Gardening Q and A

Maple Tree – Tick Prevention

Q: When I sit under a maple tree in my backyard in summer, I get ticks in my hair. How can I prevent ticks on the tree? A: According to tick expert Dr. Nancy Hinkle, ticks do not fall from...

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Heirloom Tomatoes – Where to Buy

Q: My heart is broken! I ordered tomato plants from Burpee but they say they can not ship to Georgia because of our state regulations. Where can I buy heirloom tomatoes? A: Burpee can ship tomato plants to Georgia but...

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Was Myrtle Bushes – Brown Leaves

Q: I have several wax myrtle bushes that all have brown leaves now, I assume from freeze damage. A: I’d leave them alone until April, just to see if anything buds out. Wax myrtle is usually cold-hardy in Atlanta but...

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Mixing Fescue and Rye – Good or Bad?

Q: How do you feel about seeding a lawn with a mix of rye and fescue? Will ryegrass impact the fescue? A: I don’t like the idea. Ryegrass dies in summer heat and it competes with fescue when both are...

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Shrubs and Trees – Applying Horticultural Oil

Q: Is it a good practice to apply horticultural oil on shrubs and trees when they are dormant in order to prevent bugs this spring? A: Yes, applying plant-safe oil is a great way to kill insects in winter. At...

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Tree Chips – Covering Land

Q: During recent flooding in my back yard many tree roots were exposed. I’m having some trees removed and the contractor will leave the chips on my site. Any thoughts on how thick to spread them? A: This is a...

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‘Pink Princess’ Escallonia – Fixing the Brown

Q: I planted ‘Pink Princess’ escallonia in early fall. They are all brown. What should I do? A: My bet is that they froze in January. Escallonia is a beautiful flowering shrub but it is winter-hardy only where oleander grows:...

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Ornamental Grass – Privacy Wall

Q: I want to use ornamental grass in pots to provide privacy around our deck. What might you suggest? A: I could easily see using fountain grass, Pennisetum (several species) or maiden grass, Miscanthus sinensis (several varieties) in eighteen-inch wide...

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Poinsettia Seeds – Where to Buy

Q: Do you have any recommendations of where I could find poinsettia seeds.? A: Poinsettias have been hybridized for so many years that the ones you buy at a nursery rarely set seed. Poinsettia growers buy cuttings from large greenhouses...

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Privet Bushes – Pruning vs Pulling Out

Q: The variegated privet bushes on the side of our house look pretty sparse at the bottom. Would we kill them if we cut them to sixteen inches above the ground or should we just pull them out and start...

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Soil Testing

Q: I am getting my lawn soil tested. My front yard looks good but my back yard has been a challenge. Should I do a soil test for the back and a second one for the front? A: If the...

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Cardboard to Control Weeds and Promote Earthworms

Q: My wife says that laying down cardboard in a garden will control weeds and promote earthworms. Have you heard of this? A: Cardboard works very well to control weeds and worms love living underneath it. Just cut the cardboard...

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Dogwood Tree – Change in Bloom Colors

Q: I have a fifteen-year-old dogwood tree that has always had white blooms. This year it has produced pink ones. Why is this? A: It’s not terribly unusual for a white-flowering dogwood to pop out a limb that has pink...

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Pressurized Cans of Pesticide – How to Get Rid of Them

Q: I have several pressurized spray cans of pesticides. How do I get rid of them? A: Pesticide expert Paul Guillebeau says if the sprays can be used, you could give them to a neighbor who needs them. Alternatively, check...

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Compost Piles – Controlling Pests

Q: I like to compost but when I leave anything on the pile, roaches come to the feast. How do you control the varmints? A: Despite the “ick” factor, roaches are a natural part of the composting process. They chew...

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Spring Bulbs – When to fertilize

Q: When is the time to fertilize spring bulbs like daffodils and hyacinths? A: One of the adages of garden fertilizing is to feed plants when the leaves are growing. When the leaves of spring bulbs poke out of the...

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Windmill Palm – Pods on the Trunk

Q: My windmill palm is blooming, with pods growing from the top of the trunk. Is it a good idea to remove them so the tree isn’t putting all its energy into flowering? A: You are correct, removing the seed...

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Rustic Arbor – How to Protect Pine Wood

Q: My wife has decided that I want to build a rustic arbor. I did not know I wanted to do this but I cut several skinny pine trees and used my grandfather’s draw knife to remove the bark ....

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