Gardening Q and A

Peony – Sarah Bernhardt

Q: I was given two small Sarah Bernhardt peonies. How do I care for them? A: Daryl Pulis, local perennial expert, says that newly planted peonies rarely flower immediately, alas, even when sold with buds. They usually need 3-5 years...

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Bare Root Tree – Faster Growth Than Larger Trees

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 be true for everyone...

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Miniature Roses – Indoors for Winter?

Q: I have several miniature roses growing in containers. Should they be moved indoors for the winter, or will they be all right left outside on a sunny deck? A: Miniature roses are often sold as houseplants but they are...

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Deodar Cedar Trees – Sawfly Larvae

Q: We recently planted several deodar cedar trees. The other day I noticed a group of yellow caterpillars gleefully chewing the needles. What are they? A: Though it’s really late to see them, I think you have red-headed pine sawfly...

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Decomposing Tree Trunk – Mulch?

Q: Eight years ago, when our house was built, the builders left a pile of pine trunks in our backyard. Today, it is a crumbling heap of free organic material. Can it be used for mulch or top-dress? A: Decomposed...

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Moon Vine – Harvesting Seeds

Q: I’m the community moon vine grower. What’s the process for harvesting and storing the seed until next March? A: Moon vine, Ipomoea alba, is a great annual vine. I love how the big white flower opens late on summer...

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Horse Manure and Shavings – Composting

Q: I can get horse manure and shavings from the stalls at a horse farm. Is there any special way to compost this mixture? A: Basically you just pile it up until it decomposes enough for the shavings to disappear. If...

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Fescue Lawn – Mowing

Q: My recently seeded fescue lawn is now lush, green, and growing very tall. Is it time to cut the lawn now and during winter? A: Yes, your fescue needs to be mowed when it becomes unkempt. Three inches tall...

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Pumpkin Seeds – Planting

Q: We saved the seeds from our Halloween pumpkin. Is there anything special to do to keep them for planting next year? A: If the seeds are plump, not flat and unviable, they are easy to save. Just dry them...

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Perennial Ryegrass – Not Perennial in Georgia

Q: I planted perennial ryegrass four weeks ago and it is so beautiful. Is there any way I could keep it coming back every year? A: Perennial ryegrass is perennial in areas where summer temperatures don’t go much over 80...

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Pecan Trees – History

Q: We saw a television program that mentioned the first pecan tree planted in Georgia. Being from South Georgia, I thought pecans were native to this area. A: Pecan, Carya illinoinensis, is native to North America, specifically the Midwest. Native...

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Japanese Maple Trees – Surviving Winter in Pots

Q: I have Japanese maple trees in pots on my elevated deck facing east. Can these survive winter on the deck or must I bring them inside at the first frost? A: Japanese maple trees should be perfectly winter-hardy outdoors...

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Dichondra Weed – Controlling

Q: I have lots of dichondra weed growing in my St. Augustine lawn on the north side of the house in partial shade. It is spreading. What is the best approach to controlling it? A: If your St. Augustinegrass is...

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Azaleas – Trimming

Q: When is a good time to cut back azaleas? When is a good time to transplant them? A: The very best time to trim azaleas is after flowering in spring. However, the best time to transplant is in fall,...

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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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