Gardening Q and A

Butterfly Japanese Maple – Unusual leaf color

Q: I purchased a Butterfly Japanese maple tree last fall. However, there are a few leaves sprouting that do not look like its normal delicate pale green leaves trimmed in cream and pink. They are big and green. A: ‘Butterfly’ Japanese...

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Cherry Laurel – Pruning

Q: I have several ‘Bright and Tight’ cherry laurels that I planted last spring. Last fall I noticed they had lost a lot of leaves. This spring there is new growth but it is only on the tips of each...

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Narrow and Spindly broccoli heads

Q: I have put a lot of composted horse manure and chicken manure in my garden and everything seems to be growing very well. The broccoli I planted last year are growing very lush and thick, with huge, healthy green...

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Rhubarb – Harvesting stalks

Q: My rhubarb plants have suddenly produced a tall shoot with a flower on the top. Does this mean I can no longer eat the stalks? A: You’re lucky to have rhubarb to consider eating. This perennial vegetable struggles to...

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Fern Caterpillar Prevention

Q: I have Boston ferns on my front porch every summer. In the middle of the summer I get fern caterpillars. Do you have any suggestions to prevent them? A: These caterpillars come from eggs laid on the fern by...

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Cotton Burr Compost – Georgia

Q: I recently returned from Kansas and brought back some cotton burr compost. I’ve read this is excellent for gardens, although it’s very stinky. Why can’t I find it in the Atlanta area? A: University of Georgia cotton expert Guy...

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Co-dominant Trunks – Pruning

Q: I have heard you speak about “co-dominant” trunks, emphasizing that multiple trunks are not conducive to a tree’s health. My Bloodgood Japanese maples have co-dominant trunks. Do I prune them? A: Having two parallel trunks can be a problem...

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Lily of the Valley – Invasive?

Q: I got some Lily of the Valley plants from a coworker to fill in around my hosta. I’m reading online that they can be invasive. Any advice? A: Growing in perfect conditions lily of the valley could be “pushy”...

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Crapemyrtle – Floppy in Summer

Q: I have two floppy crepe myrtles, one more floppy than the other. I’ve never seen a floppy myrtle before. Is there something I need to do to make them stay upright and not flop over? In winter I cut...

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Honey – Doesn’t Prevent Allergies

Q: I’m having terrible allergies this year and I’m being forced to stay indoors. I’ve been told to find locally grown raw honey to eat daily. Where could I get some? A: Although this is widespread homespun advice, the allergy...

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Woody Adelgid Attack – Prevention

Q: My wife and I recently purchased seven acres in Union County. We’ve planted several hemlocks. How do I prevent wooly adelgid attack?   A: Wooly adelgid, a sap-sucking insect, has killed thousands of hemlocks in north Georgia so I can...

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Woodchip Steam – Caused by Fungi and Bacteria

Q: My coworkers and I were wondering why a huge pile of wood chips makes steam afterwards. A: The condensed water vapor (steam) is caused by the heat of billions of fungi and bacteria digesting fresh wood and sap. Digestion...

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Lilac Growth – Proper pH ensures annual flowers

Q: My mother has two lilacs They are growing and doing well but only one of them flowers every year. Why is that? A: In order to bloom, some lilacs need more winter chill hours than others. This is why...

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Rhododendron – Pruning

Q: My rhododendrons are three free tall and full of pink blooms. I noticed that after last season’s flowers were gone, there didn’t seem to be much foliage. Should I trim the rhododendrons back after flowering? A: If they are...

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Cultivating soybeans – Growth for soy milk

Q: Where can I buy soybeans to cultivate? I’d like to make my own soy milk. A: In my opinion, the economics are against you but the adventure will be very educational! Assuming optimum conditions, your garden yield should be...

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Quinault strawberry plants – Not for Georgia

Q: Early last summer I planted three Quinault strawberry plants. I got lush plants but minuscule berries. What do I need to do to get decent fruit? A: The ‘Quinault’ strawberry doesn’t grow very well in Georgia. It is an...

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Polyester Row Covers – When to cover plants

Q: On a recent radio show, you mentioned using polyester row cover to overcome squash vine borer. I purchased some but when do I cover the plants? A: The lightweight cover prevents squash vine borer moths from laying eggs on...

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Roundup Tips – Bermudagrass

Q: As a northern transplant, I didn’t know about the sheer destructive nature of bermuda grass in my flower bed. I tried spraying Roundup but it’s nearly impossible not to get it on the growth of my daylilies. Any tips?...

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