Gardening Q and A

Identification – Books For Shrubs and Vines

Q: I’m looking for definitive books for identifying shrubs and vines, We have many identification books but none of them seem to have everything: color pictures, index by color, leaf shape, etc. I already have the shrub book by George...

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Photinias – Down Sizing

Q: I have thirty-year-old red tip photinias that are twenty five feet tall. I’d like to “down size” them. Am I correct that this should be done only in early spring prior to new growth? And is it permissible to...

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Winter Jasmine – Basic History

Q: I have an island of winter jasmine that blooms every year from December through February. I wonder why it flowers in the dead of winter if the primary purpose of showy flowers is to attract insects for pollination. A:...

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Oak – No Acorns This Year

Q: There is a massive oak in my neighbor’s yard. Typically it drops huge numbers of acorns in our yard, but this year: nothing. Is that a sign of its health (or lack thereof)? A: If the oak had lots...

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Driveways – Determining Responsibility For Root Damage

Q: We have an awkward property lot line issue. Our subdivision in thirty years old. Most of the driveways have cracks and broken sections My neighbor believes that roots from a tree on my side of our lot line have...

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Worm Castings – Good Amount For Use?

Q: How much worm castings should I use? My garden soil always ends up returning to Georgia red clay. I want it to eventually become good planting soil. A: Worm castings are a great addition to soil but they don’t...

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Mycorrhizae – Possible Benefits For Tree Growth

Q: I was wondering if you had an opinion on mycorrhizae? I’m thinking of buying some to use when planting trees and other things. A: Mycorrhizae are beneficial soil fungi. They associate with plant roots and bring them moisture and...

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Strawberries – Basic Care And Maintenance

Q: I’m growing strawberries for the first time. What should I do to the plants for winter? A: Strawberries are very tolerant of cold weather. Most strawberries will keep a few green leaves in winter and these leaves need sunlight...

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Sunflower Seeds – Inhibiting Grass Growth

Q: For several years I had a bird feeder hanging over my St. Augustine grass. I used sunflower seed and I began to notice that the grass beneath the feeder had stopped growing. I now have an eight foot circle...

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Mulching – Grass Clippings From A Bermuda Lawn

Q: I need suggestions on how I can recycle the grass clippings from my large bermuda lawn. Each mowing produces about ten large bags of clippings. A: The very best option would be to mow a bit more often with...

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Clover – Chemical Eradication

Q: Is it possible to chemically eradicate clover in a bed of dwarf iris? A: My friend Theresa Schrum points out that irises are monocots (single-leafed plants) and therefore should be immune to 2,4-D, the primary ingredient in broadleaf (dicot)...

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Pecan Trees – Good Zinc Application

Q: Which is best for mature pecan trees, broadcasting zinc sulfate or spraying leaves with liquid zinc? A: It’s far better to spray the leaves. Pecans need sufficient levels of zinc in their leaves to produce good nuts. Zinc applied...

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Asparagus – Little Sprouts Growing!

Q: I planted asparagus this past spring and cut down the foliage a few weeks ago. The other day, I noticed that each plant has a few asparagus stalks coming up! A: The little sprouts came up because we haven’t...

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Roses – Using Rose Waste

Q: Last year, when I pruned my Knockout roses I clipped the stems into short sections and used them as mulch under the plant. What would be the best method to incorporate rose waste back into the garden? A: Since...

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Date Palm – Re-establishing Roots

Q: I’m doing some research for a Sunday sermon which has a short discussion of date palms in it. Can a date palm re-root after being blown over? A: Yes, like most palms, date palm can be propped up for...

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Azaleas – Lots Of Yellow Leaves

Q: All of my azaleas have lots of yellow leaves. Is it drought or something else? A: We think of spring-blooming azaleas as being evergreen but in truth they are sometimes semi-evergreen. They drop a certain percentage of leaves each...

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Sweet Potatoes – Curing Process

Q: For Christmas, my eighty-year-old dad wants a bushel of sweet potatoes that have been laid out in the sun to dry after being dug up, like his family in Alabama did. According to him, sweet potatoes are now kiln...

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Leyland Cypress – Trimming The Top

Q: I have ten Leyland cypresses that provide a beautiful privacy fence for my back yard. But they have grown so tall that they are blocking sunlight to my zoysia grass. Is it okay to trim the top of the...

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