Gardening Q and A

Leylan Cypress – Re-growth of Stripped Limbs

Q: Two of my ten-foot tall Leyland cypress trees have been vandalized by neighbor kids. They stripped all of the middle limbs so they are green at the top and bottom but bare in the center.Will these stripped trees regrow...

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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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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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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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Mulch for Vegetable Gardens

Q: We keep a large vegetable garden but we have little time for weeding. What would be a good mulch? A: Pine straw makes a fine mulch; it does not acidify the soil. You could used shredded leaves if you...

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Dogwood – Blooming Troubles

Q: I bought a Celestial dogwood four years ago but it has never bloomed. It is twelve feet tall and looks very healthy. A: In my experience, kousa dogwoods are slow to begin flowering. Your ‘Celestial’ is a cross between...

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Vegetable and Herb Garden – Available Seeds

Q: I am tackling a large new vegetable and herb garden. I want your opinion on the different varieties of seeds available, particularly heirloom seeds. A: You can find heirloom vegetable seed locally and online, but remember that there are...

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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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