Gardening Q and A

Yaupon Holly – Identified

Q: I just bought a house and it has several tall bushes that I cannot identify. It has no thorns, but is similar to a pyracantha. Can you help me to identify it? A: It’s a weeping yaupon holly, Ilex...

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Fill Dirt

Q: I recently had a water well drilled in a pine island. Now I need to remove the granite sand and sludge. Can this material be used to fill low spots and truck tire trenches? Richard H. Soard, East Cobb...

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Blueberry – Darowii

Q: I can’t figure out what these plants are. The nursery thinks they are some type of dwarf blueberry, but they aren’t sure. I would like to know a little more so I can figure out what they like and...

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How to Secure a Chicken Coop

Q: I have had chickens in the past but I now live in the mountains and am afraid to start again because of predators like coyotes. What suggestions do you have for a secure coop? Lenzy Bond, Cohutta A: The...

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Sweetgum – Copious Seeds

Q: Our sweetgum leaves are falling but the tree also rains tiny seeds. I thought only the gumball was the seed. A: The gumball from a sweetgum is actually the seed pod. Each one contains dozens of seed, which fall...

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Patchouli – Overwintering

Q: I am attempting to overwinter a patchouli plant indoors. Last summer it was a huge, gorgeous outdoor plant. I’ve moved it inside to a window where it gets pretty good light but the leaves continue to turn yellow. A:...

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Crapemyrtle – Correct Pruning Tips

Q: Pardon my ignorance but I’m not from the US. I have a pair of these beauties in my back yard, and they’re everywhere in east Cobb County. In roadway medians they’re pruned back hard in winter, to just above...

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Acetic Acid Herbicide – Make Your Own

Q: I found concentrated acetic acid for sale online. Can I use this to make my own acetic acid weed killer like I see at nurseries? A: Pesticides expert Paul Guillibeau says that a homeowner can make anything they want...

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Black Pepper Plant – Growing

Q: How do you grow a peppercorn plant to make either black or white pepper? A: Peppercorn, Piper nigrum, is a tropical vine that produces 5-inch long spikes of berries. Black pepper is made by soaking the berries until the...

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Pipe Ice – Explained

Q: I can’t even begin to explain this phenomenon, but it looks pretty cool. This is just a hollow metal fence post at the end of the driveway. There is nothing hanging above it that could have dripped down, so...

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Fire Power Nandina – No Color this Winter

Q: My fall-planted Fire Power nandina didn’t turn red this winter. They’re in full sun and the soil looks good. Any ideas? John Payne, email A: Probably the plants are just too young to color up very well. It takes...

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Lichen – Golf Tee Moss

Q: We encountered this patch of plants on the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama back in the fall. We named it Golf Tee Moss. Does have a real name ? A: I see more than one organism in your picture. The...

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Herbicide to Kill Grass but not Blackberry Bush

Q: We have a couple of rows of thornless blackberries on our farm. Thick grass grows all around the canes. Is there an herbicide that will get rid of grass but would not harm the plants? Sharon O’Neal Grant, Tiger...

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Screech Owl – Red Form

Q: I encountered this fine feathered fellow on a hike in Lumpkin county near Springer mountain. My first ID was a screech owl, but after consulting with my Audubon guide it appears that this is not the case. The bird...

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Flowering Magnolia – Bloom Cold Tolerance

Q: I noticed last week that my flowering magnolia has huge buds on it. Will it have black blooms due to the cold? Jimmy W. Mize, email A: Flowering magnolias, including star magnolia and saucer magnolia, are extremely cold tolerant....

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Autumn Blaze Maple – Trimming

Q: We have an Autumn Blaze maple tree that we built a deck around. The branches at the bottom are very close to the floor of the deck. Should we prune off the bottom branches or will the branches grow...

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Cottonseed Meal – Azaleas

Q: I know you recommend cottonseed meal to feed azaleas. I need to know when and how much to put around each plant. Joan Brown, email A: I like cottonseed meal because it provides slow, consistent feeding over several months....

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Annual Bluegrass – Perennial Type

Q: I am trying in vain trying to control annual bluegrass. I put down pre-emergent four times this fall. There is noticeably less than last year, but still plenty of it. Could we have a species that survives the summers...

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