Gardening Q and A

Pansy – Crown Rot

Q: I planted a large bed of pansies in mid- October. Most have been growing well. However, I noticed one plant that appears extremely wilted. Upon examination, it seems the stem of the plant at soil level narrows to the...

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Wheat Sprouting in Fescue Lawn

Q: I planted seed three weeks ago. The grass has come up nicely but there are some tall sprouts that are twice as big as the rest of the grass. What are they? A: Did you use wheat straw to...

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Tree – Dead Root

Q: I have a 20-ft tall, ten-year old maple in my front yard. This summer I noticed a chunk of bark near the base of the tree splitting and peeling up. Recently a big chunk broke off leaving a huge...

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Flapjack Plant – Identification

Q: My wife and I have been trying for a year to identify this plant to no avail. It was a hand-me-down plant, given to us last fall. It was an outdoor plant, we took it inside when the weather...

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New Garden – Not Thriving

Q: We want to know if you have insight as to why our garden failed this year so we can avoid issues next season. We planted our garden in August, with mushroom compost and landscape soil turned into it. You...

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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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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, Leptoglossus pyllopus. These insects are close kin to stinkbugs and have the same piercing-sucking mouthparts....

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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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