Gardening Q and A

Worms – Don’t Cut Them In Half. Please.

Q: Is it true that if you cut an earthworm in to two parts both will survive? What if just a small part is cut off? A: I hope you’re not planning an experiment to find out! Earthworms survive being...

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Mosquito Repellent vs Fire Ants

Q: I was out watering my cows and stepped into a big fire ant mound. Thankfully, I’m not very allergic to their bites but the experience brought up the question of repellents. Why aren’t mosquito repellents effective on fire ants?...

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Squirrels – Messing With My Tomatoes!

Q: How can we keep squirrels from taking a bite out of green tomatoes? They take one bite and drop them on the ground, ruining a perfectly good tomato! We have tried various things but nothing works! A: I wish...

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Aeration – When Is The Time?

Q: I talked to a landscaper a month ago who said I should core aerate Bermuda grass in mid-June through the end of July. I just called my lawn treatment company who said that the time to core aerate Bermuda...

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Cicadas – Periodical vs Annual

Q: In your article on periodical cicadas recently, you said they would not appear until 2011. I have had cicadas in my trees every year for the last decade! A: You have had cicadas, but not ^periodical^ cicadas. There are...

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Camellias – In Front Of Air Conditioning?

Q: I want to move two camellias from the west side of our house, where I believe they are getting too much afternoon sun, to a spot on the east side, where they will receive more morning light. This new...

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Vegetables – Weed ‘n Feed Products

Q: I know they make fertilizers with weed killers that you can use on grass but is there a fertilizer/herbicide combination you can use on vegetables? A: Sure! Just firmly attach a hoe to your bucket of 10-10-10, swing it...

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Oak – A Dark Depression In The Trunk

Q: A large oak tree on my intown property has a ‘sunken-in’ area at the base of the trunk, approximately 10″ high by 10″ wide. The center of the sunken-in area has turned black. I do not see any signs...

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Sourwood – A Hearty and Thirsty Tree

Q: I planted a sourwood tree last fall, perhaps five feet tall. It leafed out this spring and then the leaves started wilting and turning brown around the edges. It didn’t all happen at once; first a little branch, then...

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Oak – Options In Houston

Q: I am moving to Houston, Texas next month. The house where I’ll live has a live oak tree in the back yard and, according to what I have heard, nothing will grow underneath, plus it becomes muddy when it...

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Bradford Pear – Possible Damage

Q: About 3 years ago, I planted a Bradford Pear tree in my yard. It was a balled and burlapped tree and I thought I had removed all the string that was holding the burlap. Last year I noticed that...

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Hickory – Shedding Perfectly Good Leaves?

Q: A mature hickory tree in my yard is dropping leaves. The leaves are not shriveled, spotted, discolored, or otherwise unhealthy looking. They are not the individual leaves, but rather a whole stem with several leaflets on the stem. Could...

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Schools – Planting For Improvement

Q: We are planning a simple landscape for our school’s playground. It is enclosed by a four foot high chain-link fence and we want to hide the “institutional” look. The site is pretty bright, under the shade of tall pine...

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Leaf Gall – Prevention For The Future

Q: The leaves on my azaleas and camellias are swollen and disfigured. What is this and what should be done? A: Azalea (or camellia) leaf gall is another disease that only sporadically appears. The fungus infected the leaf buds back...

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Plant Passport – Bringing Plants To The States

Q:We will be in Costa Rica this summer. Fodor’s Costa Rica 1999 Travel book states that at Jardin Lankaster Botanical Gardens one may buy orchids which have their own plant “passport”. These are said to allow a plant to travel...

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Marigolds – Keeping Away Undesirable Insects

Q: I’m thinking about planting marigolds around my organic vegetable garden to repel insects. Should I use the tall varieties or the short ones? A: You should use marigolds in your organic garden – - but not in the manner...

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Compost – Disappearing Over Time

Q: About three years ago we tilled up our hard clay front yard and added close to a half-ton of compost and soil amendments. The soil looked really good when we finished. This year, when I dug around some shrubs,...

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Fruit Trees – What Should Be Sprayed When?

Q: When and with what should I spray my apple, peach and fig trees to improve their fruit production? I don’t think they are bug infested, but I’m not sure. A: You have already missed one of the important sprays...

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