Gardening Q and A

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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Good Trees to Grow in Georgia

Q: I am moving up from south Florida. I love Japanese maple, white birch, and poplar trees that I’ve seen in New England. Will I be able to grow any of these in north Georgia? A: Japanese maple, in all...

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Tomatoe Plants – Protecting Against Worms

Q: I discovered a worm on my tomato plants so I used an insecticide recipe I found online, a mixture of water, rubbing alcohol and dishwashing soap. The next day, my tomatoes had black streaks in the stalks, the leaves...

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Hydrangeas – Leaves Solid Green

Q: I have a variegated hydrangea but over the last two years, the leaves have begun to turn solid green, overtaking the nice green & white striped ones. Is there any way to fix it? A: It’s common for variegated...

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Bagworms – Finding Pheromone Lures

Q: Can you tell me where to find pheromone lures for bagworms? Our Leyland cypresses are covered A: As with Japanese beetle traps, bagworm lures are more useful for monitoring a pest population than for controlling it. There will always...

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Bermuda Lawn – Good Lawn Mower

Q: I need to replace my reel mower but there are few available. Can a rotary mower be used on a Bermuda lawn? A: It all depends on how low you want to cut the grass. The recommended height for...

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Liming the Lawn – Prupose and When to do it

Q: What is the purpose of liming my lawn and when do I do it? A: The purpose of liming is to help your grass absorb fertilizer efficiently. Most GA soils are acid. In an acidic environment, plant roots don’t...

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Tomatoes – Preparing a Raised Bed

Q: Can you tell me how deep a raised bed should be for tomatoes? A: I think 10 inches of soft soil would make any vegetable happy. Personally, I use 6″ wide boards to line my beds. I pour a...

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Ladybugs – Where to Buy

Q: Any suggestions on where I can find ladybugs for sale? I want to stay away from chemicals as much as I can A: In general, buying and releasing ladybugs is not effective for controlling insects. They tend to disperse...

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Bermuda vs Zoysia – Which Will Win

Q: I live in a neighborhood where the front lawns are required to be Bermuda grass. One of my neighbors decided to replace his lawn with Zoysia without the homeowner associations’ approval. It looks fine and doesn’t seem to be...

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Vegetable Garden – Weed Cloths

Q: I need advice about using landscape weed cloth in a vegetable garden. I’m thinking of covering it with pine straw with a soaker hose underneath. A: It’s a great garden technique. The Plant a Row for the Hungry garden...

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Turf Fertilizer vs. Regular Fertilizer

Q: I have bermuda grass. What is turf fertilizer vs. regular fertilizer? A: Turf fertilizer is simply a product with a high first number: 28-3-8, 28-0-8, and 29-0-4 are common. Nitrogen (the first number) promotes leaf growth on a plant:...

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Weed Killer – Temperature Affecting Ability to Apply

Q: Enlighten me regarding the preferred temperature to apply weed killer to lawn grass. The label says it should not be applied if the temperature is 90 degrees or greater. Can it be applied in the morning, before the temperature...

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Alstromeria – Blooming

Q: I have some alstroemeria that are now blooming. Do they need to be deadheaded or just let the seed pods develop? A: You can let the seed pods develop if you like but the plant spreads most vigorously from...

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Teddy Bear Magnolia – How to Grow

Q: I recently purchased a Teddy Bear magnolia in a three gallon container. It’s gotten so hot, I wonder if I should keep it in the container or plant it. A: : I think there will be more stress on...

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Mowing the Lawn After Fertilization

Q: How many days should one wait to mow the lawn after fertilizing? A: Long enough to go inside to get a glass of water and then return to start the mower. No delay is...

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Growing English Walnuts

Q: Is it possible to grow English walnuts here? A: I think winter cold will be your enemy. English walnut can tolerate temperatures much below freezing but it will come out of winter dormancy following just a few warm days...

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Agapanthus

Q: We saw a distinct blue flower blooming all over Savannah. The stalk is about two feet tall and the blooms are a six-inch diameter ball. What is it? A: You saw agapanthus, a great summer bulb for the lower...

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