Gardening Q and A

Web worms – Travel

Q: How do web worms get from the ground up to the leaves on trees? I have actually seen a convoy of these worms crawling up one of my tree trunks! A: The caterpillars hatch from eggs laid by a...

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Fatsia bushes – Deer

Q: Deer have eaten all of the new growth on my fatsia bushes. They even chewed on the stalk of the plant. My question is should I cut them back or just leave them alone and hope they have new...

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Indian Meal Moth – Life expectancy

Q: What is the life expectancy of a meal moth? We have put all food in sealed plastic bags but would like to know when the moths we have will bite the dust! We found a trap with pheromones to...

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Earthworms – Purchase

Q: I am putting in a small backyard vegetable garden. I want to add earthworms to let them do their stuff beforehand. Where can I buy earthworms? A: You don’t need to buy earthworms. If you add soil conditioner and...

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Compost bin – Gnats

Q: We put peelings, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc. in our enclosed compost bin. There are a whole lot of gnats in it that swarm up when I open the top. Are these gnats OK? A: Various gnats and flies...

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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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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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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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