Gardening Q and A

Trumpet Vine – Removing Left Behind Vines

Q: What is the best way to remove the left-behinds from a trumpet vine that once grew on my stucco? I’ve tried brushing with a wire brush, which surprisingly doesn’t ruin the stucco, but also isn’t very effective A: There...

READ MORE

Mole Crickets – How to Get Rid of Them

Q: I have a large problem with mole crickets. Got any suggestions? A: Mole crickets can cause big problems when they tunnel in turf. Most damage is seen in spring when adults are present but the insects are much easier...

READ MORE

Dragon Wing Begonias – Protecting In the Winter

Q: How can I over winter Dragon Wing begonias? I hate seeing them in the compost pile after the first big freeze. A: Dragon Wing begonia, Begonia x hybrida, and angel wing begonia, Begonia coccinea are very attractive, cane-forming begonia...

READ MORE

Geraniums – How to Carryover Between Seasons

Q: How do I carry over outdoor geraniums from one season to the next? My mom says to shake the dirt off the roots and throw them in a paper bag, but that sounds unusual. A: Your mom is right!...

READ MORE

Patchouli Plant – Protecting in the Winter

Q: I am attempting to over-winter a patchouli plant indoors. Last summer it was a huge, gorgeous outdoor plant. I’ve moved it inside to a window where it gets pretty good light but the leaves continue to turn yellow. A:...

READ MORE

Bluegrass – How to Slow it Down

Q: I know I should have put out my winter pre emergent by September 15 but I didn’t get around to it. Is there anything I can do to slow down the annual bluegrass that shows up in spring? A:...

READ MORE

English Ivy – Itching

Q: Recently I pulled vines from a pine tree and later developed itching and dryness between fingers. Two weeks later, I pulled out English ivy and experienced the same reaction. Any thoughts? A: It turns out that both English ivy,...

READ MORE

Pine Tree – Burning in a Fireplace

Q: My tree surgeon said pine was OK to burn in a fireplace. He said if it dries for a year in hot sun it will be fine. A: He’s right. It is a misconception that pine wood forms more...

READ MORE

Composting Kitchen Scraps

Q: We are interested in composting kitchen scraps. Do the tumble composters that claim to make compost in 14 days really work? A: In my opinion they are not very useful. In winter, the tumbler cools off too much to...

READ MORE

How to Calculat the Amount of Water Coming Off of a Roof

Q: How do I calculate the amount of water coming off of a roof? A: The amount of water collected by a roof is easy to calculate. Multiply the length times the width to get the area. Multiply this result...

READ MORE

Mulch – Grass Clippings with Weed Killer on Them

Q: I have been told not to use grass clippings sprayed with weed killer to mulch around plants. Can I use them after they sit in a compost pile? A: Some plants, particularly tomatoes and young flower sprouts, are extremely...

READ MORE

Ficus Tree – Ants in the Dirt

Q: I have a ficus tree in my office that is doing very well. When I watered it I noticed a gazillion ants in the dirt. Will this hurt the ficus? A: The ants may be finding aphids or mealybugs...

READ MORE

Gladiolus – Store or Replant

Q: If I dig up my gladiolus now should I store them until spring or re-plant immediately. A: Gladiolus corms (bulbs) are usually winter-hardy if left in the ground but it’s a good idea to dig them up every couple...

READ MORE

Mexican Petunia – Pruning

Q: My Mexican petunia is huge and needs to be cut back for the winter. Do I cut it flat to the ground? A: Yes, ruellia will freeze to the ground naturally after the first frost. You can clip stems...

READ MORE

Private Pesticide Applicator Training Classes

Q: I am looking for the schedule for private pesticide applicator training. Where can I take it? A: By law, a homeowner desiring to buy or apply restricted use pesticides on their own property must take a pesticide applicator training...

READ MORE

Moist Soil – How to Determine if Soil is ‘Moist Enough’

Q: I can’t find a definition for what moist soil is. When I see a plant description that says it requires moist soil, what exactly does that mean? A: “Moist soil” is as undefinable as “It’s too cold in this...

READ MORE

Cannas – Transplanting

Q: I have cannas near my window that are tall and unsightly. Can I transplant them now without harming their blooming next summer? A: October is a great time to dig and transplant canna roots. Cut off the stalks at...

READ MORE

Moss – How to Grow

Q: We recently put in a koi pond and want to grow moss on some of the stones. If you pour milk on the rocks, will moss grow? A: Some folks have reported success at growing moss on stones by...

READ MORE