Gardening Q and A

Sweetshrub – No Fragrance

Q: My sweetshrub’s flowers have absolutely NO scent! What’s wrong with it? A: I’ve never smelled one with an appreciable scent. Maybe our noses are impaired? The yellow-flowered variety ‘Athens’ is said to be reliably fragrant. I simply enjoy the...

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Rosemary – Bacterial Gall on Stems

Q: A scaly growth is infecting my three-year old rosemary bush. It seems to be on the older stems. A: I think it’s a bacterial gall. It’s not uncommon to see bacterial galls like this on trees and shrubs. It’s...

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Bishops Weed – Identification

Q: This is a bunch of “leaves of three”, but it doesn’t look like the normal color of poison ivy. Do you know what it is? I have a very large batch of it by the concrete wall. A: The...

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Jumping Oak Galls – Identification

Q: We live on a fairly large heavily wooded lot with mostly oak trees. The problem we’re having is with the white oak trees only. A couple of weeks ago we noticed little brown pinhead-size, seed-like things dropping from them....

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Volcano Cone South of Atlanta

Q: While flying south of Atlanta I saw what looks like a volcano. It is on a straight line between Manchester and Molena, about half way. Cove Rd and the Flint River go right thru it. I wonder if there...

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Hydrangea Cane Borer

Q: For a number of years I’ve had a problem with some sort of borer getting into the stems of my hydrangeas. What can I do to get rid of them? A: There are any number of cane boring insect...

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Tree Hopper – On Tomato

Q: Can you help me identify this insect found on my tomato plant, I think it is a buffalo leaf hopper. How to control it? A: Good eye! Yes, it is one of dozens of species of tree hoppers and...

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Tree – Holding Water in Crotch

Q: My neighbor has a five-trunked Japanese magnolia. The crotch in the middle is about 8 inches deep and there’s usually 5 to 8 inches of water in it. She wants to drill a hole in it from the side...

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Winged Elm – Identification

Q: We have an oak that’s 20′ to 25′ feet tall which has a strange growth on the bark. Do you know what this is and whether anything needs to be done? A: A case of mistaken identity! I think...

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Houseplant – Leaf Spot

Q: I have a houseplant that looks like it’s being eaten by something but I don’t see any insects near it or on it. A: I can determine by the yellow “halo” around the notches that this is caused by...

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Ivy Houseplant – Maintaining

Q: I need advice on how to nurse an indoor ivy plant back to tip-top health. My coworker has had it for ten years. For six months it has been limp and has been fading in color and in foliage....

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Clothes Moth – Control

Q: Can you tell what kind of insect this is, they are all over my washroom. A: It’s a clothes moth. The female moth lays eggs on fabric and carpet. When the larvae emerge, they begin munching on it. You...

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Indian Hawthorn – Leaf Spot

Q: We have a fifteen-foot tall Indian hawthorn tree in our courtyard that is losing leaves. But most Indian hawthorns are shrubs, right? How can we save it? A: Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! I did...

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Cleyera – Leaf Spot

Q: I have lived in this house for two years. When we moved in, the cleyera was thick and growing like crazy. Not anymore. I’m thinking my frequent trimming (cutting the shoots off the top to avoid blocking the windows)...

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Dogwood – Planting Three Colors

Q: I would like to plant dogwoods in memory of a loved one. I would like to plant a white, a pink and a red dogwood together so they fuse into one mass with three colors. Will that work? A:...

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Tick – Engorged

Q: Can you help us identify this beetle? We found it on the front steps. A: It’s not a beetle…it’s a tick! A very well-fed tick at that. It is engorged after feeding on an animal and has dropped off...

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Azalea – Small Root Ball in Pot

Q: My wife came home from a nursery with some native azaleas. I dutifully planted them but the root ball seems exceptionally small for a plant of this size. It was in a 3 gallon container. Do you think I...

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Sapscker Holes – Attract Insects

Q: I have a tree in my yard that has many small holes in it, oozing sap. There are a lot of small flying insects about the size of no-see-ums around the holes. Can you help me understand what is...

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