Gardening Q and A

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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‘Miss Huff’ Lantana – Fertilizing

Q: I have “Miss Huff” lantanas that seem to have gone into a decline. They’re half the height of last year. I pruned in spring but did not fertilize. A: I’ve noticed the same thing with my mother’s plant near...

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Vidalia Onions – Buy Online

Q: I am coming for a Savannah vacation and was wondering if I could find big bags of Vidalia onions now. A: The fresh Vidalia onion season ends in early summer in Georgia but some producers have special storage facilities...

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Pruning Perennials – In Fall

Q: In general, is it best to cut down perennial plants after they have finished flowering for the season when they appear to have “died out”? A: My rule of thumb is that if it is green, it is good....

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Weed Wrench – Source

Q: I have seen the volunteers at DeKalb County’s Kittredge Park using a tool you loaned them to rip privet bushes out of the ground. Where did you get that wonderful instrument? A: I got the WeedWrench from www.weedwrench.com. As...

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