Gardening Q and A

River Burch Trees – Roots Are Appearing

Q: Our river birch trees have roots coming up all over our yard. They are ruining the grass. I’d like to replace them but what would be a good tree to plant? A: Roots appearing on the surface indicate hard...

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May Night Salvia – Not Blooming

Q: I planted three May Night salvia a few weeks ago. They looked great for a while but now they’re not blooming at all. A: ‘May Night’ is a great reblooming salvia but faded bloom spikes must be removed regularly....

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Zoysia Sod – When to Fertilize

Q: How soon after planting zoysia sod should it be fertilized? A: Feed new zoysia sod once it starts growing vigorously, typically after you’ve had to mow it once. I recommend two half-strength applications a month apart. Do not apply...

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Creeping Fig – Brick Decoration

Q: I would like to grow creeping fig to give the brick on our house a more “aged” look. Is there any problem with this? A: I’m not a big fan of fig (or ivy) growing on a wall. The...

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Pepper Plant – Crinkled Leaves

Q: My pepper plant has very crinkled leaves. Could you tell me what’s going on? A: Four things can cause distorted pepper leaves: sucking insects (aphids, whiteflies), cold soil, excess moisture, and herbicide damage. If you don’t see insects underneath...

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Okra Seeds – Soaking In Bleach

Q: Your vegetable book says that some gardeners soak okra seeds in pure bleach for five minutes to speed up sprouting time. Won’t that hurt the seed? A: Like you, I was doubtful so I did a test recently. I...

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‘Lady in Red’ Hydrangea – Producing Blue Flowers

Q: Why is my ‘Lady in Red’ hydrangea blue? The flowers were red when I bought it but now they are blue. A: The flowers of ‘Lady in Red’ are normally pinkish-white but they turn more lavender if the plant...

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Fruit Trees With Fruit Big Enough to Eat

Q: I love to eat green crabapples but the trees aren’t around anymore. What type of tree grows the fruit that is big enough to eat? A: Technically, crabapples are apple trees that bear fruit less than two inches in...

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Plasticulture – Garden Improvements

Q: I read an article about gardeners using plasticulture to triple the yield of their vegetables. How can I use plastic to improve my backyard garden? A: As the word implies, plasticulture is the process of using plastic to increase...

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Virginia Creeper – Killing the Vine

Q: Virginia creeper has invaded my azalea beds. What can I do to save my azaleas and kill the vine? A: Mix a small container of diluted glyphosate (Roundup, etc). Put a rubber glove on one hand and use it...

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Soapy Substance – Identify the Plant

Q: When I was a boy during the 1930s in Savannah, I found a wild plant which, if the leaves were rubbed, yielded a soapy substance. What was that plant? A: Wild plant expert Shannon Pable (shannonpable.com) says you likely...

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Weeds – What To Do With Them

Q: My husband and I are having a minor disagreement. He has become obsessed with weeds. He has learned their names and spends hours picking them. However, he pulls them and simply throws them back down. What is the best...

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Rose Buds – Protecting and Treating

Q: Many of my rose flowers look like the buds are being eaten before they completely open. Just pink petals around a gooey brown center. A: I think you have an infestation of tobacco budworm. Despite its name, this caterpillar...

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Loropetalums – Pruning

Q: I planted loropetalums seven years ago. I have never pruned them and they are fifteen feet tall. Can they be pruned or are they too high for pruning? A: I’ve pruned loropetalums every which way and they came back...

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Root Cellar – Plans

Q: Is it possible to have a root cellar in Georgia? A: I doubt it. In order to keep vegetables from rotting, the temperature needs to be 50 degrees or less with great air circulation. Deep soil temperatures are between...

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Azaleas – Fertilizing

Q: Last fall I transplanted a number of mature azaleas. This past spring I fertilized them with cottonseed meal. How often and when should I use this? A: Cottonseed meal makes an excellent fertilizer for azaleas because it acts as...

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Wisteria – Getting Rid of It

Q: I cut down a monster wisteria and treated with stump killer. Now sprouts are popping up all over my yard. Is there a way to get rid of them without digging up my lawn? A: The best thing you...

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Zoysia – Mowing and Fertlization

Q: I bought a reel mower for our zoysia lawn. At the 1.5″ setting the grass looks brown for several days after cutting. I fertilized once in the spring. A: Getting a good appearance after mowing is a balancing act...

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