Gardening Q and A

Herbs – Cutting Back

Q: I’ve heard I should cut my herbs back, before they set seeds, but there are so many bees in the flowers. I hate to take away the attraction. Is there a happy medium? A: Herbs such as mint, oregano,...

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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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Eggplants – No Fruit

Q: My eggplants have blooms but no fruit. Do I need to sing a song while pollinating them, like you recommend singing Sinatra to squash when transferring pollen? A: Gently tap the flowers twice each day with a pencil to...

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Ornamental Grass – When to Plant

Q: I know the best time to plant trees and shrubs is mid-fall. But when is the best time to plant ornamental grasses? A: In contrast to woody plants and perennial flowers, ornamental grasses do best when planted in spring...

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Bronze Beauty Cleyera – Fertilizing

Q: In April I planted ten Bronze Beauty cleyera. They get mostly shade. Is there any type of fertilizer to help them grow faster? A: Sunshine and a healthy root system make plants grow faster. If these are lacking, no...

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Potato Plants – Bunches of Cherry Tomatoes

Q: My potato plants have little bunches of green cherry tomatoes at the top and potatoes in the ground. Are they really tomatoes? A: They’re not tomatoes, just the seed pods of your potatoes. Tomatoes and potatoes belong to the...

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Mulch – Types for Garden Plantings

Q: What type of mulch do you prefer for garden plantings? A: I alternate between pine straw for shrubs and trees and mini-sized bark chips for perennials and annuals. I use wheat straw around vegetables to promote beneficial insects. I...

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Peanuts – Storing For Planting

Q: I have some green peanuts that I would like to save to plant next spring. Should I freeze them or just dry them out and store them in a dry cool place? A: Dry the peanuts in the shell...

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Okra -Edible with Bumps on Pods

Q: Our okra has done great but within the last week it has gotten white bumps on the pods. Is it edible or not? A: The bumps are “stings” from stinkbug feeding. Stinkbugs insert their hollow mouthpart into the okra...

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Squirrels – Getting them Off of the Deck

Q: Squirrels are eating our deck boards and gnawing on the HardiePlank siding. What can we do to stop this? A: When I was three, my mother applied a bitter liquid to my thumbs to remind me not to suck...

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Lantana – Leaves Browning

Q: We planted lots of yellow lantana atop a retaining wall. The plants were full of blooms but now lots of leaves are turning a grayish brown and crispy. The leaves look peppered on the underside. A: You have an...

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Bermuda Grass – Green Again Soon After Killing Caterpillars

Q: Two days after realizing my bermuda lawn had army worms it was brown. We killed the caterpillars but the grass is still not green. Will the grass recover this year? A: If the bermudagrass was reasonably healthy, it will...

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Mondo Grass – Expediting Growth

Q: I have a very large area of mondo grass I planted control erosion. It has not filled in very fast. Is there anything I can do to expedite growth? A: As with lawn grass, regular fertilization will speed growth....

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Making Potting Soil

Q: I enjoyed your recent TV program on making potting soil. I found it disheartening that the ingredients came from far away: peat from Canada, perlite from Greece, etc. Are there other ways to make potting soil with materials close...

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Houseplants – Animal Safe Ant Remover

Q: I want to move my houseplants back inside for the fall without ants in the soil. Is there anything that won’t hurt cats? A: Ant baits are effective. Some come in easy-to-apply syringes while others are simple bait stations....

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