Gardening Q and A

Pansy – Cold Weather Survival

Q: Can you give me some information on pansies and how they stay alive during the freezing weather? Do they have plant anti-freeze in them? Does the water go down to the roots at night? A: Pansies are members of...

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Co-Dominant Trunk – On maple

Q: I have an ‘October Glory’ Red Maple that I planted in May,1999. It is in good health, about 20 feet tall with a 3 inch diameter trunk. The problem is that the trunk forks 4 feet above the ground...

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Landscape Soil – Preparing for Planting

Q: Our developer has left our subdivision with only compacted clay for yards. Any holes we dig hold water for 2-3 days! The developer planted fifty trees last winter, 30% died, 30% are declining and the rest are barely growing....

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Creeping Charlie vs Pennywort (Dollarweed) vs Dichondra – Identification

Q: What is the difference between creeping Charlie, pennywort and dichondra? A: All three are ground-hugging weeds that love damp soil. I collected leaves of all three so you could compare what you have. Note that creeping Charlie leaves have...

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Pennywort (Dollarweed) – Control

Q: I have pennywort in my St Augustine lawn. How can I control it? A: Like its weedy cousin, creeping Charlie, pennywort, also known as dollarweed, is tough to eradicate. Any of the three-way broadleaf weed killers (click for sources) will...

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White Flannel Moth Caterpillar (Norape ovina) – Identification

Q: Can you identify this caterpillar for me? My wife found them on our Red Buds and unfortunately touched one. She won’t do it again! A: It’s a white flannel moth caterpillar…Norape ovina. All flannel moth caterpillars have stinging spines....

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Magnolia – Clusters of Leaves Turning Brown

Q: Some of our magnolias have leaf “clusters”, that are turning brown . Could you advise us about possible causes? A: I think the flagging is caused by black twig borer. If it was a twig girdler, you would have...

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Confederate Yellow Daisy – Growing

Q: Is there actually a Confederate yellow daisy available for home gardens? I think it would be neat to have them bloom at home at the time of Stone Mountain Yellow Daisy Festival. A: You’re in luck! The Confederate yellow...

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Pine Tree – Clusters of Needles Falling Off

Q: I have short 6 to 8 inch pieces of my pine tree falling off. The ends look like they have been chewed through. I have over 24 of these section laying under the tree. The tree is large with...

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Avocado – Cold Hardy

Q: My son sent me two cold hardy avocado plants, which are said to tolerate 18 degree temperatures. Do you think I will have avocados next summer? A: You’ll be on the bleeding edge of horticultural knowledge if you can...

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Well Water – Testing

Q: I have well water and would like to test it for contaminants. There are no factories or industrial facilities near by. Iron and sulfur amounts would be good to know. A: The University of Georgia has a good guide...

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Lemon Grass (Lemongrass) – Repel Mosquitoes

Q: I was thinking about planting lemon grass to help ward off mosquitoes. Will it grow in Dawsonville? A: Lemon grass is not usually winter hardy in Atlanta, much less Dawsonville. You might have success growing it against a stone...

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Tomato – Septoria Leaf Spot

Q: I’m growing tomatoes in a spot that gets full sun, is well drained, and the block retaining wall allows excessive water to drain out. Initially my plants were doing great. Now not so good. The lower older vines have...

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Fungus – Growing in Treated Wood

Q: I have attached a picture of the fungus growing on the walkway of my home. Can you please tell me what it is and how to get rid of it? A: Mycologist Don Gardner in Brunswick says the fungus...

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Fescue – Growing Under a Dogwood

Q: I have been trying to grow grass on a slight hill under a dogwood tree for years. I plant the shade mix of fescue each year and initially it comes in and then dies. This has been the routine...

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Poison Ivy – Galls on Leaves

Q: What in the heck is going on with these poison ivy leaves? They look to be covered with warts. A: The warts are caused by gall making eryophid mites. These tiny creatures wound the leaf and insert eggs. Leaf...

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Pepper – Virus Disease

Q: My jalapeño plants have a light green pattern on the peppers. What is it? A: It’s one of the virus diseases that affect peppers and tomatoes, possibly cucumber mosaic virus, which attacks a wide range of plants. Viruses are...

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Cryptomeria – Cercospora Dieback

Q: I have several young cryptomeria trees. A couple of them have branches that have turned reddish brown. A: Cercospora needle blight, caused by the fungus Cercosporidium sequoiae, is a common disease on species of juniper, arborvitae, and dawn redwood....

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