Gardening Q and A

Mexican Petunia-invasive?

Q: I see clumps of tall blue flowers called Mexican petunia in my neighborhood. Everyone tells me that they are very invasive and spread rapidly. Are they really that invasive? A: Tall Mexican petunia, Ruellia brittoniana, isn’t invasive like bamboo...

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Black Peas – Heirloom?

Q: I have recently been entrusted with a seed stock of black peas. It is said they were handed down thru 4 generations of Cherokee Indians here in middle Georgia. Could you verify what I have here? I’m wondering if...

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Clematis – Allergic Skin Reaction

Q: I mowed this vine a couple of days ago and have broke out in a red itchy rash on my legs and chest. I used my string trimmer there about a month ago and had a horrible burning in...

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Tomato Producing Too Small Fruit

Q: I had the worst year ever for tomatoes. The plants didn’t produce as many tomatoes and the tomatoes themselves were smaller than normal. A: I think it was just the vagaries of your local environment. Several things can cause...

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Pine Beetles – Attracted to Pine Chips

Q: We recently had lightning strike a tree in our backyard. We had the tree chipped and used it for mulch in our backyard. Six weeks later, we noticed two pines in the backyard oozing rosin from the bottom ten...

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Butterfly Bush – Invasive or Not

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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Hydrangea – Different Color Flowers

Q: This hydrangea is a volunteer that appeared last spring by our deck on a newly built house where the lot was graded. It bloomed nicely this year but the size and color of the leaves concern me. Why did...

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Clematis – Dermatitis (Skin Rash)

Q: I mowed over this vine a couple of days ago and have broken out in a red itchy rash on my legs and chest. I used a string trimmer there about a month ago and had a horrible burning...

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Figs – How to Know When Ripe

Q: My figs are turning brown. How do I know when they are ripe? A: One way is to look for those that have bird peck holes. They have spent thousands of years contemplating your question, so they are experts!...

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Big Boy vs Better Boy Tomato

Q: What is the difference between Big Boy and Better Boy tomatoes? A: Both are hybrid tomatoes that were developed to perform better than “open pollinated” types. Dr. Oved Shifriss developed ‘Big Boy’ while working for W. Atlee Burpee &...

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Mushroom at Base of Tree

Q: Is this mushroom something to be concerned about? Age of the tree is unknown. It was left when the land was cleared for the house in early 90’s and stands about 12 feet from the house foundation. A: The...

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Repeatedly Planting Tomatoes In The Same Area

Q: I have a small vegetable garden in which I plant tomatoes. I’m concerned about repeatedly planting tomatoes there year after year. The garden isn’t big enough to rotate plants.  A: You have a problem faced by many gardeners with...

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How/When To Take Cuttings To Root

Q: How do I take cuttings from a Confederate rose, Hibiscus mutabilis, to root? When is best time?  A: I do it in fall so I can give away rooted cuttings in spring but the plant doesn’t much care about...

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Timing Of Aerate, Fertilize, And Apply Weed Control To My Lawn?

Q: Typically I aerate, fertilize, and apply a long-lasting weed control to my lawn. Do you think the effects of each activity would be less than optimal if they are done too close together?  A: I think this is fine...

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Controlling Wisteria

Q: Wisteria has covered several trees in my yard. Is there a way to get it under control?  A: Wisteria is tough to control by any means. Earth moving machines can do the job quickly but you might lose your...

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If Goats Eat Poison Ivy Is The Milk Safe? 

Q: If goats eat poison ivy is the milk safe to drink?  A: Goats enjoy poison ivy foliage very much. As with dogs and cats, if the goats brush against a vine you can get a rash after petting them....

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Thoughts On Using Buffalo Grass In A Front Lawn?

Q: What do you think about using buffalo grass in a front lawn?  A: You can try buffalo grass in a small area but I think you’ll be disappointed. This native grass doesn’t compete very well with weeds and the...

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When/How Far Can You Trim Kiwi Plants?

Q: When and how far can you trim kiwi plants back?  A: They can be pruned much like muscadine grapes are pruned, typically in January or February. But the people I know who have kiwi vines usually let them grow...

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