Gardening Q and A

Should I Trim Back My Lenten Rose?

Q: Should I trim back the long leggy branches on my Lenten rose? They look healthy.  A: Even though they are green and healthy in early spring, those tall leaves will get big black spots by early summer, turn completely...

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If My Azaleas Were Cut Back Will It Effect Future Blooms?

Q: I have (had) beautiful azaleas around my house. However, I hired a new yard man who cut them way back! Will this affect blooms this year? A: I am sad to say the answer is very likely yes, you...

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Water Oak Sapling In A Pot: What Is The Limit To The Cold It Can Take?

Q: My son has had a water oak sapling in a large ceramic pot for ten years. He has just moved to Virginia. Since it is in a pot, is there a limit to the cold it can take?  A:...

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I Love Mahonia!

Q: I think mahonia is a beautiful, colorful, and interesting plant!  A: The unique foliage and bright yellow flowers in early spring certainly make this a distinctive plant. Spikes of blue berries follow the flowers. Some gardeners don’t like mahonia...

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Planting A Dwarf Blue Spruce

Q: We have wooden boxes, approximately 3’x3′, that we’re thinking of planting with dwarf blue spruce.  A: I know blue spruce doesn’t do well in Atlanta, but I wasn’t sure about north Georgia. So I called my friend Eddie Ayers,...

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Developing A Native Plant Hill: Should I Cover Them In Plastic When Cold?

Q: I am developing a native plant hill in our back yard. Last fall I planted beautyberry, viburnum, fothergilla, St. Johns wort, bee balm and butterfly weed. I am diligently covering them with plastic whenever it is going to be...

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How To Keep Possums Out Of A Horse Barn And Pasture

Q: Is there any way to keep possums out of a horse barn and pasture? Their feces can carry a serious horse disease.  A: I had never heard of this possum problem! I am not a veterinarian but in my...

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Do I Flush Cut Or “Respect The Collar” Of My Japanese Maple Limbs?

Q: I think I heard you say that to use a flush cut when pruning Japanese maple limbs. But I found an article by Alex Shigo, whoever he is, that said something about respecting the collar. Can you clarify before...

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Starting A Dunstan Chestnut Orchard

Q: I’m in the planning phase of starting a large Dunstan chestnut orchard. Is there anyone to help me in the process? One issue I need to address is irrigation.  A: Few people alive remember the billions of American chestnut...

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What Plant Smells Like Fresh Laundry?

Q: I walk at night in north Georgia in the winter and there’s a sweet smell that I initially thought was someone’s laundry but I realize it must be a plant. Could it be elaeagnus?  A: A couple of candidates...

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Will Mulching my Peach Trees Slow Blooming?

Q: I have several Elberta peach trees that are growing like crazy but they want to bloom in January. I read that mulching them would keep the soil cold to slow blooming. A: The air temperature around trees is what...

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Japanese Maple Producing Leaves of Different Color

Q: A local nursery trimmed up our Japanese maple. Any idea why it would look like this? What can I do, its an expensive tree. The top is the original color. A: This is a grafted Japanese maple. Somehow the...

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Red-Flowered Rose Has Peach-Colored Bloom

Q: Why did my rose bush produce 1 rose of a peach color while all the others are deep pinkish/reddish? A: I can’t see where the peach blossom originates in the rose, but it is likely a “sport“. These flower...

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Calla Lily – White Spots on Leaves

Q: Is there something wrong with this plant? It has white spots on the leaves. A: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Some varieties of calla lily are chosen for the attractive white spots on the leaves. The...

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Spiderwort Fading, Yellow Spots on Leaves

Q: What is killing my spiderwort? A: I know the yellow leaf spots are worrisome but frankly your plant looks relatively normal for early May. Spiderwort blooms freely in mid-spring but as the weather heats up, the foliage dies back....

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Pruning Edgeworthia

Q: We put these edgeworthias in three years ago. One of the plants is six feet around but the other one is huge! We are not sure how to prune these amazing shrubs. A: Edgeworthia is a great shrub but...

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Aphids on chives

Q: I have black aphids on my garlic chives. They can be washed off but come right back. How do I get rid of them? A: I guess you could use store-bought insecticidal soap on them, but spraying with a...

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Katydid nymph identification

Q: Can you identify this insect which I have been finding on my roses? It has two tiny tubes or pinchers where it’s mouth is. Is it a friend or foe? A: It’s a katydid nymph. Although they do chew...

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