Gardening Q and A

Do Organic Pesticides And Fertilizers Work?

Q: What are your thoughts on organic pesticides, and fertilizers? Do they work as well as non-organic? A: Organic pesticides can be as good as, or better than, conventional pesticides. It all depends on the pest being controlled. I have...

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Should Cut Off The Tops Of My Pine Trees

Q: What would happen if I topped my twenty-foot-tall pine trees?  A: If you cut off the top of any tree, eventually a small nearby limb will begin veering upward toward the sun to make a new trunk. This might...

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When Do Meyer Lemons Bloom?

Q: My Meyer lemon has about ten blooms starting to form. Is January the normal time?  A: It is behaving normally. Mine has bloomed indoors in January as well as outdoors in May depending on the weather conditions. When a...

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Passionvine tincture – Dermatitis (skin rash)

Q: I was given Passionvine medicine by a Naturopath for stress relief and took two doses yesterday. This morning I’ve worked up with the rash’s in the pictures below. I’ve had this rash from a ‘Robyn Gordon’ grevillea, I have...

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Amaryllis red blotch disease

Q: Do you know what is causing this amaryllis stem to bend? A: It’s a fungal disease called red blotch or red fire, Stagonospora curtissi. It originates from a diseased bulb but affected leaves or flower stems can shed fungal...

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Scale insect control on Meyer lemon

Q: My Meyer lemon tree just contracted these yucky little bugs. I did not have them last year. I scraped them all off by hand. What are they and how do ensure they don’t return? A: They are scale insects....

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Aphid control on plumeria

Q: What kind of infestation do I have on my plumeria? I have sprayed it twice with a product containing sulfur & pyrethrins. The little tan insects are smaller than any aphid I’ve ever seen. A: The tan things are...

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Can Arborvitae Splitting Be Avoided?

Q: I’ve seen arborvitae in many beautiful landscapes. But it always seems to split as it grows. Can this be avoided?  A: Arborvitae is an excellent needled evergreen but it can have a problem with splitting. When it occurs close...

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Can I Transplant My Hydrangeas To Zone 9 (Florida)?

Q: Can I transplant my hydrangeas to Zone 9, Florida? They are about three feet tall and wide. A: Hydrangeas will grow in zone 9 if you give them light shade all day long and if they are watered properly...

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What To Do With Old 4-5-4 Plant Food?

Q: I just discovered an unopened bag of 4-5-4 plant food I purchased for my azaleas. It contains “material recycled from the food processing industry, formulated specifically for all acid-loving plants…” What would you suggest I do with it?  A:...

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What To Do With My Succulents I Have Nowhere To Put?

Q: I have quite a few pots of succulents that I planted this summer. They thrived and I am now wondering what to do with them. I don’t really have a bright spot in the house, not to mention the...

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How Is “Fat Lighter’d” Formed

Q: As a child, I remember hunting in the woods for “fat lighter’d” to be used as kindling in the fireplace. How it is formed?  A: Fat lighter’d is the center portion of a pine tree stump (the heartwood). It...

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How To Prune A Pomegranate

Q: I planted a pomegranate ten years ago. I have read that it should be pruned a specific way if it gets too big.  A: I don’t think there is a “specific” way to prune; it just depends on what...

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Correct Way To Plant White Oak Acorns

Q: I have recently collected some white oak acorns. What is the correct way to plant them?  A: The best time to plant white oak acorns is in fall immediately after you collect them because they sprout so quickly. In...

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Can I Trim My Medium-Sized Trees Myself?

Q: We have five medium-sized trees in our landscape. They need to be trimmed up at the bottom and thinned out to keep branches off the house. Is this something I can do or do I need a pro?  A:...

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Are Baby Cucumbers Seedless?

Q: Due to a medical condition, my wife can’t eat seeds. However, she longs for pickles. We understand gerkins are seedless. Does this apply to all baby cucumbers?  A: The pickled items that we call gherkins are indeed baby cucumbers....

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Do Ginkgo Trees Stink?

Q: Do ginkgo trees stink? Does it depend on whether it is a male or female tree? If so, how do you know which you are getting? A: The tree itself does not stink but the fruit from female ginkgo...

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Climbing hempweed – Identified

Q: I found this vine growing in my backyard in September. Is it an invasive weed or something I should leave for the pollinators? A: My friend Shannon Pable says it’s climbing hempweed, Mikania scandens. It is a native plant,...

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