Gardening Q and A

White Deposits on Hydrangea Leaves

Q: I went out to water my hydrangeas today and noticed white spots all around the edges of the leaves. This was not there yesterday so it happened sometime during the night. The leaves don’t seem damaged and the plants...

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Oystershell Scale – Identification and Control

Q: I have noticed many insect eggs located on the bark of my Japanese zelkova trees.. I have also noticed these to a lesser degree on various types of maple trees. You can notice small a hole where an insect...

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Flowering Pear – Improved Varieties

Q: I want to plant some flowering pears in my yard to provide cover from houses across the street. What do you recommend? A: I’d look for ‘Chanticleer’ or ‘Aristocrat’ flowering pear. ‘Bradford’ pear is commonly sold but it has...

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Basic Slag – Sources

Q: My relatives in Alabama swear by something called “basic swag” for their gardens. They say it’s a nutrient that comes in powdered form and you broadcast it over your green vegetables. Can you help me find some? A: I...

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Sweet Potato – Growing Slips

Q: Do you know where between Atlanta and Lake Burton I can find sweet potato plants? A: My dad used to buy them from Travis Hardware in Fayetteville but that emporium and its genial owner are no longer with us....

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Japanese Maple – White Spots on Leaves

Q: What are the “white spots” on my Japanese maple leaves? Just noticed them this week. A: It’s a fungal disease called phyllosticta. It is unsightly but is rarely a big problem on Japanese maples. Only under certain combinations of...

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Snapdragon Rust – Identification

Q: A friend tells me that you might help identify this infestation on the back of my snapdragon leaves. It appeared as the plants were about to send up their flowering shoots and wilted them before most were able to...

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Trap Door Spider – Identification

Q: I was digging in some mulch and this fine fellow emerged. I anesthetized it with carbon dioxide to get it to be still while I photographed its underside. After a few minutes it recovered just fine. Do you recognize...

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Cherokee Rose – History

Q: I have to do a garden club program on our state flower, the Cherokee Rose. Do you have any historical information on its original selection and the later naming of a native azalea as Georgia’s flower? A: The Cherokee...

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Impatiens Downy Mildew – Identification and Substitutes

Q: I have been told by a local garden center that garden impatiens, except the New Guineas, have a disease this year and should not be planted. Is this the case or maybe an exaggeration? A: It is true that...

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Holly – Insect and Animal Damage to Trunk

Q: I have been searching the Web for photos or advice from many people and nobody knows for sure what my problem is. I have 8 hollies that line my yard. On the lower trunks there is bark damage. It...

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Raccoon Damage to Lawn

Q: A neighbor up here in Cleveland GA asked me if I had any idea what might have torn her lawn up. I guessed a bear, but figured you could probably say for sure. A: My guess is raccoon damage....

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Fescue Failure – Using Old Seed

Q: In October 2011, I followed my annual ritual and reseeded my fescue lawn. First used Roundup to kill off heavy weeds. Raked, some top soil, and Scott seed this year, and lots of water. I only got weeds. I...

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16-4-8 – Mixed Up Using Common Fertilizer Grades

Q: I recently had a soil test done through UGA. It also recommended 16-4-8 fertilizer. I can’t seem to find it anywhere locally, and it is very expensive to have shipped. Any suggestions? A: Using the UGA fertilizer calculator and...

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Vegetable Seeds – For the South

Q: All of the plant catalogs I’ve received so far are from the NE, Midwest, or California. Is there a southeastern seed company you recommend? I would love to buy as local as possible. A: I applaud your support for...

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Cottony Cushion Scale – On Shrub

Q: I noticed my bushes were looking scrappy this year so I went out to prune them back. There are thousands of white bugs under the leaves and all over the stems. They are not on any other bushes. How...

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Tree Damage – Healing Process Looks Like Vine

Q: I planned to incorporate this lovely Oak into our new home’s landscape. Last year I noticed splits in the bark and suspected lightning. Now, I suspect a vine, NOT visible at the base…growing UNDERNEATH the tree bark? Do you...

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Muscadine – Orange Ooze

Q: After pruning my muscadines a couple of weeks ago, some of the cuts have yellow ooze coming out. What is it? A: It’s the dripping muscadine sap being colonized by orange-colored yeasts and fungi. As you know, sap consists...

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