Gardening Q and A

Pruning Tomato Limbs on the Ground

Q: Does it hurt to cut off lower limbs of tomato plants that are on the ground? A: It’s no problem at all and you may avoid disease problems by doing so. Early blight is a common tomato disease that...

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Plant Names – Crapemyrtle

Q: I noticed in a recent column that you spelled the name of a particular Southern plant “crapemyrtle”, not “crepe myrtle” or “crape myrtle”. I thought the name was two words. A: Every garden writer tries to be consistent in...

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Peonies – Transplanting

Q: My peonies have outgrown the place where I planted them. I would love to transplant them now but everything I have read says to wait until Oct. A: If the clump is so big that it needs dividing, I’d...

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Oak Tree – Bark Shedding

Q: In the last few weeks, we have noticed that oak trees are shedding their bark profusely. The bark is simply falling off the trees in bits and pieces. What is happening to our wonderful trees? A: There are two...

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Soil Testing – When to retest

Q: I had my soil tested last fall and the report said that my soil was deficient in phosphorus and potassium. I used 10-10-10 for the first fertilization. When should I retest? A: It takes a while for nutrients to...

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Bamboo Removal

Q: We would like to get rid of bamboo in our yard. The previous owners planted the bamboo as a privacy screen. Can we dig it out? A: You can control it by digging but it will be a miserable...

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New Garden – Planting in Georgia

Q: We have moved back to Georgia and are planting a new garden. I need help with the layout for a 30 foot x 50 foot garden. A: Planting a new garden is an enjoyable adventure but it’s easy to...

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Branch Spreaders on a Mountain Ash

Q: What is your opinion about using branch spreaders to increase the crotch angle between the trunk and branches that are growing more upright than horizontal on a mountain ash tree? Is it a good idea or just a waste...

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Confederate Jasmine Vines – Growth in Containers

Q: We want to use Confederate jasmine vines to grow up and trail over our garage doors. Can we successfully grow them in pots? A: Confederate jasmine can be quite robust so I’d opt for the biggest container you can...

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Citronella Plants – Do not repel mosquitoes

Q: How many citronella plants are needed for maximum mosquito protection in a backyard? A: Despite the claims, citronella plants do not repel mosquitoes. Citronella grass, Cymbopogon nardus, and citrosa (scented geranium) contain citronella oil, which does repel mosquitoes. However,...

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Liriope – Pruning

Q: The liriope our subdivision entrance has not been cut back and looks tattered. Is May too late in the year to prune it back? A: I wouldn’t mow it down now but if it’s not a terribly big patch...

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Japanese Maple – Small Root Ball

Q: I planted a scrawny Japanese maple two years ago, digging a hole only a little bigger that the root ball. Now I’m worried it will not grow well due to the hard soil around the roots. Any options? A:...

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Crepemyrtle – Fragrance

Q: Are there any fragrant varieties of crepe myrtles? A: Some gardeners claim to detect a faint scent (‘Apalachee’ and ‘Near East’ are said to have a pleasing fragrance) but I don’t believe any crapemyrtle could be called “fragrant”. In...

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10-10-10 Fertilizer – Tomatoe Planting

Q: If using 10-10-10 fertilizer, what is the correct amount to use when planting a tomato? A: You don’t need much, perhaps a teaspoon of 10-10-10 at planting. When the plant starts setting fruit, apply three Tbsp. per plant. Repeat...

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Floating Row Cover – Where to buy

Q: Where can I buy the floating row cover for vine borer moth prevention? A: Call your local nursery; I’ve seen it recently at several of them. Also called “freeze cloth”, this lightweight material can be draped over young squash...

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Giant Pumpkins – Tips for Growth

Q: Do you have any tips for growing giant pumpkins? A friend sent me and other people packets of his giant pumpkin seeds as a Christmas gift. We are all going to compete and decide the winner at year’s end....

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Recent Tornado Damage – Pine Trees

Q: My brother’s home had many pine trees around it that were snapped at varying heights by the recent tornadoes. Will these trees have to be taken down or is there any way they can survive? A: They will have...

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Fan Sound – Cicada Call

Q: This week I heard a sound coming from the woods that sounds like a fan running with a bearing that needs oil. It is loud enough that you can hear it from several hundred yards. Any ideas? A: I’m...

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