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Past Questions and Answers | July 2015


Question #1

Question:  Can I grow Dahlia tubers in 10inch pots.

  Frederick Wood, Milton Keynes, Bucks

 

ANSWER:   Yes, ten inch pots are big enough for one dahlia tuber a piece to grow in.

Question #2

Question:  I moved into a cluster but it has a Leopard Tree approx. 18 meters high. Is it still possible to prune it as it is too big for the small garden and is blocking all sun from my windows. If they prune the top into a lollipop effect will it work or will I have to completely remove this gorgeous tree? Best Judy

  Judy Rossouw, Johannesburg, Gauteng

 

ANSWER:   You will probably have to remove it as severe pruning of a tree that large will likely kill it anyway.

Question #3

Question:  I planted an orange quince a few years ago. It appears to be healthy with plenty of leaves but it has never flowered. Is there anything I can add to this shrub to help it flower. It is a thornless variety.

  Pam Kelly, George's River, Nova Scotia

 

ANSWER:   It may not be getting enough chilling hours to flower. Quince and other fruit trees are cued to flower after a certain time of being cold. If they never get cold long enough, they never flower. So you need to check with your extension agent to see how many chilling hours you get and how many your orange quince needs to flower. If they are mismatched, it will never flower.

Question #4

Question:  I have a Jackmantis clematis that hasn't bloomed in 5 years. It looks beautiful with lots of leaves, but no bloons. What should I do.

  Inga Holcomb, Onamia, Minnesota

 

ANSWER:   Have you been pruning it? You prune it in winter to the previous year's wood. The spring flowers won't bloom, but it should bloom in the summer. The other thing you can do is add phosphorus to the fertilizer you use for it. Phosphorus triggers blooms in many plants, and a deficiency could prevent it from blooming.

Question #5

Question:  I have rhubarb growing everywhere in my yard. It is taking over. I don't mind my one plant, but now it is everywhere... why is it doing this and how can I get rid of it??

  Katie Ries, Bay City, Mi

 

ANSWER:   Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable that grows by division. If you do not harvest it, it will spread to take over. You will have to dig out the unwanted rhubarb and give it to people who want it. You could also treat it with a herbicide containing glyphosate, but it will kill everything it touches, so get it only on what you want to die.

Question #6

Question:  HOW TO RESET POTTED CAMELIA, fertilize , repot in same container?

  Ed Flores, Gilroy, CA

 

ANSWER:   You can reset a potted camellia in the same container by replacing the old potting soil with half compost and half new potting soil to fertilize it. You will still have to periodically fertilize the plant as it uses up the nutrients in the compost.

Question #7

Question:  I have about 25 sedums along my walkway and about 10 of them don't grow much, rot from the stem upwards then the plant wilts and continues to deteriorate Is this a disease or a draining problem. Either way what can I do? Thanks. Karen

  Karen Noland, Knoxville, TN

 

ANSWER:   Sounds like a drainage problem. You need to check to see if they are getting too much water and rotting. If so, adjust your sprinkler or use potting soil to fill in and raise the sedums out of the muck. They don't like wet feet.

Question #8

Question:  Moles!!! any suggestions? they have destroyed 2 8' tall maple trees, my 4' viburnums, not to mention my perennials and now my edible garden. I live in the country, and wont use poisons due to the fear of owls or raptors or coyotes ingesting the dead moles. any ideas? I am about at wits end.

  Pennie Planagan, Troy, ID

 

ANSWER:   You will have to set traps in the mole runs to catch and kill the creatures. If you do not want to do it yourself, you can hire a professional pest control company to come do it. You can usually get the traps at feed stores.

Question #9

Question:  I have a jacaranda tree that I got in Nolivis and originally was 10" tall but now is 8' tall and rubbing against the ceiling of my home. I need and want to move it outside but I'm afraid I'll lose it to Knoxvilles varying weather. Whatever can I do? Can it survive this weather? Should it be moved to a shady spot? Demi-shade? Where? Thanks. Karen.

  Karen Noland, Knoxville, TN

 

ANSWER:   Jacaranda trees grow in zones 9b through 11, so it definitely won't live outside in Knoxville. You will have to top the tree to keep it small enough to stay inside or get rid of it all together.

Question #10

Question:  need ideas from planting on a slope 5'in height. I tried ivy but the birds added everything. Now looking for something with low maintenance.

  Suzanne Brown, Glen Rock, PA

 

ANSWER:   Ivy is pretty much the lowest maintenance cover for such an area there is. Mondo grass or liriope will grow on slopes and need little maintenance.

Question #11

Question:  I have a forsythia that is about 20 years old. In that time, it has only blossomed once and that was last year! This year, there were no flowers. It is in a sunny spot and is otherwise very healthy. Why doesn't it bloom every year?

  Beth Weirich, Glenburn Maine

 

ANSWER:   Have you been pruning it? Blooms form on last year's wood, so it is important to prune it right after it blooms, or when it should have bloomed, to get it ready to bloom again next year.

Question #12

Question:  I've grown some tomato plants from seed I harvested last year. The plants look healthy and are just over 2 foot tall but I've not got any flowers on yet. Is there any chance the seeds maybe sterile?

  Carol Cresswell,, Flint, Flintshire

 

ANSWER:   If the seeds were sterile, you would not have gotten any plants at all. Usually lots of growth but no blooms is an excess of Nitrogen fertilizer and a deficit of Phosphorus. Stop fertilizing them with Nitrogen and add some Phosphorus and see if they do not bloom.

Question #13

Question:  My tomato plants look good but they are not producing many tomatoes. What can I do to help them produce better. What few tomatoes I have gotten have been very small in size.

  Michelle Stepp, Chesnee, South Carolina

 

ANSWER:   How hot is it? Tomatoes will not set fruit when it is over 90 degrees at night for more than one or two nights. The other thing you can try is to add Phosphorus fertilizer, which triggers blooms, to your tomatoes.

Question #14

Question:  How to manage and treat Honeysuckle Blight? Our hedge is about 40 years old. Over the years we have cut back the bushes to about 1-2 feet, removing thickest branches. This yr."The Blight" is bad. What do you suggest? Thank you. S.G.

  Shel Grabniner, Arlington Heights, IL

 

ANSWER:   Spray with a copper based fungicide every seven to ten days from when the buds swell to just before flower opening. Prune and destroy all plant parts that have blight before you spray each time.

Question #15

Question:  Which annual seeds need to have a cold weather dormancy -- as an example hyacinths (I know not a seed a bulb). Thank you.

  Ron Agurkis, Naperville, Illinois

 

ANSWER:   There are too many annual seeds that need cold weather dormancy to name them all. However, in general when you plant an annual seed in the fall, it needs a cold weather dormancy to grow. If the directions say to plant it in the spring or summer, it does not.


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Gardening-tip:



Hydrolized Fish

The reason Hydrolized Fish Fertilizer doesn't have a fishy odor is because of the way it is processed.

It is cold processed instead of heat processed, like fish emulsion.

Read fish fertilizer tags closely to determine which you are buying.


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