Gardening Q and A

Straw – Planting Technique

Q: This spring I saw some local schools making gardens with wheat straw. They put the straw in large wire containers, then added their plants. I bought some straw bales and made holes and put chicken manure and planting soil...

READ MORE

Iris – Rust

Q: I have been fighting iris rust for several years. Should all my iris plants be discarded and just start over? A: If the disease is not too far advanced you can scissor off the affected leaves now and fertilize...

READ MORE

Rose – Rosette Disease

Q: Rose rosette disease has infected all my Knock Out roses. Now I have to dig them up and replace them. I would not recommend these roses unless until the rosette disease has a cure. A: All roses are susceptible...

READ MORE

Gladioli – Falling Over

Q: My gladioli produce lovely green leaves but when they bloom they always fall over. Should I replant the bulbs deeper? A: It’s a common complaint that gladiolus flower stems get so top heavy that they flop over onto the...

READ MORE

Cypress – Turning Brown

Q: I planted five small Leyland cypress trees. One died right away. I took it back and got another one. But now the other four are turning brown. What am I doing wrong? A: Most likely they have not been...

READ MORE

Olive Tree – No Fruit

Q: I’ve grown an olive tree in a large patio container for eight years. I bring it into the garage when it gets below 20 degrees in winter. For the last two years it has been loaded with blooms in...

READ MORE

Pear Trees – No Fruit

Q: We planted pear trees four years ago; they have yet to bloom. They grow and leaf out each year, but no fruit. What are we doing wrong? Any ideas. A: Sometimes plants behave in ways that are inscrutable to...

READ MORE

Blueberries – Smaller Fruit

Q: We are harvesting wonderful blueberries from our plants. But I have noticed that the first berries are very large and the later ones are smaller. Also the newer leaves are a light green with dark green veins. Is there...

READ MORE

Centipedegrass – Height Matters

Q: I have centipede grass in my front yard. It gets full sun almost all day long. Now two-thirds of my yard appears dead except for an invasion of clover. Is there something special I should have done? A: The...

READ MORE

Fescue – Mowing

Q: We laid fescue sod in our back yard this spring. Due to recent rain, the grass hasn’t been mowed yet. We had a party last weekend and many people commented about our beautiful grass. It does look good and...

READ MORE

Roses – Different Colored Blooms

Q: We have fifteen carpet roses which have bloomed dark red for six years. This year three of them have pink blooms. All were pruned the same in the fall and fertilized the same in the spring. Why did the...

READ MORE

Virginia Creeper – Possible Rash

Q: Is Virginia creeper poisonous like poison ivy? Does it have an oil that causes a rash? A: To my knowledge, Virginia creeper does not commonly cause a skin reaction. I’ve pulled it by the bushel basket and never had...

READ MORE

Mothballs – Squirrel Repellant

Q: Will mothballs hurt the soil in my pots if I use them as squirrel retardant? A: It is possible the mothballs could contaminate the soil if water flows over them and the chemicals are dissolved into the soil. As...

READ MORE

Weeping Willow – No Leaves

Q: I planted a weeping willow tree twelve years ago. It has no leaves this year. The branches are still flexible but I really don’t want to lose the tree. A: If there are no leaves, I’m sad to say...

READ MORE

Flowers – Bright Compliments

Q: I am in the process of developing an iris bed but I don’t want to have a solid stand of green leaves after the iris blooms. What are some complementary flowering plants I can mix in that will give...

READ MORE

Sod – Farming Practices

Q: You say on your website that St. Augustinegrass seed can’t be bought because the plant is finicky about producing viable seed. If that is the case, how do sod farmers grow it? A: On a sod farm, St. Augustinegrass...

READ MORE

Newspaper – Mulching Tips

Q: We have ten mature blueberry bushes and have just gotten all the spring weeding done. Can we use newspapers as a mulch? A: Newspaper makes a fine mulch. Stack 5 – 10 sheets on top of each other and...

READ MORE

Bees – In The Ground

Q: There is a bank of red dirt near my barn. There are hundreds of holes in the bank with bees coming in and out. They look like honey bees but smaller. A: You have a colony of mining bees....

READ MORE