Gardening Q and A

Plant Propagation – Knock Out Rose

Q: Can I get a cutting from a Knockout rose to grow? If so, give me some tips. A: Strictly speaking, propagating a Knock Out rose is illegal. This plant, as well as many other roses and perennials, is patented....

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Fertilizer – Substitutes

Q: I usually use 16-4-8 on my lawn but this year I can’t find this fertilizer. Do you have any substitutes? A: Any fertilizer that is sold for lawn use should work fine when applied at label directions. But you...

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Trees – Shedding Bark in Summer

Q: Several trees in my front yard have the bark coming off. They are lush and full of leaves. I hope the trees are not sick. A: I’ve heard reports that several tree species, hickory and oak in particular, seem...

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Plant Anchoring – Leyland Cypress

Q: During a heavy rain my Leyland cypress fell over. This has happened twice before. Each time, I anchored it with rope and thought roots would grow and stabilize the tree. What else should I do? A: It’s hard to...

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Snakes – Identification

Q: I often see snakes sunning near my backyard creek. I don’t want to harm them but I sure would like to identify them. Are there any simple guides? A: You’re likely seeing various kinds of non-poisonous water snakes but...

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Root Cellar – Practical?

Q: Is a root cellar practical in the deep South? A: I doubt it. In order to keep vegetables from rotting, the temperature in a root cellar needs to be 50 degrees or less with great air circulation. Deep soil...

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Roses – Garden Designs

Q: I have a large but bare backyard. I’ve fallen in love with roses and want to start planting them but how do I design or decide where to put them? A: You need the services of a consulting rosarian....

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St. Augustine Grass – Seed Stalks

Q: I have St. Augustine grass and it has grown seed stalks. Which part is the seed and can I plant them? A: Unfortunately, St Augustinegrass does not produce fertile seed from those seed stalks.  The St. Augustine grass we...

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Thorny Plants – For Property Lines

Q: Our HOA is trying to keep people from climbing over the fence to get through our property. Can you give us the names of some thorny, sticky, prickly shrubs to make it unappealing? A: Chinese holly, barberry, Knock Out...

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Rose Rosette Disease – Identification

Q: What do you know about rose rosette disease? A: I know it can be devastating to roses and will be extremely hard to control if it becomes widespread in Georgia. The disease causes very red foliage and stems, copious...

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Rattlebox (Crotalaria) – Identification

Q: What is this plant with brown seed pods that look like English pea pods? A: Native plant expert Theresa Schrum says this is showy rattlebox, Crotalaria spectabilis. If you shake the dry pods you’ll immediately hear why it got...

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Panicle Hydrangea – Identification

Q: I have a house with this hydrangea looking tree. The flower looks like a hydrangea’s flower. Do you know what it is? A: It is indeed a hydrangea: Hydrangea paniculata. There is one particular variety of panicle hydrangea called...

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Flying Aphids – In Fall

Q: I have gnat-type flying insect swarming in my backyard. What type of insect would be flying this late in the year? A: My bet, based on experience from previous years, is that the things are the winged form of...

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Tomato – Grafting

Q: What do you know about grafting tomatoes? I hear you can graft an heirloom variety to a disease-resistant modern variety and get good results. A: You are exactly correct on the good results from grafting. The process has been...

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Sasanqua Camellia and Japanese Camellia – Identification

Q: What is the difference between sasanqua camellia and Japanese camellia? A: Sasanqua camellia, Camellia sasanqua and Japanese camellia, Camellia japonica, are the two camellia species most often cultivated in the South. There are more than 200 species of camellia,...

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Dogfennel – Identification

Q: Please identify this 3 – 4’ tall stuff. How do you get rid of a lot of it? A: It’s dogfennel, Eupatorium capillifolium. Don’t confuse it with Anthemis cotula, which is also known as dog fennel or Mayweed. I...

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Bird’s Nest Fungi

Q:There are little white cones things that come up in my garden. Then four little dots seems to just appear in the cone. Any suggestions? A: These are called birds nest fungi. The cup-like structure contains “eggs” that have fungal...

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Raccoon Damage – To Dead Sod

Q: We had fescue sod laid last year in a small garden area in our back yard but it died during the drought. In the past week or so some nocturnal animal has been ‘”unrolling”  the sod looking for something....

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