General Garden Info

Landscaper Chopped Off A Third Of My Encore Azaleas

Q: The community landscape crew used a hedge trimmer to chop off about a third of my healthy, newly-planted Encore azaleas. I presume the spring blooming will not happen but I’m wondering if they will survive this butchering?  A: If...

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How To Lower pH Of Soil?

Q: I’ve been amending my garden with compost for more than ten years. Soil tests every year show P, K, Mg, Ca, and Zn all in the excellent range. My problem is I can’t get the pH lower than 7.0....

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Caring For Amaryllis

Q: I have amaryllis in pots that I have tried unsuccessfully to force into bloom during the holidays. They all sprout prolific leaves and look healthy but no flowers appear. Are they just too old? A: I think the bulbs...

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Which Plants In My Landscape Are Poisonous?

Q: I have young children and would like to know which plants in my landscape are poisonous. A: Many landscape plants and houseplants are “poisonous” to one degree or another. It is always important to remember that “The dose makes...

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Hedge To Plant In Between Yards

Q: We are transplants from southern California. I want to landscape my grandson’s new home with a hedge in between his yard and his neighbors. He is twenty-one with no interest in gardening and I will not be around forever...

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How To Speed Deterioration Of Leaves?

Q: My mother has big pecan and oak trees. This year I dumped the fallen leaves in a low part of her back yard in an effort to build it up. How can I speed their deterioration.  A: If you...

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Info On Fruiting Quince

Q: I have become interested in growing fruiting quince and have several plants (‘Le Page’, ‘Aromatnaya’, ‘Cookes Jumbo’, ‘Van Deamon’). Do they fruit on current year’s growth or last years? I need to prune them a bit. They are delicious...

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Do Coleus Belong In The Shade Or Sun?

Q: I planted coleus in my garage flower bed last year and they all died. I read somewhere that direct sun would be an enemy to coleus. But my neighbors grow them in sunshine despite this.  A: Once upon a...

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Harm/Benefits Of Spreading My Dogs Ashes On Landscape?

Q: Can ashes from my beloved dog be scattered in my landscape? Is there any benefit or harm to the plants?  A: There will be no direct harm to your plants from scattering the ashes around them. But there might...

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Best Time To Plant Bamboo?

Q: I want to plant bamboo along my fence to add some privacy to my back yard. When is the best time to plant bamboo?  A: The best time to plant a bamboo screen is never. Over my career I...

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Can I Get Lantana Seeds By Mail?

Q: Do you know of a company that sells lantana seeds by mail?  A: I found several places online that sell the seeds, but proceed with caution. I have occasionally purchased plants and seeds on Amazon, but on at least...

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Is The Blue Stuff They Spread After Ice Harmful?

Q: Before a snow or ice event, the city spreads something on the street in front of my house. They used this clumpy blue stuff which I find afterwards on my lawn and flower beds. What can be done to...

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Cats Use Beds As Litter Box – Should I Replace Soil?

Q: I have several raised beds where I grow vegetables. Stray cats like to use my beds as their litter box. Do you think I should replace the soil before I plant in spring.  A: I am not a veterinarian...

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When Can I Plant The Bulbs Of My Yellow Tulips?

Q: Someone gave me blooming yellow tulips in a pot for Christmas. They have stopped blooming and shed the petals. When can I plant the bulbs?  A: I don’t have much hope your gift tulips will ever bloom again. The...

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When To Cut Back Grasses That Get A Few Inches High?

Q: Should grasses that only get a few inches high, like blue fescue and carex, be cut back before new spring growth? Would now be a good time?  A: Unlike big grasses, such as pampas grass and maiden grass, the...

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How Do Plants Adsorb Fertilizer?

Q: When you spray plants with liquid fertilizer do the plants absorb it through the leaves or the soil or both?  A: Indeed plants can absorb nutrients through their leaves, but not enough of the major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium)...

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How To Sow Dutch White Clover?

Q: My wife wants to sow Dutch white clover to help the pollinators at our cabin. Can you give guidance on how to prepare a lot for growing such?  A: Before World War II, clover was commonly mixed with fescue...

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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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