Gardening Q and A

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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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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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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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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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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Impatiens – Re-seeding

Q: I have a neighbor with a garden full of impatiens, in varying colors, that re-bloom every year. They disappear in winter then come back in summer. He says that they re-seed themselves. I would appreciate any knowledge that you...

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Daisy Beetle – Control

Q: You talked about tiny flower-eating beetles on your radio show and I kind of half-heard your response while driving. When I got home I found the little guys in my brown-eyed Susans and coneflowers. They are really chewing the...

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Bermudagrass – Homemade fertilizer

Q: Are there any homemade fertilizers for bermudagrass that are just as good as the stuff you buy in garden stores? A: Do not be mis-led by television hucksters claiming that beer or household ammonia make good lawn fertilizer. Grass...

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