Gardening Q and A

Peppers – Storing

Q: I harvest hot peppers and air dry them throughout the growing season. In the fall I grind them and store them in jars. Recently I noticed small worms in one jar and moth-like insects in an other. What can...

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Centipede Grass – Fertilizing After Sodding

Q: I sodded my yard with centipede grass on June 15th. When should I apply fertilizer? A: Your centipedegrass can be fertilized when it is firmly rooted to the underlying soil. In practical terms this is usually when you’ve had...

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Mimosa Sprouts

Q: I grew up in New Orleans and we had mimosa trees. I have several random sprouts in my yard but I don’t think they will grow into a real tree anytime soon. A: Mimosas easily grow here but despite...

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Okra Pods – Ants

Q: Last year my okra pods were covered in fire ants. How do I keep them off without using strong chemicals? A: Fire ants are indeed the likely culprits. They feed on developing pods and make a nuisance of themselves...

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Zucchini Plant – Blooms

Q: I know that the first blooms on a zucchini plant are the male flowers. If I cut those off will the female flowers that come later still produce zucchini fruit? I love fried squash blossoms! A: You can fry...

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Daylilies – Accomodating Plants

Q: I have a bed of English ivy and daylilies. We have pulled up the ivy and want to replace it with a less invasive plant that will still accommodate the daylilies. It’s in full sun on a slight slope....

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Garden Soil – Herbicide Contamination

Q: For several years I developed terraced vegetable beds on a slope and they produced prolifically with no significant problems. Last winter, I added another bed and filled it with “garden soil” from a local landscaping supply company. This summer...

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Landscape – Plastic Covering the Soil

Q: My new house has landscape areas covered with black plastic that is beginning to show through. Should I have the plastic removed and just use pine straw? A: By all means remove the plastic. Solid plastic sheet prevents water...

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Bermuda – Mixing with Zoysia

Q: I have a spot where bermuda doesn’t grow so I want to put Emerald zoysia there. How it will look having two different grasses growing next to each other? A: Both of these grasses are fine-bladed and look very...

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Four O’Clock Seed – Durability

Q: I have seeds for four o’clock flowers that I helped my grandmother harvest 40 years ago. They are still in the little change purse she put them in. Is there any hope of them sprouting now? A: The skin...

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Maple Tree – Girdling Root

Q: I took your advice and examined the base of my declining maple tree and found a big root pressing against the base. Should I remove the root or let it be? A: Much depends on how big the root...

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Fertilizer – Fish

Q: Since I work in a restaurant, I have fish scraps which I once heard were great for the garden. Is this true? A: Fish have been used as fertilizer since ancient times. Save the fish scraps in a bucket...

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Fruit – Espaliering

Q: I’m learning about growing fruit and I see that in England they are grown against walls in a fan shape. Is there a reason we don’t do this in the Southeast? A: Training fruit trees to grow in a...

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Dogwood – Pruning

Q: We have several lanky dogwoods which are putting out small suckers below the true limbs at our second floor of our home. Can I remove them? Short of finding a monkey with pruning skills, how do I do it?...

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Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans – No Beans

Q: We planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans in April. They are climbing up the support poles nicely but they have been blooming for over two weeks with no sign of beans! A: Bean flower drop is related to fertilization but...

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Light – Measuring

Q: In my work as a landscape designer, I’m challenged by the different kinds of shade on a site. Shade under a maple tree is completely different from shade on the north side of a house. But both are considered...

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Asian Persimmon Tree – Fruit

Q: My two-year-old Asian persimmon tree has been dropping developing fruit. Is it poor pollination? How can I stop the drop? A: Fruit trees vary in their ability to hold fruit while they become established in a growing site. There...

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Shrubs – Yellow Sapwood

Q: We chopped some shrubs recently and the trunk inside was bright yellow. Can you tell me what caused this or if it is normal? A: You probably were working with a barberry or a mahonia. Both have bright yellow...

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