Gardening Q and A

Composted Cow Manure – Planting in It

Q: I have access to composted cow manure. I’ve ammended my vegetable garden with tons of the stuff and the soil is excellent. Can I use this same compost behind a stone wall in a new flower bed, 20 inches...

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Leyland Cypress – Substitutes

Q: What are some substitutes for Leyland cypress? A: Theresa Schrum replies: “We usually recommend plants that have a similar appearance and growth habit: Cryptomeria ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae Eastern Red Cedar and ‘Emerald Green’ Arborvitae (which is smaller:...

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Rhubarb – Growing

Q: Recently moved here from Canada, I really miss growing and harvesting rhubarb for pies and jams. Can it be grown here? A: Transplants to Atlanta from northern climes long for two things: lilacs and rhubarb pie. Both are difficult...

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Fragrant Plants

Q: You mentioned daphne in a recent article but can you list other fragrant plants that do well in our climate? A: I don’t think I appreciated the value of landscape fragrance until the last few years in my garden....

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Poppy – Planting

Q: When can I plant poppy seeds? A: Poppy seed are most commonly planted in late October. Several kinds of poppy are grown in the South: Shirley poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Iceland poppy (P. nudicaule), Oriental poppy (P. orientale) and the...

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Daylily – Evergreen

Q: I saw an “evergreen” daylily offered in a garden catalog. They say it will not flower year-round but plants will keep their leaves in winter. Is there really such a plant and where can I purchase them locally? A:...

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Tomato – Deciphering Letters on Tag

Q: I recently bought a tomato plant from a garden center. The label says it is Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Celebrity’ VFFNTASt. Can you decipher the letters after the variety name? A: I’m sure you recognized the Latin words Lycopersicon esculentum as...

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Butterfly Nectar

Q: I am looking for a recipe for butterfly nectar. I have a couple of very nice glass butterfly feeder flower stakes but have no idea how to make the nectar. A: Experienced butterfly fanciers are unconvinced that butterfly feeders...

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Leaves – Flip Before a Storm

Q: I have a friend who was told that the leaves on trees flip over when it is going to rain, in order to better absorb the rainwater, and this is what gives trees their “silvery” tint before a storm....

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Insecticidal Soap

Q: Could you please advise if insecticidal soap is a healthier way to treat pests on plants, trees, etc. than using other chemical pesticides? Is the soap gentler on the greenery? A: I think we have to get away from...

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Cottonseed Meal vs Cottonseed Hulls

Q: I recently heard you advise gardeners to mulch with cottonseed meal, saying that it provides nutrients to azaleas, blueberries and raspberries. However, when I went to the feed store to buy some, I was told to use cottonseed hulls....

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Pine – Spittlebug

Q: We have several pine trees in a landscape island. At the end of the branches there is a substance that looks like white foam. Each tree has several masses, about one inch in size. Is it a normal happening...

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Fertilizer – Mixing Your Own

Q: I had a soil sample from my vegetable garden tested by the Extension service. The resulting report recommended I use ammonium nitrate (34-0-0) and 5-10-15 fertilizer. However, when I went to several garden centers they did not carry the...

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Blueberry – Highbush

Q: I have recently moved to a new place and want to plant blueberries. Although I’ve found information about them, I haven’t seen specifics on whether southern highbush or northern highbush blueberries would be the best for my spot south...

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Moss – Control On Roof

Q: Could you advise how to deal with moss on a home’s roof shingles? A: Walk through your neighborhood and observe the roofs. Notice that the shingles below a roof-penetrating vent pipe are often a different color from the rest...

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Mugo Pine – Pruning

Q: I have a mugo pine in front of my house that is out of control. It is seven feet in diameter and encroaching onto the sidewalk in two directions. It needs to be cut back by half to get...

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Hosta – Care After Hail

Q: Most of my hostas were beaten down by the hailstorm two weeks ago. Afterwards, I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I cut them back or just leave them alone? A: My hosta, banana and lamb’s ear plants were...

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Bradford Pear – Fire Blight

Q: Can you tell me what is wrong with my two Bradford pear trees? They have black leaves and dead ends on many of the branches. A: Your pears have fire blight. This disease is caused by bacteria rather than...

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