Gardening Q and A

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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Hawthorn – Cold Weather

Q: I lost four Indian hawthorns last year to cold weather. I liked them and would like to replace. Any advice? A: Different varieties of Indian hawthorn seem to have different reactions to cold and different susceptibility to leaf spot....

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Greenhouse – Lighting

Q: For Christmas I received a new portable greenhouse. How critical is the placement? A: Generally speaking, more sun is better. You can control how much sunshine and heat gets inside the greenhouse by using shade cloth on top. But...

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Spiders – Close To Home

Q: I found a spider egg sack outside my bedroom window. Should I remove it? A: If the window is within reach outdoors, I’d remove the pouch and place it in a landscape shrub. The spider itself is very likely...

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Potato – Soft and Sprouting

Q: One of my favorite potatoes is Royal Majesty, a purple potato I buy online. I still have a dozen that I haven’t eaten. They are starting to sprout and get soft. Can I save them for seed potatoes? A:...

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Fertilizer – Dog Safety

Q: I have bermuda grass in full sun in my backyard where two big Labs play and tear it up. I really care about my dogs so I do not treat the grass with any fertilizer or weed killer. Would...

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