Gardening Q and A

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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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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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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Weigela – Blooming times

Q: We have Weigela and they blossom in the spring; but don’t continue into the fall as promised. They are supposed to attract humingbirds. A: Hmmmm…..who did the promising? In my experience, weigela blooms only once…in...

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