Gardening Q and A

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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Worm-Posting

Q: For three years I’ve tried to turn my hard-packed red clay into a real garden. I’ve made progress doing “wormposting”. I bury all our fruit and vegetable waste in holes in different areas of the garden. As the food...

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Lawn Grasses – For Sunny Areas

Q: I just had several trees in the front yard removed and now I don’t have any grass. It is full sun. What grass seeds should I plant? A: If you have a sunny lawn, bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass or St....

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Gardenia – Transplanting from Pots

Q: We enjoy several gardenias in large pots, but they are becoming root bound. Is it advisable to put them in the ground next season? A: It depends on the variety. Gardenia jasminoides ‘Veitchii’ (florist gardenia) needs indoor protection in...

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Naked Lady Lily Bulbs – Not Blooming

Q: I planted some naked lady lily bulbs two years ago. Every spring they put up beautiful foliage, but no blooms appear in late summer. Should I give up on them? A: Don’t give up, the unclothed beauties will eventually...

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Shademaster Locust Tree

Q: What are the pros and cons of the Shademaster locust tree? Do you have suggestions for another shade tree that grows fast, won’t uproot walkways, and is easy to clean up after? A: ‘Shademaster’ thornless honeylocust is a nice-looking...

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Spinach – Getting Seeds to Sprout

Q: Can you tell me the best way to get spinach seeds to sprout? I have tried using seed starting pellets and sowing them directly in the ground. Nothing seems to work. A: Spinach is not the easiest vegetable to...

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Distinctive Native Plants

Q: In Boy Scouts there is a requirement to identify ten kinds of native plants found in your community. Can you suggest ten native plants for me to teach the boys? A: Certainly poison ivy and Virginia creeper should be...

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Moths in Ferns

Q: My hanging ferns have been invaded with small white moths. They have just about killed the ferns by eating the leaves. What should I do? A: Moths don’t eat leaves, their offspring (caterpillars) do the damage. Unusually high numbers...

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Tomato Fusarium Wilt

Q: To prevent tomato fusarium wilt, I am in the process of solarizing my garden. Do I need to do anything to my cages and red plastic mulch trays in order to keep this disease from returning? A: Fusarium wilt...

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Raccoons

Q: I started feeding birds several years ago. Then squirrels helped themselves to the sunflower seeds. After a while I began attracting an occasional raccoon. However, I recently saw six raccoons in my yard. Will they starve if I quit...

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Planting Camellias

Q: When is best time to plant camellias? A: My rule of thumb is that mid-September through mid-November is terrific for planting shrubs and trees. The soil is warm enough to encourage root growth but the air is cool, so...

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Ground Covers

Q: What would you recommend as a fast growing ground cover in sunny and shady areas? A: For shade, I like Lenten rose or mondo grass. For sun, spreading juniper and purple euonymus are hard to beat. For more groundcover...

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