Gardening Q and A

Animals – Keeping out of garden

Q: How can I keep neighborhood animals from sleeping among my plants (i.e., red hot pokers, shasta daisies) and flattening them? A: I saw a magazine article recently where a person described cutting her surplus coathangers into “hairpins” with a...

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Royal Paulownia (Empress Tree) – Carving

Q: You talked about a weed tree from China, a Royal (something). I would like to know the spelling of that weed or tree. I am a woodturner and will have access to a large piece (about 2 feet in...

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Perimeter College Native Plant Garden

Q: I have not been able to find the link to the Perimeter College Native Plant Garden on your website. Could you please provide information on their Wednesday programs? A: Theresa Schrum replies: “The web site with more information on...

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Squash Bugs – Control

Q: Do you have any suggestions for controlling squash bugs, not squash vine borers, on yellow squash? A: Adult squash bugs are a bit more than a half-inch long and a quarter-inch wide. They are dark brown, sometimes mottled with...

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Turfgrass – Watering

Q: My lawn maintenance guy and I have a difference of opinion. Turf experts recommend an inch of water per week, applied every seven days. My yard guy says that since the subsoil is so hard-packed six inches below my...

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English Ivy – Dying

Q: I have an ongoing issue with my ivy. I have lost more than 1/2 of the ivy in the front yard. We are very frustrated and would like to keep the ivy rather than replace it with something different....

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‘Mission’ Fig – Growing in Georgia

Q: I saw black ‘Mission’ fig trees at a nursery a couple of weeks ago and started dreaming of plucking figs from my own tree and cooking with them. But I wondered if they’d grow well in Georgia. In the...

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Dahlias – Check for Firmness

Q: Time got away from me and I left my dahlias in the ground. Last year some came up from the preceding year, but they weren’t as pretty. Is it best to dig them up and throw them away? A:...

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Plums – Growing from Seed

Q: I have an ornamental plum that has red-purple leaves (spade shaped with small serrated edges). This first year it produced about a dozen plums about 1″ in length. I was wondering how does one grow more trees from the...

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Holly – Pruning

Q: We have 4 holly bushes. They have gotten out of hand and look more like trees and cover the windows. Please tell me the proper way to prune A: Theresa Schrum replies: “There really is no wrong way to...

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Butterfly – Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Q: I spotted this gorgeous butterfly in our back yard in June. Its wing span was nearly the size of my hand. Some of the black round spots on the wings were actually bulging, not flat. Is it unusual? A:...

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Holly – Removing

Q: I recently purchased a home with several large overgrown holly bushes along the walkway. I would like to remove them and replace with something less hazardous to one’s body when walking by. Recently I pruned the largest one back...

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Compost – Using Fertilizer

Q: In attempting to make compost, I have no difficulty in rounding up plenty of brown material such as dried leaves and wood chips but I can’t seem to find enough green material to make up a 2:1 green:brown ratio....

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Insecticide – Eating Fruit after Use

Q: I am in a dilemma! Recently we put a product containing the systemic insecticide imidacloprid around some blueberry bushes and figs. Will we be able to eat the fruit from these plants this year? A: My research reveals that...

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Bermudagrass – Removing Thatch

Q: We have a bermudagrass lawn. The thatch is terribly thick. My husband doesn’t use a bag with the lawn mower, so the thatch has built up. Could a professional company dethatch our lawn? A: Thatch is a layer of...

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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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Persimmon (young tree) – Identification

Q: My daughter lives near Washington DC. Her new home has this tree in the back yard. It has just sprouted little bell-shaped flowers. Her husband thinks I might be a fruit tree. A: Her husband is right! My genius...

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