General Garden Info

Grassology Grass – Growing in Georgia

Q: How does the new Grassology grass grow here? It’s sold on TV and at Bed Bath and Beyond. A: Despite the glossy ads, I have no confidence in this grass mixture at all for the metro Atlanta area. After...

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Potting Soil – Combustible?

Q: Can potting soil burn or spontaneously combust? A: Potting soil is composed of combustible materials like peat and shredded wood fiber so I’m sure it can burn if exposed to something hot, like a cigar or a stick of...

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Rain Barrels – Uneconomical?

Q: I plan to buy two sixty-five gallon rain barrels to collect spring rainwater. In July when everything is dry, I will use it to water my fruit trees. How can I keep the water from becoming stagnant?  A: Add...

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Cold Damage – Wait To Determine

Q: My mock orange plants are a bit brown after the big freeze. What should I do now, if anything? A: (written after 6 degree cold in 2014) All you can do is wait. On several shrubs (Indica azalea, pittosporum,...

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Trumpet Vine – Madame Rosy

Q: We have an arbor that is eight feet tall and sixteen feet long. We want a perennial vine with bright flowers that will attract hummingbirds and that will bloom a long time. Would a Madame Rosy trumpet creeper be...

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Cotton Seed Meal – Contaminated With Pesticides or GMO

Q: You recently wrote about using ground cotton seed as an organic fertilizer. But isn’t cotton one of the most heavily pesticide-ridden crops in the USA? A: It’s true that conventional cotton was once grown using high amounts of pesticides....

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Agave – Growing in Atlanta

Q: This is my pitiful blue agave. Most of the exterior leaves are dead. This started after the summer monsoons. I cleaned off the roots (black bugs in there), removed wet soil, replaced with sand. Now, it’s in plant ICU....

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Fairy Ring – In Centipede Lawn

Q: I have a perfectly circled ring of dead centipede grass around my oak tree. I have another oak tree about 50’ from this one that doesn’t have this problem. The ring seems to grow larger every year as the...

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Mushrooms – Growing in Potting Soil

Q: I was surprised to see this mushroom growing in a rather unusual place. A: Mushrooms can grow anywhere there is organic matter to decompose: in this case your potting soil is great food for a fungus. The happy fungus...

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Microclover – Growing in Georgia

Q: Please tell me your knowledge of microclover alone or with fescue as a turf-type ground cover in Atlanta. We have a sunny yard with a moderate slope facing north. It gets little foot traffic but neither bermuda nor fescue...

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Cotton Seed Meal – On Blueberries

Q: I found some cotton seed meal to put around my blueberries. When and how much should I use? Should I use 10-10-10 on them too? A: One of the great things about using organic fertilizers like cottonseed meal is...

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Evergreen Screen Plant – Fast Growing

Q: A developer is putting multiple homes on the hill across the creek from our back yard. If we are to have any measure of privacy, we need to get something tall and fast-growing planted quickly. A: I visited with...

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Bonsai Soil – Mixing Your Own

Q: Tell me about bonsai tree soil. I’d like to mix my own. A: Bonsai soil is very much different from potting soil. It has much less organic matter and a lot more rock or rock substitutes. Most bonsai enthusiasts...

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Green Material – To Patch Green Lawn

Q: I have seen golf courses use green sand to fill divot holes on their course. How can I make green sand to cosmetically hide small problem areas in my lawn until the grass takes over the spot? A: I...

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Engineered Soil – Where to Buy

Q: During a radio show, a caller mentioned his tree was pushing up the brick walk nearby. Walter suggested he might level the walk with “engineer soil”. What is this? I have an area around a long stone walk which...

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Leaves – For Mulching Perennials

Q: I’ve been raking the leaves out of my flower beds. After raking the beds over and over, I thought maybe it would be just as good to cover my perennials with leaves for the winter. A: It all depends...

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Pre-Emergent – Too Late to Apply?

Q: Would I be wasting my money applying pre-emergent now. I missed the September date you talk about. A: Winter weeds don’t all germinate in early October. Some wait until later, even sprouting in the warm days of late November....

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Lavender – Pruning

Q: My lavender is lying down and it’s become woody and not pretty. Should I trim it back for winter? A: My experience with lavender is that it lasts a few years but eventually develops woody stems and sparse foliage....

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