Gardening Q and A

Soil Conditioner – Replacing

Q: I added soil conditioner last year on your advice and the soil was wonderful to work with! Do I add more this year? If not, do I add lime again? A: Once the soil is soft you can just...

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Spider Mites- Identifying

Q: Last summer we had repeated attacks from spider mites in our bermudagrass lawn and on our evergreens. They were turning brown and dying. We sprayed Kelthane each time. It appeared to solve the problem, but after several weeks the...

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Soil Temperature – Measuring

Q: What is the best way to measure soil temperature? A: You’re smart to monitor your soil’s warmth. Soil temperature determines when to do many garden jobs…from putting out pre-emergent herbicides to planting summer bulbs. You can buy a soil...

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Love-in-a-mist – Care

Q: I have a mystery flower, grown from a wildflower seed mixture. I am not sure if the pods precede the flower, but I was hoping you could identify it. A: It’s the fascinating-looking love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena. The dianthus-like flowers...

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Stumps – Preventing resprouting

Q: How do I kill very large stumps that have been cut down to ground level? A: If you need to keep the stumps from resprouting, chop into the edge of the stump with a hatchet and spray glyphosate (Roundup,...

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Magnolia – Cracks on Trunk

Q: I have a mature magnolia tree that has cracking bark along many limbs. Is this a cause for worry? A: I saw the same thing a few years ago: a huge magnolia with longitudinal cracks along the trunk and...

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Ornamental Grass – Cutting Back

Q: On one of your Georgia Public Broadcasting “Gardening in Georgia” TV shows you demonstrated a good way to cut back pampas grass. Can you refresh my memory? A: I demonstrated cutting the grass with a carpenter’s saw but I’ve...

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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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Fertilizer Capsules – Identifying in Soil

Q: I’d like to know if the tiny eggs that I see embedded in a pot of soil make it unsafe to plant there. I’m assuming that these yellowish eggs are from spiders. I don’t want to simply throw out...

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Balm of Gilead – Procuring

Q: I’m looking for a Balm of Gilead tree. Over one hundred years ago, a Native American taught my Carolina ancestors how to make a burn salve from wild ginger, Balm of Gilead buds, and hog lard. The batch we...

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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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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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