Gardening Q and A

Mexican Heather – Alternatives

Q: A couple of years ago I bought some Mexican heather and planted it in front of some shrubs. Although the tag said it was perennial, it died over the winter and never came back. I loved the shape and...

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Holly – Using soil amendment

Q: I recently planted several hollies. When I dug the holes I removed the old red clay dirt and backfilled the plants with cow manure and enriched garden soil. Now the plants are withering. I remember you saying some original...

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Fly – Control

Q: I was visiting my daughter and she pointed out that the west side of her house was covered with flies. She said it happens every year around this time. Is there a way to get rid of them? A:...

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Asparagus – Found In Wild, Edible?

Q: My husband and I noticed asparagus ferns growing along a fence row on our property. Is it safe to eat? Is there such a thing as wild asparagus A: My parents made a hobby of transplanting wild asparagus seedlings,...

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Tomato Plants – Plastic Mulch to Increase Yield

Q: Is it true that putting red plastic under tomato plants will increase yields by twenty percent? A: A great deal of research has been done on different color plastic mulches in the last decade. Scientists have tried red, blue,...

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Hydrangea – Damage Nearby Pipes

Q: I recently planted a hydrangea bush next to my house. When I was digging the hole I found a gas pipe and an irrigation pipe directly underneath. Do I need to worry about the roots damaging these lines as...

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Mushrooms – Growing

Q: I want to grow edible mushrooms but I don’t know where to buy the logs and supplies. Can you help? A: Mushrooms seem more mysterious than most garden plants but, in fact, raising them is not very hard. Different...

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Insecticide – Homemade Recipe

Q: Is it possible to make your own insecticidal soap spray? Can you provide a recipe? A: I once tried to make soap from lye and lard. The results ruined a boiler pot, melted the hair on my arm and...

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Puffball Mushroom – Identification

Q: I have found in my yard something which resembles a potato, but I think is some type of mushroom. It is embedded in the ground, round, light tan in color, and when crushed it has a black core. Do...

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Mowing – Mulching vs. Bagging

Q: Which is best – mulching or bagging? I used to be a firm believer in bagging but my son convinced me that mulching was the way to go. My main concern with mulching is the cutting and broadcasting of...

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Landscaper – Finding

Q: I am looking at doing a stone patio and wall in my backyard. Is there anyone you know that does quality work? A: The best way to find a good landscape construction company is to ask friends, and friends...

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Beech Tree – Leaves in Winter

Q: What is the small tree that has light brown leaves in winter? I can see several of them clearly in the woods near my house. A: I’ll bet you’re seeing American beech, Fagus grandifolia, trees. They are well-known to...

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Rose – Hips

Q: A friend was on a trip recently and saw these on the side of the road. We are at a loss as to what they are. A: Your friend saw the seedpods (hips) of a particular kind of rose:...

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Hairy Angelica

Q: Could you please tell me what this plant is? A: It looks like hairy angelica to me. See Hairy...

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Crabapple – Fruit Control

Q: Is there a product that will kill blooms on a crabapple tree and prevent fruit from growing? A: Fruit control on small trees is possible if you time it correctly. You can spray with ethepon (click for sources) at...

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Thermal Blue – Seed Sources

Q: Where can I find pure ‘Thermal Blue’ bluegrass seed. I would like to overseed my fescue lawn. A: ‘Thermal Blue’ is just one of the new heat tolerant bluegrasses introduced in the last year by Scotts Seed. Others include...

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Pampas Grass – Plumes with Disease

Q: My pampas has a fungal look on it that is keeping the plumes from opening up. I have had the same problem for a couple of years. I have drenched it with fungicide early in the growing season and...

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Mistletoe – Identification and Control

Q: I have a big clump of mistletoe at the top of one of my trees. I’ve heard there is something you can spread at the bottom of the tree that will kill the mistletoe but not hurt the tree....

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