Featured Article

Plants for Pollinators

Many landscape plants depend on bees and other insects to move pollen from flower to flower. The insects don’t realize they are pollinating the plants they visit – they’re just looking for nectar in the flowers. You can help the flowering plants in your neighborhood by planting a pollinator-friendly flower...

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Shrub – Pruning Calendar

The Home & Garden section of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution published a very nice pruning calendar several years ago. When viewed on a sheet of newsprint, it was gorgeous. When reduced to fit onto a sheet of typing paper it was impossible to read. I imagine you didn’t keep...

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Crapemyrtle – Pruning

One of the most confounding arguments I face is whether and how to prune crapemyrtles. They are mercilessly “murdered” by unaware landscapers and homeowners each winter… yet they still bloom in summer. Some people even believe a crapemyrtle won’t bloom unless it is severely pruned. Crapemyrtles do not HAVE TO...

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Fescue Planting – 1-2-3

September – October is the BEST time to plant a fescue lawn. I have tips on planting a new lawn or an existing lawn, whether with seed or sod. I also cover what kind of fescue is best. It is not as important as you think it is, but everyone’s...

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Venomous (Poisonous) Caterpillars – Photos

Several kinds of venomous caterpillars are commonly seen in late summer – early fall. They are usually inconspicuous, so when one is encountered it’s “OUCH – what stung me???!!“. Below are photos of those you might find in the Southeast. Because they are so uncommon and because they feed on...

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  • RECENT ARTICLES
  • POPULAR ARTICLES
  • Sweet Olive Shrubs – Best Time To Prune

    Q: When is the best time to prune sweet olive shrubs? Mine are six feet tall and bloom in spring and fall. A: I’d do it after the spring flowering period. Tea olive, Osmanthus fragrans, blooms on twigs that grew...

    READ MORE

  • Raised Beds – Best Soil To Use

    Q: I have built twelve raised beds out of concrete blocks. What is the best soil to use to raise flowers and vegetables? A: You have several choices. One option is to use the existing soil (plus some from nearby)...

    READ MORE

  • Selling Plants Commercially – Where To Start

    Q: I have some acreage that I am considering using as a nursery. I would like to sell plants commercially, but I am not sure where to start. A: You are just in time to attend the annual conference of...

    READ MORE

  • Alum – How Much To Use To Acidify Soil

    Q: I want to acidify the soil around my azaleas and hydrangeas. How much alum do I use? A: It all depends on what your current pH is and whether your soil is sandy, loamy or clayey. You’ll need more...

    READ MORE

  • Christmas Cactus – Salvage Remaining Leaves

    Q: My grandmother’s Christmas cactus has been terribly neglected. I am trying to keep its remains from dying, I have some leaves laying flat on paper towels. A: Christmas cactus is a remarkably resilient plant. Try sticking each individual leaf...

    READ MORE

  • Pecans – Black Spots On Meat

    Q: What causes black spots on the meat of pecans, and if they are small spots, are they edible? A: It’s likely feeding damage from stinkbugs. In August, the insects stick their hollow snouts through the shell into a pecan...

    READ MORE

  • Magnolia Leaves – Finding One With Brown-Backed Leaves

    Q: I use magnolia leaves to wrap Christmas presents. I had a hard time finding leaves with brown backs this year so I want to plant a magnolia with brown-backed leaves. A: ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ is just right for you!...

    READ MORE

  • Solomon`s Seal – Is It Disease Resistant

    Q: Please give me advice on Solomon’s seal. Is it disease resistant? A: Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum multiflorum, is an excellent plant! The variegated form is my favorite. The leaves are a striking green and white during the spring, summer, and...

    READ MORE

  • Kumquats – Can It Grow In Atlanta

    Q: Is it possible to grow kumquats in Atlanta? A: It’s possible, but you won’t be able to keep it outdoors all year long. Local kumquat grower Jason Byers says he gets dozens of fruit from a small potted tree...

    READ MORE

  • Peace Lily – How To Trim Back

    Q: I was given a peace lily in 2009. I replanted it into a larger pot but it is now very large. How do I trim it back? A: I think your best bet is to simply divide the big...

    READ MORE

  • Tomatoes – Move To Different Area Or Rejuvenate Soil

    Q: I have heard that you can’t plant tomatoes in the same place year after year. But we have the perfect place in our yard to grow them and have planted them in the same place repeatedly. Pickings have become...

    READ MORE

  • Norfolk Island Pine – Can I Cut The Top

    Q: My Norfolk Island pine has grown to over 10′ tall. It’s too tall to easily fit inside. Can I cut off a few feet at the top to make it fit? A: Yes, you can cut off the top...

    READ MORE

  • Japanese Maple Tree – Should I Leave It Indoors

    Q: I found a small Japanese maple tree growing near a bigger one so I dug it up and planted it in a pot. Now it is two feet tall. Should I leave it in the pot indoors for a...

    READ MORE

  • Ferns Growing In Landscapes – Edible Or Not

    Q: Are any of the ferns I see growing in landscapes edible? A: One is, the rest are not. A few local gardeners grow ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, in wet places in their landscapes. The fiddleheads (emerging fronds) that appear...

    READ MORE

  • Red Tip Photinia – Can`t Find In Nurseries

    Q: I was recently in a nursery looking for a red tip photinia to plant along a fence. They advised me that they hadn’t carried them in years. Is this true? A: It is true that red tip photinia is...

    READ MORE

  • 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...

    READ MORE

  • Ground Cedar – Where To Get It

    Q: Where can I buy ground cedar? A: Ground cedar is an attractive evergreen forest groundcover that spreads by underground runners. The correct scientific name is Diphasiastrum digitatum but I prefer its older Latin name: Lycopodium digitatum, which means “wolf’s...

    READ MORE

  • Composter For Yard – Recommendations

    Q: Any recommendations for buying a composter for the yard? A: It all depends on your sense of aesthetics, your space, and your wallet. If you have a small space in which to put the composter, the upright plastic bins...

    READ MORE

  • Weeds – Identification with Pictures

    Weed control in the landscape is a tough business. You have to know a lot about the weed in question just to get started! As in most situations, a picture is worth a thousand words. Go through the sites below,...

    READ MORE

  • Diagnosing (Identifying) Holes in the Yard

    Sometimes many heads are better than one when it comes to solving a problem. Wade Hutcheson, my Extension colleague in Spalding county, gets plenty of calls from the citizens of his area asking his help in identifying various holes in...

    READ MORE

  • Brown Patch – Diagnosing

    You have brown patches of dead grass in your lawn. Is it the common lawn disease ‘brown patch’ or is it something else? The answer is important: if it is brown patch you probably need to spray with a fungicide....

    READ MORE

  • Lawn – Timing Spring Pre-emergent Herbicide Application

    One of the sourest phrases that can be directed at a child or adult is “I told you so!” Whether you touch a hot match, leave tools out in the rain, or lift cinder blocks all afternoon, someone is usually...

    READ MORE

  • Bermuda – Weed Control

    BASIC INFORMATION: Weed Identification Pictures General Turf and Weed Info Lawn Care Calendars THREE METHODS There are three primary methods of controlling weeds. Any one method, when used alone, will not usually control all of your weeds. To consistently control...

    READ MORE

  • St. Augustine Grass Seed – Where to Buy

    Q: Please tell me where I can buy St. Augustine grass seeds. Our lawn has some now and we like it a lot, but we’re having trouble finding seeds. A: You can’t buy St. Augustinegrass seed. The plant is very...

    READ MORE

  • Lawn – Growing in Shade

    OK. I admit it. I have given up. I came to the conclusion that grass just would not grow in the corner of my lawn near the ornamental cherry trees. The shade there is so dense that my grass, no...

    READ MORE

  • Lawn – Leveling

    A new home in my neighborhood had bermudagrass sod planted in March. By May, one area was a perfect checkerboard of straight lines, composed of weedy plants, surrounding the individual squares of sod. Evidently the sod installers were in such...

    READ MORE

  • Bermuda Grass – Disease – Brown Patch

    Brown patch is most prevalent on bermudagrass which has been heavily fertilized when night temperatures are above 68 degrees and day temperature are above 80 degrees. Dead patches of grass may start small but can grow and join together to...

    READ MORE

  • Crapemyrtle – Pruning

    One of the most confounding arguments I face is whether and how to prune crapemyrtles. They are mercilessly “murdered” by unaware landscapers and homeowners each winter… yet they still bloom in summer. Some people even believe a crapemyrtle won’t bloom...

    READ MORE

  • RECENT ARTICLES
  • POPULAR ARTICLES

Sweet Olive Shrubs – Best Time To Prune

Q: When is the best time to prune sweet olive shrubs? Mine are six feet tall and bloom in spring and fall. A: I’d do it after the spring flowering period. Tea olive, Osmanthus fragrans, blooms on twigs that grew...

READ MORE

Raised Beds – Best Soil To Use

Q: I have built twelve raised beds out of concrete blocks. What is the best soil to use to raise flowers and vegetables? A: You have several choices. One option is to use the existing soil (plus some from nearby)...

READ MORE

Selling Plants Commercially – Where To Start

Q: I have some acreage that I am considering using as a nursery. I would like to sell plants commercially, but I am not sure where to start. A: You are just in time to attend the annual conference of...

READ MORE

Alum – How Much To Use To Acidify Soil

Q: I want to acidify the soil around my azaleas and hydrangeas. How much alum do I use? A: It all depends on what your current pH is and whether your soil is sandy, loamy or clayey. You’ll need more...

READ MORE

Christmas Cactus – Salvage Remaining Leaves

Q: My grandmother’s Christmas cactus has been terribly neglected. I am trying to keep its remains from dying, I have some leaves laying flat on paper towels. A: Christmas cactus is a remarkably resilient plant. Try sticking each individual leaf...

READ MORE

Pecans – Black Spots On Meat

Q: What causes black spots on the meat of pecans, and if they are small spots, are they edible? A: It’s likely feeding damage from stinkbugs. In August, the insects stick their hollow snouts through the shell into a pecan...

READ MORE

Magnolia Leaves – Finding One With Brown-Backed Leaves

Q: I use magnolia leaves to wrap Christmas presents. I had a hard time finding leaves with brown backs this year so I want to plant a magnolia with brown-backed leaves. A: ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ is just right for you!...

READ MORE

Solomon`s Seal – Is It Disease Resistant

Q: Please give me advice on Solomon’s seal. Is it disease resistant? A: Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum multiflorum, is an excellent plant! The variegated form is my favorite. The leaves are a striking green and white during the spring, summer, and...

READ MORE

Kumquats – Can It Grow In Atlanta

Q: Is it possible to grow kumquats in Atlanta? A: It’s possible, but you won’t be able to keep it outdoors all year long. Local kumquat grower Jason Byers says he gets dozens of fruit from a small potted tree...

READ MORE

Peace Lily – How To Trim Back

Q: I was given a peace lily in 2009. I replanted it into a larger pot but it is now very large. How do I trim it back? A: I think your best bet is to simply divide the big...

READ MORE

Tomatoes – Move To Different Area Or Rejuvenate Soil

Q: I have heard that you can’t plant tomatoes in the same place year after year. But we have the perfect place in our yard to grow them and have planted them in the same place repeatedly. Pickings have become...

READ MORE

Norfolk Island Pine – Can I Cut The Top

Q: My Norfolk Island pine has grown to over 10′ tall. It’s too tall to easily fit inside. Can I cut off a few feet at the top to make it fit? A: Yes, you can cut off the top...

READ MORE

Japanese Maple Tree – Should I Leave It Indoors

Q: I found a small Japanese maple tree growing near a bigger one so I dug it up and planted it in a pot. Now it is two feet tall. Should I leave it in the pot indoors for a...

READ MORE

Ferns Growing In Landscapes – Edible Or Not

Q: Are any of the ferns I see growing in landscapes edible? A: One is, the rest are not. A few local gardeners grow ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, in wet places in their landscapes. The fiddleheads (emerging fronds) that appear...

READ MORE

Red Tip Photinia – Can`t Find In Nurseries

Q: I was recently in a nursery looking for a red tip photinia to plant along a fence. They advised me that they hadn’t carried them in years. Is this true? A: It is true that red tip photinia is...

READ MORE

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...

READ MORE

Ground Cedar – Where To Get It

Q: Where can I buy ground cedar? A: Ground cedar is an attractive evergreen forest groundcover that spreads by underground runners. The correct scientific name is Diphasiastrum digitatum but I prefer its older Latin name: Lycopodium digitatum, which means “wolf’s...

READ MORE

Composter For Yard – Recommendations

Q: Any recommendations for buying a composter for the yard? A: It all depends on your sense of aesthetics, your space, and your wallet. If you have a small space in which to put the composter, the upright plastic bins...

READ MORE

Weeds – Identification with Pictures

Weed control in the landscape is a tough business. You have to know a lot about the weed in question just to get started! As in most situations, a picture is worth a thousand words. Go through the sites below,...

READ MORE

Diagnosing (Identifying) Holes in the Yard

Sometimes many heads are better than one when it comes to solving a problem. Wade Hutcheson, my Extension colleague in Spalding county, gets plenty of calls from the citizens of his area asking his help in identifying various holes in...

READ MORE

Brown Patch – Diagnosing

You have brown patches of dead grass in your lawn. Is it the common lawn disease ‘brown patch’ or is it something else? The answer is important: if it is brown patch you probably need to spray with a fungicide....

READ MORE

Lawn – Timing Spring Pre-emergent Herbicide Application

One of the sourest phrases that can be directed at a child or adult is “I told you so!” Whether you touch a hot match, leave tools out in the rain, or lift cinder blocks all afternoon, someone is usually...

READ MORE

Bermuda – Weed Control

BASIC INFORMATION: Weed Identification Pictures General Turf and Weed Info Lawn Care Calendars THREE METHODS There are three primary methods of controlling weeds. Any one method, when used alone, will not usually control all of your weeds. To consistently control...

READ MORE

St. Augustine Grass Seed – Where to Buy

Q: Please tell me where I can buy St. Augustine grass seeds. Our lawn has some now and we like it a lot, but we’re having trouble finding seeds. A: You can’t buy St. Augustinegrass seed. The plant is very...

READ MORE

Lawn – Growing in Shade

OK. I admit it. I have given up. I came to the conclusion that grass just would not grow in the corner of my lawn near the ornamental cherry trees. The shade there is so dense that my grass, no...

READ MORE

Lawn – Leveling

A new home in my neighborhood had bermudagrass sod planted in March. By May, one area was a perfect checkerboard of straight lines, composed of weedy plants, surrounding the individual squares of sod. Evidently the sod installers were in such...

READ MORE

Bermuda Grass – Disease – Brown Patch

Brown patch is most prevalent on bermudagrass which has been heavily fertilized when night temperatures are above 68 degrees and day temperature are above 80 degrees. Dead patches of grass may start small but can grow and join together to...

READ MORE

Crapemyrtle – Pruning

One of the most confounding arguments I face is whether and how to prune crapemyrtles. They are mercilessly “murdered” by unaware landscapers and homeowners each winter… yet they still bloom in summer. Some people even believe a crapemyrtle won’t bloom...

READ MORE