Shrubs

Oakleaf hydrangea has two colors of green leaf

Q: What are your thoughts about these unusual leaves? A: Wow, neat pictures! This is called a chimera. Basically, the bud that produced one of these leaves had a mutation in its cells, causing some of those cells to grow...

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Want My Tea Olives To Fill In With Leaves At The Bottom

Q: I would like my 9-foot tea olives to fill in with leaves at the bottom half. How can I make that happen?  A: This is tough. One option is to prune off the top of your shrub, which will...

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Planting Shrubs After Spraying Roundup

Q: My house has a steep slope in one spot. It’s been covered in pine straw but weeds have been making their way through. After using organic herbicides to no avail, I sprayed Roundup Extended Control. Now, two weeks later,...

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My Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick Isn’t Surviving Here

Q: I had a gorgeous Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick when I lived on Long Island. But the one I planted here is barely holding on. I’m guessing it gets too much sun and heat.  A: I have a ten-foot-tall contorted...

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Refreshing Soil Of Large Potted Shrubs

Q: I live in a condo with a large patio and have five large pots with two-foot-tall shrubs in them. What should I do about refreshing the soil? It would be hard to get them out without damaging the roots....

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How To Trim Palatka Hollies

Q: I know Palatka hollies “want” to grow high but can you trim them to be more like a hedge?  A: ‘Palatka’ holly is a handsome columnar holly that usually tops out at 35 feet tall. After pruning, sprouts will...

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How And When To Prune Azaleas

Q: I just bought a house with overgrown azaleas. They are full on top but not dense underneath. How and when do I prune?  A: Sometime in February or early March would be the absolute best. Of course, pruning at...

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Hibiscus Shrubs: Black Leaves, Buds, And White Insects

Q: My hibiscus shrubs bloom from mid-summer thru fall. The buds and leaves have all turned black and they have white insects all over them.  A: Hibiscus whitefly is a common pest of outdoor hibiscus plants. The small white flies...

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Azalea planted in soggy soil

Q: One of the eight azaleas I planted two years ago has had to be replaced twice. Why might I be having trouble with this one bush? A: Whenever plants die in one spot, I immediately suspect the soil is...

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Boxwood Blight – Replace Boxwoods with Holly

Classic boxwood hedgerows serve as the structural backdrop for many formal gardens but — from Burgundy to Buckhead — the hedges that have kept the fanciest gardens trim and tasteful for decades are under attack. Boxwood blight, a fungal disease...

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Holly dying in same spot

Q: Two hollies have died in the same spot over the last couple of years.. The first one was replaced and now this one has died. I watered in absence of rain for a week. A: It looks to me...

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Sky Pencil holly has dead branches

Q: Any ideas why these branches died? A: I don’t know why ‘Sky Pencil’ holly does this but I have seen it before. Clip the dead branches at a spot below the brown leaves. Use a knife to gently scrape...

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Separating and planting sago palm pups

Q: My prized sago palm bloomed last summer and died. I kept the stump and now I have eight saplings sprouting up from around the base . When and how should I separate them ? A: Those little pups are...

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Shrub – Transplanting 1-2-3

Most shrubs and trees should be transplanted when the demand for water is least, in late fall or winter. Since many roots will inevitably be lost, they need many weeks to regenerate themselves before the hot, dry blasts of summer...

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Noise Reduction Using Trees and Shrubs

Q: There is a rezoning proposal for land behind our neighborhood. It will likely be used for parking tractor trailers. The county recommends a 100’ deep buffer with a berm and the planting of Leyland cypress trees fifteen feet on...

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My Gardenia Has Slowed Down Its Blooms

Q: My gardenia bush overflowed with blooms but now has slowed way down. Is it time for it to stop blooming ?  A: Yes, different varieties of gardenia bloom at different times during summer. None bloom all summer long. Despite...

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Hydrangea – Identification and Pruning

Q: I have hydrangeas on some new property. I would like to prune them but am unsure which hydrangeas I have, and therefore when to prune them. How do I tell them apart? A: In my garden, the color and...

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Weed killer spilled on shrub (holly) roots

Q: I had a little accident with either undiluted Weed-B-Gon or Roundup about 6 weeks ago. While I was behind my Robin hollies at the water spigot, the bottle turned over and about a quart of product went into the...

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