the plant and threw it out. After more research I discovered coneflower rosette mites cause similar damage. Can you...

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Growing Flowers Organically

Q: I want to start a small organic online plant nursery. I have lots of pest insects so I released 1500 ladybugs not long ago. Is my hope for an organic nursery a lost cause or are there other all...

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Large Crapemyrtle – Why Not to Prune Severely

Q: We have several 20-30 ft. crepe myrtle trees that we would like to prune down to 8- 0 ft. They shade much of the surrounding plants and lawn, preventing growth and flowers. A: I understand your reasoning, but pruning...

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Japanese Maple – Leaf Blower Damage

Q: Is this anthracnose on my 5′ tall Japanese maple? It’s in a 24″ wide, foam pot. A: I was puzzled by the pattern of damage, so I sent this to my friend Norm Mittleider at Art-of-Pruning.com. He replied: This...

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Figs – For Cold Climate

Q: What advice do you have for proper varieties and planting of fig trees? A: Figs growing in the open in Dahlonega can suffer lots of damage in a severe winter. But given a sheltered planting spot by a wall...

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Buffalo Grass (Buffalograss) – Growing

Q: What do you think about using buffalo grass in a front lawn? A: You can try buffalo grass in a small area but I think you’ll be disappointed. This native grass doesn’t compete very well with weeds and the...

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Hogweed vs Queen Anne’s Lace

Q: My sister-in-law from Virginia is telling me that the plant I call Queen Anne’s Lace is a poisonous noxious weed called giant hogweed. How do you tell them apart? A: The plants’ flowers are similar: both have white lacecaps...

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Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle – Idetification

Q: A friend gave me a milkweed plant that is supposed to be good for monarch butterflies. I’ve noticed an insect that I have never seen before eating the leaves. Do you know what this is? A: It’s the larval...

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