Gardening Q and A

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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Crabgrass – Pre-emerge Application

Q: Please tell me as accurately as possible when to apply the pre emerge for crabgrass. A: The exact timing depends on soil temperature. When soil is 50 degrees F. and rising, crabgrass seeds start germinating. This soil temperature typically...

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Goldenrain Reproduction

Q: I have been trying to reproduce a goldenrain tree for 12 years. How do you get the seeds to germinate? A: The key is harvesting and planting the seed when fresh. Sow them shallowly, an inch apart, in a...

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Grass Clippings – In the Garden

Q: I use grass clippings as mulch in the vegetable garden. Is it OK to use a pre-emergent on my lawn and then put the clippings in the garden? A: Chemicals used to prevent weeds are designed to dissolve off...

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Composting – Adding compost to the garden

Q: I just started composting last year and have been amazed at how much stuff I’ve kept out of the landfill. I have no idea when I should start adding the compost to my garden bed. Does the material need...

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Dolomite Lime – Addition to Garden

Q: My soil analysis says I need to add dolomite lime. In looking at garden centers I can not find anything labeled dolomite lime. A: Dolomitic lime is simply a liming material that contains magnesium carbonate and magnesium oxide alongside...

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Leyland Cypresses – Fertilizing

Q: What fertilizer would you recommend to ensure the health of mature Leyland cypresses? My trees are 60 feet tall and look great. I want to keep them that way! A: Not much research has been done about fertilizing Leyland...

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Shade Tolerance – Flowers

Q: I’m creating a landscape/flower bed that will be under two water oak trees with little sun. What is a shade-tolerant plant I can put in this shady bed? The more colorful, hardy and perennial the better. A: For shade-tolerance...

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Bird Feeding – Seasons

Q: We have been feeding the birds black oil sunflower seeds all winter. Should we continue this when spring arrives or do we need to cut back to encourage them to eat berries, etc? A: Garden coach Daryl Pulis (www.mrsgreenthumb.com)...

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Composting – Nutrient rich food

Q: Are all vegetative items the same for composting or are some more nutritious that others? For example, are orange peels and banana peels basically the same? A: Just as with basic nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc), plants can’t tell...

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Loropetalum – Pruning

Q: My Burgundy loropetalum plants are six feet tall and doing well. Last year I cut them down to three feet in early spring. They quickly rebounded and ended the season bigger than they need to be. A: It’s hard...

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Bare Root Seedlings – Proper Conditions

Q: I occasionally get bare root twigs from the Arbor Day folks. These seem to flourish in my yard much more than container-grown trees purchased at a local nursery. Why is that? A: Your experience may not be true for...

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Ring Planter – Tree Trunk Safety

Q: I want to build a ring planter eighteen inches tall around a tree for planting flowers. Does it harm a tree to put dirt up that high against the trunk? A: It can definitely harm the tree to have...

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Propagation of Mangos

Q: Can you tell me how to propagate mangos from seeds? A: Pick a very ripe fruit, peel it, then remove and eat the pulp. Let the flattened seed inside dry for a few days to make it easier to...

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