Gardening Q and A

Animal – Making Nest Under Car Hood

Q: Something has used my gardenia for nesting material (which ended up under the hood of my car). What do you think? A: My original answer was: “It’s gotta be a squirrel! They like twig nests….but I’ve never heard of...

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Yoshino Cherry – Repairing Root Damage

Q: I have a Yoshino cherry tree that is showing signs of stress. It’s bleeding amber sap that turns rubbery, goes away, and then returns as a “bubble” of sap. This is in two spots a foot or so above...

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Japanese Maple – Leaves Never Turned Red

Q: My beautiful Japanese maple never turned red this year but the leaves turned black. Do you have an explanation? A: My guess is that this joins the phenomenon of “My ginkgo didn’t turn yellow this fall!” I saw brilliant...

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Green Material – To Patch Green Lawn

Q: I have seen golf courses use green sand to fill divot holes on their course. How can I make green sand to cosmetically hide small problem areas in my lawn until the grass takes over the spot? A: I...

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Engineered Soil – Where to Buy

Q: During a radio show, a caller mentioned his tree was pushing up the brick walk nearby. Walter suggested he might level the walk with “engineer soil”. What is this? I have an area around a long stone walk which...

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Hydrangea – What to Do in Winter

Q: I have fifteen beautiful established hydrangeas. The freeze a couple of weeks ago did a job on them: they are all brown and lifeless looking. Do I do anything to them or just let them be until the spring?...

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Dogwood – Moving Large One

Q: I plan to transplant a six-foot tall dogwood from one part of my yard to the other. I know it is a little on the large size to be transplanting, so I want to be sure I give it...

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Golden Larch – Identification

Q: A caller recently asked you about growing a golden larch. You said larch doesn’t grow here, but then backtracked on your answer. Can you elaborate? A: I sure wish I had listened to her say “golden larch” rather than...

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Leaves – For Mulching Perennials

Q: I’ve been raking the leaves out of my flower beds. After raking the beds over and over, I thought maybe it would be just as good to cover my perennials with leaves for the winter. A: It all depends...

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Pre-Emergent – Too Late to Apply?

Q: Would I be wasting my money applying pre-emergent now. I missed the September date you talk about. A: Winter weeds don’t all germinate in early October. Some wait until later, even sprouting in the warm days of late November....

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Grubs – In Fescue Sod

Q: We are getting ready to plant fescue sod. When we were taking core samples we discovered a couple of white grubs. What should we do? A: The right answer is: do nothing. It’s true that high numbers of grubs...

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Lavender – Pruning

Q: My lavender is lying down and it’s become woody and not pretty. Should I trim it back for winter? A: My experience with lavender is that it lasts a few years but eventually develops woody stems and sparse foliage....

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Canna – Killing a Crowded Patch

Q: I have a plot of cannas in my backyard that is crowded, overgrown and just not pretty any more. I want to get rid of the cannas and replace them with gardenias but without a lot of digging. A:...

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Virginia Dayflower vs Asiatic Dayflower – Identification

Q: How can I tell Virginia dayflower, Commelina virginica, from Asiatic dayflower, Commelina communis? A: The easiest way is to look at the flowers. Commelina virginica has three blue petals. Commelina communis has two blue petals and one white one....

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Wild Strawberry (Indian Mock Strawberry) – Dog Eating Leaves

Q: I have an odd question. My dog likes to eat wild strawberry leaves but not the fruit. He will graze to his heart’s content whenever we find a patch. The leaves produce no ill effects whatsoever. Why does he...

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Bamboo – Suddenly Dying

Q: A patch of bamboo 3′ wide and 20′ long just up and died on me this summer! I sprayed no herbicides nearby. It provided privacy between my den side windows and a neighbor’s garage. I do have hope, though:...

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Oak Tree – Ambrosia Beetles in Trunk

Q: I have a large tree that is very sick. A part of the trunk at bottom is infested with some sort of insect. A: Woooo….this isn’t a happy tree! My bet is that the damage was done several years...

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Banana – Insulating With Leaves

Q: I have had a banana tree for five years. I was told that bananas will not grow on the tree. For four years there was nothing but this year I noticed a growth on one of the trees. A:...

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