Gardening Q and A

Houseplants – Animal Safe Ant Remover

Q: I want to move my houseplants back inside for the fall without ants in the soil. Is there anything that won’t hurt cats? A: Ant baits are effective. Some come in easy-to-apply syringes while others are simple bait stations....

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Making Potting Soil

Q: I enjoyed your recent TV program on making potting soil. I found it disheartening that the ingredients came from far away: peat from Canada, perlite from Greece, etc. Are there other ways to make potting soil with materials close...

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Bog Garden – How to Make

Q: I have a small, two-foot deep plastic-lined pond that I want to convert into a bog garden. Any suggestions on how I should proceed? A: Bog gardens are fascinating to observe. Your first job is to fill the pool...

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Hydrangea – Not Blooming

Q: My purple hydrangea has not bloomed for two years now. It used to be beautiful. Do I need to prune it to the ground or what? A: Bigleaf hydrangeas were hit with a 1-2-3 flurry of punches during the...

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Elephant Ears – Leaves Browning

Q: I have elephant ears growing in a container. The leaves are curling and appear to be burned around the edges. What is the cause of this? A: Browning around the leaf edges is usually a sign of water stress....

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Climbing and Shrub Roses – Pruning

Q: I have climbing and shrub roses. Do I need to cut them back to short canes and mound mulch for the winter? A: Unlike in the northern US, roses here don’t need much more than “neatening up” for winter....

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Ailanthus Trees- Killing Sprouts

Q: I cut down the largest of several ailanthus tree saplings next to my fence. I ended up with fifty sprouts in its place. How do I kill these things without getting a hundred more saplings? A: Cut each sapling...

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Fountain Grass – Making Sure it Comes Back

Q: I bought some fountain grass even though it was labeled as a tender perennial. What is the best way to make sure it comes back? A: Common purple fountain grass will come back in South Georgia and Florida but...

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Boxwood – Variety Without Odor

Q: Is there a variety of boxwood that does not smell? A: English boxwood, Buxus sempervirens, is well-known to smell like a cat litter box. Asian boxwood, Buxus microphylla, doesn’t have the catty odor. Unfortunately, the Asian species does not...

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Oak Tree – Vines to Grow on It

Q: I had limbs removed from a dead oak tree. I allowed the twenty-foot-tall trunk to remain standing. What vine suggestions might you have? A: Many would suggest English ivy but it will take years to climb up the trunk....

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Fava Beans – Ability to Grow In Georgia

Q: Can I grow fava beans in Georgia? When is the best time to plant? A: My friend Daryl Pulis (mrsgreenthumb.com) reports that she killed fava beans several times before finally giving up. The vines don’t like heat nor do...

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Daylilies – Planting Sprouts

Q: I gathered hundreds of seeds from my daylilies and put them in an envelope to save. I planted a handful in a shallow container and a few weeks later I had a bunch of tiny sprouts coming up! What...

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Hydrangea – Stunted by Clay

Q: Is it possible that a two-year-old hydrangea has outgrown its nice comfy soil mixture and is being stunted by the clay around it? A: That is indeed possible if a wide area of soil was not loosened around the...

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Potatoes – No Spuds

Q: Upon digging for potatoes I came up empty: not a spud to be found. They had full sun, great soil, and they were nice plants with blooms. I planted them June 12. Kennebec is a mid/late variety so I...

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Tomatoes – Indoor Growing in the Winter

Q: I am growing tomatoes in my garden. Is there any way that I could trim the plant back and pot it for indoor growing through the winter? A: The tomato won’t bear fruit unless you give it VERY bright...

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Impatiens – Rooting Indoors

Q: On your website’s seasonal calendar for October you said to root impatiens indoors. How do you do this? A: My grandmother always had impatiens rooting in the kitchen window in winter. Take 6 inch long cuttings from impatiens branches...

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Limbs – Decomposing Quickly

Q: I recently had trees removed from my property. The tree service couldn’t get the limbs out so they piled them in a big stack. How can I make the debris decompose more quickly? A: You may think the pile...

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Catalpa Trees- Pruning

Q: There is a 15 ft. tall catalpa tree at my lake house. I want to prune it to make it more bushy. I gather and freeze catalpa worms each year for fish bait. With more leaves, I’ll get more...

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