Gardening Q and A

Shady area – Grass alternative

Q: I want an alternative to grass for an area of my lawn that is very shady. I need it to prevent soil erosion. Maybe some type of ivy? A: Don’t plant English ivy! Before you know it this vine...

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Boxwoods – Sprouting

Q: I have boxwoods that have gotten out of hand. If I cut them back drastically will they sprout back from the stubs that are left? A: Unlike holly, boxwood is slow to respond when pruned severely. For a big...

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Tornado – Saving trees

Q: Our subdivision got hit by the tornado a few weeks ago. It did considerable damage to the small trees in our yard. What are the chances that they’ll survive and stay healthy if we straighten them up and secure...

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Dryer lint – Birds

Q: When do we start putting out dryer lint for our birds? I have been collecting it for months. Back in Texas I put it on the shrubbery and in one half hour it was gone. A: Dryer lint is...

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Horse manure – Flower garden

Q: I have access to aged horse manure but don’t know how to use it to make a nice flower garden. A: Aged horse manure is a great source of organic humus for your soil. Humus holds nutrients for plant...

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SunLite potatoes – Growth

Q: I’ve read about low carb “SunLite” potatoes grown in Florida. Is this something that a home gardener could raise in north Georgia? A: Low-carb potatoes are a bit of marketing legerdemain. Vegetable expert George Boyhan says most potatoes have...

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Indoor palm – Spider mites

Q: I received an indoor palm as a housewarming gift. The leaves have started browning and it appears to have cobwebs in between some of the fronds. Could this be spider mites? A: Palms are famous for getting spider mites...

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Cherry Tree – Pruning

Q: I have a ‘Snow Fountain’ weeping cherry tree. I’ve noticed a lot of the limbs reach the ground; some even stretch out on the ground. How should it be pruned? A: ‘Snow Fountain’ cherry is a beautiful small tree...

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Phalaenopsis orchid – Growth

Q: After my phalaenopsis orchid bloomed I cut the dead flowers off at the bottom of the last bloom. Now I have two leaves growing where I cut the flowers off. How can I remove the new growth and keep...

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Potting soils – Saturation

Q: When I use some potting soils for the first time they are very dry in the bag. Water runs off it like plastic and doesn’t soak in. Why does it do that and how do I get it saturated?...

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Ficus and schefflera trees – Repotting

Q: I have six-year old, very large potted ficus and schefflera trees, about nine feet tall. I’m sure fertilizer salts have built up in the soil. I know that the best thing to do would be to repot them with...

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Fertilizer – Summer heat

Q: Information I read says to use a fertilizer analysis with biggest number (nitrogen) first. Why would I not need to use products with second number (phosphorus) higher, so my fescue roots are deeper for the summer heat? A: It’s...

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Deer – Distraction

Q: Deer have ruined my garden for the last two years. Would it be wise to put out something to distract the deer, such as a feeder? A: You’d like to think that deer would be polite and avoid your...

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Magic lily – Growth sequence

Q: Five years ago I planted several “Magic Lily” bulbs. Every spring the leaves come up on cue. They die back in the summer, but no flowers come up in fall. What is wrong with this picture? A: Magic Lily,...

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Burford Hollies – Infestation

Q: Our dwarf Burford hollies had tons of berries, which the birds dutifully picked off. Now the bush is buzzing. There are hundreds of bees living in it. How long will they be here? A: All of our nectar loving...

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Willows – Planting outdoors

Q: I have some willows that have rooted in water and are beginning to sprout. When may I plant them outdoors? A: Wait until the roots are four inches long. At that time, gently transplant the sprouted cuttings into gallon...

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Drought – Supplemental watering

Q: You recently wrote that even with our drought, supplemental watering isn’t generally needed in the winter. What are some guidelines as to when I should re-start watering my camellias and azaleas? A: Water loss from the soil is caused...

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Milorganite – Deer

Q: I have heard that Milorganite is good for keeping deer away from gardens. We have two acres which are “salad bars” for deer. Any advice? A: Many things are reputed to repel deer: hair, coyote urine, soap, etc. In...

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