Gardening Q and A

Squirrel Damage – Snowball Viburnum

Q: What can we do to save this big snowball bush? A: I think the damage is caused by squirrels enlarging the holes made by sapsucker woodpeckers. It’s serious but I don’t think you can do much to deter the...

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Bee-friendly Flowers – What Blooms When

Q: I have nine hives and am a member of a local beekeepers club. We need to know what bee-friendly plants are blooming when. A: I well remember my beekeeper father moving his hives from place to place to take...

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Potting Soil – Combustible?

Q: Can potting soil burn or spontaneously combust? A: Potting soil is composed of combustible materials like peat and shredded wood fiber so I’m sure it can burn if exposed to something hot, like a cigar or a stick of...

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Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus – Identification

Q: What in the world is wrong with my tomatoes? A: I sent your pictures to the UGA Plant Disease lab in Athens. The diagnostician says it’s tomato spotted wilt virus. See Tomato Spotted Wilt...

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Windmill Palm – Cold Damage

Q: I have a three-year-old windmill palm near our pool. It has been growing great, but during our very cold snap I draped it with a tarp for a day. When I removed the tarp, the fronds were brown and...

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Lemon – Growing from Seed

Q: We grew a lemon tree from a seed, it’s a bush now but it has not bloomed. Does it take more than one plant to produce fruit? A: Some citrus trees won’t bloom until they get pretty big. My...

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Timber Bamboo – Not Cold Hardy

Q: This spring, I intend to plant several giant timber bamboo plants. What kind of spacing do you recommend for planting this clumping bamboo? I read online that this type of bamboo grows in zones 8-10. Adam A., Kennesaw A:...

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Tulip Bulbs – Frozen in Pots

Q: I have tulip bulbs in big pots on my deck and patio. Do you think the bulbs, if frozen, will bloom in the spring? A: Tulips come through the winter unscathed in Minnesota, where the ground freezes solid in...

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Rain Barrels – Uneconomical?

Q: I plan to buy two sixty-five gallon rain barrels to collect spring rainwater. In July when everything is dry, I will use it to water my fruit trees. How can I keep the water from becoming stagnant?  A: Add...

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Ferns – Pre-emergent to Control Weeds

Q: I have assorted native ferns in my landscape. It’s beautiful until June when weeds start to overgrow them. Can I put down pre-emergent weed control without hurting the ferns? A: I don’t think pre-emergents have been tested on ferns....

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Blueberry – Best Planting Tips

Q: My neighbor is giving me fifteen of her blueberry bushes. I’m moving them from a partial shade area to a full sun area. When is the best time to move them? A: Now is a great time! I have...

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Cold Damage – Wait To Determine

Q: My mock orange plants are a bit brown after the big freeze. What should I do now, if anything? A: (written after 6 degree cold in 2014) All you can do is wait. On several shrubs (Indica azalea, pittosporum,...

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Nicotine – To Control Pests

Q: I read that dried tobacco is good to keep pests away from various other plants. I assumed the articles were referring to regular tobacco but I have discovered that there is a flowering tobacco grown as a decorative and...

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Amaryllis – Needs Light to Bloom

Q: For the past two holiday seasons I’ve received amaryllis bulbs. After the two bloomed last January, I cut off the stems and placed them in a metal cabinet in the garage. I brought them back inside about early November...

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Cryptomeria “Flowers” – Identification

Q: Can you tell me what these gray tips on my cryptomeria mean? Are they symptoms of disease? A: The gray things are the “male” flowers, which once gave pollen to the round brown cones. The gray ones are from...

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Bermudagrass Mite – Identification

Q: Doing my research, I think this is bermuda mite damage. Am I correct? A: You are exactly correct! Bermudagrass mites attack the ends of bermudagrass stems and cause the classic brooming you see. The good news is that good...

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Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum) – Identification

Q: We have had this vine pop up all over the place on the side of our house. Any idea if it’s friend or foe? A: FOE! Your plant is Japanese knotweed, Polygonum compactum, and it will quickly spread to...

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Moss Lawn – Pre-emergent Use

Q: After this year’s rains, we have lovely moss lawn. Can you recommend a pre-emergent we could use that would be unfriendly to potential weed growth but not harm the moss? A: Pre-emergents are chemicals that prevent seeds from germinating....

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