Gardening Q and A

Topsoil – Finding Good Product

Q: Do you know of any business that sells quality topsoil by the bag rather than the woodchip-filled debris presently available? A: Like you, I’ve been disappointed by the “dollar-a-bag” topsoil products I find at big-box stores. You can make...

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Tomatoes – Ripen All Togther

Q: I grow Roma tomatoes every year. How can I get them to ripen all together? I make my own marinara sauce, but it’s difficult to do when I can’t get all the tomatoes to ripen together. A: As you...

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Copperheads – In Your Yard

Q: We have found baby copperheads in our yard. I am very afraid of snakes and worried about my two small children playing there. I’m afraid that we have a nest of them. A: Copperheads bear live young so they...

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Blueberry – Cross Pollination?

Q: I’ve been researching Powderblue blueberry bushes. I need four plants to get a good harvest for my family. Do I need to also purchase a different variety for cross pollination? A: ‘Powderblue’ is an excellent choice. You’ll get better...

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English Ivy – Not Dying

Q: Many of my pines were covered in English ivy. On several trees I’ve clipped the vines on the trunk but the leaves still seem to be thriving. A: It can take several weeks for English ivy vines to die....

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Mulch – Invaded By Ants

Q: We have a mulch pile that is invaded with ants and they swarm out when stirred up. Any suggestions for control? A: Turning the pile over a couple of times usually does the trick. If you work quickly they...

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Tree Stump – Filling The Hole

Q: I had a tree in my lawn that is now gone. The stump rotted and a large hole appeared. Can I use some leftover thinset mortar mix in the bottom part of the hole? A: I don’t foresee any...

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Maple Trees – Regular Pruning

Q: How effective are tree growth regulators for maple trees? I’ve got some twenty-five-foot high maple trees on a sloped hill. They’re doing well but I’m wondering if I can slow down their growth. A: Chris Hastings (www.arbormedics.com) says he...

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Pampas Grass – Salvaging Whats Left

Q: This past winter reduced our large pampas grass to a circle of papery stems. There are four or five clumps of healthy new growth on the perimeter. Nothing has sprouted in the center. What to do? A: Sadly, it...

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Colorful – Options Of Shrubs

Q: I would like to plant a flowering shrub that also has colorful foliage. The area is in a sunny spot and southern exposure. A: Consider named varieties of common abelia, Abelia x grandiflora. Typically this shrub grows to ten...

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Ants – In Your Potted Plants

Q: I have hordes of tiny ants living in my outdoor potted plants. Are they a problem for the plants in those pots? A: Not usually, but I suppose an argument could be made that some ant species bring aphids...

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Serviceberry – Best Variety

Q: On your show you mentioned serviceberry tree. Which variety is best? I would like a large variety as opposed to a bush. A: Serviceberry is one of my all-time favorites. It has pretty flowers in spring, edible fruit and...

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Cedar – Proper Pruning

Q: We have a beautiful new Atlas weeping cedar and it’s doing well. I can’t find any information about what to do if some of its limbs drag the ground. A: Rick Smith (www.pruningguru.com) says Blue Atlas cedar is an...

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Magnolia – Covered In Beetles

Q: What are the beetles that gather by the dozens in magnolia blossoms? Are they harmful to the tree? A: Magnolias are among the most primitive plants we use in our landscapes. Dinosaurs probably enjoyed their shade. They developed the...

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Hydrangea – No Bloom This Year

Q: Not one of my Endless Summer hydrangeas bloomed this summer. What did I do? I’ve had them for several years and always a good show. A: If they have good green foliage they will eventually bloom this summer. The...

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Grass – Replacing Bermuda

Q: We are investigating the replacement of our bermuda grass with zoysia or a more shade-tolerant bermuda. Large areas of our yard are partially shady. Can you recommend which grass is considered the best? A: In my view there are...

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Planting – Perennials In Summer

Q: In spring, I planted some arborvitae and other shrubs but stopped for the summer months. I have noticed nurseries having great sales on perennials, shrubs, trees, etc. Can I buy plants now, keep them in the containers in my...

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Redbuds – Ambrosia Beetles

Q: We have two large redbuds. One is in serious trouble due to ambrosia beetles; I sprayed it in late April with insecticide. Now I notice the other has “sawdust toothpicks”. Would a systemic treatment help? A: Sad to say,...

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