General Garden Info

Cedar Sawdust – Plant Growth

Q: I’m a woodworker and have lots of sawdust. Last spring I put a layer of cedar sawdust on my vegetable garden. I was not happy with the plant growth I got. Is there something in the cedar that inhibited...

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No Sweetgum Balls!

Q: We have lived here twenty years and have always had those dreaded sweetgum balls. But this year none out of ten trees had them. A: Nature works in mysterious ways! It’s possible there was a heavy rain during flowering...

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Black Dragon Cryptomeria Support

Q: Many young Black Dragon cryptomeria I’ve seen at nurseries are bending over at the top. Many have been staked to keep them vertical. Will it need support growing to its mature height? A: Noted landscape designer Shannon Pable (shannonpable.com)...

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Difference between Tolerance and Resistance

Q:I am ordering vegetable seeds. What is the difference between tolerance and resistance in terms of plant disease? A: “Tolerance” means the plant can produce vegetables if the disease infection is mild. You might not get as many, but there...

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Mummy Berry Disease – Treatment

Q: I have several blueberry bushes that have developed mummy berry disease. I have been unable to find recommended fungicides like Indor, Quash, Orbit, Omega, Pristine, or Serenade. Can you recommend a product to treat this? A: Most of the...

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Contaminated Commercial Compost

Q: I’m concerned about herbicide-contaminated commercial compost. Big box stores have lots of different top soil/compost/manure products. Do they guarantee them to be herbicide-free? A: Unless a bag label says it contains manure, it probably does not. Bagged soil amendments...

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How Are Plants Damaged by Cold?

Q: How are plants damaged by cold? A: Plants experience cold damage due to ice forming in their cells. Hardy plants have strategies to reduce freeze damage. They do it by increasing cell wall elasticity, by lowering the freezing temperature...

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Sticky Stuff – Falling From Trees

Q: I’ve noticed in early Noveber that the sidewalks and even cars under all kinds of trees get a light sappy coating on them. It doesn’t feel as sticky as pine sap and comes off with a little rubbing. A:...

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Hole in Landscape – Not Made by Snake

Q: I’m stumped by what made this hole. It is near some recently planted evergreens. When we planted the evergreens, we dug up a few snake eggs. Thinking this hole is from snakes. A: The hole couldn’t be made by...

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Castor Oil – Ineffective for Mole Control

Q: I found information on mole control using castor oil, water, and Dawn detergent applied with a garden sprayer. Do you think it would work with a hose-end sprayer? A: This concoction is useless. Despite its reputation, castor oil has...

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Yellowjacket Nest – Structure

Q: I have dug up yellow jacket nests, after killing them, but they usually get torn up in the process. A friend sent me this picture of a nest which was under an AC unit. They didn’t see any insects...

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Potatoes – Cooking in Pine Rosin

Q: Have you heard of using pine tree rosin for cooking potatoes? Is there a local source to purchase the rosin? A: At first I thought you were joking but people do endorse this cooking method! An entrepreneurial family down...

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Pond Bank – Weed Control

Q: We recently had stones placed on the bank of our detention pond to prevent erosion. Many animals and birds live there. Weeds are growing between the stones. We need an environmentally safe herbicide to kill the unwanted plants. A:...

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Hydrangea Summer Pruning – Step by Step

The recent summer rains filled the leaves and roots of my hydrangeas with water, making them strong. Now that the flowers have faded in late June I can prune them to the size I want for next year. Look at...

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Raised Bed – Filling With Bagged Products

Q: I’ve built my raised beds but I don’t have a lot of soil to fill them. What should I use? A: I have had good success with Big Yellow Bag,  Scotts Premium Topsoil, Kellogg Raised Bed Mix,  Nature’s Care...

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Pollen Analysis – From Honey

Q: I am interested in matching pollen granules that my honeybees collect with the plant of origin. A: The best help I can find is from a professor at Texas A&M University in Austin. Although Austin is a bit warmer...

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Boxwood Blight – Not This

Q: Is this boxwood blight? A: My plant pathology friend Jean Williams-Woodward says “The plant looks like it is dying from a root problem, not boxwood blight. It is planted next to a stone walkway. It looks like the roots are suffering...

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Plant Labels – Making Big Ones

Q: Can you suggest a source for large plant markers, easily read while standing? A: I use metal tags that stand on tall wire legs (everlastlabel.com). You can use a grease pencil or make printed labels on clear tape with...

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