Gardening Q and A

Lesser celandine (Fig Buttercup) – Control

Q: Can someone identify this? It’s everywhere this year. A: It is lesser celandine (fig buttercup), Ficaria verna. Although the yellow flowers are attractive, it grows so quickly that it chokes out other plans. Ferns, trillium, and other spring ephemerals...

READ MORE

Holly dying in same spot

Q: Two hollies have died in the same spot over the last couple of years.. The first one was replaced and now this one has died. I watered in absence of rain for a week. A: It looks to me...

READ MORE

Sky Pencil holly has dead branches

Q: Any ideas why these branches died? A: I don’t know why ‘Sky Pencil’ holly does this but I have seen it before. Clip the dead branches at a spot below the brown leaves. Use a knife to gently scrape...

READ MORE

Huge sweet potatoes!

Q: I have grown sweet potato’s before, but have never seen anything like this. This is the first year for our garden. The sweet potatoes that I dug were malformed and very large. These were Georgia Jet variety. One was...

READ MORE

Big white splotch on pine bark

Q: Can you help me identify what might be going on with my tree? It isn’t a mushroom; the white splotches are up about five feet on the trunk. It also has a large hole/crack nearby. A: The white stuff...

READ MORE

Is dogfennel an ornamental or a weed?

Q: What is this. Should I cut the canes to get it to grow back this year? A: It is common dogfennel,Eupatorium capillifolium. I cannot decide whether it is a weed or an ornamental plant. I love the feathery stems...

READ MORE

Spider mites on marigold

Q: I have not seen this before. Is this from spiders? A: You have an enormous infestation of spider mites. The last several weeks of 2019 were perfect for spider mites: hot and dry. Here, their population exploded and the...

READ MORE

White roots in dead pine needles

Q: I’ve dug up some strange white organic material while planting a hedge row in my back yard. The ground was neglected for several years and is covered with a thick layer of pine needles and pine cones. Should I...

READ MORE

Caring for tree after machinery damage

Q: I had my front yard dug up due to a collapsed sewer line. The backhoe damaged a six inch square of bark on one side of my mature dogwood tree. Is there anything I should do to ensure better...

READ MORE

Poorly planted tree in decline

Q: I have a tree in my front yard that is already changing leaf color in early September and has some black ooze coming out of spots on the trunk. A: The root system is in decline, either from poor...

READ MORE

Okra pods not pollinated

Q: I was away for a week and wasn’t able to cut my okra while gone. When I returned there were ants on the stalk and I noticed that the small pods would fall off when I shook the plant...

READ MORE

Separating and planting sago palm pups

Q: My prized sago palm bloomed last summer and died. I kept the stump and now I have eight saplings sprouting up from around the base . When and how should I separate them ? A: Those little pups are...

READ MORE

Combatting Summer Decline in Fescue Lawns

Q: I had a beautiful lawn all winter and spring. In mid summer all the grass died. I don’t know what to do to prevent this from happening again. A: It is not unusual for fescue lawns to undergo a...

READ MORE

European Hornet in Home

Q: I have these insects at my home. I see individuals going behind my house’s fascia. Do I have a huge problem? A: You have European hornets. These large stinging insects typically build a nest in empty hidden spots, like...

READ MORE

Elm Leaf Beetle Damage

Q: What could cause this much damage to my elm tree? This was my first year in my house in Winterville so I don’t have another summer to compare the infestation with, but it seemed extensive. A: University of Georgia...

READ MORE

Is white sap on fig fruit harmful?

Q: Some of our figs have white goo on them. What is it? Is it harmful to ingest? A: Like many members of the ficus family, edible fig tree branches and fruit exude a milky white latex when injured. I...

READ MORE

Bugs dying under lily leaves

Q: Why are all these mosquitoes dying under my lily leaves? t A: University of Georgia insect expert Dr. Nancy Hinkle says these are the shed skins (exuviae) of insects like midges, aphids, etc. When one of these insects molts...

READ MORE

Squirrel Damage to Tomato

Q: Do you know what would cause this damage to tomato plants? A: It could be either a squirrel or a chipmunk. In my experience, squirrel damage is usually higher on the plant than chipmunk damage. The chipmunks usually chew...

READ MORE