Gardening Q and A

Cotton Seed Meal – Contaminated With Pesticides or GMO

Q: You recently wrote about using ground cotton seed as an organic fertilizer. But isn’t cotton one of the most heavily pesticide-ridden crops in the USA? A: It’s true that conventional cotton was once grown using high amounts of pesticides....

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Agave – Growing in Atlanta

Q: This is my pitiful blue agave. Most of the exterior leaves are dead. This started after the summer monsoons. I cleaned off the roots (black bugs in there), removed wet soil, replaced with sand. Now, it’s in plant ICU....

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Tomatoes – Verti-Gro System

Q: I saw this hydroponic tomato growing system somewhere in lower Alabama. Can you tell me more about it? A: It’s a Verti-Gro system. It uses stackable Styrofoam pots to hold plants and growing media. The system allows lots of...

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Fairy Ring – In Centipede Lawn

Q: I have a perfectly circled ring of dead centipede grass around my oak tree. I have another oak tree about 50’ from this one that doesn’t have this problem. The ring seems to grow larger every year as the...

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Mushrooms – Growing in Potting Soil

Q: I was surprised to see this mushroom growing in a rather unusual place. A: Mushrooms can grow anywhere there is organic matter to decompose: in this case your potting soil is great food for a fungus. The happy fungus...

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Pomegranate – Pruning Into a Tree

Q: I planted a pomegranate a couple of years ago. It is now six feet tall. I would like to get it to grow up and be more of a tree rather than a bush. A: Unpruned, a pomegranate will...

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Microclover – Growing in Georgia

Q: Please tell me your knowledge of microclover alone or with fescue as a turf-type ground cover in Atlanta. We have a sunny yard with a moderate slope facing north. It gets little foot traffic but neither bermuda nor fescue...

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Ruby Slippers Hydrangea – Dividing

Q: I planted two Ruby Slipper hydrangeas in one pot when they were small. They grew a whole lot faster than I had anticipated. I need to separate them but they are close together and I am afraid of damaging...

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Bermuda Lawn – Mow in December?

Q: I have a question about mowing in the dormant season. My bermuda lawn is more than three inches high. Is it okay to cut it now or should I wait until spring? A: Much depends on how much grass...

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Moss Lawn – Growing

Q: I’ve read about planting moss lawns, but can’t find anyone in Atlanta that knows about it. I have a very large tree in my front yard that doesn’t allow for grass growing. A: Having a moss lawn is tempting...

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Sichuan Peppercorns – Grow in Georgia

Q: I would like to know if Sichuan peppercorns could be grown in Georgia. A: Sichuan pepper comes from trees native to Asia whose seeds are used in food to produce a mouth-numbing, tickling sensation. I’ve enjoyed it at local...

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Crapemyrtle – Best to Selectively Prune

Q: I notice that most crape myrtle trees are topped and pruned. Is that how they should be done or would selective pruning be a better alternative? A: Selective pruning is much better for the health of the plant. Although...

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Sichuan peppercorns – Grow in Georgia?

Q: I would like to know if Sichuan peppercorns could be grown in Georgia. A: Sichuan pepper is a tree, native to Asia, whose seeds are used in food to give a mouth-numbing, tickling sensation. I’ve enjoyed it at local...

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Dew-Anner (Guano) – Organic Fertilizer

Q: Have you ever hear of “Dew Anner” fertilizer? My daddy used it at planting time. A: I’m pretty certain your father was referring to guano, often pronounced “gu-anner” by country folk. Although true guano is simply mined bat or...

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Golden Goddess Bamboo – Growing in Atlanta

Q: I recently planted five Golden Goddess bamboo plants seven feet apart and about the same distance from the fence line as a privacy barrier. What kind of growth should I expect from them? A: ‘Golden Goddess’ is a clumping...

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Sedum – Not Blooming

Q: I’ve had John Creech sedum in my full sun perennial garden for four years and it’s never once bloomed. It looks healthy and grows tight to the ground. I do divide it throughout the growing season to fill in...

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Cotton Seed Meal – On Blueberries

Q: I found some cotton seed meal to put around my blueberries. When and how much should I use? Should I use 10-10-10 on them too? A: One of the great things about using organic fertilizers like cottonseed meal is...

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Grape – Tube Gall

Q: I found this growing on a wild grapevine off my deck in late summer at my cabin in Rabun Gap. Very curious looking spikes. A: They are grape tube galls. They are caused by a small flying insect called...

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