Gardening Q and A

Allamanda Bush

Q: I love my allamanda bush! I have noticed what I think is a spiny seed ball on the plant. What do I do with it? A: The seedpod looks a lot like a sweetgum ball. Let it stay on...

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Oak Trees – Adding Dirt

Q: I am thinking of adding dirt to my lawn under several mature oak trees in two tiers. Will adding 2-3 feet of dirt around the base of these trees hurt them? A: I don’t mean this to be unkind,...

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Organic Vegetable Growing – Mulch

Q: We are attempting to grow vegetables organically. Can we use bermuda grass clippings as mulch or will it have seeds? A: I think you’re right to be concerned. Regularly mowed fescue, centipedegrass, zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass rarely produce seed....

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Pampas Grass Plant – Pruning

Q: I have a big pampas grass plant. Despite my best intentions, I do not always cut it back in late winter. Recently the center has become hollow; any way to fix that? A: Even if you had pruned it...

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Growing Seedless Watermelon in the Garden

Q: Do you have information on starting seedless watermelon seeds? I have trouble getting them to live after they sprout A: Seedless watermelons can be grown from seed but they need very warm soil in which to sprout. The best...

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‘Miss Kim’ Lilac – Fertilaztion Time

Q: I’m a transplanted Northerner and have had success with ‘Miss Kim’ lilac for the last several years. This year, I had only two blooms. Is it to late to fertilize to help it produce more? A: It’s too late...

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Peat Pots – Planting in Garden

Q: I am starting my vegetables from seeds, planting them in peat pots. When I plant them in my garden should I remove the pot? A: Theoretically, the walls of the peat pot will decompose in the soil and the...

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Hibiscus Plants – Pruning

Q: I have several large hibiscus plants that I keep in my sunroom during the winter. They lose most of their leaves during this time. Can I cut them back before I put them outside this spring? A: You can...

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Shrub Fertilization

Q: I have a lot of shrubs on my property, mostly holly, nandina and conifers. Most are over five years old and are fertilized each year. Would skipping a year be a mistake? A: If established shrubs are mulched, they...

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Water Oak Trees – Branches and Leaves Falling

Q: I have several old water oak trees. Big chunks of branches and green leaves are falling. A: Big oaks commonly lose “tufts” of green branches in early summer after rainstorms. Trees put on a lot of lush growth in...

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Water Wells – Impact on Neighboring Water Supplies

Q: I have noticed in my neighborhood that folks are drilling water wells to irrigate their yards thereby skirting state-mandated watering bans. Will this have a negative impact on the ground water supply that we all share? A: According to...

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Seed Exchange In Atlanta

Q: Do you have a seed exchange to recommend for annuals and perennials (not including vegetables) that will do well here in metro Atlanta? A: I recently talked to a lady in Armuchee who has sold flower seed through the...

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Making Soil Retain Water

Q: The soil in the huge pots on my patio has dried out completely. The soil doesn’t seem to retain water. What can I do? A: Empty the soil from the pots into a big plastic bag. For every cubic...

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Nature Trail – Proper Mulching

Q: I’m planning a 1000 foot long nature trail for my Eagle Scout project. You say on your website I need twenty cubic feet of mulch for every ten feet of a six foot wide trail. How deep will that...

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Squash Protection

Q: My squash needs your help! Where can I buy sabadilla dust for squash bugs and borers? A: Sabadilla dust is derived from the seeds of Schoenocaulon officinale, a South American lily. It was once sold as a botanical insecticide...

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Soil Contamination from Mosquito Spray

Q: Over the years we have had a lawn and pest control service and used a mosquito spray around the house. Have the plants or soil been permanently contaminated? A: I don’t believe there is any contamination. Most modern pesticides...

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Oak Sap – Causes

Q: For the past two years, the water oak over our deck has been raining sap in the spring. It creates a horrible sticky mess that turns black and dirty. What causes this? A: I think you have lecanium scale...

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Selling Laceleaf Japanese Maples

Q: I want to sell two beautiful, well-established laceleaf Japanese maples. We are moving but cannot take them with us. Do you know of any place to contact A: According to Japanese maple expert Norm Mittleider, there is a very...

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