Gardening Q and A

Foxtail Ferns – Repotting

Q: I am repotting two large foxtail ferns. There are hundreds of potatoes in the soil. Do they reproduce from these, and can I pot them to make new plants? A: Foxtail fern is actually an inedible asparagus, Protoasparagus densiflorus...

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Tobacco – Legal to Grow in Georgia

Q: Is it legal to grow tobacco in my garden? A: It is perfectly legal to grow tobacco. But once you’ve tried it, you may not want to do it again! The process starts when you plant the tiny seed...

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Bay Laurel Shrub – Protecting

Q: I live on the shores of Lake Oconee. Would a bay laurel shrub survive being put in the ground now? A: Bay laurel, Laurus nobilis , is the source of aromatic leaves used in cooking. The shrubby tree is...

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Flower Bed – Rejuvenating

Q: My mother has an old flower plot containing phlox, sedum, and many other perennials. The bed is in decline and needs to be rejuvenated. Considering the variety of plants, what needs to be done? A: Wait until April and...

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Garden Tilling to Kill Bugs

Q: Would it be beneficial to till my garden now while the temperatures are low in order to kill some of the bugs that winter over in the soil? A: Winter tilling is once of the very best ways to...

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Climbing Fig – Sudden Growth Spurt

Q: Four years ago I bought two small containers of climbing fig to cover my brick chimney. In a few years it grew only a few inches. In the past summer however it took off and has runners five feet...

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Black Walnut Tree – Fertilizing

Q: We have a black walnut tree about 50 feet tall in the back yard. We got walnuts but they were small. Can I fertilize a tree that large? A: Black walnut is a fun tree to own, if a...

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Fig – Propagation (Rooting)

Q: I am about to prune my fig bushes and would like to propagate them for a plant sale and giveaways later. Is now the time and how long does it take? A: Figs are easy to propagate, both in...

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Cave Crickets – Preventing Termites?

Q: I was once told by a “good ole’ boy” termite inspector that houses that had cave crickets in the crawl space never had termites. Is there any truth to this? A: University of Georgia termite expert Dan Suiter says...

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Fruit Trees – Planting Near Pine Trees

Q: I’ve heard not to plant fruit trees near pine trees. Is that true? A: Unlike black walnut trees, which attack any competitor with chemicals exuded from their roots, pines are not known to deter nearby plants. Of course, any...

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Becoming a Certified Arborist

Q: What are the steps to become a certified arborist? A: A certified arborist is someone who has passed a test administered by the International Society of Arboriculture, www.isa-arbor.com. After passing the test, a member is required to take continuing...

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Planting New Shrubs – Safe in January

Q: A landscaper has told me we can safely plant new shrubs until the end of January in Atlanta. What say you? A: They’re right. It would be better to plant shrubs and trees Oct. – Dec., to take advantage...

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Lawn – Potash Helping Roots

Q: My lawn is in fair to good condition but I recently heard about pot ash and how it helps lawns to have deeper roots and better drought resistance. Is this true? A: Pot ash is more correctly spelled potash,...

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Tire Planters

Q: You wrote in one of your books that tires can be used as planters. Is this safe, with no chemicals leached into the soil? A: I shy away from using the word “safe” for any human endeavor. Walking around...

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‘Golden Archangels’ Lamium – Where to Buy

Q: Any idea where I might purchase some ‘Golden Archangels’ lamium? I saw some at the East Cobb Master Gardener’s tour of homes and it was absolutely beautiful. A: I try to look for the positive in any pest plant....

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Hellebore Plants – Thinning Them

Q: I have a thick carpet of seedlings under my hellebore plants. Should I thin them out or just let nature take its course? A: Perhaps they compete in a small way with the mother plant but I usually let...

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Flower Vs. Weed – Explaining the Difference to a Young Child

Q: My preschool students want to know how to tell the difference between a flower and a weed. How do I explain it to 4-year-olds? A: My answer is simple: A weed is a plant that makes a gardener unhappy....

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Oak – Ring Numbers

Q: Sitting in traffic I saw an oak with a base ten feet around that splits into two trunks five feet from the ground. Are there the same number of rings in the big base as in the two tall...

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