Gardening Q and A

Avocado – Care After Sprouting

Q: I’ve been growing an avocado plant over the summer. I was advised to prune the original plant. Once I did, the stem stopped growing. The leafy branch pictured grew out of the original stalk after I pruned it. Should...

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‘Limelight’ Hydrangea – Pruning

Q: We planted a Limelight hydrangea last year. The blooms are large but the stems are thin and weak. Could you suggest how and when I should prune this fella to get a bushier plant with stronger stems? A: ‘Limelight’...

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Giant Ragweed – Identification

Q: I have a very strange plant that has apparently killed or is stunting kudzu on my vacant lot. This is not a joke. The kudzu began healthy as usual this year, but was suddenly—and I mean suddenly—overtaken and stunted...

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Ground Birds – Plants to Feed

Q: I want to plant grasses that feed and provide cover for ground birds on two acres of cultivated land. I want to provide feed and shelter for turkey, grouse, whippoorwills, quail, meadowlark and others. Where can I find information...

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Spider Lily (Hurricane Lily) – Identification

Q: Can you identify these flowers? They are growing in my son’s yard out of his liriope. A: It’s spider lily, Lycoris radiata, sometimes called hurricane lily because the blooms appear during hurricane season. It’s always a surprise to see...

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Broom Corn (Sorghum) – Identification

Q: We believe we have some broom corn growing next to our driveway. It is about 3 ft. high and just came up on its own. Does broom corn grow in Georgia? A: You are exactly correct. Broom corn is...

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Dogwood – Blooming in Fall

Q: My dogwood is blooming again (in August). How can this be? A: Dogwoods are known to bloom in fall when they get rain after a stressful summer. That said, I don’t think this past summer was very stressful. But...

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Tomato – Cracking Fruit

Q: I have a cherry tomatoes plant that about 80% of the fruit has cracks. Anything I can do ? A: Fruit cracking is usually caused by hot dry weather followed by heavy rain or irrigation. The skin gets hard...

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Possum Grape – Identification

Q: This plant grows by our lake and has three colors of berries in September. What is it? A: It’s possum grape, Ampelopsis cordata. It’s cousin, porcelain vine, Ampelopsis brevipendiculata maximowiczii, has the same sort of fruit. Birds and other...

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Skiff Moth Caterpillar – Identification

Q: This green critter was found on a Japanese maple tree leaf. It is 1/2″ long and 3/8″ wide and 3/8″ high at the tallest point. The two dark brown “balls” are some of the excrement of this bug. Underneath...

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Bean Leaf Roller – Identification

Q: Attached is a picture of a pest I found on my lima beans in the garden. Can you help? A: Your distinctly red-headed creature is a bean leaf roller caterpillar. Its parent is a long-tailed skipper butterfly. I’m sure...

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Italian Stone Pine – Juvenile Foliage and Mature Foliage

Q: What is happening to my little Christmas tree? It came from a big box gardening store. Over the summer the branches have sprouted long needles from the short needle branches. Can you suggest what has happened? A: I’m not...

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Runoff From Neighbor – OK to Dam?

Q: My neighbor has a bunch of gutter pipes that empty water near my property line. The water erodes around my flower beds. He refuses to do anything about it. Can I just build a dam to keep his water...

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Winterizer – When is Best to Apply?

Q: We were taught in my agronomy classes that it’s best to stop applying nitrogen to warm-season turf when the end of summer approaches. I have heard golf superintendents say that is not true. What is your opinion on when...

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Ruellia (Mexican Petunia) – Invasive?

Q: I’m considering planting Mexican petunia by my mailbox. However, I am reading where it can be very invasive and do not want it to overrun the azalea and hostas I have in there now. What are your thoughts? A:...

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Tomatoes – For High Heat

Q: Is there a tomato that tolerates high summer heat better than others? A: It’s true that some of the newer hybrids stop producing (probably due to lack of pollination) at temps above 90 degrees. Cindy Martin at The Tasteful...

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Tomato – Fruitworm

Q: I have several of these on my tomato plants and have no idea what they are. They don’t look like cutworms and they only seem to be eating the leaves. Can you help? A: You have a tomato fruitworm....

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New Shrubs/Trees – Watering

Q: I planted 5 Green Giant arborvitaes in my backyard along a fence to provide a hedge in the future. The space gets full sun. We mixed in soil conditioner with the red clay when planting them. The trees are...

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