General Garden Info

Pressure-treated Wood – Safety

Pressure-treated lumber (sold prior to 2004) has come under fire as dangerous to those who use it in the landscape. There are extremely intense arguments on both sides of the question. I can not judge which side is correct but...

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Lime – Different kinds

Quicklime (calcium oxide) is a white solid having a crystalline structure. Quicklime is highly reactive with water, generating considerable heat in the hydration process. It can be bought at masonry supply stores. CAUTION: HIGHLY CAUSTIC Hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) is...

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Holiday Gifts

My family has a terrible time giving me gifts. I have a mental condition called “See – Want – Buy” which strikes me every time I go into a garden center or hardware store. So I give myself gifts of...

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Fall Planting – When is Too Late

It has long been known that it is beneficial to plant trees and shrubs in fall. Warm soil stimulates roots to grow but cool above-ground temperatures mean the leaves are not demanding much moisture. That said, when is it too...

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Plants Called Grasses That Are Not Grasses

When I mow my lawn, I say that I am cutting my grass. But many plants are called “grass” without really being a grass. The website www.wikipedia.com has some enlightening details. “In popular language grass means a short, green, ground...

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Soil – Percolation Rate

Throughout my childhood, I was awakened each morning by the sound and smell of percolating coffee. After a hearty cup of Maxwell House, my father was off to feed the chickens, milk the cows or tend to the innumerable chores...

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Drought – Watering Shrubs

Plants must have water to survive. Water in a plant is like blood in an animal. Water carries dissolved nutrients, sugars and hormones throughout the plant’s system. Some plants can go for long periods receiving only minimal water. Others require...

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Cold weather – Protecting Plants

(written in 2000)The predictions of the weather forecasters have proven true this winter season. It has been COLD!! After December, Atlanta gardeners have begun to appreciate the travails their neighbors from the North talk about each winter. We now see...

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Planting zones- Explanation

I was following a slow-moving compact car on a suburban street last week when it suddenly pulled to the right and decelerated to a crawl. On-coming traffic kept me from passing. As I waited, the driver of the car grabbed...

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Plants of the Bible and Middle East

Plant enthusiasts come in all stripes. There have been many attempts to create “Biblical gardens” using plants mentioned in the Bible. In Fair Haven, Vermont, the First Congregational Church created a wonderful list of plants and the verse in which...

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Soil Testing – Using Gypsum

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of soil testing and the role of pH in plant health. I gave instructions on how to collect a soil sample and have it tested. In the days following, several...

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Irrigation Systems – Maintenance

Summer’s hot, dry weather can force many Atlanta irrigation systems to work overtime. Lacking an underground system, some homeowners break out the hose and sprinkler. Watering seems to be a mindless task – but done wrong, it can do more...

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Frost – Predicting Last

What do the records show about the last frost in the spring? Using 32 degrees as the reference point, the most likely date for a last frost is March 27. The earliest date for a last spring frost was February...

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Soil – Amending

Homeowners often want to amend their existing soil to make it better. Planting grass seed or laying sod on hard, unfertile soil is generally a waste of money. The soil must be made better. For lawns, it makes most sense...

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Soil Temperature – Monitoring

My son and I had just arrived the first day at our ski hotel and were preparing for dinner. “Daddy – I don’t feel so good.” he murmured. I put my lips to his forehead to check his temperature. My...

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Soil – Defining

I was explaining to someone recently that flowering cherry trees absolutely require well-drained soil to succeed. “Well, that’s not a problem,” they responded, “I’m planting on a slope, so water drains right past it.” “Sloping soil is usually poorly drained,”...

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Poisonous Plants

Through a good part of my childhood, one voice of authority manifested with equal weight alongside the commandments of my parents: that of Mrs. Mabel Prayor. An older neighbor, she was hired to cook meals, settle arguments, iron clothes and...

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Ordering Plants from a Catalog/By Mail

Buying plants from a distant provider is not without risks but the practice has a long history. Seeds were the first plant item shipped by mail commercially but were soon followed by bulbs, roots and rooted cuttings. As the U.S....

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