Gardening Q and A

Haricot Vert – Growing

Q: I want to grow the green beans they call “haricot vert” at the grocery store. Any varieties you suggest? A: Haricot vert (French for “green bean”) is just a skinny version of our typical green snap bean. Varieties like...

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Removing Pinebeetles – No Diesel Fuel

Q: I was told by a tree removal company owner that diesel fuel poured around the base of a pine tree will be absorbed by the tree and kill the beetles. I am skeptical. Is this true? A: You’re right...

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Zoysia – Not shade tolerant

Q: I am considering establishing a grass other than fescue, which has been a constant disappointment. I talked to the salesmen at a local nursery and they assure me that zoysia requires only two hours of sunlight. A: I hate...

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Plasticulture – In your garden

Q: I have seen many watermelon and strawberry fields that are covered by black plastic film. Where might I be able to get that type of film? A: This technique is called plasticulture. It’s a great way to enhance vegetable...

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Apple/Peach Tree Planting

Q: Would it be OK to plant apple and peach trees near each other? I worry the cross pollination would produce a weird fruit. A: You won’t get an appeach! An apple is in the genus Malus, while a peach...

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Lawn ID for Zoysiagrass

Q: Could you tell me what kind of grass I have in my lawn? It is the first grass around to go dormant and it is the last one to come out in the spring. It feels thick and prickly....

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Bermuda Lawns – Scalping

Q: I know you don’t recommend burning bermuda lawns but what do you think about scalping? I’ve already seen neighbors cutting theirs very short. A: Scalping is far safer than burning. I recommend doing it when you see the barest...

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Bamboo – Used for Trellises and Stakes

Q: Some of our gardeners at Alpharetta Community Garden want to go out and cut bamboo for trellises and stakes. Will the bamboo will root in the ground if they do this? A: No, the freshly cut bamboo stems won’t...

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Bermudagrass – Chemical Removal

Q: Bermuda grass has started growing in several small areas of my zoysia lawn. Is there a chemical that I can spray that will kill the bermuda and not harm the zoysia? A: There are a few chemicals available to...

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Peach Tree – Pruning

Q: Is it too late to prune my peach tree? It has started to bud. A: Early- to mid-March is a fine time to prune peach trees. Your goal should be to have a three- to four-foot tall central trunk...

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Plants with “Daniel” in the name

Q: Are there any plants with the name Daniel in them? Our children are named Daniel and Heather. We’ve always had heather plants but we’d like to find a plant for Daniel. A: Using Google, I only found ‘Daniel Ost’...

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Salt Lick – Deer Attraction

Q: I am afraid I’ve created a monster by having a salt lick in my back yard. The deer love it. I recently counted eight there taking turns. I had hoped to put out impatiens to get some color. Do...

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Queen Palms – Winter survival

Q: Last year I purchased 11 queen palms from a local store. During the winter they all turned brown; they look like they might be dead. Will they come back in the spring? A: Queen palm can survive 25 degrees...

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Avoiding Tomato Disease

Q: I have kept a tomato garden in the same spot for five years. For two years, all of the plants have succumbed to various diseases. Is there anything I can clean the soil with?   A: Once diseases have built...

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Unreliable Magnolia Blooms

Q: My parents planted a store-bought magnolia tree ten years ago. It has never bloomed or even shown buds. My Mom is still around and would love to have blooms. A: Magnolias are famously recalcitrant in blooming. One may do...

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Fir growth in Georgia

Q: I’m very anxious to try to grow fir trees. Will Frasier or balsam fir grow in upper north Georgia? A: Fraser fir is worth a try but your elevation is pretty low to be successful. Firs grow best at...

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Eco-friendly Lawn – Plants and Grass

Q: I want to convert our backyard to a more eco-friendly lawn. I’d like to see a variety of colors and textures in the area. What do you recommend? A: I consulted native plant expert Shannon Pable (shannonpable.com). She suggests...

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Bee-keeping – Painting of Hive

Q: I am a first-time bee keeper. I received several used supers and was told to clean them up and repaint them. I painted the inside by mistake. Will this harm the bees? A: UGA bee expert Keith Delaplane says...

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