Gardening Q and A

Planting Monkey Grass – Winter

Q: Can I divide and transplant monkey grass this month or is there a better time for it? A: I have consulted my gardening calendar. Christmas Day seems to be a fine time to transplant monkey grass (liriope) as does...

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Straw Bale – English Peas

Q: I would like to try planting English peas in straw bales. Is this a good idea? A: Straw bale gardening can be very productive but it takes at least ten days to prepare the bale. It would probably take...

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Blueberries Too Bitter

Q: I have two blueberry bushes. The last several years the fruit has been too bitter to eat. How can I sweeten them up? A: Here are three tips: 1. Make sure they are in full sun all day. Blueberries...

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Cross Pollination – Same Plant

Q: I understand that cross-pollination is not of concern to the current plants, but the seeds are affected: if you replant those seeds next year, then you’ll have Franken-veggies. But what about cross-pollination between varieties of the same plant? A:...

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Zoysia Lawn – Sand

Q: Our zoysia lawn has a low spot where rain runoff pools. Can I add a couple inches of sand to absorb all that moisture? A: Sand doesn’t absorb moisture, it only fills the low spot. If you use pure...

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Broadcasting Petunias – Flower Bed

Q: I have a front yard flower bed. Can I successfully plant petunias by broadcasting the seed there? When is the best time to do it? A: Petunias can certainly be grown from seed but it’s usually done indoors or...

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Wheat Seeds Sprout – Zoysia Sod

Q: We finished our new home in October. It was an extremely wet time and we were allowed to put down wheat straw rather than sod. After the soil we laid zoysia sod. Wheat seeds continue to sprout through the...

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Gypsum Wallboard – Compost

Q: Is broken up gypsum wallboard good for the compost pile and garden? A: Not particularly, unless your soil is deficient in calcium. Gypsum is composed of calcium sulfate; it’s useful in rare cases on farms but not on a...

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Best Pre-emergent Time

Q: What is the best time to spread pre-emergent on garden areas containing flowers and shrubs? A: The best time to apply is early March but it’s complicated. Although the chemicals might be the same, legally you are supposed to...

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Cedar Sawdust – Plant Growth

Q: I’m a woodworker and have lots of sawdust. Last spring I put a layer of cedar sawdust on my vegetable garden. I was not happy with the plant growth I got. Is there something in the cedar that inhibited...

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No Sweetgum Balls!

Q: We have lived here twenty years and have always had those dreaded sweetgum balls. But this year none out of ten trees had them. A: Nature works in mysterious ways! It’s possible there was a heavy rain during flowering...

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Tiger Nuts

Q: What are Tiger Nuts? I heard they are delicious. A: “Tiger Nuts” are the roasted tubers of the terribly invasive yellow nutsedge, Cyperus esculentus. Since they are roasted, if you accidentally drop one, it won’t germinate. I applaud any...

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Black Dragon Cryptomeria Support

Q: Many young Black Dragon cryptomeria I’ve seen at nurseries are bending over at the top. Many have been staked to keep them vertical. Will it need support growing to its mature height? A: Noted landscape designer Shannon Pable (shannonpable.com)...

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Pruning/Cutting Autumn Ferns

Q: My landscape guys asked me if it would be OK to prune our beautiful autumn ferns. When I came home they had cut the ferns to the ground! Will they grow back? A: The ferns will be fine. Autumn...

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Wood – Furniture

Q: Is there someone you can recommend that cuts down pecan tree to use the wood and make furniture? A: Your pecan likely not worth anything. The time, effort and liability exposure are too great for a hobbyist woodworker to...

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Difference between Tolerance and Resistance

Q:I am ordering vegetable seeds. What is the difference between tolerance and resistance in terms of plant disease? A: “Tolerance” means the plant can produce vegetables if the disease infection is mild. You might not get as many, but there...

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10-10-10 or 13-13-13 Downside

Q: I grow hydrangeas, azaleas, rhodendrons, camellias, and ferns plus my lawn. I notice that fertilizers offer different percentages of the three major nutrients and most plants have a “favorite” blend that is recommended. For example, grass likes high nitrogen,...

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Bittersweet Vine in GA

Q: Can bittersweet vine be grown here? I want some for decorative purposes. A: There are two kinds of bittersweet. Oriental bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus, has attractive berries but it climbs over everything that gets in its way. Use the berries...

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