Gardening Q and A

Sassafras – Not Invasive

Q: I discovered a sassafras sapling in my front yard eight feet from my home’s foundation. I’m trying to remove all plants that have invasive root systems from near my home. Are sassafras roots invasive? A: I don’t consider it...

READ MORE

Magnolia – Beetles in Flower

Q: What are the beetles that gather by the dozens in magnolia blossoms? Are they harmful to the tree? A: Magnolias are among the most primitive plants we use in our landscapes. Dinosaurs probably enjoyed their shade. They developed the...

READ MORE

Tomato Variety – Identifying

Q: I have a family heirloom tomato I would like to identify. Any way to do this? A: Rutgers University has an excellent website that will do just that! Tomato Variety...

READ MORE

Cabbage Worm (Cabbage Looper) – Control

Q: Something is eating my plant leaves. My beautiful collard greens were devastated in two day’s time by a caterpillar. What can I do about it organically? A: You have a fine infestation of cabbage worm (cabbage looper). A small...

READ MORE

Ovulina Petal Blight (White Spots on Flowers) – Infecting Azalea

Q: I have a few old azalea bushes behind my home. In late spring their flowers develop white spots. Can you tell me what this is? A: It’s ovulina petal blight. This disease is most severe under warm moist conditions....

READ MORE

Cedar-Hawthorn Rust – On Amelanchier (Serviceberry)

Q: I haven’t seen this before on my amelanchiers. What do you think I have here? A: It’s cedar-hawthorn rust. I have it on my amelanchier (serviceberry) too. Spores travel between the two host plants and cannot survive unless the...

READ MORE

Baking Soda – For Disease Control

Q: Will a baking soda spray help to discourage fungal disease on tomato plants? A: It might….and it might not. Researchers have worked for several years on the use of various bicarbonates to control fungi. Some results have been positive,...

READ MORE

Cats/Dogs – Repel From Flower Bed

Q: Is there anything that will keep the neighborhood cats out of my raised beds? A: I think a well-aimed motion-activated sprinkler would send the cats skedaddling. Look online for the Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler (click for sources) or the...

READ MORE

Ash Flower Gall – Identification

Q: I have a white ash that has weird green cauliflower-looking growths where the seeds clusters used to be. When I break them open, I find a little worm. A: The malformation is caused by ash flower gall. A tiny...

READ MORE

Blackberry – Red-necked Cane Borer

Q: My thornless blackberry died suddenly and I found larva in the cane. Can you ID these critters? A: Looks like red-necked cane borer. The larvae grow in the blackberry stem, causing it to enlarge, about a foot from ground...

READ MORE

Organic Herbicide (Weed Killer) – Won’t Hurt Dog

Q: Is there a weed killer for poison ivy that won’t harm my dog? A: I used a commercial herbicidal soap on poison ivy last week and the leaves were burned to the ground in a day. There are several...

READ MORE

Podocarpus – Edible?

Q: I recently found these pods on a tree in Marietta and would love to know their origin and if these pods can be used to grown my own. The fruit/pod are dark purplish black and spongy and then this...

READ MORE

Edible Flowers

Q: Where can I learn more about edible flowers? I want to use them on a wedding cake. A: I found a good resource from the Colorado Extension office. see Edible Flowers You might also be interested in edible plants...

READ MORE

Horsehair Worm – Identification

Q: I have a plastic half-barrel with water lilies growing in it. On one of the floating leaves I found a skinny black worm, thin as a hair. What is it? A: It’s probably a harmless horsehair worm. Despite their...

READ MORE

Cemetery – Plants for

Q: What would be some good plants to plant in front of a cemetery headstone where there is no water service? The space is 3.5 feet long and 16 inches wide. A: Assuming the site is in full sun, I...

READ MORE

Red Rose – Turning Pink

Q: I have five large Knockout roses in my yard. They have been in the ground for 3 years and have always been red. They just recently bloomed and one of them is now pink and another is turning pick....

READ MORE

Lady Beetle – Pupae

Q: These orange pods are on my Rose of Sharon bushes, plus several black and orange bugs. What are they? A: The pods are lady beetle pupal sacks…keep them! And the alligator creatures are the immature lady beetles that made...

READ MORE

Maple – Severe Damage by Squirrel

Q: In the span of 8 hours something attacked our maple tree. The bark is shredded off. I was gone all day and found it in this state when I got home. A: It’s gotta be a squirrel doing the...

READ MORE