Gardening Q and A

Bermuda – Scalping

Q: When should I mow my dormant bermudagrass? A: Removing the brown winter foliage and stubble from a bermudagrass lawn (known as “scalping”) will cause it to green-up faster this spring. Since green-up is dependent on soil temperature and soil...

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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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Chemical Composting Aids

Q: Are there any good chemical treatments to speed up and/or assist with the composting of dried leaves? A: Sure, add nitrogen of some form to the pile. My rule of thumb is 1 cup of 10-10-10 per pile with...

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Camellia – Tea Scale

Q: I have a camellia tree in front of my house in Savannah that is just gorgeous. But it’s dying!! A few months ago I noticed dense, very sticky webs strung along the low branches of the tree. The webs...

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Daffodils – Moving in Early Spring

Q: Can I move daffodil bulbs now? I want to plant some shrubs in a place where daffodil foliage is already an inch tall. A: If you are careful, the bulbs can be moved without harm. The best tool to...

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Pearlbush – Pruning

Q: I have a pearlbush that is many, many years old. It is almost 25 feet tall but it has lost several limbs over the years and is pretty scraggly now. Can I prune it drastically now without hurting it?...

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Prune – Too Early or Too Late

Q: Is it too early or is it too late to prune my shrubbery? (January 2, 1999) A: Confusingly enough, it could be BOTH right now. Because December weather was so mild, some shrubs were late going into their winter...

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Burlap – Remove from Roots?

Q: I had some trees planted in October. As the soil around the root ball settled, I see that the burlap was left on it. Should it have been removed? A: You bet it should have! The synthetic burlap that...

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Crab Grass Preventer – When is too Early?

Q: Since it has been so warm lately, should I put out my crabgrass preventer earlier than normal? Several readers A: To know when to apply a weed preventer you first have to know when the seeds you are trying...

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Flowering Maple (Abutillon) – Care

Q: I have a flowering maple. How should I take care of it? Can it be transplanted? A: Flowering maple is the common name of a plant we’ll see much more of in coming years. It is also known by...

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Water – Wasted by Drips

Q: Could you tell me how many drops are in a gallon of water? Is there a measurement for a drip? We have a leak in our office kitchen sink, in Miami, and I’m trying to get the building supervisor’s...

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Watermelon – Blossom End Rot

Q: I have discovered that the ends of my watermelons are getting black, like the blossom rot you see on tomatoes. Do I need to add calcium as you do to tomatoes? A: You are exactly right, watermelons get blossom...

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Pool Water – Recycling

Q: What do you think about watering with pool water? There is a lot of water waste from when we clean the pool and I was hoping to do something useful with it. A: If the backwash water just has...

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Royal Poinciana Tree – Growing

Q: I am writing to you hoping you know anything about the Royal Poinciana tree. It is very beautiful and it grows in Puerto Rico. You can see it along the country roads, with bright orange flowers starting in March....

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Potting Soil – Reusing

Q: I have a big pot from which I’ve pulled all of the petunias and other summer annuals. I want to plant it with pansies but I don’t know what to do with the old soil. Do I have to...

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Bulbs – Protection from Squirrels

Q: I’m on a big gardening kick this year and I want to plants lots of bulbs. People tell me that squirrels will dig them up if I don’t protect them the first year. How should I do this? A:...

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