Gardening Q and A

Squirrel – Relocation Problems

Q: As a wildlife rehabilitator, I feel I need to respond to your article about trapping squirrels in the attic. I appreciate your reference to “humane traps”, but you didn’t indicate what people are to do with these creatures AFTER...

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Photinia – Pruning

Q: When is the best time to trim my red tip photinia shrubs back? Mine was really nice until the last couple of years. I think their decline was caused by cutting them back at the wrong time. Any tips?...

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Lawn Seed – Utility Companies

Q: I’m about to “fill in” a lawn at my new house and have a question. I notice that when the utility companies finish a project they spread seed and hay and walk away from the area. They plant this...

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Importing Plants – From Overseas

Q: I have taught in Japan for almost fourteen years. I have always wanted to bring back some clippings or plants from there to here. Do you know where I might find information on the...

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Trees – Fertilizing

Q: A couple of months ago I e-mailed and asked how I should fertilize my two-year old trees. You replied that I should wait until March to do this. Now that it is March can you tell me what to...

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Irish Potato – Planting in Tires

Q: I have heard of planting Irish potatoes in a stack of tires, starting with one and adding more as needed. You fill it with straw or dirt of some sort. Can you give me a better description? A: Sure...

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Weed and Feed Products – Not Recommended

Q: In your series of newspaper articles about weed control, I didn’t see anything about weed and feed products. Why not? A: Despite the assurance on their labels that weed and feed products are an improvement in lawn maintenance, I...

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Lawn – Planning for Dogs

Q: We have just purchased a new house with more than an acre of land and are trying to decide which route to go. We want to do some initial landscaping but we also want to establish a lawn. We...

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English Ivy – Substitutes

Q: I’m looking to replace beds of English ivy with something less intrusive and more controllable. My main objective is ground cover/ground stabilization. The replacement needs to thrive in the same lighting conditions that my ivy does so well in...

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Onion – Not the Same as Shallot

Q: Could you please tell me if shallots and green onions are the same thing. Is it only a difference in regional names? A: According to author and garden raconteur Felder Rushing, “Shallots (Allium cepa var. aggregatum) are related to...

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Cigarette Beetle – Control

Q: My kitchen has been invaded by tiny little brownish-black bugs. They have a hard shell that “crunches” when you smash them. They get in cereal, baking goods, etc. They also get into the dog treats and can leave one...

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Cedar Trees – Fence lines

Q: A lot of times I see cedar trees growing on fences lines. Can you tell me why? A: Can you say endozoochorous? Neither can I. But scientists who CAN pronounce the word know that seeds distributed in the feces...

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Bucket Gardening – Vegetables

Q: Can you tell me about bucket gardening? I have many five gallon buckets and want to raise vegetables in buckets. What type of soil should I use? A: Gardening in five-gallon buckets is a great way to raise vegetables...

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Graywater – Defined

Q: I have been reclaiming water I use to rinse vegetables in order to water my containers and other plants. Is this acceptable or does it fall under the same watering ban as outdoor sprinklers/watering? A: This is my own...

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Iris – Leaf Spot

Q: I have many brown spots on the leaves of my iris. Can you tell me how to rectify the situation? A: Iris leaf spot is a common malady of iris. The brown spots are inconspicuous until flowers appear. Afterwards...

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Lawn Fertilizer – Using Beer

Q: A friend told me about a trick he uses to keep a beautiful green yard. He mixes and applies one part each of the following: ammonia, lemon-scented dish detergent, beer and Coke (not Pepsi!). Is this true? Will it...

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Hydrangea – Growing Florist Type

Q: I’ve had a florist hydrangea in a pot for a year. Should I keep it on the deck or can it join the other “ladies” in the garden? A: Hydrangeas grown for the florist trade are somewhat different from...

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Carolina Snailseed – Identification

Q: I have noticed an interesting vine growing on a fence near my house. It has bright red berries hanging in clusters from the stem. The leaves look vaguely like smilax or large-leaf vinca. Do you know what it is?...

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