Gardening Q and A

Planting Over a Septic System

Q: Any suggestions what we might plant over septic field to add some interest to the blank area? It gets filtered sun. A: Trees and shrubs are risky to plant over or near a drain field. Their roots penetrate more...

READ MORE

Can I Make a Dwarf Japanese Maple Grow Tall?

Q: I have a five-year-old Japanese maple. It has never grown taller, only wider at the base. It resembles a mushroom with lacy leaves. We had some advice to prune the top out to promote vertical growth. As you can...

READ MORE

Establishing a Bee Pasture

Q: I will be leasing two acres of land beneath some power lines. I want to develop a program that would cultivate bee forage, part of our effort to make Dunwoody a Bee City. I have support from local nature...

READ MORE

Topping Bradford Pear is a Bad Idea

Q: The company that services our subdivision entrance just cut back our healthy 20-year-old Bradford pears. Was this a good decision? Might they go into shock? A: They will not go into shock. Pruning severely may prolong their life span...

READ MORE

Does Severe Cold Hurt Pest Insects?

Q: Any good news on the bug front after the severe cold last week? A: I wish the cold weather would have an effect on insects like fire ants, ambrosia beetles, stinkbugs, etc. but it does not diminish their summertime...

READ MORE

Pruning Okra

Q: In last year’s garden the okra did well but grew way too tall. Can it be pruned to keep it lower and still produce well? A: You sure can! As common okra varieties age, the top of the plant...

READ MORE

Magnolia – Leaves Stripped by Hurricane

Q: I have a magnolia tree in Florida that was damaged by Hurricane Michael. The top of the tree is broken as well as most of the side branches. It has begun to put out a few small leaves. Will...

READ MORE

Ants – Harmful to Tree?

Q: I have an Autumn Glory maple that we planted two years ago. I see ants on the trunk during the year. I have treated the ground with some ant killer but still I see these little holes that ants...

READ MORE

Yaupon Holly – Severe Pruning

Q: We have twenty-year-old weeping yaupon hollies that are getting too tall. We prune 2-3 times a year but they are getting harder to prune. Can we cut them back to below window height? We’ve already had to remove two....

READ MORE

Tulip Poplar Seed Identification

Q: I get a gazillion of these spinning seeds each year and wonder what tree they are from. A: I believe they are tulip poplar seed. Spinning seeds are called samaras. Many trees produce single-wing samaras. Maples form two-winged, two-bladed...

READ MORE

Camellia Wilting After Transplanting

Q: I moved three camellias that were four feet tall because I read it was good to transfer them in winter. Now the leaves are wilting and the white flowers are turning brown. Should I be concerned? A: I was...

READ MORE

Holes in Ground – Squirrels, Not Voles

Q: I have an evergreen clematis plant on a fence and saw three holes around the base. I think it is probably voles. What are your thoughts? A: I think these are more likely holes made by squirrels. Vole tunnels...

READ MORE

Elberta Peach Blooming Early

Q: I have several Elberta peach trees that are growing like crazy but they want to bloom in January. I read that mulching them would keep the soil cold to slow blooming. A: The air temperature around trees is what...

READ MORE

Flowering Tree Or Shrub That Can Take Full Afternoon Sun?

Q: Is there a dogwood or any other small/medium flowering tree or shrub that will tolerate full afternoon sun?  A: Kousa dogwood or any of its varieties grow great in full sun. It is one of my favorite trees to...

READ MORE

Vegetable Plants Not Affected By Bacterial Wilt

Q: Can you give a list of vegetable plants that are not affected by bacterial wilt. I had this disease diagnosed in my tomatoes last year. A: There is only a very narrow selection! I have never heard of sweet...

READ MORE

Life Span Of St. Augustine Lawns

Q: Recently I was told that St. Augustine lawns have a natural life span of less than fifteen years. My own experience refutes this. A: I agree with you! My own St. Augustine lawn has been here for twenty years....

READ MORE

Killing The Root Of Bradford Pear Bushes

Q: I am trying to eliminate obnoxious volunteer Bradford pear bushes. Is there a way to kill the roots without waiting for regrowth and using weed killer. A: You could dig the roots out, but I’m guessing that’s not what...

READ MORE

The Right Fertilizer For Pansies?

Q: The University of Georgia recommends feeding pansies with a soluble 15-2-20 fertilizer in the winter but I can’t find this available for purchase. Is there something else to use? A: University fertilizer recommendations are based on detailed research, but...

READ MORE