Gardening Q and A

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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Burlapped ‘Allee’ Elm – Recovery

Q: We bought a healthy looking balled and burlapped ‘Allee’ Elm from a tree farm. After about two days in the ground the leaves started to wrinkle and turn brown. Do you think it will recover by next spring? A:...

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Golf course – Tree planting

Q: I volunteer for a disc golf course. We would like to plant some trees in the park’s big open fields, a former cow pasture with red clay soil. What trees do well in that environment? A: I think some...

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Neem trees – Growth areas

Q: I grew up in Gujarat, India, where I played among the surrounding neem trees. They had many uses: a leaf tea comforted rashes, twigs were used for cleaning teeth, smoke from the leaves kept mosquitoes and bugs away. I...

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Soil ring – Tree planting

Q: My wife and I watched your TV show where you discussed the soil ring you make after planting a tree. You said that it should not be left longer than the first year. Why not? A: Tree experts say...

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Small farming – Project ideas

Q: I’m on the heart transplant list at Emory – bet you haven’t had too many of us contact you!. When I get out and heal up, I want to do some small farming: animals, orchard, vegetables, etc. on 100...

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Termites – Company investigation

Q: We just moved to Georgia and bought a split level home on concrete slab. We had to have a termite letter on day of closing. The inspector cleared us but later termites were found. Will the state investigate the...

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Tree replacing – Berries smell

Q: I want to replace a tree that we had to cut down with a ginkgo. I have heard that either the male or female variety has berries and smells bad A: Female ginkgo trees produce primitive seeds covered by...

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Magnolia and fir – Feeding requirements

Q: We have several large magnolias and fir trees in our back yard. What are the feeding requirements for them? A: If the trees are large and established, they need little feeding, particularly if they are growing near a fertilized...

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Clay pot seedling – Outdoor survival

Q: Last April we bought a seedling from the Angel Oak on St John’s Island, SC. It is planted in a clay pot and has tripled in size. If I plant it outdoors, will it survive? A: As soon as...

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Watering device – Making at home

Q: I saw a clever slow watering device called “The Plant Nanny” at a shop in South Carolina. Could I make something like it myself? A: The Plant Nanny is a hollow ceramic spike you insert into houseplant soil. When...

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Tree sprouting – Transplanting

Q: Each year, a fast-growing tree sprouts up next to the paved walkway in my backyard and each year I cut it down. I would love to transplant it. Since I’ve continuously cut the tree down to almost nothing every...

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Persimmon tree – Companion tree effects

Q: I have a native persimmon tree at my home and my Golden Retrievers love the fruit. I noticed recently there wasn’t any fruit on it this year. I had a gnarly companion tree cut down this spring and was...

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September bulbs – Early rising

Q: I planted bulbs in September and they are coming up already: way too early! Should I be concerned about this? A: The bulbs won’t be hurt at all; they will flower normally in spring. Early emergence does use resources...

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Seeding – Topsoil

Q: We are planning to seed our all clay backyard with fescue and know that we will have to add topsoil. Do we need to break up the clay before we add topsoil? Is two inches of topsoil enough to...

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Azalea – Stem growth

Q: A friend’s azalea plant has an odd growth on one of the stems. Should the growth be cut off? A: It looks like someone sprayed Roundup too close to the plant. I got a bit reckless with Roundup near...

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Rain barrels – Pump

Q: How would I use a pump on my rain barrels to send water to a sprinkler? I have two barrels at the basement level but want to send it higher to the yard and shrubs in the front. A:...

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