Gardening Q and A

Castor Oil – Ineffective for Mole Control

Q: I found information on mole control using castor oil, water, and Dawn detergent applied with a garden sprayer. Do you think it would work with a hose-end sprayer? A: This concoction is useless. Despite its reputation, castor oil has...

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Evergreen Screen – Bare at Bottom

Q: This is a great screen between us and our neighbor. But the lower part is leafless. Some plants have a little green on outer tips. Can we cut back and have new growth? A: Your evergreen trees don’t seem...

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Yaupon Holly – Pruning a Tall One

Q: These hollies have gotten much taller than the house and look messy. I’d like to cut the trunks much lower. If I do that will the tops eventually grow back, only lower? That way I could keep them trimmed...

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Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick – Planting in a Pot

Q: Last Mother’s Day, I bought my wife a 5 gallon size Harry Lauder Walking Stick Plant. The plant looked a bit bedraggled when I got it. I immediately repotted it into a much larger container, watered it good and...

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Chewing Damage – To Pressure-treated Wood

Q: We have a wooded backyard, and a play house/swing set for the kids. The set was built about 3 years ago with treated lumber. We noticed the other day that something is feeding or chewing on the wood. Any...

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Mushrooms – Growing from Bottom of Pot

Q: This is is growing out of all the holes in my potted fern. They are yellow: maybe mushrooms? A: Your guess is correct. These are mushrooms growing out of the potting soil at the bottom of the pot. Potting...

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Chinese Wing Bean – Identification

Q: In the garden, next to my Tahitian long beans, we planted another seed that looked like a kidney bean. But what grew doesn’t look like any kidney bean I am familiar with. Any idea what these are? A: It’s...

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Pieris – Bumps on Stem

Q: Can you help me identify what these funny bumps are on my Southern Lady pieris? A: I think these are just dormant buds. The only evidence I could find were these fascinating microscopic photos of pieris. see A Close-up...

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Blue Atlas Cedar, Weeping Form – Identified

Q: Any idea what type of tree this is? A: It’s a weeping Blue Atlas cedar, Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’. The weeping, contorted shape is certainly an eye-catcher! This tree can do well here if it is planted correctly.With your...

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Soldier Fly Grubs – In Compost

Q: I went to my compost tumbler to empty my veggie scraps and found an awful mess of worms – thousands of them! Are they good ones or bad worms? A: These are soldier fly grubs. Though they look disgusting,...

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Chickens – Light Needed for Laying Eggs

Q: What makes chickens slow down their egg production? We have six hens and have started getting only five eggs per day. A: You’re getting the right number of eggs for autumn but production will decline in winter. Much depends...

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Leyland Cypress – Dead After April Planting

Q: How can I tell if my tree is simply browning and suffering due to lack of water, or if it’s gone and dead? I have nine evergreens, all planted in April and one is not looking good at all....

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Japanese Chaff Flower – Control

Q: What is this ornery weed trying to take over my garden. When it started last year, I first thought it was my ‘Black and Blue’ sage but soon discovered it was not. It has a square stem and smooth...

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Praying Mantis – Eating a Fly

Q: I was working in the yard with my helper and we spotted this praying mantis eating a fly!  A: Nature at its finest! You might also spot egg sacs on twigs in winter. I recommend you leave it in place....

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Fescue – Bulldog 51 Variety

Q: Have you had any experience with Bulldog 51 fescue? A: I have not but UGA turf expert Clint Waltz says it came out of the UGA turfgrass breeding program fifteen years ago. It’s an improved tall fescue cultivar that...

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Live Oak – Leafy Gall

Q: What is this on my live oak? A: UGA plant pathologist Jean Williams-Woodward says it is a leafy oak gall. It is harmless to the tree. Leafy Oak Gall...

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Squirrel – Chewing on Deck

Q: We installed a new cedar deck about a year ago and sealed it with an oil-based sealant two weeks ago. This week I noticed what looks like scratches and droppings in an area near the patio door. The deck...

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Oak – Wooly Leaf Gall

Q: I found this leaf with the fuzzy elongated growth stuck to it in my yard. Can you tell me what the growth is? A: It’s a wooly oak leaf gall. It’s caused by an insect that lays eggs on...

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