Gardening Q and A

Outdoor ferns – North Ga

Q: Please tell me the names of ferns that will grow outdoors in north Georgia A: I’m particularly fond of Christmas fern and autumn fern because they are evergreen. I like southern shield fern because it is deciduous but very...

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Deer Feeding – Mistake?

Q: I have several deer in my garden every morning. They seem so hungry and have even started chewing on my cabbages. Is it a mistake to feed them? A: Feeding them will DEFINITELY attract more deer! Deer somehow communicate...

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Houttuynia plants – Ivy

Q: Several years ago I planted six houttuynia plants at the bottom of a slope that also contained English ivy. Now the houttuynia is taller than the ivy and stinks like the dickens. Is there something I could spray on...

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Chlorine soaked leaves – Compost bin

Q: Is it OK to place chlorine-soaked leaves from our swimming pool into our compost bin? A: Yes, there is not enough chlorine on the leaves to hurt the composting...

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Solarizing soil – Eliminate pupae

Q: I had a horrible time with squash vine borers this year. Will solarizing my soil this winter (clear plastic covering for 6-8 weeks) help eliminate the pupae for next year? A: Solarizing in winter won’t heat the soil enough...

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Water conditions – Aerate soil

Q: I usually aerate and overseed my fescue lawn in the fall. With the current watering restrictions, is this still something I can do? A: Current water regulations allow you to water every other day. But for best germination, fescue...

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Thorny plants – Crime deterrent

Q: What are some of the best thorny plants to grow under windows as a crime deterrent? The house gets full to part sun on all sides. A: Chinese holly, barberry, shrub rose (Knockout, Nearly Wild or rugosa), pyracantha, mahonia,...

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Identifying – Bird at feeder

Q: I need help identifying a bird I have at my feeder. It looks like a cardinal except for the head, which appears to be devoid of feathers! It has normal red body feathers and a head with no crest....

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First garden – Pesticides

Q: This is our first time planting a garden. We would like to protect the garden with natural pesticides. Do you know if there is an effective organic pesticide that can be used? A: The best way to protect a...

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Hummingbird nectar – Color

Q: I’m making hummingbird nectar. If I remember correctly, where I came from in Virginia it was common knowledge that the nectar should be red to attract the birds. Do you agree with this? A: No, the red nectar color...

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August – Planting perennials

Q: Is August a good time to plant perennials? I want more flowers that will come back each year. A: think late September is a better time to plant perennials and shrubs. The soil is still very warm but the...

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Arborvitae – Discoloring

Q: I have two arborvitae that were planted in June of this year. They are still green at the tips, but the interior of the bush is turning brown. Are they lacking water or is something else going on? A:...

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Moonshine – Engine fuel

Q: I talked with a friend that grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm and he says that his dad would put old, closed pottery crocks into the fresh silage as they were loading the silo. When it was time...

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Cactus – Bug spray

Q: I have a cactus in a pot that I will plant in the spring. What do I spray it with before I bring it into the house for the winter to make sure I am not bringing in bugs?...

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School garden – Rain barrels

Q: My daughter’s school is trying to establish a community garden. Are rain barrels an option for a school building? A: Rain barrels are perfectly suited for a school once you get permission to cut into the gutters or drain...

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Crapemyrtle – Height

Q: Are there any crape myrtles that grow no taller than 6 or 7 feet? We are landscaping under power lines but don’t want to commit “crape murder” every year. A: ‘Acoma’ (white), ‘Hopi’ (pink) or ‘Tonto’ (red) crapemyrtles would...

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Garden pest – Guide

Q: I’m searching for a good garden pest management guide, preferably one that includes pictures of the pests and organic pesticides. A: Rodale’s Pest and Disease Problem Solver is quite good. I’m glad you are interested in identifying the insect...

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Beautyberry – Poisonous

Q: Are the berries of the American beautyberry poisonous? Should I plant it in an area restricted from small children? A: I can’t find any mention of them being poisonous. Birds certainly enjoy them each fall. There is a long...

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