Gardening Q and A

Rain barrel/Cistern – Using

Q: Here is a link to a web site where I found a barrel/cistern for water retention and re-use. My question is, are these viable options for detaining water? Do these things work? A: All depends on how much water...

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Chipmunk – Albino

Q: I found this critter in my backyard today. Don’t know what it is, but was able to get him in a cage trap using peanut butter. A: My wildlife friend Hal Coleman at North Fulton Exterminating says it’s a...

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Insecticide – Half-life

Q: We have three half-barrels we have used for years to plant annuals. We want to plant turnip greens in them this fall. We have used Orthene in them to control fire ants. Is the soil contaminated? May we plant...

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Cleome – Care

Q: A friend of mine recently gave me some cleome seeds from her garden. She said her plant was self-seeding. What do I need to do with these seeds…and when? A: Cleome self-seeds to a fault but the flowers are...

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Norfolk Pine – Don’t Plant Outdoors

Q: I have a large, four year-old Norfolk pine in a pot. Can I plant it in my yard? The trunk is more than an inch thick and it’s over six feet tall. It’s big and beautiful but it needs...

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Mosquito – Garlic Spray

Q: I have heard that eating garlic or spraying it around the yard will repel mosquitoes. Is this true? A: The very first fact to chew on is that mosquitoes have almost no olfactory powers. They do sense odors in...

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Datura – Planting Seed

Q: I recently purchased a ‘Purple Horn of Plenty’. Although I was told that it would re-seed itself and to look for seeds that looked like golf balls. They did not tell me how long to leave the seeds on...

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Silver Maple – Leaf Spot

Q: I have three sugar maples in my yard, planted in 2001. Last year they were all green but no real growth. This year two aren’t doing well. They have leaves with dark spots on them. A: Well, I have...

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Buffalograss

Q: Have you ever heard of buffalograss? Can you recommend a source? A: According to Theresa Schrum of Terra Native Plant Landscapes, there are many grasses native to North America. However, almost all of these are clump-forming grasses similar to...

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Rose – Winter Care

Q: My wife and I have the same discussion about our rose garden this time every year. I learned from my grandfather in east Tennessee that at the end of the season you cut the bushes down to twelve inches...

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Hydrangea – Pruning Late in Season

Q: I didn’t have a chance to deadhead my French hydrangeas in July. What will happen if I do it now? Should I just leave them until next year? A: If by “deadhead” you mean removing the faded flowers, there...

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Dog Urine – Control Smell

Q: I have a dog run area adjacent to my back patio. It is covered with cypress mulch. The mulch is absorbing urine and this time of year the mulch is not drying out. Do you have any suggestions for...

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Italian Cypress- Planting Instructions

Q: When my wife and I were in Italy, we admired the Italian cypress, Cupressus sempervirens. I ordered some seeds but when they arrived the instructions were a little fuzzy: “Scarification: soak in water for 48 hours. Stratification: cold stratify...

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Compost- Speeding up Decomposition

Q: This is my year to shine in the garden with compost! I have a plastic compost bin. Yet I constantly fight fire ants in the compost and find everything is slow to decompose. Every book I read makes composting...

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Landscape Plants- Books

Q: I’m looking for a book that will help identify landscape plants. I currently own “Landscape Plants” by Ferrell M. Bidwell. I would like to acquire a manual that addresses more plant material and, if possible, one concentrating on plants...

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Jerusalem Artichoke – Identification

Q: My wife brought these roots from Russia and planted them in the yard last year. We got almost a five-gallon bucketful when we harvested them. They are crunchy and tasty and she says they are good for you. She...

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Contorted Willow- Rooting Branches

Q: I attended the Southeastern Flower Show and bought a bunch of the curly willow branches. I thought I was buying dried ones for flower arranging but later found out that they are alive. Someone said that you just stick...

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Tomato Plants- Re-using Soil

Q: Because our yard is shady I have been growing tomatoes in large pots on our sunny deck. At one point I had almost one hundred tomatoes in different stages of growth in my nine pots. Will it be necessary...

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