Gardening Q and A

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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Leyland Cypress – Fertilizing

Q: I have twenty Leyland cypress, twelve feet tall. When do I fertilize and what do I use? A: The first question to ask is if the Leylands actually need fertilizing. Do you want them to grow much over twelve...

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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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Vegetable Garden – Making it Work in Heat

Q: I’m unable to have a backyard garden due to all the wildlife. This year I want to grow vegetables on my deck. However, the site gets extremely hot in the afternoon/evening sun. Do you have suggestions on how to...

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Vegetables – Recommended Fertilizer

Q: I am growing vegetables in small raised bed. I want to mix blood meal with water to fertilize them. My Miracle-Gro Blood Meal label states “This product contains 12% Water Insoluble Nitrogen.” Is there another liquid organic fertilizer you...

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Dogwood Blossoms

Q: Why do dogwoods in Florida only have white blossoms and no pink blossoms like some do here in Georgia? Is it the temperature or soil or something else? A: My friend Tom Wichman, Florida Master Gardener Coordinator, says they...

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Used Nursery Pots – Recycling

Q: Are you aware of a nursery or recycling center that will take used nursery pots? A: Most plastic pots are made of recyclable plastic, either high density polypropylene (Code 2) or polyethylene (Code 5). If they have the triangular...

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Vegetable Garden – Treated Lumber

Q: My husband recently built me a vegetable garden planter out of pressure treated lumber. A friend said that it emits poisonous chemicals. Is this true? A: Lumber was formerly treated with chromated copper arsonate (CCA) and health concerns were...

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Macho Ferns – Proper Care

Q: I bought some Macho patio ferns at a grocery store. It seems that they may be kin to Boston fern? How do I care for them? A: ‘Macho’ fern, Nephrolepis biserrata is also called Giant Sword Fern. It is...

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Tomato – Egg Shell Fertilizer

Q: I would like to plant some tomato plants. Would egg shells be a good fertilizer? A: Egg shells contain calcium, which tomatoes need in moderate amounts. Crush them into small granules so they dissolve in the soil more quickly....

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Kiwi Vines – Where and How to Plant

Q: I am a unsure of where and how to plant kiwi vines. A: Kiwi vines are not reliably hardy in Atlanta but since you are right on the Fall Line I think they would likely prosper for you. You’ll...

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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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