Gardening Q and A

Flower bed – conditioning soil

Q: I have an existing flower bed that was tilled with soil amendments at the beginning but maybe not enough. Will top dressing the entire area with soil conditioner this fall help areas that are lacking in amendments? The bed...

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‘Lavender Wave’ petunia – growing

Q: I twice planted some ‘Lavender Wave’ petunias for a friend of mine. They are not thriving. The petunias there last year grew wonderfully. Could it be that there is not enough drainage? A: Although I’ve seen spectacular displays of...

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Tomato – Blossom End Rot

Q: My wife and I are growing tomato plants in two locations. Mine are in the garden, hers are in containers on the back deck. Tomatoes on her plants are turning black on the bottom. All ten of mine are...

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Plum Tree – fertilizing

Q: I have plum trees. Information from the University of Georgia says to fertilize them with calcium nitrate. What is this and where do I get some? A: Calcium nitrate is a specialty fertilizer for fruit trees. It does not...

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Oak – Cicada damage

Q: I was in North Georgia last weekend and noticed there are many huge oaks with dying leaves at the tips of the branches. I hope this is not some new blight affecting these beautiful trees. Do you have any...

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Butterfly Bush – Pruning

Q: Last fall I cut my butterfly bush back to eight inches and it grew six feet high this year. It was beautiful but it shaded all the other flowers I planted around it. Is there any way I can...

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Celosia – Growing

Q: Have you seen or tried to grow cockscomb celosia? The flower looks like a fuzzy brain and is red or yellow. I have some seeds from a bouquet given to me and I’d like to cultivate them. What are...

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Ligustrum – pruning

Q: My ligustrum has gotten very scarce at the bottom while being full at the top. I’d like to cut it back to about two feet tall in hopes that this will thicken it up. Is this OK? When should...

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Iris – Propagating with seed

Q: I have several beds of small purple iris. All the stalks have seed pods. They have dried up and there are several seeds in each one. I have about all the iris plants I can handle, but would like...

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Pears – Canning

Q: Could you tell me the best way to put our pears up? This is the first year our tree has produced and we want to enjoy the fruit all through the winter. We prefer pear preserves but any help...

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Gardenia – Wax Scale

Q: I have a gardenia bush and have noticed some strange looking growths. They are whitish, waxy-feeling deposits on the branches. They seem to be just on the surface of the branch. What should, or can, I do about them?...

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Zoysiagrass – Planting in bermudagrass

Q: I need some advice. I have a bermudagrass lawn, but I prefer zoysiagrass. I was planning on plugging in ‘Meyer’ zoysiagrass. Will the zoysiagrass overtake the bermudagrass easily? Is there a better time of year to plug? A: One...

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Dallisgrass – control

Q: I have almost two acres of a mixture of centipedegrass and bermudagrass. Unfortunately, dallisgrass is taking over. Is there anything in this whole wide world that I can use to kill this pest? A: Dallisgrass is indeed hard to...

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Rosemary – Recommended varieties

Q: I have a lovely eighteen-inch wide decorative pot I wish to center in the middle of an herb bed. I would like to plant an evergreen in this pot. It gets full sun ALL day! What would you recommend?...

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Daylily – Rooting Proliferations

Q: My mother and I have several daylilies that are doing something we think is strange. On the shoot where the lily bloomed, there is now what looks like a new plant growing on the dead stem, about half way...

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Pear – When to pick

Q: I have a pear tree that is full of fruit this year. Is there a good way by looking at the pears to tell if they are ready to pick? A: Unlike most fruits, pears continue to ripen after...

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Groundcovers – alternatives to grass

Q: I am curious about using plants other than grasses for an open area in my backyard. I have heard you describe on your radio show the idea of using dwarf mondo grass but the relatively high cost makes me...

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Norfolk Island Pine – Dog ate bark

Q: I have a Norfolk Island pine and my dog ate away the bark on the bottom of the plant. Only the bark is gone and there is no damage to the trunk. Is the plant going to die? A:...

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