Gardening Q and A

Sago Palm – Earth Salt

Q: A neighbor told me that a good fertilizer for a sago palm is something called “earth salt”. What is that material? A: I have no idea what “earth salt” is. Perhaps your neighbor meant Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Sago...

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Trees – Untangling Roots

Q: We purchased twenty five trees last weekend. Most of them were last year’s stock, so they are stuck in the pots with lots of tangled roots. How do we untangle and separate these tough roots? A: Use a strong...

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Carolina Jessamine – No Flowers

Q: I have Carolina jessamine that has filled in a lattice wall around my hot tub. It is growing great, but not a single flower this year. Do I prune in the spring with the assumption that flowers occur on...

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Weeping Willow – No Bark

Q: We have a two year old weeping willow with a trunk about two inches diameter. Deer rubbed all the bark off for a length of about two feet. It looks like a slick pole now. Will the bark grow...

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Horticulture Degree – Job Options

Q: Is there a school where I can study for a career in Garden Design/landscaping? I’m 37 years old and I don’t have a college degree but I’d like to be a foreman or designer or open my own contractor...

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Impatiens – Gathering Seeds

Q: I’ve got two beds of mixed impatiens and want to gather seed to sow next spring. Is there any particular method? A: Yes, you can snip off the swollen seed pods now and place them in an envelope for...

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Fescue – Wheat Straw

Q: I recently aerated my lawn, scattered some topsoil, overseeded with fescue and then covered the area with wheat straw. A neighbor told me that using wheat straw was a bad idea. Why? A: It is a common landscape practice...

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Young Trees – Roots Growing in Mulch

Q: To make the base of our young trees look pretty we decided to add fresh mulch, cutting a circle six feet in diameter and two inches deep around the mulch bed to make it look professional. To our surprise...

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Fescue – Last Call for Planting

Q: When is the absolute latest time to plant fescue seed in the fall? We have a Girl Scout outing in our backyard October 27th, so we really wouldn’t be able to plant until after that’s done. Any thoughts? A:...

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Blackberry Lily Seeds – When to Plant

Q: I have several blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis) seeds I harvested from my plants. I want to sow the seeds in containers to give to friends next spring. Is this the right time to plant them? A: Spring is a...

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Mulch – Reusing

Q: You suggest that we replace all mulch under roses. Can we reuse the old mulch elsewhere? We’ve got a ton of hardwood mulch under our roses and I can’t imagine throwing all that away. A: I like your recycling...

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Dwarf Fruit Trees – Winter Care

Q: I have three dwarf fruit trees: cherry, apricot, and nectarine, growing in large containers on my patio. They will be twelve feet high when mature. I would like to leave them outside for the winter but am concerned about...

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Flowers for Coastal Georgia

Q: : I have some property on the Georgia coast that I’m trying to market. It would look far better if it had some flowers growing on it. What can I plant now? A: Roger Ditmer, director of horticulture at...

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Grape Tomato Vine – 14+ Feet Tall

Q: My grape tomato vine is fourteen-plus feet tall. Is this normal? I’m risking my life to climb on the roof where I have attached them to pick the ones at the top. A: Now you know what an “indeterminate”...

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Alberta Spruce – Dying

Q: I have had a dwarf Alberta spruce in a large pot for two years. Now it is showing signs of dying, one branch at a time. It appears that it isn’t getting enough water but that isn’t the case....

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Blueberries – Caterpillars

Q: Some large, fuzzy, black caterpillars with yellow stripes are devouring the leaves of my blueberries. Should steps be taken to eliminate them? A: You are seeing yellow neck caterpillars. Notice how they lift their front and hind quarters to...

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Leyland Cypress – Pruning

Q: I would like to prune some Leyland cypress trees standing next to our house. Shall I do the sides as well as the top to restrain it from growing A: You can’t restrain it from growing, but Norm Mittleider,...

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Best Plants for Shade

Q: Which does better in shade, plants that have solid colored leaves or those that are variegated, hosta for instance? A: Solid green plants are typically stronger because their green leaves can photosynthesize more readily. In the case of hosta,...

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