Gardening Q and A

Beginning Landscaping for a New House

Q: We just bought a lovely house in Atlanta’s Edgewood neighborhood. The house has a big back yard but we’ve run into a couple of landscape challenges. We don’t really know where to start. We’ve recently learned that people used...

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Acorn Plum Wasp Gall – Identification

Q: Found this under a red oak. It “bled” when cut open, but it’s now dried up to a woody lump. A: It’s an acorn plum wasp gall. It forms beside acorns as opposed to the spongy oak apple gall,...

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Thorny Rose – Rosette vs Glyphosate Damage

Q: Can you tell me what makes a rose sprout shoots like this? It’s an old rose, maybe 15 yrs. old. A: The thorniness reminds me of rose rosette virus. See the links here but the balls of tiny leaves...

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Crapemyrtle – Cold Damage to Leaves (interveinal chlorosis)

Q: I planted a Natchez crape myrtle 10 days ago (late October) and now the leaves are starting to look strange. Can you help me? A: This is really interesting! My bet is that it is cold (or chilling) damage....

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Pre-emergent (pendimethalim) – Stains

Q: What could cause these stains? Bleach and a pressure washer will not clean it off. A: It sure looks like the stains caused by pendimethalin pre-emergent. The label clearly says to avoid getting it on hard surfaces. The chemical...

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Pawpaw – Growing From Seed

Q: Is it difficult to grow a pawpaw tree from seed? A: It isn’t terribly hard but you’ll need to be patient. Keep a copy of “Moby Dick (click to buy)”on hand for down times. Ishmael will be your companion...

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Jelly Bean Plant – Identification

Q: I was given a plant called a “jelly bean” plant. It has a three-lobed leaf and flowers like a hibiscus. I found a nursery in Louisiana that said it was a ‘Red Zinger’ hibiscus. I don’t know if this...

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Rough Green Snake – Identification

Q: Can you identify this snake for me? I found it in a small tree. I watched it as it climbed onto a low hanging limb of an oak and then I got him! I figure that it is harmless...

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Leyland – Won’t Regrow Lower Branches

Q: I lost two Leyland cypresses in a bad storm. The three left standing are brown on the interior of the tree. The outside of the tree is green.Will the brown side eventually turn green, now that it will receive...

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Sago Palm – Thin Fronds in Low Light

Q: What are these coming out of the sago palm in our office? A: It’s not getting enough light. Sago palm is typically an outdoor tropical plant. The skinny new fronds are simply reaching for any light they can find....

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Are Butterfly Bushes Invasive?

Q: On your website you write that butterfly bush is a good plant to attract butterflies. While that is true, the Georgia Department of Agriculture says butterfly bush is showing signs of becoming invasive. A: I know that other states...

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Options for Water-Holding Lawns

Q: Can you give me ways to decrease water holding in my back lawn? Water comes from a small hill on the side of my house. Might a rain garden help soak up some of the water? A: If your...

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Controlling Lespedeza

Q: How do I control lespedeza? A: I see two kinds of lespedeza that are problematic in lawns. Annual lespedeza, Lespedeza striata, is a low-growing annual plant; it sprouts from seed each year. Sericea lespedeza, Lespedeza cuneata, is an upright...

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Planting Star Magnolias

Q: In late July, my star magnolia, planted last fall, suddenly almost completely defoliated. I kept it watered through the winter and only occasionally this summer since rain was frequent. It looked healthy in early July. Any idea what the...

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Termites in Tomato Stakes

Q: We pulled up the wooden tomato stakes from our raised beds and found them covered with termites. What would you do? A: Finding termites on untreated wooden stakes is not a problem. This is the way nature is supposed...

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Trimming Oak Leaf Hydrangeas

Q: When should I trim my oak leaf hydrangea? How far back? A: The best time to prune is right after the flowers fade, usually in late July. Remembering that the shrub wants to be at least 6 feet high,...

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English Ivy and Snakes

Q: My neighbor accuses my English ivy of being a harbor for snakes. Valid? A: Jason Clark, snake expert at Southeastern Reptile Rescue  says ivy doesn’t necessarily bring snakes to your property but when they do wander through and find...

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How to Get Rid of Nostoc

Q: Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of the green jelly stuff in our lawn? A: You have nostoc. It’s a gelatinous colony of a type of bacteria that is usually found where grass is growing poorly due...

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