Gardening Q and A

Tree Hole (Cavity) – Filling?

Q: I have a river birch tree from which I had to cut a large section near the base. I covered it with pruning sealer but after a year I noticed decay has left a big hole. I cleaned it...

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Black Twig Borer – Sweet Bay Magnolia

Q: My 5+ year old sweet bay has some dead branches. When I cut open the branch there were small black beetles inside. Do you have an idea what is going on? A: I’m seeing more and more example of...

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Why Are Jerusalem Artichoke and Jerusalem Cherry So Named?

Q: Why are Jerusalem cherry and Jerusalem artichoke so-named? What do they have to do with the Holy Land? A: Email me if you have better answers than these: Dr. Douglas A. Bailey, UGA Department of Horticulture: To my knowledge...

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Lady Banks Rose – Too Big for Arbor

Q: In 2001 my husband built a beautiful arbor for my Lady Banks rose . In April 2005 she was beautiful on the arbor, bloomed profusely, everything was lovely. Now, for the past several years she has totally covered the...

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Imperial Moth Caterpillar (Green Form) – Identification

Q: I found this caterpillar on an evergreen shrub. It’s 4+ inches long, with a diameter of just less than a quarter. Any ideas what it is? A: I love fall caterpillars!! You’ve found the caterpillar of an imperial moth....

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Lavender – Growing

Q: For the first time, after many attempts, I have gotten lavender plants to grow. My question is, do I need to cut them back in winter or protect them from the cold or what? The plants are in a...

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Pansy – Cold Weather Survival

Q: Can you give me some information on pansies and how they stay alive during the freezing weather? Do they have plant anti-freeze in them? Does the water go down to the roots at night? A: Pansies are members of...

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Co-Dominant Trunk – On maple

Q: I have an ‘October Glory’ Red Maple that I planted in May,1999. It is in good health, about 20 feet tall with a 3 inch diameter trunk. The problem is that the trunk forks 4 feet above the ground...

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Landscape Soil – Preparing for Planting

Q: Our developer has left our subdivision with only compacted clay for yards. Any holes we dig hold water for 2-3 days! The developer planted fifty trees last winter, 30% died, 30% are declining and the rest are barely growing....

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Creeping Charlie vs Pennywort (Dollarweed) vs Dichondra – Identification

Q: What is the difference between creeping Charlie, pennywort and dichondra? A: All three are ground-hugging weeds that love damp soil. I collected leaves of all three so you could compare what you have. Note that creeping Charlie leaves have...

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Pennywort (Dollarweed) – Control

Q: I have pennywort in my St Augustine lawn. How can I control it? A: Like its weedy cousin, creeping Charlie, pennywort, also known as dollarweed, is tough to eradicate. Any of the three-way broadleaf weed killers (click for sources) will...

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White Flannel Moth Caterpillar (Norape ovina) – Identification

Q: Can you identify this caterpillar for me? My wife found them on our Red Buds and unfortunately touched one. She won’t do it again! A: It’s a white flannel moth caterpillar…Norape ovina. All flannel moth caterpillars have stinging spines....

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Magnolia – Clusters of Leaves Turning Brown

Q: Some of our magnolias have leaf “clusters”, that are turning brown . Could you advise us about possible causes? A: I think the flagging is caused by black twig borer. If it was a twig girdler, you would have...

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Confederate Yellow Daisy – Growing

Q: Is there actually a Confederate yellow daisy available for home gardens? I think it would be neat to have them bloom at home at the time of Stone Mountain Yellow Daisy Festival. A: You’re in luck! The Confederate yellow...

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Pine Tree – Clusters of Needles Falling Off

Q: I have short 6 to 8 inch pieces of my pine tree falling off. The ends look like they have been chewed through. I have over 24 of these section laying under the tree. The tree is large with...

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Avocado – Cold Hardy

Q: My son sent me two cold hardy avocado plants, which are said to tolerate 18 degree temperatures. Do you think I will have avocados next summer? A: You’ll be on the bleeding edge of horticultural knowledge if you can...

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Well Water – Testing

Q: I have well water and would like to test it for contaminants. There are no factories or industrial facilities near by. Iron and sulfur amounts would be good to know. A: The University of Georgia has a good guide...

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Lemon Grass (Lemongrass) – Repel Mosquitoes

Q: I was thinking about planting lemon grass to help ward off mosquitoes. Will it grow in Dawsonville? A: Lemon grass is not usually winter hardy in Atlanta, much less Dawsonville. You might have success growing it against a stone...

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