Gardening Q and A

Root Ball – Remove Burlap

Q: A landscaper just installed for me a seven foot Kousa dogwood and did not remove the burlap from the root ball. All he did was to peel it back on top. Am I correct that it should be removed?...

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Mulching – Correct Procedure

Q: I’m confused about “proper mulching”. I see references everywhere that I’m supposed to mulch but no information on how to do it correctly. I’ve been told by a fellow gardener that I’m mulching too close to my plants. Could...

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Pesticide – Degradation in Water

Q: Several weeks ago you wrote about the half-life of insecticides after application. I assume that the same breakdown occurs in herbicides. Does the degeneration occur after mixing, or only after application? I have been mixing Roundup(tm) in five gallon...

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Lawn Care – Surfactants

Q: What is your opinion about using surfactants (wetting agents) as part of a residential lawn care program? I recently used a surfactant lawn care product (bought on the Internet) on my yard. I hoped for better water penetration into...

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Caladium – Flowers

Q: I have red and green leaved caladium plants and to my surprise they bloomed this year! The flower is like, but larger than, a peace lily flower. It had an upright thing in the middle. I did not know...

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Weed Control – For Cemeteries

Q: Is there a product that will control grass and weeds on a cemetery plot? A: There are several soil sterilants available. The biggest caution I can give you is that these chemicals will affect ALL plants in the plot...

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Holly Berries – Not Poisonous

Q: Are the berries of dwarf burford holly poisonous? A: Auroleus Phillipus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (known as Paracelsus by his friends) was born in Switzerland in 1493. His work as a physician and pharmacist earned him the name “The...

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Sunflower – Harvesting Seed

Q: Please tell me how to harvest sun flowers. I would like to have seeds for next year and let the birds have the rest. A: The back of a completely ripe sunflower head is brown and dry, with no...

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Hanging Baskets – Evergreen

Q: I’m looking for a plant that will stay green all year long and flourish in a hanging pot on my porch. In years past we’ve just bought annuals. Is there a perennial that will work under these conditions? A:...

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Curcuma

Q: I love the flowers of a plant labeled “curcuma” I bought at a home improvement store. What should I do with it this fall and winter? A: You have a Siam tulip: Curcuma alismatifolia. It is not hardy outdoors...

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Muscadines – Pollination

Q: Four years ago I planted a ‘Cowart’ muscadine vine. To this day I have gotten no grapes. Leaves and new growth appear in spring. Little grapes show up, but they never get large and in mid-summer the grapes go...

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Jelly Bean Plant

Q: I was given a plant called a...

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Iris – Winter Care

Q: I planted bearded iris roots in early November and now they have shoots about six inches tall. Will these survive the winter? Should I trim or replant? A: This is a common question each winter. Fall-planted bulbs (daffodil, tulip,...

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Bermuda – Removing from Zoysia Lawn

Q: How do I remove Bermuda grass that is growing in my Emerald Zoysia lawn? A: I found this on the Web: “The postemergence herbicide Fusilade II (click for sources) (active ingredient fluazifop, fluazifop-P-butyl) is labeled by Zeneca (Syngenta) for...

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Hummingbird Feeder – Bee and Wasp Control

Q: How can I keep honeybees from my hummingbird feeders? They are driving the hummers away. A: You have to modify the feeder opening so that the insect tongues are too short to reach the nectar. These Hummzinger (click for...

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Tree Limb – Grafted to Trunk

Q: Attached is a photo of a tree (maple, I believe) that is in the woods in my front yard in Buford, Georgia. Apparently, a branch grew out of the tree, then somehow reversed course and actually grew back into...

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Mosquitoes – Using Yard Sprays

Q: I’ve just read your website information on mosquitoes, but it was articles from 2002–before the new yard sprays that I see in the garden centers this summer. Most of these sprays claim to work for 4 weeks! What I...

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Chinch Bug – Control

Q: We put in new St Augustine lawn in May. In September, I noticed some yellow patches. At first I thought chinch bugs so I put out insecticide. The spots are not solid yellow but have some green in it....

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