Gardening Q and A

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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Weeping Cherry Tree – Seed Vs. Grafting

Q: I want to purchase a weeping cherry tree this spring. I know there are grafted one and ones started by seed. What’s the difference? A: Grafted weeping cherry trees maintain approximately the same height they possess when planted. Seedling...

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Potatoes – Growing in Perlite

Q: I heard you on radio tell how to grow potatoes in perlite. Can you provide a printed reference? A: It’s east to grow a perlite-filled plastic tub of Irish potatoes on a patio or deck! A large tub can hold...

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Fatsia – Blooming in December

Q: I never knew fatsia would bloom in December! The plant is in a fairly protected area and gets high shade most of the day in the summer. I guess it likes it there. A: Yes, I know of another...

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Yellow Onions – Growing Green Shoots

Q: I have two store bought yellow onions that have began to grow green shoots. Can they be planted? A: Onions grow readily in Atlanta area gardens but the ones you buy from a grocery won’t get any bigger, so...

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Dutchmans Pipe – Successful in Georgia?

Q: I’m interested in night-blooming flowers and found Dutchman’s pipe online. Is that something I could grow successfully? A: Dutchman’s pipe, Aristolochia macrophylla, will grow very well as a perennial deciduous vine. The flowers are insignificant. However, those of its...

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Vegetable Garden – Best Direction to Plant

Q: This spring will be my first full scale vegetable garden. I plan having corn and tomatoes plus lettuce and bell peppers. What direction is best for me to plant so everything gets the most sunlight? A: Plant the taller...

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Vegetable Seeds – Donating Extras

Q: I purchased vegetable seeds for my garden but I will only use a few seeds from the packs. Do you know of any worthy cause to which I could donate the rest? A: The easiest recipient is a local...

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Iris – Trimming Leaves

Q: I have some old iris in my pine bed. Most of the leaves stay green all winter but have some brown edges. Should I trim the leaves or is it too late? A: I don’t think you should ever...

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Zoysia Grass – Why Wait to Fertilize

Q: I have been impatiently waiting to fertilize until my zoysia grass has greened 75-100 percent. Why must I do this, other than because you say so? A: You’re a smart person to always be asking “Why?” in the garden....

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Fire Ants – Alternative Ideas For Killing

Q: Why don’t we kill fire ants with a bait in sugar syrup? You could even inject it into individual mounds. A: Fire ant expert Wayne Gardner says fire ants will eat proteins, fats, and sugars but they are not...

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Soil Temperatures – Planting Recommendations

Q: I am a scientist at heart, so I read with great interest planting recommendations based on soil temperature. I am unclear on which soil temperature to use: 2 inch, 4 inch or 8 inch? A: I use the 2″...

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Best Soil for New Raised Plant Beds

Q: I am building new raised beds and trying to decide what the best soil to use. I was going to buy bags of planting soil but that is too expensive. How do I make good soil? Or should I...

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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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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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