Gardening Q and A

Shrubs and Trees – Applying Horticultural Oil

Q: Is it a good practice to apply horticultural oil on shrubs and trees when they are dormant in order to prevent bugs this spring? A: Yes, applying plant-safe oil is a great way to kill insects in winter. At...

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Tree Chips – Covering Land

Q: During recent flooding in my back yard many tree roots were exposed. I’m having some trees removed and the contractor will leave the chips on my site. Any thoughts on how thick to spread them? A: This is a...

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‘Pink Princess’ Escallonia – Fixing the Brown

Q: I planted ‘Pink Princess’ escallonia in early fall. They are all brown. What should I do? A: My bet is that they froze in January. Escallonia is a beautiful flowering shrub but it is winter-hardy only where oleander grows:...

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Ornamental Grass – Privacy Wall

Q: I want to use ornamental grass in pots to provide privacy around our deck. What might you suggest? A: I could easily see using fountain grass, Pennisetum (several species) or maiden grass, Miscanthus sinensis (several varieties) in eighteen-inch wide...

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Poinsettia Seeds – Where to Buy

Q: Do you have any recommendations of where I could find poinsettia seeds.? A: Poinsettias have been hybridized for so many years that the ones you buy at a nursery rarely set seed. Poinsettia growers buy cuttings from large greenhouses...

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Avocado Seed – How to Move From Water to Soil

Q: I have an avocado seed in water with several roots on it. I’d like to plant it in a pot. Should I bury the seed completely? A: Lift the plant from the water and get a helper to hold...

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‘Natchez’ Crapemyrtles

Q: We have several ‘Natchez’ crapemyrtles and want to plant a red one between the white ones.What crapemyrtle blooms red at same time or close to ‘Natchez’? A: ‘Dynamite’ has a terrific red flower color and is a tree-form crapemyrtle,...

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Potato – How to Grow a Heart Shaped Potato

Q: I received a Valentine card which had a photo of a heart-shaped potato on the cover. I’ve found pictures of similar potatoes on the Internet. What causes potatoes to grow this way? A: White potatoes arise at the end...

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Grafting A Peach Branch to an Apple Tree

Q: Is it possible to graft a peach branch to an apple tree? A: Grafting a peach to an apple won’t work. An apple is in the genus Malus, while a peach belongs to genus Prunus. The two are both...

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Cutting Trees Down

Q: I have a large backyard with a creek that merges into the Chattahoochee. It is full of large and small trees. I would like to cut down all the trees to make it usable for my daughters. Can I...

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Weed Control – Effectiveness of Salt

Q: What is your opinion about using salt for weed control under my birdfeeder? A: As a rule, I don’t recommend using salt for weed control. The sodium part of the salt molecule makes clay soil harder plus it dissolves...

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Dogwood Tree – Change in Bloom Colors

Q: I have a fifteen-year-old dogwood tree that has always had white blooms. This year it has produced pink ones. Why is this? A: It’s not terribly unusual for a white-flowering dogwood to pop out a limb that has pink...

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Pressurized Cans of Pesticide – How to Get Rid of Them

Q: I have several pressurized spray cans of pesticides. How do I get rid of them? A: Pesticide expert Paul Guillebeau says if the sprays can be used, you could give them to a neighbor who needs them. Alternatively, check...

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Compost Piles – Controlling Pests

Q: I like to compost but when I leave anything on the pile, roaches come to the feast. How do you control the varmints? A: Despite the “ick” factor, roaches are a natural part of the composting process. They chew...

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Spring Bulbs – When to fertilize

Q: When is the time to fertilize spring bulbs like daffodils and hyacinths? A: One of the adages of garden fertilizing is to feed plants when the leaves are growing. When the leaves of spring bulbs poke out of the...

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Windmill Palm – Pods on the Trunk

Q: My windmill palm is blooming, with pods growing from the top of the trunk. Is it a good idea to remove them so the tree isn’t putting all its energy into flowering? A: You are correct, removing the seed...

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Rustic Arbor – How to Protect Pine Wood

Q: My wife has decided that I want to build a rustic arbor. I did not know I wanted to do this but I cut several skinny pine trees and used my grandfather’s draw knife to remove the bark ....

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Soil Preparation – 10-10-10

Q: In preparing the soil for a garden, my yard worker put 40 pounds of 10-10-10 on my little patch of 100 square feet. The recommended rate is1 pound per 100 sq. ft. What do you suggest I do? A:...

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