Gardening Q and A

Dogwood Blossoms

Q: Why do dogwoods in Florida only have white blossoms and no pink blossoms like some do here in Georgia? Is it the temperature or soil or something else? A: My friend Tom Wichman, Florida Master Gardener Coordinator, says they...

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Used Nursery Pots – Recycling

Q: Are you aware of a nursery or recycling center that will take used nursery pots? A: Most plastic pots are made of recyclable plastic, either high density polypropylene (Code 2) or polyethylene (Code 5). If they have the triangular...

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Vegetable Garden – Treated Lumber

Q: My husband recently built me a vegetable garden planter out of pressure treated lumber. A friend said that it emits poisonous chemicals. Is this true? A: Lumber was formerly treated with chromated copper arsonate (CCA) and health concerns were...

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Macho Ferns – Proper Care

Q: I bought some Macho patio ferns at a grocery store. It seems that they may be kin to Boston fern? How do I care for them? A: ‘Macho’ fern, Nephrolepis biserrata is also called Giant Sword Fern. It is...

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Tomato – Egg Shell Fertilizer

Q: I would like to plant some tomato plants. Would egg shells be a good fertilizer? A: Egg shells contain calcium, which tomatoes need in moderate amounts. Crush them into small granules so they dissolve in the soil more quickly....

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Vegetables – Recommended Fertilizer

Q: I am growing vegetables in small raised bed. I want to mix blood meal with water to fertilize them. My Miracle-Gro Blood Meal label states “This product contains 12% Water Insoluble Nitrogen.” Is there another liquid organic fertilizer you...

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Oak Trees – Adding Dirt

Q: I am thinking of adding dirt to my lawn under several mature oak trees in two tiers. Will adding 2-3 feet of dirt around the base of these trees hurt them? A: I don’t mean this to be unkind,...

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Organic Vegetable Growing – Mulch

Q: We are attempting to grow vegetables organically. Can we use bermuda grass clippings as mulch or will it have seeds? A: I think you’re right to be concerned. Regularly mowed fescue, centipedegrass, zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass rarely produce seed....

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Pampas Grass Plant – Pruning

Q: I have a big pampas grass plant. Despite my best intentions, I do not always cut it back in late winter. Recently the center has become hollow; any way to fix that? A: Even if you had pruned it...

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Growing Seedless Watermelon in the Garden

Q: Do you have information on starting seedless watermelon seeds? I have trouble getting them to live after they sprout A: Seedless watermelons can be grown from seed but they need very warm soil in which to sprout. The best...

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‘Miss Kim’ Lilac – Fertilaztion Time

Q: I’m a transplanted Northerner and have had success with ‘Miss Kim’ lilac for the last several years. This year, I had only two blooms. Is it to late to fertilize to help it produce more? A: It’s too late...

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Asparagus – Protecting

Q: I have a large plot of asparagus. It has been attacked by asparagus beetles for two years. Is there any way I can rid my garden of them? A: You have a couple of control strategies. In winter remove...

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Vertical Mowing

Q: You mention “vertical mowing” on your website. What the heck is that? Is a vertical mower the same as a dethatching machine? A: Yes, it’s the same thing. The machine has several small blades on a horizontal shaft. As...

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Planting Potatoes

Q: Last year I planted sweet potato slips and had reasonable success. I’ve spoken to people who said they remember parents planting whole potatoes. Which way is better? A: Sweet potato plants form tubers directly from the roots. Although the...

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Tomatoes – Growing From a Ripened Tomatoe Seed

Q: I bought a delicious tomato from a vegetable stand. I know the tomato was picked green, shipped to Atlanta, and allowed to ripen in a cardboard box. I would like to grow tomatoes with seeds from this fruit. Am...

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Monkey Grass – Freshening Growth

Q: Can you give me a little info on my freshly transplanted monkey grass? Can I cut it down with scissors to spur fresh growth and get it to fill in? A: At this point in the liriope’s young life...

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Kiwi Vines – Where and How to Plant

Q: I am a unsure of where and how to plant kiwi vines. A: Kiwi vines are not reliably hardy in Atlanta but since you are right on the Fall Line I think they would likely prosper for you. You’ll...

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Allamanda Bush

Q: I love my allamanda bush! I have noticed what I think is a spiny seed ball on the plant. What do I do with it? A: The seedpod looks a lot like a sweetgum ball. Let it stay on...

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