Gardening Q and A

Seed Exchange In Atlanta

Q: Do you have a seed exchange to recommend for annuals and perennials (not including vegetables) that will do well here in metro Atlanta? A: I recently talked to a lady in Armuchee who has sold flower seed through the...

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Making Soil Retain Water

Q: The soil in the huge pots on my patio has dried out completely. The soil doesn’t seem to retain water. What can I do? A: Empty the soil from the pots into a big plastic bag. For every cubic...

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Nature Trail – Proper Mulching

Q: I’m planning a 1000 foot long nature trail for my Eagle Scout project. You say on your website I need twenty cubic feet of mulch for every ten feet of a six foot wide trail. How deep will that...

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Squash Protection

Q: My squash needs your help! Where can I buy sabadilla dust for squash bugs and borers? A: Sabadilla dust is derived from the seeds of Schoenocaulon officinale, a South American lily. It was once sold as a botanical insecticide...

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Soil Contamination from Mosquito Spray

Q: Over the years we have had a lawn and pest control service and used a mosquito spray around the house. Have the plants or soil been permanently contaminated? A: I don’t believe there is any contamination. Most modern pesticides...

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Oak Sap – Causes

Q: For the past two years, the water oak over our deck has been raining sap in the spring. It creates a horrible sticky mess that turns black and dirty. What causes this? A: I think you have lecanium scale...

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Selling Laceleaf Japanese Maples

Q: I want to sell two beautiful, well-established laceleaf Japanese maples. We are moving but cannot take them with us. Do you know of any place to contact A: According to Japanese maple expert Norm Mittleider, there is a very...

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Best Vine for an Arbor

Q: My arbor gets lots of sun with a little afternoon shade. What is the best vine to plant that is not too invasive? A: I’m very pleased with the Confederate jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides, growing on a similar arbor in...

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Growing Globe Artichokes

Q: My son would like to try to grow globe artichokes in our garden this year. Do you have any advice regarding this plant? A: Globe artichoke, Cynara scolymus, is a member of the thistle family. It might grow perennially...

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Peat Pots – Planting in Garden

Q: I am starting my vegetables from seeds, planting them in peat pots. When I plant them in my garden should I remove the pot? A: Theoretically, the walls of the peat pot will decompose in the soil and the...

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Hibiscus Plants – Pruning

Q: I have several large hibiscus plants that I keep in my sunroom during the winter. They lose most of their leaves during this time. Can I cut them back before I put them outside this spring? A: You can...

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Shrub Fertilization

Q: I have a lot of shrubs on my property, mostly holly, nandina and conifers. Most are over five years old and are fertilized each year. Would skipping a year be a mistake? A: If established shrubs are mulched, they...

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Water Oak Trees – Branches and Leaves Falling

Q: I have several old water oak trees. Big chunks of branches and green leaves are falling. A: Big oaks commonly lose “tufts” of green branches in early summer after rainstorms. Trees put on a lot of lush growth in...

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Water Wells – Impact on Neighboring Water Supplies

Q: I have noticed in my neighborhood that folks are drilling water wells to irrigate their yards thereby skirting state-mandated watering bans. Will this have a negative impact on the ground water supply that we all share? A: According to...

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Creeping Fig – Brick Decoration

Q: I would like to grow creeping fig to give the brick on our house a more “aged” look. Is there any problem with this? A: I’m not a big fan of fig (or ivy) growing on a wall. The...

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Pepper Plant – Crinkled Leaves

Q: My pepper plant has very crinkled leaves. Could you tell me what’s going on? A: Four things can cause distorted pepper leaves: sucking insects (aphids, whiteflies), cold soil, excess moisture, and herbicide damage. If you don’t see insects underneath...

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Okra Seeds – Soaking In Bleach

Q: Your vegetable book says that some gardeners soak okra seeds in pure bleach for five minutes to speed up sprouting time. Won’t that hurt the seed? A: Like you, I was doubtful so I did a test recently. I...

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‘Lady in Red’ Hydrangea – Producing Blue Flowers

Q: Why is my ‘Lady in Red’ hydrangea blue? The flowers were red when I bought it but now they are blue. A: The flowers of ‘Lady in Red’ are normally pinkish-white but they turn more lavender if the plant...

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