General Garden Info

How Far Should Trees Be Separated From Pines To Avoid Damage By Juglone?

Q: I have some loblolly pine acreage with an easement road down the middle. I‘m considering planting black walnut trees on both sides of the road for my grandchildren to sell the lumber and for wildlife. How far should the...

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How Rare Are Asparagus Spears In January?

Q: We enjoyed two asparagus spears from our plant back in January. How rare is this? A: Soil temperature is the main trigger for asparagus spear production. Perhaps a root was growing shallowly and became warm enough to send up...

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Are The Increasing Soil Temperatures Disrupting Pre-Emergent Schedule?

Q: Are the increased soil temperatures the last few weeks disrupting the schedule for applying pre-emergent to lawns?  A: You are very observant! Crabgrass seedlings emerge when soil temperatures hit 55 degrees for a few days and the trend is...

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How To Get Rid Of Wild Onions?

Q: Do you know of anything to get rid of wild onions except pulling them out?  A: Hand-pulling wild onion/wild garlic has the disadvantage of leaving in the soil the bulbs that don’t currently have leaves. The herbicide imazaquin (Image...

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When To Prune Butterfly Bushes?

Q: We have some lovely butterfly bushes that are getting too big for their space. When is the best month to prune them back?  A: Butterfly bush responds very well to yearly pruning in the winter. Blooms on this shrub...

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Thoughts On Organic Pesticides/Fertilizers

Q: What are your thoughts on organic pesticides, and fertilizers? Do they work as well as non-organic? A: Organic pesticides can be as good as, or better than, conventional pesticides. It all depends on the pest being controlled. I have...

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Should I Top My Pine Tree?

Q: What would happen if I topped my twenty-foot-tall pine trees?  A: If you cut off the top of any tree, eventually a small nearby limb will begin veering upward toward the sun to make a new trunk. This might...

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When Do Meyer Lemons Bloom?

Q: My Meyer lemon has about ten blooms starting to form. Is January the normal time?  A: It is behaving normally. Mine has bloomed indoors in January as well as outdoors in May depending on the weather conditions. When a...

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When To Prune My Peach Tree?

Q: How soon after planting can a peach tree be given its first pruning to develop the wine glass shape desired?  A: The first pruning is usually done a few minutes after the tree is planted. Many growers cut the...

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Will My Backyard Greenhouse Get Too Hot?

Q: I am considering getting a small backyard greenhouse but I am concerned about it getting too hot.  A: A greenhouse is fun to have but sometimes you have to learn by experience what it takes to cool and heat...

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When Should I Prune Our Peach Tree?

Q: We have been waiting for the right time to prune our peach tree and I know you recommend March for that. However we just noticed that they seem like they will bloom very soon. Should we still wait until...

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When To Cut My Lenten Roses Back?

Q: We have lots of very healthy Lenten roses and autumn ferns. My husband wants to cut off all the leaves and fronds from the plants. I think they look great just the way they are. Is there any reason...

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Should I Shred My Leave Piles?

Q: I have a heavily wooded lot. I take the fallen leaves off my grass and move them into an area with mature oak trees. The piles are four feet high when I’m finished. Is it better to leave the...

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When Should I Use Wood Chips?

Q: I am having some trees removed and would like to have them chipped up and spread around my plants and flower beds. Is this a good idea? A: Arborist wood chips are an excellent landscape mulch! Unlike other mulch...

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Vines To Stop Erosion On A Hill?

Q: I have a vertical red clay bank that is several feet high and twenty feet long. Is there any vine I can plant at the top or bottom to stop erosion?  A: I would compare English ivy, Confederate jasmine,...

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Methods To Kill Bamboo

Q: I heard you say on the radio that no herbicides will kill bamboo. I have had reasonable success killing bamboo by cutting every cane a little above ground level, just below a joint. I then fill the cell, which...

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How Invasive Is Climbing Hydrangeas?

Q: I want to plant climbing hydrangea but I am concerned about how invasive it is. How would you compare it to other vines?  A: Climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea anomala ssp petiolaris, is not nearly as fast growing or invasive as...

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Are fern fiddleheads toxic?

Q: Are these ferns toxic or edible? A: I believe this is Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides. Since deer don’t bother it in the woods, I believe it is inedible. Bracken fern, Pteridium aquilinum, often seen on disturbed roadsides, has the...

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