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Past Questions and Answers | February 2014

Question #1

Question:  We moved our indoor lime plant to put the Christmas Tree up and it eventually lost all its leaves! Is there any hope? It produced 6 limes last year but always seemed to only grow leaves with new growth.

  Barbara Caudle, Oakton, VA


ANSWER:   Yes, there is hope. Put it back where it was, water it well, and be patient. It will sprout new leaves this spring.

Question #2

Question:  What is the correct way to prune climbing roses and when is the best time? Also, can I prune them back to original size new, to get new and healthier growth? Thank you.

  Donna George, Las Vegas Nevada


ANSWER:   You prune climbing roses in February. You can prune them in shapes, or prune them to their original size. They will continue to grow after you prune them.

Question #3

Question:  I absolutely love roses, but I cannot seem to keep them alive here. In New York I just planted them and they grew. Can you give me some tips to get them to continue to grow and flower for this area?

  Cindy Lou Kolmer, Orange, Virginia


ANSWER:   There are rose cultivars for each area. Make sure you plant cultivars that are adapted to the local area. Plant them in full sun, make sure they are watered weekly, and fertilize in the spring with a balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10.

Question #4

Question:  I live in the Southern United State. When do I plant outside Gardenia shrubs?

  Mary, Texarkana, Arkansas


ANSWER:   You plant them in February, when they are still dormant but will soon grow.

Question #5

Question:  My camellia is doing poorly,five, planted on the north side of the house,lots of shade, hardly any leaves which are full of rusty dots. what to do to improve?

  George Karaelias, Brea, California


ANSWER:   It sounds like you have algael leaf spot. This is a fungus that infects camellias. Spray it with a copper fungicide and that should kill the problem and it will produce new leaves free of spots.

Question #6

Question:  My outdoor fig tree abt 7 years old hardly bears any fruit, and is very leggy. can you tell me how and when to prune please.

  Elaine Firth, Beverly nr Hull, East Yorkshire, UK


ANSWER:   Prune your fig in the last month of winter, when it is dormant. You can prune up to one-third of its height off of it without hurting the fig tree. This should be enough to remove some of the excess leggy growth. Be sure to remove any dead or diseased branches when pruning.

Question #7

Question:  Last year I had smutty, sticky residue on a lot of my crepe myrtles. What can I do to prevent that?

  Lena Jackson, Forney, Texas


ANSWER:   You had sooty mold caused by aphids. You need to spray for aphids and this will remove the "honeydew" they produce, which the mold grows on.

Question #8

Question:  I have to relocate over 75 Cycads all approximately 1 meter tall. How would you suggest doing it? wWth a small tractor? Digging? Then pulling? What month is best ? Right now we have about 15 degrees F day and 5 degrees night....then it will be getting warmer and warmer 9 usually.

  Nomi Weingrod, Tel Hashomer Hospital, Israel


ANSWER:   Absolutely do not pull out the plants. This will damage the root structure and make it difficult for them to recover. The best thing is to rent a root and ball machine from a tree nursery and use it to remove each plant. This machine removes a big ball of soil and roots which are then wrapped in burlap for the move. You then plant the cycads where you want them to be, removing the burlap when planting. The best month to do this is the last month of winter when the plants are dormant.

Question #9

Question:  My tangerine tree leaves are very yellow. What can I do to make them green?

  Anthony Bastio, Fremont, Ca


ANSWER:   This sounds like a nutrient deficiency. You need to have a soil test done and then fertilize them according to the directions on the soil test. Your Extension agent has the soil test bags and forms and can tell you how to take one and where to send it for testing.

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Keep Seedlings Moist

When you have just planted seeds, keep the soil moist until germination.

If the soil dries out, the seeds will die.

After germination, allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings, but keep a close eye on the seedlings until they are well established.

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