Gardening Q and A

Heater malfunction – Plant cleaning

Q: We had a kerosene heater malfunction in our greenhouse. Soot covers the plants. What is the safest way to clean them? A: I’d use soap (not a detergent) on your plant leaves. Soaps include Ivory bar soap and castille...

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Colonial Trees – Eagle project

Q: My nephew’s Eagle Scout project is to find trees with historical significance during the colonial period. He is having difficulty finding information on these trees in Georgia. A: Since Georgia had few cities in colonial times, few trees from...

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Crapemyrtle – Losing Branches

Q: Can you tell me what is wrong with this crepe myrtle? It is losing its branches. A: One of the results of chopping off the top of a crapemyrtle in winter is lots of lush growth the following spring....

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Tomato – Glyphosate (Roundup) Damage

Q: My Better Boys are showing this yellow pattern on the leaves. These two plants seem healthy but the new growth shows light green. A: I think someone (I name no names!) got too close to the tomatoes with their...

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Cat’s Claw Vine – Identification

Q: We found this vine in Lake Charles, Louisiana over the 2009 Easter holidays. The resident at the home and the most popular garden nursery in the city could not identify it. So we brought it back to Marietta ....

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Ryegrass – Garden soil

Q: I have a vegetable garden area which I’ve improved by adding compost, dead grass and leaves every fall and spring. This fall I sowed ryegrass and it is now five inches tall. How tall should it grow before I...

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Aucuba shrubs – Mosquitoes

Q: I have heard that aucuba shrubs attract mosquitos. Is this true? A: Mosquito specialist Elmer Gray is also known as Elmer the Entomologist to Clarke county school children. He says mosquito resting places vary between seasons and among species...

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Chinda doll – Growth

Q: I have a four-foot tall China Doll plant. It flourished outside but indoors the leaves are yellow and falling off. A: Although China Doll plant, Radermachera sinica, is sold as a house plant, it can eventually grow to 30...

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Fall leaves – Natural areas and islands

Q: Tell me about keeping fall leaves in natural areas and islands from year to year. It is my opinion that the leaves enrich the soil, provide a good mulch and look almost as good as pine straw. Others argue...

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Camellias – Feeding

Q: What is the best time to feed camellias? I have several that have been planted for more than fifteen years. A: Camellias need nutrients when their growth starts in early April. You can use granular synthetic fertilizers then; rainfall...

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Southern Blight – On Creeping Jenny

Q: My creeping Jenny is dying before my eyes. I see these tiny little brown beads on the ground and on the leaves. What is this and what can I use to stop it? A: Your creeping Jenny has Southern...

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Inkberry plants – Purchase

Q: Where can I purchase male and female inkberry plants? A: Inkberry, Ilex glabra, is a great native holly. Unlike many other hollies, its berries are black. Truthfully, I don’t think there is much bang for the buck from this...

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Badminton – Grass type

Q: I am putting a badminton court in my backyard. We play serious badminton four times a week for a couple of hours. Is there a grass that can stand that kind of activity? The site receives six hours of...

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Camellia – Buds Won’t Open

Q: Now in December, I have a camellia bush loaded with buds that won’t open. They have looked like they want to open for the last two months. It gets nice filtered sun for several hours a day. A: I...

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Woodpecker – Prevention

Q: A small woodpecker-type bird is pecking large holes in the synthetic stucco facade of our chimney. What can we do to prevent this? A: Woodpecker “drumming” is common at this time of year. They seem to be making noise...

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Butterfly Bush – Pruning

Q: I went to prune my butterfly bushes this past weekend in late February but they have new green leaves. Should I prune them or not? A: Prune them. Butterfly bush makes blooms on the tips of new branches. If...

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Deer invasion – Spring leaves

Q: We love the mountains and woods but we are having a constant problem with deer. They have severely eaten my ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ holly and ligustrums, both of which we were told “Deer do not eat!”. How do I...

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Watering – Yellow leaves

Q: My family has been “showering with buckets” to collect bathwater for months now. We pour the water around plants in our full sun beds. I’ve begun to notice some plants showing yellowish leaves. A: My guess is that the...

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