Gardening Q and A

Geranium – Rooting Cuttings

Q: I’ve overwintered a geranium for five under lights. This year, it has started to blossom! If it is growing and blossoming under lights, will my cuttings root under the same lights? A: Get a plant propagation heat mat (click...

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Hydrangea – How Long to Cover in Winter

Q: How long can I leave my hydrangea covered in black plastic without causing a problem? A: Only a few days. Remove plastic and any other covering off shrubs when temperatures at night are in the high 20’s and above....

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Smilax – Berries

Q: While on a woods walk I found these black clusters of berries. What are they? A: They are a fine bird breakfast, but one I wish they wouldn’t eat! The berries are the seeds of the thorny, noxious smilax...

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Fig – No Horizontal Branches

Q: I planted this Brown Turkey fig four years ago and it has never produced a single fruit. It has grown into a giant shrub, about 10 feet tall and 10′ wide, with beautiful foliage. Can you tell me how...

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Camellia – Freeze Damage to Leaves

Q: This happened in January to my Camellia japonicas so it can’t be scorch because we don’t have so much light or heat at this time of year. A: This looks like freeze damage to me. I sometimes see yellow...

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Poultry House Odor – Block With Leyland Cypress

Q: I am hoping you can give me some good news regarding mitigating the smell rolling downhill from the chicken farm up the road. We moved to a small piece of land last year. Our next door neighbor has 30...

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Holly – Notches in Leaves (Black Vine Weevil)

Q:Can you tell me what has been eating the leaves on my holly hedge? It doesn’t look like leafcutter bees. A: I teach Master Gardeners that pest diagnosis is all about patterns. You’re right that the pattern doesn’t look like...

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Tree – Trunk Rot Beneath Rotten Limb

Q: What do you think this is and what can I do? A: It looks like an example of when a limb stub is left on the tree trunk. If I’m seeing it correctly rainwater has invaded through a rotten...

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Cedar Sawdust – On Garden

Q:I do a lot of woodworking 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 from beans, eggplant, radishes, etc. Is...

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Petunia – Growing From Seed

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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Bruised Tree Trunk – Interior Damage

Q: A few years ago this totally healthy oak was struck very hard by another falling tree. Eventually a wound developed. I decided to cut it down for safety of my home. However as you can see in the pictures,...

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Hydrangea Vanilla Strawberry – Droopy

Q: I have some Vanilla Strawberry hydrangeas that look beautiful in June/July but when they have lots of blooms and we get a heavy rain they droop over and can’t hold the weight. My local nursery expert told me to...

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St Ausustine Grass – Brown Patch Disease

Q: What is wrong with our St Augustine grass? Noticed it on this hill after several days of rain this week with a fairly sudden onset. A: It looks very much like brown patch disease, Rhizoctonia solani, to me. The...

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Lawn and Garden Radio Show – Why so Many Ads?

Q: I have really enjoyed your Sat. radioshow over the years, but, why, why, why do you have so many commercial breaks ???? This really cuts down on the time for Q and A. A: This is a frequent question I get...

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Amaryllis – Care after Bloom

Q: How do I care for an amaryllis after it blooms for Christmas? A: Once all of the flowers have opened and faded, cut the stiff bloom stalk at its base and remove it. Keep the pot, with its green...

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Hydrangeas – Protect from Cold

Hydrangeas are beautiful in summer but flowering can be damaged by cold winters. Particularly damaging is a winter warm spell followed by a hard freeze. I’ve seen bushes wrapped like lollipops with white sheets and I have seen quilts flung...

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Tomato Leaves – Soaking to Make Insecticide

Q: Does the organic pest control method of steeping cut tomato leaves in water overnight and then spraying on plants work? A: I’ve heard of gardeners doing this but no one has yet reported their results. Scientists have experimented with...

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Paperwhite Narcissus – Timed Planting

Q: What is the timetable for starting paperwhites so that they will be at their peak before Christmas and during Christmas week? A: Paperwhite narcissus bulbs will bloom four to six weeks after they are planted. That puts the planting...

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