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Past Questions and Answers | November 2012

Question #1

Question:  How and when do I prune pear trees?

  Joan Hutchings, Ramsgate, Kent


ANSWER:   Pear trees are pruned in January. Basically, a pear tree should have two or three sturdy branches growing up. Prune off any branches below the area where the large branches come out of the main trunk. These are called suckers and are not wanted. Then look at the branches of the tree and cut off any twigs that point any place but up. When you have finished, your tree will have the main sturdy branches with rows of twigs pointing up. The pears will form on these twigs.

Question #2

Question:  I have a nine bark that has outgrown it's area in which it is planted; has gotten bigger than it was supposed to. Can I safely move this without losing it and if so should it be cut down before we dig it up and replant it? I have a good spot I would like to move it to. Thanks you for your help.

  Pat Stephens, Bellbrook, Ohio


ANSWER:   You can safely transplant your nine bark. You should move it during the dormant season. Remove one third of the foliage from the top of the plant to help the plant survive the transplanting.

Question #3

Question:  I have weeds that are vines. They grow up over and around everything. They strangle all my flowers and trees walls fences everything.I have pulled them sprayed them so far nothing has worked. How do I get rid of them. They are roots that have many offshoots and it seems no matter how much I pull them they come back.

  Joseph Raimo, Hampton Bays, New York


ANSWER:   These vines are difficult to get rid of because you have to starve the root to eliminate them. There are two ways to do that. One is to cut them to the ground and then immediately cut any shoots that appear. Continue doing this until no new shoots appear. The easier way to do this is to wait until they are growing and putting out new shoots, then cut them off at ground level. Paint the stub of every vine with RoundUp. This herbicide will travel to the root and kill it. You will probably have to do this two or three times to kill the whole root, but then the vines should be gone for good.

Question #4

Question:  Please suggest bushes& perennials to plant (not directly under but close to a crimson maple)

  Susan Guitard, Brampton, Ontario


ANSWER:   Perennials and bushes do not do well in shade. Most require full sun or at least several hours of sun. There are some annuals that would grow in the partial shade of your tree.Here is a list of a few annuals that do well in your area:

Browallia (Browallia speciosa), Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata, Foxglove, Camelot. series, (Digitalis hybrid), Fuchsia (Fuchsia x hybrid, Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana), Lobelia (Lobelia erinus), New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawker),Pansy, Viola (Viola spp.), Rieger Begonia (Begonia x hiemalis), Tuberous Begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida), Twinspur (Diascia hybrid), Wax Begonia, (Begonia x semperflorens), Wishbone Flower, (Torenia hybrid)

Question #5

Question:  Are Day Lilies a bulb or a root plant and when &what do you use to fertilize them?

  Donald Hoch, New York


ANSWER:   Day Lilies are a bulb and you fertilize them in the fall. You can use a fertilizer specially formulated for bulbs or any balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10.

Question #6

Question:  Can you recommend a plant for a privacy hedge in a tight spot that will reach 9-10 feet (at east) in partial shade? No arbor vitae, cypress or sky pencil holly, please!

  Darlene Townsend, Baltimore, MD


ANSWER:   Osage Orange (also called Bois D.Arc) was widely used by the pioneers as a fence tree. You would have to prune it to fit your spot, but it would grow and has wicked thorns to keep our intruders.

Question #7

Question:  My violets are newly in violet do I fertilize them? Will the fertilizer absorb through the porous pot or do I go from the top?

  Jeanne B Daniels, Medford, NY


ANSWER:   Use water soluble fertilizer and the fertilizer will be absorbed through the porous pot without a problem.

Question #8

Question:  I would like to transplant a peonie from one spot into another in my garden, what would be a good time of year to do that? Our temp. has been in the 40".night now

  Marlene J Reed, Bellingham, Washington


ANSWER:   You transplant peonies in the fall, around September.

Question #9

Question:  I'm growing climbing beans, but 95% of them are all crooked and twisted, not straight like last year's crop. They are seeds from last year. Any ideas on why?

  Julianne Moule, Darra, Australia


ANSWER:   The seeds may have been damaged during storage and so will not grow properly. Seeds need to be stored in dark, cool areas after they are completely dried out.

Question #10

Question:  Can you tell me what eat the leaves of my one year old citrus (owari satsuma) tree? The leaves are gone bit by bit and one by one. The flowers survive and set fruits. The leaves of the nearby kumkut are not eaten.

  Daisy Whitney, Bryan, Texas


ANSWER:   There are many insects that eat citrus foliage. I cannot diagnose it without seeing the leaves, but your local extension agent can examine a sample of leaves and diagnose the problem. Just bring in several leaves that have been bitten and he or she can diagnose the problem for you.

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Planting Depth

As a general rule, most bulbs are planted at a depth that is equal to 3 times their diameter at their widest point.

Tulips like to be planted about 6 inches (15.2 cm) deep and 4-6 inches (10.2-15.2 cm) apart.

Always plant bulbs as soon as possible after purchase to prevent them from drying out.

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