Tools and Chemicals

Dandelion – Control

My young friend Ayana and I recently spent several minutes making a bouquet of dandelion flowers and blowing on the seedheads of those already bloomed. Although the flowers are bright and distinctive, some folks would rather not have this plant...

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Organic Insecticides

A hammer or a quick slap will kill an insect, but how do you control lots of them in your garden? My father paid me a quarter to hand-pick potato bugs in our garden but there is currently a shortage...

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Herbicide – In Mulch

Q: Is it safe to use hay, as mulch and in a compost pile, that has been treated using 2-4-D? A: I don’t think I can say that it’s “safe” in all situations. The weed killer 2,4-D has a half-life...

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Pre-emergent – Overapplication

Q: I have a bad feeling that putting down pre-emergent on landscape beds every six weeks is not working. Should I step it up to once a month? A: Weed preventer products are very good at controlling weeds that come...

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Fertilizer – Veggie Garden

Q: We recently had a University soil test done for our veggie garden and they recommended 15-0-15 fertilizer. I found it, but only labeled for use on lawns. Is it okay for a vegetable garden? A: It’s tough for the...

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Roundup – Controlled Spray

Q: Can Roundup be used on weeds between rows of corn? The plants are six feet tall. A: You may not be able to see it but most garden sprayers deliver heavy droplets that can be seen with the naked...

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Air Conditioner – Collected Water

Q: I have always used air conditioner condenser water for my flowering plants and bushes, but never for vegetables. Can I use this water on my tomatoes and squash? A: Yes, the water that drips out of your air conditioner...

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Thatch – Aeration

Q: Do you know if aeration shoes work on zoysia? Our lawn is thick with thatch. I’ve been raking like crazy, but wondered if aerating with these shoes will work? A: The aerator sandals will have no effect on thatch....

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Straw – Planting Technique

Q: This spring I saw some local schools making gardens with wheat straw. They put the straw in large wire containers, then added their plants. I bought some straw bales and made holes and put chicken manure and planting soil...

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Fertilizer – Chemical Vs. Organic

Q: What are your thoughts on switching from chemical fertilizers and weed killers to organic products on a lawn? I’d like to hire an organic lawn contractor to do this. A: I think healthy lawns can be managed safely with...

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Roundup – Use In Cold

Q: Is it too cold for Roundup to kill the weeds now growing in my flower beds? A: The leaves on the weeds you aim to control should be actively photosynthesizing when glyphosate (Roundup, etc) is applied. That means the...

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Greenhouse – Lighting

Q: For Christmas I received a new portable greenhouse. How critical is the placement? A: Generally speaking, more sun is better. You can control how much sunshine and heat gets inside the greenhouse by using shade cloth on top. But...

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Fertilizer – Dog Safety

Q: I have bermuda grass in full sun in my backyard where two big Labs play and tear it up. I really care about my dogs so I do not treat the grass with any fertilizer or weed killer. Would...

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Beer, Detergents for Your Lawn – False Claims

I have mentioned before my disdain for television hucksters touting lawn care “formulas” made from household products. The presentation is enthusiastic but the recommendations contain only tiny nuggets of scientific truth. It is true that household ammonia contains a small...

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Organic Fungicides – List

It’s hard enough to find a fungicide that work well to control landscape and garden diseases. But what do you do if you want to use an “organic” fungus fighter? Fortunately, there are fungicides in the category that are usually...

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Spray Guard – Made From Plastic Bottle

Q: I heard you talking on the radio about a spray guard you made from a plastic bottle. Can you elaborate? A: I needed the guard because I was spraying weeds with herbicide close by my daylily bed. Making it was...

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Eggplant Leaf – No Flea Beetles

While visiting a cooperative farm in Cuba, I noticed a guy spraying something on vegetables. It was a hot day, but he wore a ball cap, long pants and rubber boots. When I asked our guide why he was so...

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Compost Volunteer

Q: I have this plant growing in my compost pile. It has large leaves and a very prickly stem. It is growing very rapidly. A: It’s a squash of some sort. It resulted from seeds that you threw out from...

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