Gardening Q and A

Mexican Heather – Is it Evergreen

Q: I had thought Mexican Heather was an evergreen and would make it through the winter in a fairly green status. However, these past couple freezes have really yellowed out about 20 mature plants. Does this mean I need to...

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Compost – Tree Roots in

Q: Roots are growing all up into my compost from the ground. Can you tell me how to stopthis and how to kill the existing roots? Also, can you tell me where to get plans to build the most efficient...

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Walnut – How to Remove Nutmeat

Q: I have a black walnut tree in my yard that has dropped copious amounts of nuts this fall. Is there an easy way to get the nut meats out of the hard shells? A: There is a small depression...

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Pachysandra – Euonymus scale

Q: Our prized hundred-year-old oak may be in trouble. Almost overnight we noticed that the pachysandra circling our tree has died in a path leading to the trunk of the tree. Is the tree in jeopardy? A: I don’t know...

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Skunk – Control

Q: My brother in Alabama has a problem I thought you might have thoughts about. He lives in a very nice neighborhood but he and his neighbors have recently been plagued with skunks coming into their yards. They have been...

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Suckers – Controlling with Chemicals

Q: I received a gingko tree for a gift but it has lots of suckers (small twigs) at the base. When is the best time to remove them? A: Many trees produce suckers copiously. Crapemyrtle, crabapple, ornamental cherry and maple...

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Soil pH – Lowering

Q: I want to plant azaleas and rhododendrons in a spot where I had a vegetable garden last year. We had the soil tested last year and found the pH to be 6.1. Since azaleas love acid soil, what should...

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Irrigation System – Winter Care

Q: I read in your November calendar that this is the month to drain your irrigation system. Our new house has a home sprinkler system. I haven’t thought much about it in the three weeks we’ve lived in the house....

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Japanese beetle – Nematodes to Control

Q: In preparation for the inevitable onslaught of Japanese beetles, I was wondering whether you had any thoughts regarding spreading beneficial nematodes? I realize nothing is 100% successful but I hate to harm beneficial creatures. A: Nematodes are microscopic worms,...

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Dusky Birch Sawfly

Q: My small ‘Whitespire’ Japanese birch has been defoliated each fall for about the past three years. No permanent harm because it comes right back every spring. I just found these hungry little guys on it and wonder if they...

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Cicada – Skins on Tree

Q: My wife and I found some empty shells of what we thought was some sort of beetle. Our first thought was that they were pine beetles from hell. We looked on the Web and now believe them to be...

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Pine Sawfly

Q: I just noticed that one of my deodar cedars is suddenly and rapidly becoming a skeleton. Upon closer inspection, I found it is being eaten alive by clusters of spotted yellow caterpillars with bright red lips! I would say...

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Giant Resin Bee

Q: I’ve noticed a large insect flying into holes already bored out by carpenter bees. They are one inch long or longer and have a large head, burnt orange thorax, and black abdomen. The eyes are big and easy to...

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Porcelain Berry Vine

Q: We have a vine (not kudzu) that has killed a dogwood tree in our yard and is about to do the same to several magnolias. The leaves look like grape leaves (but smaller) and it has small blue-black berries....

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Oxalis – Rust Disease

Q: I have an oxalis with the burgundy leaves and pink flowers. In late winter and early spring (through May) it looks great. Then with warmer weather the leaves get what looks like orange rust spots on them and they...

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Magnolia – Removing Roots to Plant Grass

Q: A landscaper advised me to remove the large magnolia in my front yard and plant grass in its place. We have wedding coming up in late June and I would like for the yard to be nice and green...

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Daphne – Planting and Care

Q: I have a question about daphne. I have both a pink and a white variety. I know they like shade but what else should I provide them? A: I planted a Daphne odora ‘Areomarginata’ beside my entranceway two years...

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Gardenia – Damaged by Freeze

Q: I have a gardenia on which most of the leaves turned black after the freeze a few weeks ago. Should I cut it down to the ground or hope that new leaves come back this spring? A: Hope springs...

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