Gardening Q and A

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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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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Kill Weeds in Healthy Dirt

Q: I want to use rich soil from my Dad’s old cow lot in my small garden. I’m worried about weeds in it. Can I sterilize the dirt somehow? Howard Betts, email A: You can’t sterilize the dirt but there...

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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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