Gardening Q and A

Hellebores – Growing On Tybee Island

Q: Will hellebores grow on Tybee Island? A: If you keep them in the shade all day, I think Lenten rose would find Tybee Island very hospitable. One key factor is the amount of organic matter in your soil there....

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Vegetables – Tall Plant With Small Fruit

Q: Most of our vegetables grew very tall but with poor fruit. One tomato was ten feet tall but with only tiny fruit; cabbages grew long stems but the cabbages were size of a tennis ball. Our soil tests as...

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Roses – No Second Bloom

Q: I planted several Knock Out roses last year. They bloomed nicely last fall and spring but, unlike my neighbor’s bushes, I don’t see any blooms now. A: Like all roses, Knock Out blooms occur at the end of a...

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Ash Trees – Spreading Diseases

Q: We were in Northern Ireland recently and noticed sick ash trees. Looks like their government is stepping in to control this disease. A: At least they don’t seem to have emerald ash borer (EAB) insects in addition to the...

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Fescue – Basic Fertilizing

Q: I need to fertilize my fescue lawn. I used starter fertilizer in September when overseeding. Should this month’s fertilizer include a weed killer or pre-emergent? A: The general rule is that you can apply weed chemicals when the fescue...

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Collards – Controlling Whiteflys

Q: What are the small white flies on the back of my collard leaves? A: I wasn’t previously familiar with whitefly damage to collards bit it turns out that this is an important pest. They suck sap from the leaves,...

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Creasy Greens – Basic Information

Q: My grandmother mentioned eating creasy greens in spring. She said they were a favorite mountain tonic. What can you tell me about them? A: Creasy greens, also called winter cress, are in the mustard family. The botanical name is...

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Radishes – Poor Harvests

Q: Every spring I plant radishes and always have the same problem. The plants look beautiful and lush but only about one in ten turn into radishes. The rest just have a red stem going into the ground. A: This...

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Acidity – Oak Leaves and Pine Needles

Q: I’ve heard that pine needles and oak leaves cause soil to be acid. Is this true? A: This is a gardening myth that should be put to rest. While needles and leaves from all trees may be acidic initially,...

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Straw Mulch – Convenient Benefits

Q: Have you ever tried grinding straw for mulch? This year I dragged my ancient leaf chopper out of the basement and ran two bales of straw through it. I got the most beautiful golden mulch. It really creates a...

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Squirrels – Nesting Habits

Q: Do squirrels return to the nest they have built year after year? Do ‘new’ squirrels ever move in to take over the nest? Should we remove the nests? A: Yes, gray squirrels do reuse their nests. However, since wild...

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Weeds – Types Of Eradication

Q: This summer a neighbor and I planted tomatoes and peppers in a very sunny spot. The plants did well, but due to our inattention the plot became overwhelmed with weeds. Is there any way to eliminate weed seeds before...

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Rocks – Decorative Uses And Concerns

Q: My wife and son suggested we use decorative rocks in our flower beds instead of mulch. I had always heard that we should not use decorative rocks. What do you think? A: Stones are good for decor but not...

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Butterfly Bush – Safe Pruning

Q: I have a butterfly bush that is overgrown. When is it safe to prune it back and how far? A: You can cut back the butterfly bush anytime after the first killing frost. It will undoubtedly still have leaves...

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Christmas Ferns – Where To Buy Them?

Q: I saw a TV show about Christmas ferns. Where can a person buy them? A: My friends at the Georgia Perimeter College Native Plant Garden (gpcnativegarden.org) in south DeKalb county regularly conduct fern sales. In addition, they have Lunch...

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Amaryllis – How To Move Bulbs?

Q: I have a dozen beautiful red amaryllis bulbs planted outdoors. They die back in the winter, sprout up in the late spring, and bloom during the summer. How should we move the bulbs? A: I assume you have hardy...

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Squirrels – Harming My Tree!

Q: Squirrels are eating the leaf clusters out of my tree, dropping them to the ground, grabbing another cluster to eat, and on and on. The tree is beginning to have stripped branches from this, not to mention that I...

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Mahonia – Getting Rid Of It

Q: In the last few years, mahonia has taken over our woods. What is the best way to get rid of it, and is there any way of keeping it from spreading so quickly? A: You need long-handled loppers, leather...

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