Gardening Q and A

Sod – Bare Spots

Q: I believe my current grass is centipede sod. Can I fill in bare spots with centipede seed? A: Sure, overseeding is a fine way to thicken centipedegrass sod growing in full sun. The best time to scatter seed is...

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Compost – Grass Clippings

Q: I save my bermuda clippings by piling them up at the back of my lot. At the end of the season I use the clippings for mulch and then top dress with pine straw. Am I helping my plants...

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Canning – Vegetables

Q: If I boil collards in salted water for three hours, can I reduce the pressure canning time to forty minutes? A: I’m not a food preservation expert but I spent many childhood hours helping my mother can hundreds of...

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Muscadine – Pruning

Q: I have inherited the care of some unpruned muscadines. How do I re-train these vines for optimal production? A: Go to your muscadine vines and hold one of the long, whip-like, sprangly branches that grew last year. Follow it...

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Compost Pile – White Roots

Q: We have a large compost pile and every time we dig in it the soil is full of what we call angel hair roots. Tiny and white, they grow in it even if we keep pile covered. A:The tiny...

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Huckleberry – What Is It

Q: We are taking care of my elderly parents’ home in a subdivision named Huckleberry Ridge. What are huckleberries? Will they grow here? A: “Huckleberry” is a name given to several plants. True huckleberry is Gaylussacia baccata. It grows mostly...

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Allergies – Mid Winter

Q: In mid-January, my eyes became really itchy, puffy, and swollen. This happened to me last year as well. Allergists say I am likely allergic to some sort of pollen. What is making pollen this time of year? A: I...

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Wild Onions – Edible

Q: At a neighborhood dinner a guest said he planned to pick the wild onions in his yard and use them in recipes. Are they edible? A: The “wild onions” we notice in lawns now are probably wild garlic, Allium...

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Oak – Planting Beneath

Q: I have a huge oak that has a lot of moss growing under it. We can’t get anything to grow under this tree. A: A healthy oak has lots of leaves which catch almost all of the sunshine streaming...

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Vegetable Garden – Stink Bugs

Q: I have a small vegetable garden where I grow tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplant. It has been infested by stink bugs for three years running. What can I use to control them that won’t hurt my honeybees? A: Brown...

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Alumroot – Potted and Pretty

Q: On a recent radio show you mentioned a plant that goes well with autumn fern. It sounded like yureka or alaroot. Please clarify. A: I was bragging on my heuchera plants, also known as alumroot. The leaves are very...

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Vetch – Removal

Q: I’m using glyphosate on my prolific purple vetch weed, which grows rapidly and pops up everywhere in spring! What eradicates it permanently? A: Nothing eradicates vetch permanently. You’ll have to deal with it occasionally if there are any uncontrolled...

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Loropetalums – Winter Pruning

Q: I have some large, ten-year old loropetalums that are seven feet tall. Can I prune them down to three feet tall right now? A: You’ll be pruning away the flower buds for spring bloom if you do it now...

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Snakes – Hibernation Habits

Q: Will poisonous snakes hibernate in a compost pile? I’m concerned about turning it and finding one. A: Yes, snakes of all kinds can hibernate in compost piles, leaf piles, rock piles and firewood piles. Even so, the chance of...

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Sod – Sandy Soil

Q: I just moved to southeast Georgia and the soil in my backyard is pretty much the consistency of beach sand. Should I apply some type of top soil before planting sod? A: I think that any soil conditioner you...

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Earthstar – Lawn Mushroom

Q: My granddaughter came across an odd looking, dark brown “bowl” of loose “dust” in my dormant bermuda lawn. I found online that it’s a mushroom labeled Scleroderma geaster. Is this something that will eventually eat up the grass? A:...

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Roundup – Use In Cold

Q: Is it too cold for Roundup to kill the weeds now growing in my flower beds? A: The leaves on the weeds you aim to control should be actively photosynthesizing when glyphosate (Roundup, etc) is applied. That means the...

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Horticultural Oil – Usage

Q: Could you advise me where I can purchase horticultural oil? Or is this something I can make myself? A: Horticultural oil is a specially refined oil that suffocates insects without hurting your plants. I discourage you from making it...

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