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Past Questions and Answers | December 2014

Question #1

Question:  Leaves from Beech, Sycamore, Ash, Horse Chestnut, Ivy and Silver Birch all get blown into my garden. I collect the leaves and take them to the refuse centre BUT I would like to shred all the leaves into a mulch to spread on the garden as a soil conditioner. Which is the best piece of equipment for this purpose?

  Martin Payne, South Croydon, Surrey


ANSWER:   Most people run over the leaves with a lawn mower to shred them, then rake up the clippings and use it as mulch. If your lawn mower has a bag on it, you do not even have to rake the clippings up.

Question #2

Question:  How do you get snails out of flower beds? i have tried every product in the stores and i just can't get rid of them.

  Joan McNeil, Lubbock, Texas


ANSWER:   Iron based bait such as Slug-go and Escar-go work well. You spread them around the garden around the plants you wish to protect and the snails eat them and die. Also, make sure there are no boards or rocks the snails can hide under during the day around the flower beds and it will cut down on the problem.

Question #3

Question:  I planted potatoes and the very large ones are spoiled in the middle. It is only the large one too. What would cause that. They are Yukon Gold I planted.

  Twila Emme, St. Charles, South Dakota


ANSWER:   You have brown rot. This can be prevented by using certified disease free seed potatoes and being careful not to injure the potatoes when harvesting.

Question #4

Question:  i have a major problem with white ants what can i do to get rid of them.

  Sonny Basdeo, Durban, Kzn South Africa


ANSWER:   White ants are also called termites. You cannot do anything yourself to get rid of them. You will have to contact a pest control professional to get rid of them as the pesticides that kill them are very dangerous and are not approved for home owner use.

Question #5

Question:  I am moving to Corfu; Greece soon. The soil is hard red clay. There are no plants on the site except olive trees. What flowers and veg can you recommend?

  Frank Michael Burgess, Stafford, Staffordshire


ANSWER:   You will have to contact the Extension Service in Greece for recommendations for flowers and vegetables to grow in Corfu.

Question #6

Question:  my backyard has a bad problem with tree of heaven,it's spreading quite rapidly, how can I eliminate it, thank-you.

  Pete Vasquez, King City, CA


ANSWER:   You can apply glyphosate to the bark, leaves, and cut stems of the tree during the spring and summer when it is growing. Do not apply during the fall or winter as it will only work when the tree is actively growing.

Question #7

Question:  My hibiscus plant is really spindly and old. Can I take a cutting from it and transplant it and when is the best time. I have had it for about 25 years. Thank you.

  Kathy Allen, Arthur, Ontario


ANSWER:   You can take cuttings of the green wood in the spring and root them in water, then transplant them to your flower beds outside. Cut the last four to six inches of a piece of green wood off, remove all but the last two leaves, and place the stem in water. Place it in a sunny place, but not in direct sun. Replace the water weekly or when it gets murky, whichever happens first. It takes four to six weeks for roots to form. The cutting is ready to transplant when the roots turn tan, between two and four months old.

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