Gardening Q and A

Sweetshrub – Identification

Q: There is a wooded area behind our house which has an apparently native blooming shrub. It has odd-looking red blossoms. It also seems to spread easily and I’m wondering how to get it under control. A: Your plant is...

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Garlic – Identification

Q: My sister-in-law recently gave me some iris from her yard. Coming up with the iris is a strange plant I don’t recognize. I’m thinking it may be just a weed, but am not sure at all. A: Break out...

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GG Gerbing azalea – Sport

Q: I have three large-leaved azaleas in my garden. The other day, I noticed two perfect lavender-colored (Formosa)blossoms on an otherwise all-white (G.G. Gerbing) plant. How unusual is this? A: It’s not unusual if you understand the origin of ‘Mrs....

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Hydrangeas – Coloring With Epsom Salt

Q: I’ve been thinking about the notion of applying Epsom salts to hydrangeas to enhance the blue color. Since I have an old box of Epsom salts, I would like to try this, but the word “salt” sent up a...

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Oak Sower Gall

Q: We found a fuzzy, gall-like thing on an oak at Cochran Mill Nature Center. It was white with brownish-red spots. Upon breaking it open, it has seeds inside and appears to have pierced the bark of the tree branch...

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Bridge – Building at Home

Q: I am making a small wood bridge to go over a creek. Is there a book that you know of that tells how to build a bridge? A: Here are some ideas off the Web: Petes Bridge Garden Bridge...

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Gall Insect – on Turfgrass

Q: I’ve found what looks like little cotton balls in my turf. The mass is the same size as spittlebugs but the material is like cotton. Does not appear to be damaging the turf. Any ideas? A: Extension agent Todd...

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Willow Leaf Beetle – Identification

Q: Little black bugs are eating the leaves off my corkscrew willow. What can I use to get rid of them? A: Willow leaf beetles are having a feast at your expense! They do great damage to the leaves but...

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Confederate Rose – Rooting

Q: I have a six-foot high Confederate Rose. What is the best way to propagate this plant? Can it be rooted ? A: Propagating a Confederate rose is easy. You can do it by seeds or cuttings. After the flowers...

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Hollyhock

Q: I bought a hollyhock plant last spring in Tennessee. It did nothing last year but profusely put out leaves. This spring it has grown enormously and has this weird looking thing on the end of the stalk. Is this...

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Chicken Manure – Spreading too Much

Q: I spread chicken manure on my vegatable garden area in the spring. I think I got too large a concentration in a few areas because plants are dying. Is there anything I can do to neutralize the effect of...

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Native Plants – Neighborhood Covenants

Q: This may seem like a ridiculous question, but the covenants for my subdivision require plant material “native to the southeastern U.S.”. What qualifies as “native”? The contract also refers to “natural” landscape material. Would you consider “pea gravel” a...

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Meyer Lemon Tree – Hardiness

Q: I recently purchased a beautiful Hybrid Meyer Lemon tree. The accompanying tag said it was hardy to minus 20 degrees. I don’t think that it has ever been that cold here so I planted it outside. Can I believe...

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Birds – Harmful Ingredients in Peanut Butter Suet

Q: You talk about making a suet mixture for birds. My concern is with the Crisco, lard, & peanut butter, that you use. Would you research the ingredients in these products? The main one I’m concerned about is Propylene glycol....

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Peppers – Determining Ripeness

Q: I have a quick question about determining if Tabasco peppers are ripe, when they can be picked and if they need to be red to eat. What I want to know is if they are good for pickling and...

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Resurrection fern – Transplanting pieces

Q: I am fascinated by resurrection ferns and happened to cut a 10 inch diameter branch, 12 feet long, off of a dead oak covered in resurrection ferns and get it into my native plant garden. I had to lift...

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Termites – Comparing Treatment Options

Q: Regarding liquid soil treatment vs. a monitoring system for termites, I prefer using as few chemicals as possible, yet want my house to stay in one, uneaten piece. What is your opinion of the two options? A: Both baiting...

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Soil Amendment – Crushed Granite

Q: I am looking for a source for crushed granite M3 or M3 screened. Could you please point me in the right direction? I am in the Stone Mtn. vicinity. A: Vulcan Materials 770-458-4481 has several plants around Atlanta. If...

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