Gardening Q and A

Nellie Stevens – Pollination

Q: You say on your website that Nellie Stevens holly needs a close-at-hand Edward Stevens pollinator for more fruit. How many feet away does Edward have to be from all my Nellies? A: Since hollies are pollinated by insects, “within...

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Formosa Azaleas – Cold Tolerance

Q: Our landscape designer wants to put a hedge of Formosa azaleas in our back yard. Will they withstand our cold? A: There does seem to be a winter warming trend for Atlanta and environs. But just because it is...

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Goldenrain Trees – Invasive Seed Pods

Q: We have five goldenrain trees across the front of our yard. They have beautiful seed pods but they are so light they blow all over, dropping seed as they go, and the seeds sprout in our flower beds. A:...

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Witch Hazel – Telling if it’s Dried Out/Dead

Q: I have a witch hazel plant in a container. This summer while I was away the soil became completely dry and the leaves all turned brown. The leaves have not fallen off, but I haven’t seen any new growth,...

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Abyssian Banana – Winterizing

Q: I have three Abyssinian banana trees in my yard. One of them is now ten feet tall alongside two smaller sprouts. I have a greenhouse that will hold the smaller two but not the tall one. How can I...

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Kiwi Fruit – Ripening

Q: I have male and female kiwi vines and there’s a lot of fruit! How long does it take for them to ripen? A. The kiwi fruit you see in a grocery reach almost full size in August but are...

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Crapemyrtle – Aphids (Black Leaves)

Q: What ails my crepe myrtles? The leaves are already falling and those left on the trees are covered with a charcoal powder that stains everything underneath. A: You have crapemyrtle aphids. These tiny insects slowly build their population during...

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Asiastic Jasmine – Invasive?

Q: We are trying to determine if Asiatic jasmine would be a suitable ground cover for the area between the trees that line our streets. It’s too shady and dry for grass. Is Asiatic jasmine deer-resistant? A: If left untended,...

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Roots Around Plumbing Pipes – Invasive?

Q: A plumber told us we should move our tea olive tree, which is six feet from a joint in the sewer line. Are the roots very invasive? A: If the plumbing joint is plastic or cast iron, it should...

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Praying Mantis – Feeding

Q: My husband found a baby praying mantis on his windshield. This guy is only an inch long; what can we feed this little critter? A: It needs soft-bodied insects like fruit flies or aphids. Try putting banana or apple...

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Self-Watering Pots – Cold Weather Tolerance

Q: I use plastic self-watering pots inside copper decorative pots during the summer for my annual flowers. Can I plant pansies and ivy in the planters during the winter or will the pots freeze and crack? A: My guess is...

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Seeds – How to Save Iris and Hosta

Q: In years past I have waited to harvest hosta and Siberian iris seed until after the pods have opened. How do you recommend saving them? A: There are lots of easy-to-collect seeds now. I have pods on my iris,...

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Grapes – Wine Varieties Suitable for Small Spaces

Q: What variety of grapes for wine will grow well in a small yard? A: The University of Georgia recommends ‘Aurora’, ‘Delaware’ and ‘Norton’ for wine making in our area. The words “small yard” worry me. A very vigorous vine...

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Pinto Beans – “Half Runners”

Q: What is a “half runner” pinto bean? A: Half-runner beans have a growth habit mid-way between bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans make short sprouts barely a foot long. Half-runners make sprouts around three feet long. Pole beans...

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Trees – Watering Methods

Q: We’re in a big drought and I have to water my big oak and pecan trees. Is it necessary to move the water hose/sprinkler around the tree or is it okay to leave the hose on just one side...

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Pruning Boxwoods

Q: Can you cut boxwoods down to the base of the trunk like holly bushes? When’s the best time? Neel A: If the boxwood is in good health, you can cut it back to 12″ tall in February and it...

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Flowers That Will Bloom in November

Q: I’m looking for a variety of poppy that will bloom on November 11th, to honor the 100th anniversary of the First World War. In late summer I traveled around France and was surprised to see a field of wild...

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Aerating – Spike Aerator

Q: I understand the importance and benefits of aerating a lawn. However, this year my neighbor bought an aerator made with spikes on a drum. What do you think? A: I think he won’t get much benefit from using a...

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