Gardening Q and A

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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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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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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Plum- Disease Prevention

Q: I planted a plum tree about four years ago. Last year it produced fruit but they had worms. Is there some thing that you can recommend for me to spray? When should I apply it? A: Even though this...

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Money Plant- Growing

Q: I was given a bag full of silver dollar money plant seeds but don’t know anything about them. When is the best time to plant them and how? A: Money plant is lots of fun to grow. The silvery...

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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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Shrubs – Replanting

Q: We are about to embark on a basement project which will require a good deal of regrading in our back yard. We have a twelve foot tall osmanthus, three very large azaleas and nine well-established roses, plus some hostas,...

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European Hornet- Damage to Plant

Q: I have a row of ten foot tall ‘Nellie Stevens’ hollies. Last summer I noticed severe yellowing of the leaves on two of them. Recently I crawled under these large shrubs and discovered on the trunks concentric rings where...

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Plumbago – Hardiness

Q: I planted several blue plumbago plants last spring. Their blue and white flowers were outstanding all spring and summer until the first frost. Will they make it through the winter? A: Plumbago is also known as leadwort. However, confusingly,...

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