Gardening Q and A

Acetic Acid Herbicide – Make Your Own

Q: I found concentrated acetic acid for sale online. Can I use this to make my own acetic acid weed killer like I see at nurseries? A: Pesticides expert Paul Guillibeau says that a homeowner can make anything they want...

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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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Lichen – Golf Tee Moss

Q: We encountered this patch of plants on the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama back in the fall. We named it Golf Tee Moss. Does have a real name ? A: I see more than one organism in your picture. The...

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“Shade Champ” Grass Seed

Q: My yard gets too much shade from oak trees. I’ve found “Shade Champ” grass seed for sale. It contains creeping red fescue, PennLawn red fescue, Chewings fescue and Pizzazz ryegrass. Can it really grow in Georgia? John Hibbard, Dunwoody...

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Flowering Magnolia – Bloom Cold Tolerance

Q: I noticed last week that my flowering magnolia has huge buds on it. Will it have black blooms due to the cold? Jimmy W. Mize, email A: Flowering magnolias, including star magnolia and saucer magnolia, are extremely cold tolerant....

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Autumn Blaze Maple – Trimming

Q: We have an Autumn Blaze maple tree that we built a deck around. The branches at the bottom are very close to the floor of the deck. Should we prune off the bottom branches or will the branches grow...

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Cottonseed Meal – Azaleas

Q: I know you recommend cottonseed meal to feed azaleas. I need to know when and how much to put around each plant. Joan Brown, email A: I like cottonseed meal because it provides slow, consistent feeding over several months....

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Annual Bluegrass – Perennial Type

Q: I am trying in vain trying to control annual bluegrass. I put down pre-emergent four times this fall. There is noticeably less than last year, but still plenty of it. Could we have a species that survives the summers...

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Bushes Preventing Flooding?

Q: We have large, overgrown bushes along the front of our house that have become too difficult to maintain. If we pull them out would we have a problem with water getting into our now-dry basement? Shelley Winet, email A:...

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When to Water Potted Plants

Q: What do you recommend for determining when to water potted plants (indoor or outdoor)?Raleigh Burns, email A: I recommend using a digital moisture gauge, the one that you have on the end of your hand: your index finger. Push...

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Gooseberry – Growing

Q: I am new at gardening and would like to experiment. I want to grow gooseberry. Online nurseries says it will grow here in zone 7. What is your opinion? Melissa Poston, Marietta A: : Cold hardiness zone 7 includes...

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Ivy – Able to Root after Shredded?

Q: We have removed lots of ivy climbing our trees. We were thinking about renting a chipper/shredder to chop the vine. Afterwards, will it still be able to take root? Gwen Kemmerick, Duluth A: You face two concepts: the possible...

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Hydrangea – Damage After Frost

Q: What do I do now that freezing weather has taken its toll? These were hydrangeas but they look pretty pitiful now. A: I have good news! This is exactly how hydrangeas are supposed to look. The leaves will fall...

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Mondo Grass – Planting Seed

Q: I would like to plant dwarf mondo seed in my yard. If I bought plants it would cost me a fortune to do the yard. What do you suggest? Where can I buy the seed? A: It is difficult...

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Humate – For Lawns

Q: I read that one of best things to do for your lawn is to add humate, a soil conditioner. Do you know anything about it. A: Despite many glowing claims from promoters, very little unbiased, university-based research supports the...

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Pileated Woodpecker – Hole in Tree

Q: What is eating holes in our live sourwood tree? What should we do? A: Jim Rogers, at Nearly Native Nursery, says: “In my personal experience observing woodpecker holes, the size of the chips removed and the rectangular-shaped hole appear...

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