Gardening Q and A

Pine Straw – Origins

Q: Having relocated from the Pacific Northwest, we had never seen pine straw used in landscaping. Where does it come from and how is it harvested? What are the benefits, if any, over “beauty bark” which is popular back home?...

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Huckleberry – Identification and Growing

Q: When I was growing up, my mother used to make huckleberry jam. The taste was quite different from blueberries. She was from East Tennessee, but I don’t remember if she gathered the huckleberries there or in Georgia. Do you...

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Carpetweed- Identification

Q: I have a problem with a weed that I can’t seem to get rid of. My friends call it carpetweed. Do you know this weed and if so what is the best way to get rid of it? A:...

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Bougainvillea – Winter Hardiness

Q: My wife and I bought a bougainvillea at a recent flower show. Is possible to plant bougainvillea in the ground? Will it come back next year? A: Bougainvillea definitely won’t live outdoors in the winter in Atlanta. You have...

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Aucuba – Identifying Seed

Q: Last year I bought a bunch of aucuba plants. In with them was a plant a lot like the rest but with a different leaf. The leaf is seven inches long and two inches wide and is a dark...

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Mulch – Pine Straw vs. Nuggets

Q: Which do you recommend: pine straw mulch or pine mini-nuggets for putting around plants. I know mulch serves two purposes: appearance and retaining water. A: I think it’s more your judgement of appearance than anything else. Some people like...

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Joseph’s Coat – Care

Q: Can you identify this small plant for me? I purchased it last spring. There was no information tag attached. All the garden center could tell me was that it’s a good border plant. It’s now 18″ wide and 10″...

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Citrus Plants – Protecting from Cold

Q: I am buying several citrus plants from a grower in South Carolina. He has recommended the best citrus trees for my 7b hardiness zone, including ‘Changsha’ mandarin orange, bitter lemon and pummelo. He says they need a “protected” 7b...

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Forsythia – Crown Gall

Q: As I inspected my forsythia recently, I saw several odd-looking knots on stems that had few flowers. Can you tell me what this is? A: Crown gall is caused by a bacteria. It induces the host plant to produce...

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Hydrangea – Identification and Pruning

Q: I have hydrangeas on some new property. I would like to prune them but am unsure which hydrangeas I have, and therefore when to prune them. How do I tell them apart? A: In my garden, the color and...

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Granny Smith Apple – Determining Ripeness

Q: I have a producing ‘Granny Smith’ apple tree. This year I have a lot of apples on the tree and want to know when I am supposed to pick them. A: Since Granny Smith is a green apple, it’s...

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Fescue – Summer Swoon (Dieback)

Q: What are the physiological processes involved when fescue thins out during the summer in the heat and humidity in Atlanta? A: Turf expert Clint Waltz calls it “summer swoon of fescue”. Thinning is a survival mechanism caused by water...

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Chicory – Identifying

Q: In April I brought a plant to Pikes and they said it was a chicory. It came in a wildflower packet of seeds about 3 years ago. It was about an 8 inch clump, about 6-8 inches tall. They...

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Hydrangeas – Frost Damage

Q: I planted 9 ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangeas in March in an area on the North side of the house that receives almost no sun. The soil had a lot of clay so I amended with peat moss, composted manure and sand....

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Piedmont Azalea – Description

Q: I have a bush/shrub that I need to identify-I have been told it is a wild azalea. It has woody stalks, very similar to the 4 different varieties of azalea in my yard, but it sheds it’s leaves in...

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Climbing Rose- Encouraging Blooms

Q: Two years ago we planted Queen Elizabeth climbing roses against trellises at our back fence. I had envisioned the foliage disguising the board fence. What I got was bare branches to the top of the fence and then a...

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Rose Bush – Butterfly/China Rose

Q: Last year Theresa mentioned a rose bush call “China Rose” as a nice bush rose. It is suppose to bloom all summer and change colors. I have not been able to find this rose. Is there another name for...

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Spittlebug – Adults

Q: I have some bugs throughout my perennials and roses. It is a half-inch long, chocolate brown, with a couple of slim orange lines across the top of its body. What is it? A: Undoubtedly it’s the adult form of...

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