Gardening Q and A

Glowing Plants – Old and New

Q: Is there any plant that has fluorescent and/or phosphorescent properties? A: Hunters have long known of “foxfire”, the glowing tree stumps caused by decay organisms. Likewise, visitors to Hawaii gasp at the glowing blue waves caused by phytoplankton. Certain...

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Crapemyrtle – Early Care

Q: I had giant pine tree cut down and have a pile of chips in the yard. Instead of picking them up I thought I might plant a crepe myrtle in the middle of it. Is this a good idea?...

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Cutting Roots – Weakening Your Tree?

Q: We have a watershed area in our yard that I want to dig out and put in a dry steam bed to control the flow of water during storms. The problem is that there are some tree roots where...

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Sassafras – Not Invasive

Q: I discovered a sassafras sapling in my front yard eight feet from my home’s foundation. I’m trying to remove all plants that have invasive root systems from near my home. Are sassafras roots invasive? A: I don’t consider it...

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Magnolia – Beetles in Flower

Q: What are the beetles that gather by the dozens in magnolia blossoms? Are they harmful to the tree? A: Magnolias are among the most primitive plants we use in our landscapes. Dinosaurs probably enjoyed their shade. They developed the...

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Tomato Variety – Identifying

Q: I have a family heirloom tomato I would like to identify. Any way to do this? A: Rutgers University has an excellent website that will do just that! Tomato Variety...

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Cabbage Worm (Cabbage Looper) – Control

Q: Something is eating my plant leaves. My beautiful collard greens were devastated in two day’s time by a caterpillar. What can I do about it organically? A: You have a fine infestation of cabbage worm (cabbage looper). A small...

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Ovulina Petal Blight (White Spots on Flowers) – Infecting Azalea

Q: I have a few old azalea bushes behind my home. In late spring their flowers develop white spots. Can you tell me what this is? A: It’s ovulina petal blight. This disease is most severe under warm moist conditions....

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Cedar-Hawthorn Rust – On Amelanchier (Serviceberry)

Q: I haven’t seen this before on my amelanchiers. What do you think I have here? A: It’s cedar-hawthorn rust. I have it on my amelanchier (serviceberry) too. Spores travel between the two host plants and cannot survive unless the...

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Baking Soda – For Disease Control

Q: Will a baking soda spray help to discourage fungal disease on tomato plants? A: It might….and it might not. Researchers have worked for several years on the use of various bicarbonates to control fungi. Some results have been positive,...

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Cats/Dogs – Repel From Flower Bed

Q: Is there anything that will keep the neighborhood cats out of my raised beds? A: I think a well-aimed motion-activated sprinkler would send the cats skedaddling. Look online for the Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler (click for sources) or the...

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Ash Flower Gall – Identification

Q: I have a white ash that has weird green cauliflower-looking growths where the seeds clusters used to be. When I break them open, I find a little worm. A: The malformation is caused by ash flower gall. A tiny...

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Blackberry – Red-necked Cane Borer

Q: My thornless blackberry died suddenly and I found larva in the cane. Can you ID these critters? A: Looks like red-necked cane borer. The larvae grow in the blackberry stem, causing it to enlarge, about a foot from ground...

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Organic Herbicide (Weed Killer) – Won’t Hurt Dog

Q: Is there a weed killer for poison ivy that won’t harm my dog? A: I used a commercial herbicidal soap on poison ivy last week and the leaves were burned to the ground in a day. There are several...

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Podocarpus – Edible?

Q: I recently found these pods on a tree in Marietta and would love to know their origin and if these pods can be used to grown my own. The fruit/pod are dark purplish black and spongy and then this...

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Edible Flowers

Q: Where can I learn more about edible flowers? I want to use them on a wedding cake. A: I found a good resource from the Colorado Extension office. see Edible Flowers You might also be interested in edible plants...

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Horsehair Worm – Identification

Q: I have a plastic half-barrel with water lilies growing in it. On one of the floating leaves I found a skinny black worm, thin as a hair. What is it? A: It’s probably a harmless horsehair worm. Despite their...

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Cemetery – Plants for

Q: What would be some good plants to plant in front of a cemetery headstone where there is no water service? The space is 3.5 feet long and 16 inches wide. A: Assuming the site is in full sun, I...

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