Gardening Q and A

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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Centipede – Good Grass To Plant?

Q: We built a house last summer and finally moved in last November. We were told we needed to plant winter ryegrass as it was the only thing that would grow enough to prevent erosion on our new soil. Well,...

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Caterpillars – Determining Sex, Poisonous?

Q: My friends and I have found dozens of caterpillars under the trees in our school playground. How can you tell if a caterpillar is poisonous? Are there girl and boy caterpillars? I am nine years old. A: Knowing how...

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Tomatoes – Growing Indoors and Pollinating

Q: Do I need any kind of insects to pollinate tomato plants when I grow them indoors. A: Pollen has to travel somehow from one flower to the next but you don’t need insects do accomplish this. When your tomatoes...

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Dogwood – Beautiful And Huge!

Q: We recently moved into our home in Walton County, with a 2.4 acre wooded lot. In the middle of these woods we have discovered a beautiful dogwood tree that is now in bloom. As best we can estimate this...

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Honey Bees – Fewer and Fewer Every Year

Q: I have been pruning ornamentals professionally for over twenty years. This time of the year the plants, especially the holly’s, are alive with bees. Over the past few years, I’ve seen fewer and fewer honey bees. The past two...

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Aphids – Whats The Deal Here?

Q: I have bugs on my chrysanthemums. We think these are aphids…tiny sesame seed shaped black insects stuck all over the upper stems of the plants. How can they eat a plant from which the insecticide pyrethrin is made? A:...

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