Gardening Q and A

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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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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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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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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Algae – Control in Lawn

Q: Over the years, with tree growth and much more shade, our bermudagrass has thinned out terribly. Where the soil is bare, in places where water accumulates, there is a black cast to the soil. After things had a chance...

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Piedmont Azalea – Characteristics

Q: We have a tree, growing in wooded areas but mostly found along the banks of a small stream which runs into Lake Oconee. It flowered about the same time as the dogwood and just in the last week has...

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Boxwood – ForTopiaries

Q: My boyfriend & I are planning on buying some shrubs to plant in urns for the front door. We were looking into buying boxwood because we wanted to shape them into topiaries. A: ‘Green Mountain’ boxwood makes a nice...

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Owls – Identifying by sound

Q: I want to see if you can identify this bird noise. He (or she) is usually out at night. It will be hard to describe the sound in words but it sounds like “tisk, wow, wow”. I can never...

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Lichens – On Azalea

Q: I’m having a problem with my azaleas. They seem to have lichens on the trunk. I cut them back as much as possible, fertilized and sprayed with liquid Sevin but they don’t seem to be getting any better. I...

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