Gardening Q and A

Composting Fruit and Vegetables – OK to Add Paper?

Q: I’ve been composting my fruit and vegetable trimmings and coffee grounds. Can shredded office paper be added to the pile? A: Office paper is fine to compost as long as you can deal with the practical matter of its...

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Ceramic Pots – Need to Waterproof?

Q: We recently purchased ten very large ceramic pots. We plan to have evergreen plants in the center with seasonal annuals around them. Should we waterproof them somehow? A: My friend Mildred Fockele oversees dozens of large containers at the...

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Blooms – How Much to Clip Off

Q: When a flower has bloomed, does one pinch off the entire remainder of the flower or just part of it? A: Clip or pinch off the entire bloom, including its base. Many flowers, like petunia and zinnia will sprout...

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Peonies – Transplanting From Clay to Sandy Soil

Q: I have a beautiful established peony. I am moving to Bryan County and I wonder if I can transplant the peony from clay to sandy soil. A: Much depends on the variety you have. In warm winters, like you’d...

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Corn Fertilizer Measurments

Q: Can you tell how to measure 1 1/2 lb. of fertilizer in cups? Would that be two cups? I need to feed my corn. A: My mother used to say “A pint’s pound the world around!” She was referring...

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Peonies – Ants on Flowers

Q: All my life I have been told that ants on peonies are a must. Recently I was told that this thinking is way out of date. Should I get rid of the ants? A: The new information is correct;...

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Oak Trees – Hedge Bushes

Q: We recently bought some rural property that has quite a few lovely old oak trees. At the base of the trees are thick hedge bushes. How can we get rid of them without hurting the oaks? A: Since you...

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Trilliums – Propagation with Seeds

Q: I have several trilliums in my yard, some with small blossoms on them. Is it possible to propagate them from seed? A: It’s not easy. Not all trilliums set seed each year. If you see a swollen pod in...

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Centipede Grass – Pre-Emergence

Q: I cannot find pre-emergence for centipedegrass at the local garden stores. What ingredient do I search for to use on my lawn? A: I think most, if not all, pre-emergent herbicides are labeled for use on centipedegrass. The window...

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Bermuda Lawn – Proper pH

Q: I have a bermuda lawn. Soil analysis by a private lab shows that the soil pH is 6.2 . My lawn company wants to put down lime to raise the pH to 6.5. Do I really need to do...

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Jonquil Bulbs – Planting

Q: For thirty years I have planted yellow jonquil bulbs in the open spaces among trees and other ornamentals in my back yard. I’ve recently had to relocate some of the plants. In doing so, I’ve sliced up many jonquils....

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Oak Trees – Tendrils Falling

Q: I have more than forty oaks in my yard. I have huge numbers of these tendril-like things dropping everywhere from the trees! What are they and can I use them in compost? A: The “tendrils” are male oak tree...

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Pussy Willow – Pruning

Q: I have a pussy willow tree that is so tall I never see the blooms in the spring. Are you supposed to cut these trees back? A: You’re lucky to have a pussy willow (^Salix discolor^) grow so tall....

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Peach Blossoms – How Many to Remove

Q: Please tell me how many peach blossoms to remove from my tree. There were quit a few on it and I was told you should take them off to have bigger fruit. Two years ago we didn’t remove any...

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Redbud Trees – Pruning

Q: In early spring we planted three redbud trees. The bottom one-half of the trees leafed out, but everything above that point is dead. Can I prune that part off and still have good growth or do I need to...

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Sago Palm – Fronds are Dead

Q: Between the cold and wet this winter, some of the fronds on my sago palms are dead. What do I need to do about it? A: Just clip off the brown fronds and wait. If the center crown of...

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Homestead Purple Verbena – Perennial?

Q: Is Homestead Purple verbena a perennial in Atlanta? A: It’s considered a perennial but clumps generally wane after a few years. Verbena makes blooms at the tips of branches. As a plant spreads, the stems far from the center...

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Sago Palm – Earth Salt

Q: A neighbor told me that a good fertilizer for a sago palm is something called “earth salt”. What is that material? A: I have no idea what “earth salt” is. Perhaps your neighbor meant Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Sago...

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