Shrubs

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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Other Plants That I Can Plant Where My Boxwood Was?

Q: I have a topiary boxwood that has succumbed to boxwood blight. I know one can’t replant a boxwood in the same site but are there other shrubs that I could put in the same place?  A: Boxwood blight probably...

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When To Prune Butterfly Bushes?

Q: We have some lovely butterfly bushes that are getting too big for their space. When is the best month to prune them back?  A: Butterfly bush responds very well to yearly pruning in the winter. Blooms on this shrub...

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When To Cut My Lenten Roses Back?

Q: We have lots of very healthy Lenten roses and autumn ferns. My husband wants to cut off all the leaves and fronds from the plants. I think they look great just the way they are. Is there any reason...

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Yellow leaves on Florida anise in spring

Q: The leaves on our large Florida anise shrubs are turning yellow and have black spots. What may be causing this? What can we do to address the problem? A: Good news! This is normal springtime behavior. Nothing to worry...

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Paperbush (Edgeworthia) flowers hurt by early frost

Q: My paperbush (Edgeworthia) flowers were very small this year. I think the cause was the long, hot, dry summer at a time when they usually set their flowers for winter. A: I think the problem was caused by cold,...

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Soft Caress mahonia problems

Q: I planted several Soft Caress mahonia shrubs last year. The plants appear to be dying now. I trimmed back the dead branches. I really like the look of these plants. A: “Soft Caress’ is an intriguing plant. Rather than...

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Boxwood Alternatives

Q: I have a topiary boxwood that has succumbed to boxwood blight. I know one can’t replant a boxwood in the same site but are there other shrubs that I could put in the same place? A: Boxwood blight probably...

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Planting lantana seed

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

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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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