Gardening Q and A

River birch – Dropping Leaves

Q: We have a birch tree in the front yard which I think has exceeded its water resources. I have to rake every other week to prevent the brown dry leaves that fall in that period from blowing into the...

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Tree Limb – Orange Fungus

Q: I recently noticed a couple of leafless limbs on my sawtooth oak. They also have a scaly orange fungus and one had a gelatinous, drippy mass of some sort. A: It looks like both limbs were shaded out by...

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Hornet – Eating Yellowjackets

Q: An unidentified wasp camps out in my garden next to the entrance to a yellow jacket nest. I call him “Super Wasp”. Throughout daylight hours a Super Wasp remains on station conducting an aerial patrol in front of the...

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Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar (Orangedog) – Identification

Q: I found these creepy critters on a small citrus tree at my home. What could they be? A: They are indeed creepy but these caterpillars turn in a giant swallowtail butterfly, Papilio cresphontes. Their markings effectively deter predators…even humans,...

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Leaf-Footed Bugs – On Tomatoes

Q: These insects are attacking my tomatoes. Please tell me what they are and how I can get rid of them. A: You’re seeing leaf-footed bugs. These insects are close kin to stinkbugs and have the same piercing-sucking mouthparts. They...

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Maple – Mechanical Injury

Q: I found a full looking Legacy sugar maple at a local nursery. Now that it’s in the ground I started noticing these canker looking things on some of the branches. The cankers are always on the outside of the...

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Maple – Planted Too Deep

Q: I have a five-year-old October Glory maple whose bark is peeling off in long chunks. Underneath, the trunk is smooth with dark spots. The leaves began turning colors and now are drying out. I have a second tree within...

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Devil’s Claw – Identification

Q: What kind of flower is this in the wildflower garden at my home? The plant is sticky and has a funny smell. A: Photos of this distinctive plant were originally sent to me by Vicki H., who had queried...

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Irish potato – Planted in June

Q: Upon digging for potatoes I came up empty: not a spud to be found. They had full sun, great soil, and they were nice plants with blooms. I planted them June 12. Kennebec is a mid/late variety so I...

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Tomatoes – Growing Indoors

Q: I am growing tomatoes in my garden. Is there any way that I could trim the plant back and pot it for indoor growing through the winter? A: The tomato won’t bear fruit unless you give it VERY bright...

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Tomato – Whitefly Control

Q: I have a problem bug that has been killing my tomato plants and caused them to have black fungus. The same insects have destroyed my garden every year. A: Whiteflies are having a feast at your expense! This prolific...

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Canada Geese – Control

Q: Is there a way to control Canadian geese that won’t leave our pond? A: Extension agent Jule-Lynne Macie says Mike Mengak, UGA Extension Wildlife Specialist, always reminds people that, “A Canadian is a human being from the country of...

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Prostrate Spurge – Identification

Q: I have a plant in my lawn that spreads out like a mat in August and September. What can I do to control it? A: You have prostrate spurge. It is classified as a summer broadleaf annual. That means...

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Cucumber – Not Turning Green

Q: I am growing a cucumber that is supposed to be 10″ long when ripe. I watch them daily to make sure to pick them before they start turning yellow. Unfortunately, they never “greened up”. I applied fertilizer about 4...

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Tomato – How Long to Ripen (Extending Summer Season)

Q: I would like to have ripe tomatoes throughout the summer. Are there early, mid and late season varieties? A: Yes – there are varieties that claim to ripen earlier or later than others but predicting exactly when a tomato will...

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Black Pepper Plant – Growing

Q: How do you grow a peppercorn plant to make either black or white pepper? A: Peppercorn, Piper nigrum, is a tropical vine that produces 5-inch long spikes of berries. Black pepper is made by soaking the berries until the...

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Pipe Ice – Explained

Q: I can’t even begin to explain this phenomenon, but it looks pretty cool. This is just a hollow metal fence post at the end of the driveway. There is nothing hanging above it that could have dripped down, so...

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Fire Power Nandina – No Color this Winter

Q: My fall-planted Fire Power nandina didn’t turn red this winter. They’re in full sun and the soil looks good. Any ideas? John Payne, email A: Probably the plants are just too young to color up very well. It takes...

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