Gardening Q and A

Potted Plants – When to Water

Q: What do you recommend for determining when to water potted plants (indoor or outdoor)? A: I recommend using a digital moisture gauge, the one that you have on the end of your hand: your index finger. Push it into...

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Pyrethum Plants – Will It Harm Bees?

Q: I am planning to grow pyrethrum plants in my garden to cut down on pesticide use. Do these plants harm bees and diminish pollination? A: Pyrethrum insecticide is produced from a particular chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium. A bug-killing dust can...

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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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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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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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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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