Gardening Q and A

Crabapple tree – Lifespan

Q: I have a crabapple that is not doing very well. I would guess it is about 35 years old. Do you know what the average life span is for a crabapple? A: All trees (like humans) have a natural...

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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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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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Tomato – Using Blossom Set Spray

Q: Would you recommend the use of a “blossom set” product on tomato plants? Are there any problems with trying to take over a bee’s job? I just want the best tomatoes I can get. A: Blossom setting sprays contain...

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Crabapple Tree – Sucker control

Q: We have two ‘Sugar Tyme’ crabapple trees in our backyard. We love the trees and the small fruits that they produce for the birds, but the suckers are driving us crazy! Is there anything we can do to slow...

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Salt-tolerant Plants

Q: We just bought a house on the beach and we’ve been told that most regular plants will not grow there due to the high salt content of the air and soil. We need to put in grass and shrubs...

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Pine Tree – Reviving after Lightning strike

Q: A 70 foot pine tree right next to my house was hit by lightning. It blew the bark off in a line 1-2 inches wide from the top of the tree all the way down, including disrupting the dirt...

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Passion Vine – Identifying

Q: In summer where I grew up there were wild vines that bloomed similar to passion vine. They produced a globe-shaped fruit. As kids, we’d throw the ripe fruits at each other like bombs. My mother told us the fruits...

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‘Windsor’ Dark Cherry Tree – Bacterial Canker

Q: In February this year we planted a ‘Windsor’ dark sweet cherry tree in an orchard with other fruit. The tree looked healthy until a month ago when one of its branches turned brown, proceeded to black and died. Now...

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Steep Slope – Controlling Erosion

Q: My sister has purchased a house with a steep drop off from the road to her home. It is eroding badly. Terraces are essentially out of the question for this area, since it is very steep. What groundcovers, shrubs,...

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Mediterranean Heather – Care

Q: I’ve been growing three Mediterranean heather bushes since the tornado in 1998. They have outgrown their space so I need to know about moving and caring for them. A: Two plants are called Mediterranean heather: Erica carnea , which...

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Hammock – Damaging Tree Bark with Chain

Q: A couple of weeks ago, a reader wanted a way to hang a hammock from her trees without harming them. We hang a hammock, with no invasion to our trees, using a chain around each tree’s trunk connected to...

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Bearded Iris – Propagation from Seed

Q: What are the pods on a bearded iris for? Do they have seeds? A: If you are both adventurous and patient, you’ll get lots of enjoyment from propagating iris from seed. The swollen seed pod below the faded flower...

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Tomato – Planting Upside-Down

Q: A lot of my gardening friends think I’m crazy but I have planted a tomato so that it hangs from the bottom of a five gallon bucket of dirt. My plant is doing fine and already turning up toward...

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Japanese Maple – Planting in Container

Q: I have a copper planter that I want to put a Japanese maple in. I do not want to put holes in the planter. What is the best way to prepare the planter or do I have a choice?...

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Columbine – Leaf Miner

Q: In a matter of days after planting, most of my columbine leaves had serpentine patterns on them. Some look like they will yellow and drop off the plant. Is this a leaf miner? A: Anyone who grows columbine, Aquilegia...

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