Gardening Q and A

Black Walnut Tree – Fertilizing

Q: We have a black walnut tree about 50 feet tall in the back yard. We got walnuts but they were small. Can I fertilize a tree that large? A: Black walnut is a fun tree to own, if a...

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Tire Planters

Q: You wrote in one of your books that tires can be used as planters. Is this safe, with no chemicals leached into the soil? A: I shy away from using the word “safe” for any human endeavor. Walking around...

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‘Golden Archangels’ Lamium – Where to Buy

Q: Any idea where I might purchase some ‘Golden Archangels’ lamium? I saw some at the East Cobb Master Gardener’s tour of homes and it was absolutely beautiful. A: I try to look for the positive in any pest plant....

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Fig – Propagation (Rooting)

Q: I am about to prune my fig bushes and would like to propagate them for a plant sale and giveaways later. Is now the time and how long does it take? A: Figs are easy to propagate, both in...

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Cave Crickets – Preventing Termites?

Q: I was once told by a “good ole’ boy” termite inspector that houses that had cave crickets in the crawl space never had termites. Is there any truth to this? A: University of Georgia termite expert Dan Suiter says...

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Fruit Trees – Planting Near Pine Trees

Q: I’ve heard not to plant fruit trees near pine trees. Is that true? A: Unlike black walnut trees, which attack any competitor with chemicals exuded from their roots, pines are not known to deter nearby plants. Of course, any...

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Becoming a Certified Arborist

Q: What are the steps to become a certified arborist? A: A certified arborist is someone who has passed a test administered by the International Society of Arboriculture, www.isa-arbor.com. After passing the test, a member is required to take continuing...

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Planting New Shrubs – Safe in January

Q: A landscaper has told me we can safely plant new shrubs until the end of January in Atlanta. What say you? A: They’re right. It would be better to plant shrubs and trees Oct. – Dec., to take advantage...

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Lawn – Potash Helping Roots

Q: My lawn is in fair to good condition but I recently heard about pot ash and how it helps lawns to have deeper roots and better drought resistance. Is this true? A: Pot ash is more correctly spelled potash,...

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Hellebore Plants – Thinning Them

Q: I have a thick carpet of seedlings under my hellebore plants. Should I thin them out or just let nature take its course? A: Perhaps they compete in a small way with the mother plant but I usually let...

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Flower Vs. Weed – Explaining the Difference to a Young Child

Q: My preschool students want to know how to tell the difference between a flower and a weed. How do I explain it to 4-year-olds? A: My answer is simple: A weed is a plant that makes a gardener unhappy....

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Oak – Ring Numbers

Q: Sitting in traffic I saw an oak with a base ten feet around that splits into two trunks five feet from the ground. Are there the same number of rings in the big base as in the two tall...

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Weeping Cherry Tree – Seed Vs. Grafting

Q: I want to purchase a weeping cherry tree this spring. I know there are grafted one and ones started by seed. What’s the difference? A: Grafted weeping cherry trees maintain approximately the same height they possess when planted. Seedling...

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Fatsia – Blooming in December

Q: I never knew fatsia would bloom in December! The plant is in a fairly protected area and gets high shade most of the day in the summer. I guess it likes it there. A: Yes, I know of another...

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Potatoes – Growing in Perlite

Q: I heard you on radio tell how to grow potatoes in perlite. Can you provide a printed reference? A: I’m growing a perlite-filled plastic tub of Irish potatoes on my patio right now! I filled the tub part-way with...

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Yellow Onions – Growing Green Shoots

Q: I have two store bought yellow onions that have began to grow green shoots. Can they be planted? A: Onions grow readily in Atlanta area gardens but the ones you buy from a grocery won’t get any bigger, so...

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Dutchmans Pipe – Successful in Georgia?

Q: I’m interested in night-blooming flowers and found Dutchman’s pipe online. Is that something I could grow successfully? A: Dutchman’s pipe, Aristolochia macrophylla, will grow very well as a perennial deciduous vine. The flowers are insignificant. However, those of its...

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Vegetable Garden – Best Direction to Plant

Q: This spring will be my first full scale vegetable garden. I plan having corn and tomatoes plus lettuce and bell peppers. What direction is best for me to plant so everything gets the most sunlight? A: Plant the taller...

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