Tools and Chemicals

Sprinkler System – Winterizing And How the Drought Effects It

Q: Do I need to winterize my sprinkler system? I’m wondering if the drought would make the ground more apt to let freezing temps get to the system. A: I don’t think the drought will have any effect on your...

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Zoysia Grass – Right Time To Apply Weed Preventer

Q: In late October, I had my backyard sodded with zoysia. It has taken root and seems to be doing well. When is the right time to apply weed preventer? A: In my experience zoysia grass is slow to make...

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Humate Soil Conditioner – Not Recommended

Q: Humate soil conditioner has been recommended for my lawn. We have poor soil and have problems with ring spot fungus. This area is not over-watered. A: Despite many glowing claims from promoters, very little unbiased, university-based research supports the...

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Garden Tool Blades Sticky- Cleaning

Q: My garden tool blades get sticky at times when I make cuts. What’s the best thing to clean them with? A: I use WD-40 to unstick my pruners. But WD-40 is a penetrant, not a permanent lubricant so I...

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Barricade (pre-emergent) – Applied to New Sod

Q: A lawn maintenance company sprayed Barricade pre-emergent on my new lawn. The grass sod was laid in February. Can I can do anything to minimize the negative impact it will have on my lawn? A: I don’t know exactly...

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Mistletoe – No Control With Herbicide

Q: Now that my oak tree is dormant, can I spray 2,4-D on the mistletoe while being careful not to wet other plants under the tree? The mistletoe is high up on the tree but I may be able to...

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Pull-Behind Aerator – Evaluation

Q: I’m considering buying one of these pull-behind aerators. Do they work well? A: Well, let me pull out a calculator and check. The goal of aerification is to have approximately 10 holes per sq. ft. This machine looks like...

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Why Do We Use Poisons?

Q: Why do we have to use so many poisons on our lawns, gardens, and landscapes? Why not use organic things to kill pests? A: As with most things in life, I think it comes down to personal choice and...

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Fertilizing on a Slope

Q:I would like to fertilize young azaleas on a sloping bank next to a pond. How do I do it without creating algae-filled water as I did last year? When is best? A: Azaleas don’t really need a lot of...

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Inexpensive Tomato Grafting Supplies

Q: I need to find a source for tomato grafting tubes and clips that are not terribly expensive for 100 or less of each. Is there an advantage in using eggplant rootstock rather than tomato rootstock? I’m looking for a...

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Bermuda Grass Herbicide – Organic

Q: I only use 30% industrial strength, 300 grain white vinegar to kill weeds in our yard, since this is natural and contains no chemicals. Our yard has been toxic chemical free for eight years. Is it is safe to...

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Safety of Herbicide

Q: I have fought annual bluegrass in my lawn for years but never got total control. A neighbor told me his lawn care guy uses ABCDEF and gets very good results. Why don’t you recommend it? A: I don’t recommend...

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10-10-10 or 13-13-13 Downside

Q: I grow hydrangeas, azaleas, rhodendrons, camellias, and ferns plus my lawn. I notice that fertilizers offer different percentages of the three major nutrients and most plants have a “favorite” blend that is recommended. For example, grass likes high nitrogen,...

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Effect of Excessive Rainfall on Pre-emergent Herbicides

Effect of Excessive Rainfall on Pre-emergent Herbicides by Travis Gannon, Matt Jeffries and Fred Yelverton, North Carolina State University edited by Walter Reeves A pre-emergent herbicide application is an effective, commonly performed practice for annual weed control in many established...

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Blossom End Rot – Control On Tomato and Pepper

Q: What causes young tomatoes to get a black bottom that turns to rot? A: Blossom end rot is caused by lack of calcium in the tomato sap nearby when the small fruit is just starting out. I used to...

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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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Flame Weeding – Dangerous

Using a propane weeder may be attractive to some……..but you’d better do it with an observer nearby. Man uses blowtorch to kill weeds; sets 120-year-old house on...

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Carpenter Bee Control – Bug-a-Salt Gun

If you fancy yourself a prospective big game hunter, why not start small…..hunting carpenter bees? The Bug-a-Salt (click here for sources) is an air gun that uses table salt to kill small insects.  (One wag says you can also use...

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