Gardening Q and A

Leafcutter Ants – Identification

Q: My daughter sent this from Tucson : “On our walk this morning the dog and I saw an ant colony that had surrounded the entrance to the anthill with purple and yellow flower petals. The whole hill was carpeted...

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Better Boy Tomato – Defined

Q: What is the difference between a Better Boy tomato plant and a Hybrid Better Boy? A: By definition, they are the same plant. According to Gerald Klingaman, retired Extension Horticulturist in Arkansas, ‘Better Boy’ was hybridized in 1942 by...

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Blueberry – Mummy Berry Disease

Q: I have a long row of mature blueberry plants. For the past two years, all of my berries have turned brown and dropped just prior to maturing. I theorized this was mummy berry disease so I replaced all the...

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Masked chafer – Identification

Q: What is this insect that flies around my porch light? A: Masked chafer, the adult form of the white grubs you see in the soil when you dig in...

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Cedar – Hawthorn Rust – Identification

Q: My hawthorn tree has a lot of berries but most have rust colored, short, stringy things covering them. I recently sprayed the tree with water and plumes of orange dust came off it. A: Your tree is afflicted with...

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Echeveria – Identification

Q: Can you identify this plant? The base (the rosette looking part) is about 9 inches across. A: Tropical plant expert Winston Eason says it initially looked like Aeonium ‘Garnet’. However, on further reflection we now think it is Echeveria ‘Duchess...

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Weeping Willow – Planting in spring

Q: I planted a weeping willow back in the spring. At this point it has some yellow leaves, more than I think is normal. What causes this? A: Your willows are informing you that, like all trees, they would have...

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Butterfly Bush – spider mite control

Q: I have a mature butterfly bush. This year it is looking really bad. The leaves are curling up, like they are not getting enough water, but all my other butterfly bushes are doing fine. Any ideas? A: My first...

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Plants – Watering in Summer

Q: I have heard two trains of thought regarding summer watering. 1. Watering in the morning causes problems because moisture on plant leaves could burn them when they are in full sunshine. 2. Watering plants in the evening creates fungus...

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Mums – pruning for blooms

Q: Last fall I planted several mums that bloomed very well. Now in May they are loaded in buds. Do I shear the pods off or do I let them bloom now? If I let them bloom and then cut...

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Peach – Plum Curculio

Q: The peaches on my peach tree are oozing a clear sap. This is becoming a yearly problem and I am picking lots of them off the tree. I do spray for disease and insects, but what I am using...

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Dogwood – Spot Anthracnose

Q: My dogwood tree has dozens of tiny purple spots on each leaf. The leaves are twisted and disfigured. Other dogwoods in the neighborhood look fine. How will this affect the tree? A: Ah, sweet mysteries of nature! Why a...

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Oak – ‘Sudden Oak Death’

Q: I read in the newspaper a few weeks ago about a “Godzilla” fungus that is attacking oak trees. My husband and I were taking a walk recently and we noticed that our neighbor has some type of black lesion...

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Mahonia – growing

Q: Recently I saw some holly plants with several long bunches of blue berries. A gardener told me they were mahonia holly. I am wondering if I can successfully transplant a few small ones into my red-clay landscape. Are these...

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Night-blooming cereus – Information

Q: My neighbor has a plant she calls a night-blooming cereus. We stayed up until 1:00 a.m. one night watching the flower open, almost like waiting for a new baby to be born. It has the most heavenly scent. Can...

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Cypress vine – invasiveness

Q: Can you tell me anything about cypress vine? I have some seed but want to know how invasive it is before planting. A: Cypress vine, Ipomoea quamoclit is one of the “nicer” invasive vines in that you can readily...

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Stinkhorn mushroom – Identification and Control

Q: A mulched area under one of my trees has a large number of stinkhorns in it. It is beside my children’s bedroom windows and it certainly has the correct name of “stink”! Is there any way to kill them...

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Vinca – Rhizoctonia fungus

Q: The vinca patch in my yard has a fungus that makes the stems turn black. The leaves are first yellow and then turn brown. It appears in patches with no specific pattern. Is there anything I can do to...

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