Gardening Q and A

Cast Iron Plant – Renovations

Q: What can I do to make cast iron plant look good. I have two huge beds and they look rough. Could I cut them down completely, fertilize and let them start over? A: The best time to do a...

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Fruit Trees – Pruning

Q: I have a peach tree and a pear tree that have limbs touching the ground. When can I prune them? A: The best time to prune fruit trees is January or February. Though the job will be chilly, you...

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Cottonseed Meal – How to Use

Q: What does cottonseed meal do for a garden and how much do you apply? A: Cottonseed meal is an excellent organic fertilizer. It releases nutrients as the meal is decomposed by soil microorganisms. Because the bacteria and fungi are...

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Hydrangea – Transferring to Outdoors

Q: I have a potted hydrangea which has outgrown the pot. What is the best way to put it in the ground? A: Fall is a great time to plant hydrangeas in the landscape. Remove the plant from the pot...

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Dogfennel – Edible?

Q: I was glad to see the identification of dogfennel in your email newsletter. The foliage smells like the herb fennel. Is dogfennel edible? A: My general rule is that if cows won’t eat a plant, I won’t eat that...

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Gladiolus Bulbs – Planting Bulbs

Q: Some reference books say to wait until spring to plant gladiolus bulbs and some say to do it now. Which is best? A: Gladiolus is usually hardy in Georgia, but last winter’s prolonged cold and damp proved that this...

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Clay Pots – Cleaning

Q: Regular water removes only the lightest salt deposits on my clay pots. Is there a better way of cleaning pots? A: White salt deposits are common on clay pots. The crusty stuff is the remnants of fertilizer you applied...

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Azaleas – Overgrown

Q: My home has azaleas as foundation plants that are overgrown, totally covering the windows. Visitors tell me ‘I’d better do something about those azaleas’. What is the best thing to do? A: The best option is to cut them...

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Bermuda Sod – Too Thin

Q: I laid 500 sq. ft. of bermuda sod on July 1 in a very sunny area. I watered deep twice a week all summer. The grass is very thin; how do I get it plush and full? A: I...

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Pomegranate Bushes – Planting

Q: When is the best time to plant a pomegranate bush? A: The best time for planting all fruit plants is fall. These shrubs, vines and trees are able to begin developing a good root system long before summer heat...

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Hemlock Trees – Fertilizing

Q: We have five-year old hemlock trees. How do I fertilize them? A: Hemlocks do best with slow-release fertilizers like cottonseed meal or composted chicken manure. For cottonseed meal (6-2-1 analysis), spread eight pounds per 100 sq. ft. over the...

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Dwarf Palmetto – Separating

Q: I bought a potted dwarf palmetto and noticed there are three plants in the container. Can these be separated? A: I don’t see why not. Soak the rootball in a bucket of water and gentle pull the stems apart....

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Landscaping Plans- Help

Q: We would like to do much of the work for our landscaping but we need a solid plan. How do we get someone to make up a plan and refer us to someone to do the really heavy work?...

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Lenten Rose – Outdoor Pots

Q: Would Lenten rose thrive through winter in pots outside on covered porch? A: Lenten rose should be fine in a 12″ or larger pot. Be sure the pot is supported off the porch floor so it drains after watering....

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Compost – Growing In

Q: I use the free compost from DeKalb County in my landscape. Could I actually grow things in the compost by itself? A: I wish more counties would see the benefits of composting yard waste to give to their citizens....

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Elderberry – Growing

Q: I would love to grow elderberries to eat for my health and to make wine. Any hints? A: Native plant expert Theresa Schrum says to collect the fruits of wild/roadside elderberries when they turn dark purple. Extract the seed...

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Sassafras – Cause Cancer?

Q: I’ve heard that sassafras can cause cancer. Should I pull up all that’s growing in my yard? A: I wouldn’t pull the plants up unless you have an uncontrolled urge to chew the roots. The harmful component in sassafras...

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Songbirds – Attracted to Hummingbird Feeders

Q: What songbirds would be attracted to the nectar of a hummingbird feeder? I see one or two each day perched on my feeder, dipping their beaks into the feeding holes. A: Naturalist Charles Seabrook says many songbirds have a...

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