Gardening Q and A

Kieffer – Pears In Preserves

Q: I am trying to find the type of pear my Mom used in making pear preserves The pears would be ripe, but rock hard and a very pale green/yellowish color covered with brown specks. A: I feel confident your...

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Organic Garden – Staying Strong and Healthy

Q: I need advice on how to keep an organic vegetable garden and survive the multitude of pests that make waste of my attempts. A: Helping plants resist disease and insects rather than automatically reaching for the spray bottle should...

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Palm – Boron Deficiency

Q: I’m in Bradenton, Florida and we have a triple foxtail palm that was installed by a tree company two years ago. Six months ago the center fronds grew really long and then just fell over dead. New ones that...

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Rat Snake – Found Skin

Q: I was unpacking a box that was on the top shelf in my garage and found on the tape a snakeskin. I am so scared that it may still be there. A: It looks like the shed skin of...

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Bloodgood Japanese Maple – Not Staying Red

Q: My beautiful Bloodgood maple didn’t turn red this year. Here’s what it looks like in December. What could be wrong with it? I splurged on this tree to honor my gardener father who had a Bloodgood that he loved....

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Juniper – Growing From Cuttings

Q: I have several Blue Rug junipers I planted on a slope twenty years ago. They are now forty feet in diameter. I want to root a couple of hundred runners off of these plants and transplant them to another...

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Banana – Flowering in Fall

Q: We noticed this “bloom” on our banana tree around the first of November, followed by baby bananas. This tree has grown to  12 ft. tall this year after cutting it to the ground last year. I just assumed it...

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Dahlia – Staking

Q: My dahlias are so lazy, always laying around on the ground instead of standing up. Should I dig them up and plant them deeper? A: Dahlia varieties vary greatly in size. Some grow small and compact but other, like...

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Flat Headed Borer – Identification

Q:This critter was on the ground after I split a hickory log. Do you know what it is? A: It’s a flat headed borer, the larva of a jewel beetle, in the insect family Buprestidae, also known as metallic wood...

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Bluebird House – Protection from Snakes

Q: We have several bird houses located on 4″ x 4″ posts in our yard. Unfortunately a snake was able to climb to one house and ate the baby bluebirds. Do you have any prevention suggestions? A: A slick metal...

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River Birch – Trunks Catching and Holding Water

Q: Nineteen years ago I planted three Heritage river birch trees. They have multiple trunks. Two of them have a “crotch” between the trunks that fills with water when it rains. Will this ultimately lead to rot and the death...

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Boston Ivy vs Virginia Creeper – Identification

Q: Is this Boston ivy, poison ivy, or poison Boston ivy? Or maybe a freaked out Virginia creeper? A: Well, I can eliminate two of our four choices. It’s not poison ivy or poison Boston creeper. So is it Boston...

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Oak – Tiny Acorns

Q: About mid-June our mature white oak began dropping small acornlets on our deck.After some research I found the following at: Growing White Oaks From Seed The acorns of White oak are produced in one growing season, unlike the acorns...

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Boxwood Blight – Diagnosing

Q: We revamped our landscaping in the fall of 2008. We planted American boxwood on the south side of the house. As you can see, one is sick but the other boxwoods are doing great. A landscape company maintains them....

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Fertilizer – Burning Vegetable Seedling Roots

Q: We planted lettuce, cabbage, collards and cauliflower. We fertilized around the plants with 10-10-10 (teaspoon full for each plant). Many of the plants just wilted, and we don’t know why. A: One teaspoon of fertilizer for each plant sounds...

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Bats – Droppings on Siding

Q: My brother has a small cinder-block cabin in the Virginia mountains. There are two separate spatter marks just below the roof. The spatters appear on two sides of the cabin, and there are maybe 6 – 7 spatters on...

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Kudzu – Growing Indoors

Q: I live in Nevada and would like try growing kudzu as a indoor house plant. Do you know where I can purchase seeds? A: As we say in the South “Margie, Margie, Margie….are you tetched in the head?” But...

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Dogwood Twig Borer – Identification

Q: Today I found this stuff on one of my kousa dogwoods. It appears to be isolated to the one branch of one tree. When I split the twig there was a worm inside. Any suggestions on what it is?...

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