Gardening Q and A

Lubber Grasshopper – Identification

Q: A huge black grasshopper settled for a rest on my Japanese maple. Any idea what it is? A: It’s a lubber grasshopper. Their “skin” varies in color as they grow from nymph to adulthood. Black ones are not unusual....

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Apples – GMO origin?

Q: I ate a Honeycrisp apple that was not “organic” so I’m assuming it’s probably GMO. Seeds inside had tiny sprouts so I threw them in some dirt to see what would happen. They are growing beautifully! Will these produce...

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Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) – Care

Q: I received a plant from my grandmother called “Hens n Chicks”. Some of the hens seem to be dying and the chicks are still going strong. What should I do? A: Hens and chicks, Sempervivum tectorum, is native to...

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Squash – Green and Yellow Two-toned

Q: We have a strange vine growing under our porch that we did not plant. Can you please help us identify what it is? A: It’s a squash that came up from a seed that some animal dropped there. The...

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Oak – Leaf Scorch

Q: This is a picture of a leaf from an oak tree that is shedding leaves now. This tree is among the last to shed in the fall. Any ideas? A: It’s bacterial leaf scorch. Sadly, there is nothing you...

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Hickory Horned Devil – Immature Form

Q: My son moved to Raleigh, NC and sent me a picture of this caterpillar. It’s about 6 inches long. A: It’s a very handsome hickory horned devil, discovered just before it grows its typical orange horns. You might see...

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Knock Out® Roses – Pruning In Fall

Q: Is it OK to prune Knock Out®  roses in the fall? A: This is a fine time to tidy yours up. Remove empty sprays of flower buds, clip out long branches and remove any dead wood. Your plant won’t produce...

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Landscaping – Saving Old Plants

Q: We’ve just moved into a new home with nice landscaping. We’d would like to redo the landscape but I don’t want to clear cut everything. Are there any companies that would come and harvest existing plants for their own...

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Caterpillars – Removal From Sweetgum

Q: We have noticed lots of caterpillars nesting in the sweetgum trees. Is it worth trying to control this infestation with insecticides or will they disappear by themselves? A: I think you’re seeing fall webworms. They build their protective webs...

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Bermuda – Drastic Cutting

Q: At my new home the bermuda grass was mowed three inches high. The first time I cut it, I set my mower at 2.5 inches. The grass seemed to lose a lot of green. Your website says a good...

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Lilac – Planting In Georgia

Q: I’m trying to find a heat-hardy lilac for my New York state friend who lives in Forsyth County. A: The key element that lilacs lack in the South is chilling hours during the winter. Most lilacs require over two...

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Caterpillar – Products For Removal

Q: While weeding my wife discovered the hard way that we have a tussock moth caterpillar problem. What can I do to treat the issue before either of my kids comes up close and personal with these fuzzy little pests?...

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Fescue – Spray Before Mowing?

Q: Is it best to spray weed control on a fescue lawn before or after the lawn is cut? A: Great question! You’ll get best results spraying weed killer a couple of days after the lawn has been mowed, when...

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Black Mulch – Sun Is Not A Problem

Q: I want to mulch the beds in my yard and we really like black mulch because it makes the plants and flowers stand out. A neighbor said that black mulch is a bad idea because it absorbs heat from...

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Pennywort – Keeping It In Check

Q: I have pennywort in my St Augustine lawn. How can I control it? A: Like its weedy cousin, creeping Charlie, pennywort is tough to eradicate. Any of the three-way broadleaf weedkillers will give moderate control but products that contain...

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Mahonia – Pruning VS Pretty

Q: Is it too late to do a hard pruning on mahonias? A: I have mixed feelings about mahonia. The fragrant yellow flowers look great in late winter and wildlife eagerly consume the blue berries that follow. However, I don’t...

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Cannas – Transplanting Tips

Q: I planted ten different cannas which are all blooming, anywhere from three feet to six feet tall. I want to transplant the smaller ones. Do I have to wait for the blooms to finish? A: The cannas will be...

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Lemons – Using A Grow Light

Q: I want to purchase a grow light to help my Meyer lemon during the winter. A: I use a 26 watt (100 watt equivalent) CFL bulb in a shiny aluminum clamp light fixture. I keep it eight inches above...

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