Gardening Q and A

Dahlias – Check for Firmness

Q: Time got away from me and I left my dahlias in the ground. Last year some came up from the preceding year, but they weren’t as pretty. Is it best to dig them up and throw them away? A:...

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Plums – Growing from Seed

Q: I have an ornamental plum that has red-purple leaves (spade shaped with small serrated edges). This first year it produced about a dozen plums about 1″ in length. I was wondering how does one grow more trees from the...

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Holly – Pruning

Q: We have 4 holly bushes. They have gotten out of hand and look more like trees and cover the windows. Please tell me the proper way to prune A: Theresa Schrum replies: “There really is no wrong way to...

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Butterfly – Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Q: I spotted this gorgeous butterfly in our back yard in June. Its wing span was nearly the size of my hand. Some of the black round spots on the wings were actually bulging, not flat. Is it unusual? A:...

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October Glory Maple – Splitting at the Trunk

Q: I planted an ‘October Glory’ maple last October. Recently I have noticed a split, about 6 inches long in the bark. It is about 10 inches from the ground where the trunk is about 4 inches in diameter. It...

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Holly – Removing

Q: I recently purchased a home with several large overgrown holly bushes along the walkway. I would like to remove them and replace with something less hazardous to one’s body when walking by. Recently I pruned the largest one back...

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Dwarf Fescue – Care

Q: What can you tell me about dwarf fescue grass? Does it grow and thrive in Atlanta? I read something about it in a magazine and want to know about using it here. A: Extension turf expert Clint Waltz says...

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Summer Tanager – Identification

Q: Can you help me identify this bird? It’s seems too yellow for a gold finch. The photo was taken at my brother’s home in Newton county. A: Local naturalist Charles Seabrook says it is a female summer...

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Greenhouse – Watering

Q: We need your help on the timing and frequency of our new water sprinkler system for our greenhouse. My husband is in the process of installing it. We need to know how often and how long to set the...

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Scotch Broom – Invasiveness

Q: In reading a 1996 “Horticulture” magazine I came across an article listing Scotch broom, Cytisus scoparius, as an invasive/noxious plant. I know it is a problem in California and the Northwest, but I want to make sure it would...

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Compost – Using Fertilizer

Q: In attempting to make compost, I have no difficulty in rounding up plenty of brown material such as dried leaves and wood chips but I can’t seem to find enough green material to make up a 2:1 green:brown ratio....

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Insecticide – Eating Fruit after Use

Q: I am in a dilemma! Recently we put a product containing the systemic insecticide imidacloprid around some blueberry bushes and figs. Will we be able to eat the fruit from these plants this year? A: My research reveals that...

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Pine Straw – Origins

Q: Having relocated from the Pacific Northwest, we had never seen pine straw used in landscaping. Where does it come from and how is it harvested? What are the benefits, if any, over “beauty bark” which is popular back home?...

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Bermudagrass – Removing Thatch

Q: We have a bermudagrass lawn. The thatch is terribly thick. My husband doesn’t use a bag with the lawn mower, so the thatch has built up. Could a professional company dethatch our lawn? A: Thatch is a layer of...

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Huckleberry – Identification and Growing

Q: When I was growing up, my mother used to make huckleberry jam. The taste was quite different from blueberries. She was from East Tennessee, but I don’t remember if she gathered the huckleberries there or in Georgia. Do you...

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Persimmon (young tree) – Identification

Q: My daughter lives near Washington DC. Her new home has this tree in the back yard. It has just sprouted little bell-shaped flowers. Her husband thinks I might be a fruit tree. A: Her husband is right! My genius...

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Dogwood – Club Gall Midge

Q: Many of our dogwood trees seem to be ‘afflicted’ and have no bloom buds on them this year. There are many swollen nodules toward the tips of the branches where the blooms should be. What is the problem and...

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Pine Straw – Replacing old

Q: A family discussion is left for you to resolve: A pine straw island surrounded with liriope has fall leaves on it along with the clippings from cutting back the liriope. I say to leave the clippings and leaves and...

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