Gardening Q and A

Venus Flytrap – Care

Q: I bought a small Venus flytrap recently and have become interested in learning how to care for them. Do you know of any garden centers or other places where I can learn about caring for these interesting plants? A:...

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Playing-Field Care – Resource

Q: Can you give me a good resource on caring for sports turf? Our football and soccer fields need an “extreme makeover.” A: As the father of a soccer-playing son, I see wide variations in field conditions. Some are pristine...

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Pampas Grass – Attracts Snakes?

Q: I live near a small creek and am thinking about planting pampas grass along it. I was told, however, that pampas grass draws rats. Is this true? A: Whenever you have a pest problem, your first question should be...

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Juniper – Shade?

Q: A row of ‘Bradford’ pears once provided shade halfway down a bank on which juniper was planted. Now the pears have been reduced in size. The juniper roots start high up the bank but the foliage doesn’t appear until...

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Fertilizer – Storage

Q: How long can fertilizer be stored before it loses its effectiveness? A: One of my jobs as a child was to put chunks of old fertilizer on a sheet of roofing tin so my father could run over it...

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Mulch – Composting

Q: I had some tree stumps ground up and have a lot of mulch. How can I make this into compost at an accelerated rate? A: The key is to regularly feed the fungi and bacteria which break down the...

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“Weed and Feed” – Okay on Flowers?

Q: Can you use “weed and feed” on flowers? I have applied it on some of mine. Are they going to die? A: It depends on which kind of “weed and feed” you used. Some products contain fertilizer plus a...

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St. Augustine Grass – Acidic Soil

Q: I have had St. Augustine grass for many years. Someone once told me to never apply lime to it. However, I see on your website that in some instances it is advisable. Can you confirm? A: Lawn grasses, including...

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Horsetail – Control

Q: I want you to discuss horsetail. I bought some at a garden shop several years ago and made the mistake of planting in the open ground. No one warned me that it is invasive. I’ll never make that mistake...

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Limes – No Seeds?

Q: Why do limes not have seeds? I assume they’re propagated the same way lemons are, but I’ve had a fresh lime every day for the last two years and have yet to see a seed. A: It’s because the...

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Deer – Keeping Out Of Beds

Q: I want to have a huge raised bed vegetable garden this year but I wonder about deer in the woods behind us. Can I put a chicken wire fence around the plot to keep the critters out? How high...

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Primroses – When To Plant

Q: My sweetie gave me beautiful blooming primroses for Valentine’s Day. What do I do with them? Do I plant them outside now or keep them inside until spring? A: The bright colors of primrose are eye-catching in nurseries and...

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Plum Trees – Planted On Septic Drain Field

Q: I’ve just found out our plum trees may be planted in a septic system drain field. Will the plums still be safe to eat? A: I don’t think there’s any way that water absorbed by the plum roots could...

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Soil – Reusing From Container

Q: I have many containers on my deck. I have recently read that you should dispose of last season’s soil and sterilize the pots before planting for a new season. Is that really necessary? Some of my pots are huge!...

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Mulch – Part of Planting Depth

Q: Various seeds and bulbs require being planted at a certain depth; when you plant at a specific depth, does the addition of mulch add to the depth? Or should the gardener consider the layer of mulch “as part of”...

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Herbicides – Vinegar and Water

Q: A year and a half ago I had a yard man dig up the old shrubs around my house and plant new ones. He assured me that no weeds would come back, but the newly landscaped area is full...

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Ferns – Information

Q: Could you recommend some books on ferns? I am very interested in using as many different kinds as possible. I live near a garden which is growing peacock fern. I would love some information on growing it in my...

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Ponytail Palm – Propagating

Q: I have a ponytail palm that has a couple of “pups” at the bottom. There’s one on the bulb and one shooting off of the main stem of the plant. How do I propagate these into new plants? A:...

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