Gardening Q and A

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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Gazebo – Greenhouse

Q: I am planning to enclose my portable, aluminum gazebo with 6 mil. plastic and convert it into a greenhouse for the winter. I’ll keep it on my deck, so heat from the house will help keep it warm. Will...

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Tomato – Pollination

Q: 1. My tomato flowers fall off before making a tomato. What causes this? 2. My tomato is extremely odd looking…like a green fist is inside it. Why? A: Both of these problems are caused by lack of pollination. A...

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Black walnuts – Planting

Q: While walking around our neighborhood a few weeks ago, I picked up several black walnut seeds. What’s the best way to plant them? A: Nuts can be planted an inch deep in a small sunny bed in fall. Cover...

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Squirrels – Eating Tomatoes

Q: How can we keep squirrels from taking a bite out of green tomatoes? They take one bite and drop them on the ground, ruining a perfectly good tomato! We have tried various things but nothing works! A: I’ve heard...

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Camellias – Close planting

Q: I recently purchased several camellias. Each of the camellias seemed to have two trunks. I investigated and was able to separate the tangled roots into two plants. Is it OK to have them planted so close together? A: This...

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Viburnum – Identified as Blueberry

Q: I have five, three-year-old blueberries bushes. They have lots of tiny blueberries but have not matured into plump, juicy fruit. When they did this last year I thought they were just immature plants. This year I am concerned. There...

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Hosta – Deer Damage

Q: I have some gorgeous huge-leaved hostas in my front yard. This year, starting in mid May we noticed they were being destroyed. Only the stalks remain in large areas. I do not remove the leaves – they must be...

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Desert Bluebell – Identification

Q: We have a flower that we can’t identify. Planted as a seed. Can you help us with the name? A: My genius plant ID friend Shannon Pable replies: “This one took a bit of detective...

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Squirrel (Wild Animal) – Keeping as Pet

Q: I have a baby squirrel I found on the ground and have been feeding milk for several days. Can I legally keep it as a pet? A: No, you can not. Despite your kind-heartedness, the Georgia DNR has specific...

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Tomato – Leafminer

Q: Here are some sad leaves on my tomato. I have TERRIBLE luck with tomatoes here in Savannah! They get every little thing. I try not to use insecticides, but…dang. I await your wisdom, Oh Wise One! A: Leaf miners...

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Morningglory – Growing on Crapemyrtle

Q: Last spring I planted morning glory seed heavily at the foot of my trellis. This summer the vines on the trellis were more than two feet thick. There were lots of beautiful flowers and the anoles, skinks, and tree...

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Wood Ash – Fertilizer for Houseplant?

Q: Can I use a teaspoon of wood ash from the fireplace to fertilize my house plants? A: A teaspoon probably wouldn’t hurt anything but ashes don’t contain anything useful to a houseplant. All that ashes are good for is...

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Mondo grass – Planting

Q: We need advice on using dwarf mondo grass in our shady back yard instead of fescue. How far apart should mondo grass be planted ? A: As fate would have it, I’ve been helping a friend plant sprigs of...

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Macrophyla hortensia hydrangea – Outdoors

Q: I purchased a “macrophyla hortensia hydrangea” from the grocery store. It is in a pot with a spongy medium. Can this be planted outside now? A: Although florist hydrangea makes a great gift and is attractive for several days,...

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