Gardening Q and A

Patchouli Plant – Protecting in the Winter

Q: I am attempting to over-winter a patchouli plant indoors. Last summer it was a huge, gorgeous outdoor plant. I’ve moved it inside to a window where it gets pretty good light but the leaves continue to turn yellow. A:...

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Bluegrass – How to Slow it Down

Q: I know I should have put out my winter pre emergent by September 15 but I didn’t get around to it. Is there anything I can do to slow down the annual bluegrass that shows up in spring? A:...

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English Ivy – Itching

Q: Recently I pulled vines from a pine tree and later developed itching and dryness between fingers. Two weeks later, I pulled out English ivy and experienced the same reaction. Any thoughts? A: It turns out that both English ivy,...

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Pine Tree – Burning in a Fireplace

Q: My tree surgeon said pine was OK to burn in a fireplace. He said if it dries for a year in hot sun it will be fine. A: He’s right. It is a misconception that pine wood forms more...

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Bird Nests – Keep or Throw Away

Q: I have 4 ferns hanging on my front porch that all have bird’s nests in them. When the ferns die and get thrown away what can I do with the bird’s nests? A: It’s not legal to possess bird...

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Mulch – Grass Clippings with Weed Killer on Them

Q: I have been told not to use grass clippings sprayed with weed killer to mulch around plants. Can I use them after they sit in a compost pile? A: Some plants, particularly tomatoes and young flower sprouts, are extremely...

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Ficus Tree – Ants in the Dirt

Q: I have a ficus tree in my office that is doing very well. When I watered it I noticed a gazillion ants in the dirt. Will this hurt the ficus? A: The ants may be finding aphids or mealybugs...

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Gladiolus – Store or Replant

Q: If I dig up my gladiolus now should I store them until spring or re-plant immediately. A: Gladiolus corms (bulbs) are usually winter-hardy if left in the ground but it’s a good idea to dig them up every couple...

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Mexican Petunia – Pruning

Q: My Mexican petunia is huge and needs to be cut back for the winter. Do I cut it flat to the ground? A: Yes, ruellia will freeze to the ground naturally after the first frost. You can clip stems...

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Private Pesticide Applicator Training Classes

Q: I am looking for the schedule for private pesticide applicator training. Where can I take it? A: By law, a homeowner desiring to buy or apply restricted use pesticides on their own property must take a pesticide applicator training...

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Moist Soil – How to Determine if Soil is ‘Moist Enough’

Q: I can’t find a definition for what moist soil is. When I see a plant description that says it requires moist soil, what exactly does that mean? A: “Moist soil” is as undefinable as “It’s too cold in this...

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Cannas – Transplanting

Q: I have cannas near my window that are tall and unsightly. Can I transplant them now without harming their blooming next summer? A: October is a great time to dig and transplant canna roots. Cut off the stalks at...

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Moss – How to Grow

Q: We recently put in a koi pond and want to grow moss on some of the stones. If you pour milk on the rocks, will moss grow? A: Some folks have reported success at growing moss on stones by...

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Roots – How to Kill

Q: I recently had two trees cut down because their roots passed beneath my sidewalk. The stumps and roots remain. I’m concerned that the roots will continue to grow. How can I kill them? A: Some trees, like oak and...

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Poet’s Laurel – Growing Successfully in Georgia

Q: I recently read about Poet’s Laurel. Can you grow it in Atlanta successfully? The area of our yard I was thinking of gets full sun about 90% of the day. A: Poet’s laurel, Danae racemosa, is a slow-growing evergreen...

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Centipede Grass – Okay to Spray on Roundup?

Q: Since my centipede grass is dormant now, can I spray Roundup on the broadleaf weeds that are doing quite well? A: Though your centipedegrass lawn may look brown, that doesn’t mean the individual plants are dormant. I checked my...

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Lawn Fungus – How to Prevent

Q: What is an appropriate product and application schedule for preventing fungus in my lawn for the coming year? Last year brown patch was a particular problem. A: Lawn fungus problems are best addressed by correcting your lawn management practices,...

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Staghorn Fern – How to Re-pot

Q: A friend of mine wants to know how to repot their large staghorn fern. A: A staghorn fern is composed of several rounded brown shield fronds and even more green “staghorn” fronds. Before dividing a plant, soak it thoroughly...

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