Gardening Q and A

Dominicker Hens – Egg Laying

Q: I have had two fully grown Dominicker hens since September and they have not laid one egg. Do they get too old to lay? Do they not lay in the winter? A: One of the quirks of managing laying...

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Citrus Trees – Geothermic Heating

Q: I am thinking of building a greenhouse. Can I do geothermic heating and use warmth from the soil to keep citrus trees alive? A: It’s theoretically possible to use geothermic heating or cooling but I don’t think you’ll find...

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Pre-Emergent – Date to Apply

Q: You recommend that, in Atlanta, gardeners should apply pre-emergent on March 1 to prevent crabgrass. What date you recommend in Americus? A: It all depends on soil warmth. Cranbgrass germinates when soil temperatures are 50 degrees and rising. In...

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Strawberries – Protecting Against Bugs

Q: I have little bugs eating all my strawberries. When I disturb them they roll up into a ball. A: Sowbugs (roly-polies) are not usually a pest but they can be a problem on soft fruit that is close to...

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Nemacide – Toxic

Q: I have looked for Nemacide to no avail. Once upon a time it was easily purchased at any garden center but now it is gone. A: Nemacide was once used to control soil nematodes. Its no longer available due...

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Autum Blaze Maple Tree – Pruning

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 for Azaleas – How Much to Use

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

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Thanksgiving Cactus – Pruning

Q: I have a thirty-year-old Thanksgiving cactus. A few years ago it fell down and is now badly lopsided. Is it possible to prune it by cutting back the large thick branches? A: Because it is such a treasure and...

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Red Currant Tomatoes – Good Pest Control

Q: I have heard that a weak bleach solution is a good pest control to apply to soil during the winter. I grow red currant tomatoes which reseed each year. Will applying bleach have an adverse affect on the reappearance...

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Clemtine Oranges – Seeds

Q: I am an 11 year old gardener. I was wondering if clementine oranges have no seeds how do they grow more? A: Clementines are a hybrid variety of mandarin orange that originated in China. A flower of this orange...

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Red Currant Tomatoes – Good Pest Control

Q: I have heard that a weak bleach solution is a good pest control to apply to soil during the winter. I grow red currant tomatoes which reseed each year. Will applying bleach have an adverse affect on the reappearance...

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Emerald Green Arborative – Spacing

Q: I took down a couple of huge Leyland cypress and have a few ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae for replacements. How far do I need to space them to make a screen? A: ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae makes a nice substitute for...

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Fern – Needs Humidity

Q: I have a large fern-type plant in my living room on which the edges of the leaves turn brown. What could cause this problem? A: My bet is that the plant doesn’t have enough humidity around it. Indoor air...

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Vegetable Garden Preparation – Tilling in Shredded Pine Needles

Q: I am preparing our vegetable garden for next season and need to know if tilling in a mix of oak leaves and pine needles will be of value. A: It’s fine to use pine needles to amend soil, but...

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Soil Mixture – Recipe

Q: TV show you had a recipe for a soil mix for jade plant, cactus, etc. Can you send me the portions? A: Mix one part potting soil with two parts of a coarse material that encourages drainage. This could...

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Blueberries – Aluminum Sulfate

Q: Are you supposed to put aluminum sulfate on blueberries at this time of the year? A: Aluminum sulfate is used to lower the pH of the soil around blueberries because they prefer a relatively acidic soil, pH 4.2 to...

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Variegated Aspidistras – Care

Q: I have two large variegated aspidistras. This year they look dreadful. They get quite a bit of sun. Is there anything I can do to make them happier? A: In my experience, aspidistra (also known as cast iron plant)...

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Vegetable Garden – Making it Work in Heat

Q: I’m unable to have a backyard garden due to all the wildlife. This year I want to grow vegetables on my deck. However, the site gets extremely hot in the afternoon/evening sun. Do you have suggestions on how to...

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