Gardening Q and A

Holly Fern – Spots on Leaves (sori)

Q: The backs of my fern leaves are covered in spots, every plant is like this and they seem weak. We know they grow well here in Savannah because there are fabulous, huge ones in the squares. What could this...

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Northern Water Snake – Identification

Q: We live next to a creek in Decatur. My son loves to explore the creek but we have found that there is a snake in residence. Can you help me identify it? A: I’m no snake expert but Jim...

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Maple – Pruning to Make Taller

Q: I had a sugar maple planted about 9 to 11 years ago.  I personally want a Maple tree to grow tall first.  From what I understand, if you top a tree, you stunt its height.  If you trim some of...

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Azalea – Pruning Large Ones

Q: I have a couple of azaleas that have become monsters! I did not cut them back for years and they now dominate my front landscape. In recent years, I have taken out large, too me, alternating branches in an...

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Camellia – Freeze Damage vs Petal Blight

Q: Are you able to tell from this photo if my camellia has petal blight? I have cut all the remaining buds and flowers from the plant cleaned up the leaves. If it is petal blight, what should I do...

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Mayapple – Identification

Q: Fifteen years ago I found several of these plants in the woods before everything was bulldozed to start a house. Over the years they have multiplied and are an ongoing source of pleasure for me every spring. I call...

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Tulip – Diseased

Q: Back in the spring I observed these tulips growing in a bed not far from my house in Atlanta. The petal damage was so severe I took several pictures. Do you recognize this problem? Could it be damage from...

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Japanese Maple – Pruning

Q: The ‘Bloodgood’ maple in my front yard is visually too big for the front of the house. I would like to reduce the size by one-third. I called a Japanese maple expert but he refuses to reduce the size,...

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Dogwood – Bleeding Orange Sap

Q: I have a dogwood that was injured with snow load and we cut off the broken branch. I put prunning sealer on the cut and now it looks like this. It looks like it is bleeding to death. A:...

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Dirt Dauber Wasp – Identification

Q: I don’t know what animal(s) built these “shelters”, but am curious if you can provide any guidance. Do you have any ideas what built these? A: You are the host of dirt dauber wasps. They are considered beneficial because...

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Chaste Tree (Vitex) – Pruning

Q: Last year my husband I planted a chaste tree. Somehow my husband did not keep it in check and now we are at a loss on how to prune it. My husband wants it to have three to four...

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Zoysia – Seedheads

Q: For the last several years my Emerald Zoysia lawn has apparently gone to seed mid-summer or later. This year it is greening up in April and has already gone to seed. The lawn is twelve years old. It appears...

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Iron – Used as herbicide

Q:  What do you know about the new organic weed kilers that contain chelated iron as the active ingredient? A: Several products use chelated iron (iron in plant-available form) to kill weeds. I’m familiar with Ortho Elementals Lawn Weed Killer...

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Morel Mushrooms – Identifying

Q: My German in-laws are visiting and want to go hunting morel mushrooms in the woods by our house. They seem to know what to look for but I don’t want our American morels to confuse them. Is there a...

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Columnar Trees – For Privacy

Q: We have recently invested in landscaping our back yard and it has become a haven for us. We are challenged to find a tree that can grow in shade, provide privacy and is fast growing. My husband doesn’t want...

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Chinaberry – Identification

Q: This tree came up in the undeveloped land next to ours. Can you tell me what it is? A: You have a chinaberry, Melia azedarach. Most gardeners consider it a weed tree because it sprouts so readily in untended...

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Fox – Afflicted With Mange

Q: We saw this awful animal in our back yard. Do you think it could be a small chupacabra that kills neighborhood animals? A: The chupacabra (goat sucker) is a mythical animal that is said to roam the Southwest. A...

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Lee May – Where Is He?

Q: Can you tell me the whereabouts of Lee May, who used to write beautiful gardening articles for the paper? A: Lee and his wife, Lyn, have moved back to Georgia from East Haddam, CT. You can read his ruminations on the...

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