Gardening Q and A

Bay leaf – Roaches

Q: If I plant a bay leaf plant next to my kitchen window, do you think it will it help to repel roaches from the area? A: I’m not aware of any scientific research that shows that bay leaves repel...

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Soluble Boron – Purchase

Q: I have read that I can spray boron on my watermelon plants to improve pollination and fruit set. Do you know where I can purchase some water soluble boron? A: Lack of boron can contribute to poor fruit set...

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Crepemyrtle (River Birch, Maple) – Bark Peeling

Q: The bark is splitting and falling off our three-year-old crepe myrtle tree. What can I do? A: This is normal, desired behavior for a crapemyrtle. It’s called bark exfoliation. This characteristic comes by way of the crapemyrtle breeding program...

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Zenith Zoysia sod – Watering

Q: My landscape company laid 6500 sq. ft. of ‘Zenith’ zoysia sod in early June. The irrigation company then installed a five-zone sprinkler system. The irrigation folks suggested running the zones full blast each day when I can water. My...

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Peony plant – Transplanting

Q: I have four 15-year-old peony plants. Nearby trees are creating too much shade for good blooms. When is the best time to transplant them to a sunnier location? A: Although they are blooming now, peonies are best divided in...

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Birds – Feeding in Summer

Q: Should we stop feeding the birds for the summer? Shouldn’t they be looking out for themselves now? A: We feed birds for two reasons: to keep them healthy when natural food sources aren’t present and to bring them closer...

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Lawn – Fertilizer

Q: Does ‘Meyer’ zoysia get “old” and eventually die? My twenty-year-old lawn has always been lush and green. This year we have more brown patches than we have lawn. Our lawn service fertilizes six times a year. A: Though they...

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Crocus bulb – Cooking

Q: I heard that the very expensive saffron spice is just the stamen of a crocus bulb. Can I collect them from my garden each spring and use them in my cooking or will I poison myself? A: It’s correct...

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Japanese beetles – Life cycle

Q: What’s become of the Japanese beetles? (Not that I miss them, mind you!) So far I’ve not seen any on our roses, magnolia blossoms, plum and cherry trees. Did I do something last year which interrupted their life cycle?...

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Crabgrass – Seeds

Q: I want to grow crabgrass. Yes, crabgrass. A piece of my property has very poor, eroded soil and nothing grows there except crabgrass. Where can I get crabgrass seeds? I know it goes dormant in winter; I simply want...

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Amaryllis – Trimming

Q: I have planted amaryllis outdoors. After they’ve finished blooming do I need to cut the stalks down? How far? A: Cut the thick flower stalks down to their base. Leave the amaryllis foliage in place for the rest of...

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Mosquito problem – Bat houses

Q: Our condominium complex has a terrible mosquito problem. What do you think of installing purple martin or bat houses. A: Neither bats nor martins control mosquitoes. In the case of martins, the mosquitoes don’t offer enough protein to make...

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Rosemary – Pruning

Q: When is a good time to prune rosemary? How much? A: You can prune just about any time but early April would be “best”. Try to leave a few inches of greenery on each stem you shorten. If you...

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Plum tree – Saving bark

Q: Our nine-month-old boxer puppy chewed all of the bark off our plum tree. Is there anything we can do to save this tree? A: I don’t have good news. If the bark has been removed completely around the trunk,...

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Lawnmower – Donation

Q: My husband and I recently purchased a new lawnmower. We would like to donate our old electric mower to charity. Can you suggest an organization? A: What generosity! The Atlanta Tool Bank (www.toolbank.org) has 200 organizations that depend on...

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Destroying weeds – Soil benefits

Q: I want to plant in an area that’s full of weeds. Would it be better for the soil to cut the tall grass down, wait two days and till it under or spray Roundup on it, wait a while...

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Groundcovers – Soggy soil

Q: I’m looking for groundcovers that tolerate soggy soil. A: Several spreading plants grow reasonably well in wet soil. Creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’), variegated Japanese sedge (Carex morrowii ‘Variegata’), sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ), and bugleweed (Ajuga reptans )...

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Mineralized fertilizer – Meaning

Q: An older gardening friend says we should all be using mineralized fertilizer. No one seems to know what that means. Can you help? A: It’s sort of like my mother’s muscadine hull pie. Thick muscadine skins are sour and...

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