Gardening Q and A

Peony – Pruning Seedpods

Q: I have successfully transplanted some fragrant peonies from Kentucky. After the bloom drops, the cluster of seedpods remains. Should those pods be pruned? A: Since no new flowers are expected after springtime, peony seedpods don’t interfere with subsequent blooming....

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Dogwood – Sprouting Stump

Q: We had a dogwood tree cut down. Now the edge of the stump is sending up new shoots. Will these shoots produce a healthy trunk? A: Plant a new tree. The sprouts that emerge are weakly attached to the...

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Ants – The Grit Treatment

Q: I grew up in middle Georgia, a real haven for fire ants. We used to kill them by pouring a tablespoon of uncooked, dry grits in a small pile on the edge of the ant bed. Once they eat...

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Thatch – Aeration

Q: Do you know if aeration shoes work on zoysia? Our lawn is thick with thatch. I’ve been raking like crazy, but wondered if aerating with these shoes will work? A: The aerator sandals will have no effect on thatch....

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Cannas – Pollinating

Q: We have started raising canna’s commercially and have several different varieties. I was told that we need to keep the different varieties separated to keep them genetically true. Is this correct? A: Cannas have perfect flowers, meaning that each...

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Straw – Planting Technique

Q: This spring I saw some local schools making gardens with wheat straw. They put the straw in large wire containers, then added their plants. I bought some straw bales and made holes and put chicken manure and planting soil...

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Iris – Rust

Q: I have been fighting iris rust for several years. Should all my iris plants be discarded and just start over? A: If the disease is not too far advanced you can scissor off the affected leaves now and fertilize...

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Rose – Rosette Disease on Knock Out Rose

Q: Rose rosette disease has infected all my Knock Out roses. Now I have to dig them up and replace them. I would not recommend these roses unless until the rosette disease has a cure. A: All roses are susceptible...

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Gladioli – Falling Over

Q: My gladioli produce lovely green leaves but when they bloom they always fall over. Should I replant the bulbs deeper? A: It’s a common complaint that gladiolus flower stems get so top heavy that they flop over onto the...

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Cypress – Turning Brown

Q: I planted five small Leyland cypress trees. One died right away. I took it back and got another one. But now the other four are turning brown. What am I doing wrong? A: Most likely they have not been...

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Olive Tree – No Fruit

Q: I’ve grown an olive tree in a large patio container for eight years. I bring it into the garage when it gets below 20 degrees in winter. For the last two years it has been loaded with blooms in...

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Pear Trees – No Fruit

Q: We planted pear trees four years ago; they have yet to bloom. They grow and leaf out each year, but no fruit. What are we doing wrong? Any ideas. A: Sometimes plants behave in ways that are inscrutable to...

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Blueberries – Smaller Fruit

Q: We are harvesting wonderful blueberries from our plants. But I have noticed that the first berries are very large and the later ones are smaller. Also the newer leaves are a light green with dark green veins. Is there...

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Centipedegrass – Height Matters

Q: I have centipede grass in my front yard. It gets full sun almost all day long. Now two-thirds of my yard appears dead except for an invasion of clover. Is there something special I should have done? A: The...

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Fescue – Mowing

Q: We laid fescue sod in our back yard this spring. Due to recent rain, the grass hasn’t been mowed yet. We had a party last weekend and many people commented about our beautiful grass. It does look good and...

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Roses – Different Colored Blooms

Q: We have fifteen carpet roses which have bloomed dark red for six years. This year three of them have pink blooms. All were pruned the same in the fall and fertilized the same in the spring. Why did the...

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Virginia Creeper – Possible Rash

Q: Is Virginia creeper poisonous like poison ivy? Does it have an oil that causes a rash? A: To my knowledge, Virginia creeper does not commonly cause a skin reaction. I’ve pulled it by the bushel basket and never had...

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Mothballs – Squirrel Repellant

Q: Will mothballs hurt the soil in my pots if I use them as squirrel retardant? A: It is possible the mothballs could contaminate the soil if water flows over them and the chemicals are dissolved into the soil. As...

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