Gardening Q and A

Tree – Privacy Protection

Q: A builder just clear-cut all the trees behind our fence. Which is the better evergreen tree for fast growth, minimal maintenance, and effective privacy: Leyland Cypress or Thuja Green Giant? A: Either plant would be great. They can grow...

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Weeds – Pre-emergent

Q: Is there any difference between the pre-emergence for winter weeds and the pre-emergence for summer weeds? A: No. While different chemicals are used in different products, they all prevent seed germination or sprout/root elongation after seedlings emerge. We’re getting...

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Kingsnake – Attraction

Q: I appreciated your e-mail newsletter article about a kingsnake taking care of a copperhead. We have seen a number of copperheads on our property. Is there some way to encourage the kingsnake population? A: Snakes of any sort are...

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Plants – Low-Light Options

Q: I’m trying to spruce up my college apartment with some herbs and plants but it doesn’t get much light. Do you have any recommendations for low-light plants? A:The best low-light indoor plants are golden pothos, aspidistra, aglaonema and spathiphyllum....

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Silver Queen Corn – Pollination

Q: Every year I plant Silver Queen corn. My plants look great but the ears of corn only have kernels on two-thirds of the cob nearest the stalk. A: It’s a pollination problem. Corn pollen is transferred by breezes among...

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Crop Rows – Plant Heights

Q: Why do plants at the end of crop rows become gradually shorter? I’ve wondered this for most of my 64 years. A: I’ve observed the same thing but I’ve never stopped to figure out why! My guess is that...

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Maple Tree – Leaf Colors

Q: I intend to plant a maple tree in my front yard in late September. I want a tree that has fall leaf color of yellow/gold/red. What varieties of maple can you suggest? A: Donna Dixon at Four Seasons Nursery...

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Tomato – Splitting

Q: I have two tomato plants in 24 inch pots. They are doing very well but 75 percent of the fruit is split at the top near the stem. Is there any solution for this? A: Fluctuations in soil moisture...

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Centipede Grass – Prostrate Spruge

Q: My centipede lawn is being taken over by prostrate spurge. I know I should have put out pre-emergent, but is there anything I can do besides wait for it all to die? A: Prostrate spurge has wiry stems, a...

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Yoshino Cherry – Roundup

Q: My Yoshino cherry is sending up new shoots from its roots. My landscaper has been spraying them with Roundup. He says that this will not kill the tree. I disagree. Who is correct? A: Your landscaper is playing a...

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Okra – Trimming

Q: When okra gets six feet tall, what can be done to keep it from getting too tall to easily pick without reducing the daily harvest? A: You can’t do anything to reduce height that won’t also reduce flowers. I...

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Willow Oak – Replacing

Q: I just removed an old willow oak from the front of my yard due to disease. I would like to replace the tree and was wondering what type of tree I should consider. A: You have several choices and...

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Panicle Hydrangea – Pruning

Q: My hydrangea tree is fifteen feet tall and beautiful. I wonder if I should trim the lower branches and give the tree a trunk and a “head”. A: I’m guessing you have one of the panicle hydrangeas: Hydrangea paniculata...

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Greenhouse – Temperature Control

Q: I have wanted a greenhouse for a long time and the time has come to get one. Do I need a heater in my greenhouse? I want to overwinter many of my plants there. A: If your greenhouse is...

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Tomatoes – Bird Problems

Q: We have beautiful tomatoes but as soon as they begin to show color, they are pecked at by birds. Is there anything we can do? A: I suppose bird netting is a possibility but the easiest thing to do...

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Spinning Primrose – Winter Preparation

Q: I was given a spinning Persian primrose that blooms in the evening, just as it’s getting dark. What do I do with the stalks during the winter? A: Spinning primrose, Oenothera biennis, is also known as evening primrose. It...

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Compost Pile – Lemon Rinds

Q: Will fresh lemon rinds hurt my compost pile? A: Not at all. Anything that was previously a plant can be composted and the resulting humus can be incorporated into garden beds. Folks commonly compost banana peels, coffee grounds and...

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Lawn – Funnel Weaver Spider Webs

Q: My neighbor has hundreds of small spider webs all over his lawn after a rain. Any idea what those webs are? A: They are probably the webs of funnel weaver spiders. They are completely harmless and indeed eat aphids,...

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