Gardening Q and A

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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Rabbiteye blueberry – Pruning

Q: My parents have three five-year-old rabbiteye blueberry bushes. A huge tree that landed right on top of them a few weeks ago. The blueberries are crushed but seem to have survived. Should I prune now or wait? A: As...

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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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Tree 25 feet- Replacing

Q: A tree in my front yard died and I need to replace it. I’d like it to be no more than twenty-five feet at maturity, low maintenance, colorful and drought resistant. Can you help me come close? A: My...

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Centipede grass – Lime

Q: I added sixty pounds of lime to my 4000 sq. ft. centipede lawn before some heavy rains. I have now read that lime should not be applied to centipede. Have I ruined my lawn? A: Good news! It usually...

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Hemlocks – Insect prevention

Q: In Highlands, NC the hemlock population has been destroyed. I have four beautiful twelve-year-old hemlocks. Is there anything proactive that I can do to prevent the insects from creeping into my trees? A: The most proactive thing you can...

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Pine straw – Season

Q: Is there a season for pine straw? We use pine straw in our yard and have noticed that sometimes it is full of trash: lots of small limbs and pine cones in it. Other times it is really nice...

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Resurrection Fern – Moving

Q: Is it possible to transplant a resurrection fern from an osage orange tree to a river birch? A: Resurrection fern is an interesting plant. I often see it coating the upper surface of big oak limbs. During dry times,...

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Leyland cypress – Trimming

Q: When I bought my house, the Leyland cypress at the end of my driveway was a cute thing about seven feet tall. Now, eight years later, it is twenty-five feet tall. Can you trim them to keep them a...

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Centipede grass – Overseeding

Q: Can you overseed centipede grass with rye grass for winter? A: No, it’s a terrible idea to plant ryegrass into centipedegrass to keep it green in winter. In the first place, the process of scarifying the soil to plant...

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Four O’clock Plant – Control

Q: What is the best method to remove four o’clocks. My ex-wife thought it would be a grand idea to have them around. Five years later they are taking over everywhere! When should I dig the tubers? Or is there...

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Hickory trees – Discoloration

Q: Many large hickory trees drape over my concrete driveway. When the nuts fall, they leave a stain that can be best compared to an ink stain. Is there anything that will remove the discoloration? A: Tannins, the broad class...

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Hanging baskets – Limb damage

Q: Do hanging baskets on tree limbs causes any damage to the limb? What can be used to suspend the pot that would not have a negative effect on the tree? A: It somewhat depends on the weight of the...

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Lawn pH – Watering

Q: My university soil test says I have a significantly low 4.6 pH. They recommend 45-55 pounds of lime per 1000 sq. ft. Is this enough to raise the pH permanently to 6.5? What is the best time to put...

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Grape vines – Relocating

Q: Two years ago I bought at a home improvement store four grape vines, one each of ‘Suffolk Seedless’, ‘Mars Seedless’, ‘White Niagara’, and ‘Concord’. Now, by their fruit, I seem to have four ‘Concord’s. If I relocate the vines...

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Peach orchard – Limb thinning

Q: I used to work in a peach orchard. We would thin each limb to no more than three peaches to grow large, lush peaches. Can you do the same with tomatoes: thin out the groups of 3 down to...

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