Gardening Q and A

Fig – Poorly Pruned

Q: This fig tree belongs to my neighbor, but he is now giving me free reign to care for it. Several years ago there was such a bumper crop that I picked over a bushel of figs. Three years ago...

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Fruit – Definition of

Q: My sister home schools her nine year-old and in one of his books it states that the banana is a berry. Can you please tell me if this is a fact? A: Oddly enough, bananas ARE berries. A berry...

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Pansy – Nitrate Nitrgen

Q: I have read repeatedly your advice to use a fertilizer that contains “nitrate nitrogen”. I have read and read labels, but cannot find such a product. Could you please send me a brand name or names? A: Products containing...

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Carpenter Bee – Repelling

Q: I had carpenter bees boring in my deck last year and now they are back again. Is there any way to keep them away? A: The best you can do is to reduce the local population each year. Although...

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Stinkhorn – Caged-type

Q: I recently visited my father in south Georgia (Seminole County), and was curious about a mushroom or fungus that was growing in his yard. It looks as if it’s from another planet! I did notice that there were several...

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Henbit – Identification

Q: I thought this was henbit but the leaves are furry purple/magenta besides being green. Do you know what this sort of invasive plant is? A: No question here…it’s henbit! This broadleafed weed sprouts in October and becomes rampant in...

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Mahonia – Identification

Q: We found a couple of these growing under the pines on our property. Any idea what it might be or how it could have gotten there? One is about five feet tall. A: When I was ten I found...

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Begonia – Beefsteak

Q: My Mother passed away last year and she had a plant which I now have. I have tried every source to try to identify it and have been unsuccessful. I hope that you may be of some help. A:...

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Birch – Badly Pruned

Q: I had my river birch pruned by a man who said he knew how to do the job. I just wanted it shaped and pruned in a normal manner. The tree now has only three main trunks, that’s it....

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Termites – Attracted to Wood Chips?

Q: I have a drop-off of more than twelve inches at the edge of my patio. I want to fill the area with several inches of soil and cover it with pine bark chips. Will the bark chips attract termites...

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Dowsers – Locating

Q: We own approximately an acre of land, all of it landscaped. I would love having a well dug in order to save money on watering. How does one contact a dowser? I know they exist and they would be...

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Hummingbird Moth (Hawkmoth) – Pupa

Q: We found this laying in our garden right where we had pulled out some red tip photinias. Can you tell us what this is? Is it alive or dead? A: This is the pupal case of a sphinx moth....

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Oak – Crown Gall

Q: What in the world is this on our tree? It’s been there for as long as I can remember – since before 1990. It grows a little each year. The tree seems unaffected. If it is a burl, how...

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Amaryllis – Fall Care

Q: I have an amaryllis in a large pot with potting soil. How should I care for it? A: You can keep the amaryllis in a pot if you like but it probably will not bloom again, particularly if you...

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Schefflera – Aphids

Q: I have a dwarf umbrella tree, Schefflera arboricola ‘Gold Capella’. I had it on my screened porch last summer and brought it inside in the fall. After bringing it inside, I noticed sticky areas on the top of some...

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Ginger lily

Q: I received a clump of ginger lily which I planted like an iris. There isn’t any foliage in winter. Is it dead or just dormant? A: Ginger lily (Curcuma and Hedychium species) is usually hardy in Atlanta, although a...

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Japanese Maple – Local Sources

Q: I’d like to plant a dwarf Japanese maple in my front yard. Are there any local vendors who carry a selection of Japanese maples? A:...

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Squirrels – Repelling with Hot Pepper

Q: I need information about putting red pepper on birdseed. Does this work to repel squirrels and, if so, how much should I use? I hate to quit feeding the birds, but I can’t afford to fill my feeder every...

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