Gardening Q and A

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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Camellias – Pruning

Q: I need some information on pruning camellias at this time of year. A: Flower buds have already formed on camellia branch tips. If you want flowers next season, prune lightly now, trying to remove only the longest branches but...

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Blackberry leaves – Bug infestation

Q: I have found strange bugs eating my blackberry leaves. They are tan, about the size of a BB, and are hard shelled. When I touch one it falls off the plant and acts dead. Damaged leaves have notches along...

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Dogwoods – Climate change

Q: I have a dogwood with great sentimental value. My husband’s job is transferring us to Tampa. Do dogwoods do well in that climate? Is it possible to dig my tree up and replant down there? A: I’m not sure...

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Sweetgums – Shrub

Q: I had a sweetgum tree growing underneath my power lines. The electric company came and cut it down. I have been trimming the stump sprouts like a shrub and it looks nice. Is there any reason that I can’t...

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Horse Manure – Fertilizer

Q: I have an unlimited supply of horse manure. Can I use this as mulch/fertilizer around my bushes and trees without hurting them? A: If the manure has been composted long enough that it doesn’t smell like ammonia and the...

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Brown porch beetle – Identification

Q: On your website you mention a brown beetle that “swarms around porch lights at night”. I have so many I can barely open my back door. I would like to know what they are and how to get rid...

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Charcoal dust – Garden use

Q: Does charcoal dust from my grill have any use in the garden? A: No. Discard it safely after it has...

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Hornworms – Garden tomatoes

Q: Last year I had a problem with hornworms on my garden tomatoes. This year I planted tomatoes in containers on my very high deck, using store-bought potting soil. The hornworms are terrible still! Where did they come from? A:...

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Peace lily – Possible divide

Q: Is it possible to divide a peace lily? A: Sure, it’s a perfect project to keep you indoors out of the heat! Spread newspaper on your kitchen table and pull the plant out of the pot. You’ll notice that...

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Horticulturist – Alpharetta school

Q: I am a thirty eight year old medical sales professional and want to pursue a career in horticulture. Can you recommend a school in Alpharetta or nearby where I can obtain the credentials as a qualified horticulturist? A: The...

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Roses – virus

Q: I have nearly two hundred roses. Recently I’ve noticed several plants with bizarre buds/leaves/stems. I am convinced that I’m dealing with rose rosette virus. One plant looks like it came from outer space; the thorns are truly like shark’s...

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Purple-leaf plums – Edible

Q: My old purple-leaf plum trees unexpectedly have lots of red skinned fruit on them. Since it’s fashionable to grow edibles in our landscape, how I can tell whether these plums are edible for humans (I don’t want to be...

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Zoysia – Leaving Unmowed

Q: I would like to improve my carbon footprint by not using a gas powered mower and letting my zoysia just grow. It has already gone to seed and still looks good. What damage am I doing to the grass?...

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Blackberry vines – Weeds

Q: I have planted several blackberry vines. Now sprouts are popping up all over the yard. They look like blackberries but the more they grow the less they seem to be. How can I identify what is the real blackberry...

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Maple Tree – Survival

Q: Landscapers planted a tall maple tree by our community mailbox area, then covered under it with pine straw. I am watering the tree every other day to help it survive. What should I do now? Fertilize? A: Watering every...

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Perennial bed – Improved soil

Q: I had professional landscaping done in my back yard late last fall. Included was a perennial bed that was supposed to be tilled and the soil amended properly. The center of the bed appears OK, but the edge still...

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