Gardening Q and A

Butterfly Bush – Pruning After Hard Freeze

Q: I’m sure I’ve heard you advise to prune a butterfly bush after a hard freeze. Did you say to cut it back to about twelve or eighteen inches? A: Many gardeners have found that a small butterfly bush quickly...

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Indoor Plants – Homegrown to Look Like Nursery-grown

Q: How is it that when I buy a small plant from a nursery, it usually has a large, leafy top but is in a small pot. I can’t get the plants I start indoors to do the same. What...

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Trees – Cutting So Bark Stays On

Q: I heard a caller on your radio show ask when to cut trees so the bark would stay on after the wood dries. I sell Amish bent hickory furniture to stores in north Georgia. The gentlemen who make the...

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Strawberry Planting – Square Pyramids

Q: Are you familiar with the square pyramids that garden catalogs sell for strawberry planting? Can I make one myself? What kind of soil do I use? A: A pyramid allows you to put more plants into a given space....

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Squirrels – Droppings

Q: I have been feeding squirrels in my backyard for over fifteen years but I have never seen squirrel droppings. Please note that I do NOT spend a lot of time looking for them! Do they bury the droppings? A:...

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Chinese Pistache Tree – Growth Information

Q: I am interested in Chinese pistache trees. How big do they get? I read they have good fall color. A: The pistache is an excellent small tree! It only grows twenty five feet tall and has terrific yellow color...

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Trees – Painting

Q: On your radio show you mentioned mixing hydrated lime with water and adding salt to create a paint for trees. I bought a bag of powdered lime, which a garden center employee said I could mix with water. I...

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Fertilizer – Excess Nitrogen

Q: My first attempt at growing turnips, beets and carrots resulted in mainly leaf growth. Should I have applied 5-10-10 instead of 10-10-10? A: Excess nitrogen would indeed cause lots of leaves and few roots. I don’t often see the...

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Floral Preservatives -Over the Counter Drugs and Plant Growth

Q: Can you tell me where I can get information on the effects of over-the-counter drugs on plants? I know some people put aspirin in potting soil near the root of their plants and in the water of flowers in...

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Pruner – Power Operated

Q: You mentioned a power-operated pruner on your radio show a couple of weeks ago. I am trying to find one because I raise roses and I now have arthritis in my hands. A: My friend Jim Kelley is an...

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Scientific Names – Reference

Q: I am in college working toward a major in horticulture. In my woody ornamental identification class I have encountered many strange scientific names. I’m curious what the word “attenuata” means, as in the name ^Ilex attenuata^ ‘Fosteri’. Do you...

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Christmas Tree – Watering

Q: I’ve noticed that my Christmas tree, which we cut at a farm, drinks almost a gallon of water every day. Does it drink that much water from the ground when it’s growing normally or is its thirst an effect...

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Imperial Moth – Identification

Q: I can’t find any info as to what this visitor to my deck is. I am thinking he fell from either the pine tree or the black gum tree that hang over my deck. I am guessing the black...

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Purple Hyacinth – Picking

Q: When should we pick the pods of our purple hyacinth bean vine? How do we save the beans for planting next year? A: I love the lavender flowers and eggplant-purple pods of hyacinth bean, Dolichos lablab. Each year, let...

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Hosta – Propagating

Q: I have a number of mature hosta plants. They form seed pods along the flower stems. I would like to plant these seeds but have tried with no success. Is there a trick? A: You can collect seed from...

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Vegetables – Shade Tolerance

Q: Are there any shade-tolerant vegetables? A: The “leafy” vegetables like spinach, collards, turnip greens, etc. are more shade tolerant than tomatoes, corn or beans. Most leafy vegetables are also grown in the cool season, when leaves are more likely...

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Caladium – Storing for Spring

Q: I have about seventy caladium plants that I want to dig up now and store for spring. Will it hurt the bulbs if I cut off the foliage, dig them up and store them? A: The best time to...

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Liriope Spicata (spreading monkey grass) – Eradication

Q: I was given some “spicato” border grass several years ago. It has taken over my more desirable grasses and is rampant in my beds. How can I eradicate it completely? A: I think the invasive plant you have is...

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