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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Trees – planting

Q: Is there new thinking about how to properly plant a balled and burlapped tree? I’ve noticed lately that landscapers plant with one-third of the root ball above ground level. A: There is no new thinking about planting, there’s only...

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Creeping Fig

Q: I’m trying to identify a plant and determine if it would grow in Atlanta. I visited Charleston recently. One feature I saw a lot of was a vine that covered steps and walls. It was trimmed fairly tightly to...

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Peegee Hydrangea – Pruning

Q: I purchased a peegee shrub and need to know how and when to prune it. It had many blooms and now has a bad case of flopping downward. What to do? A: With a complicated name like Hydrangea paniculata...

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‘Foster’ Holly – Spittlebug control

Q: My ‘Foster’ holly is covered with black bugs. They are about a half-inch long, with orange stripes running across the body. I hope they don’t kill the holly! A: Your holly is hosting adult spittlebugs. ‘Foster’ and ‘Nellie Stevens’...

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