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Past Questions and Answers | October 2015

Question #1

Question:  I just sowed Fertilizer on my lawn yesterday. How long should I wait before I sow grass seed?

  James E Brantley, Wendell, NC


ANSWER:   If you mix the fertilizer in the top two inches of your soil, you can plant the grass seed immediately. If that is not possible because of your lawn, wait until you water in the fertilizer then sow the grass seed.

Question #2

Question:  How much potassium tablets do I use on my house plants

  Debra Corbishley, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia


ANSWER:   Instead of using potassium tablets, you should be using a complete water soluble fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A common strength is 10-10-10. You use it once a month. Follow the label directions for how to mix it and how much to use.

Question #3

Question:  how to get rid of yellow nutsedge

  Ellen Felton, Gwynn Oak, Maryland


ANSWER:   Yellow nutsedge is very difficult to kill. The best way is to pull it up when it is young, before it produces tubers. If you cut mature plants and then cut any sprouts that come up, you will eventually kill the plant. Roundup will kill small, growing plants but does not kill mature plants. You can cut mature plants down and then paint the stem with Roundup for better control of repeat sprouts.

Question #4

Question:  when is the best time to plant tomatoes in zone 9

  Darlene Jones, Zephyrhills, Florida


ANSWER:   For spring gardens, April. For fall gardens, July.

Question #5

Question:  Hi There,

We have 3 white cedar trees on our property they are beautiful but they are attacked by the furry caterpillar at certain times of the year could you please advise us what we can do to prevent this.

Thank you so much for your time Kind regards Sandra

  Sandra Fisher, Brisbane, Qld


ANSWER:   Spray the caterpillars with a solution of Bt or spinosid and it will kill them without hurting the birds or anything else that feeds on them.

Question #6

Question:  Something is eating my tomatoes. We have covered the plants with bird netting extending 2-3 feet above the plants so we know birds are not getting to the tomatoes but cannot figure what could be eating them. I'd sure would like to know what else it could be. Whatever is doing it, it happens when the tomatoes start to ripen. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

  Charlotte Bell, Woodbridge, Virginia


ANSWER:   The tomato horn worm often eats ripening tomatoes. It is a caterpillar with a horn on its head, hence the name. You can pick them off or spray them with Bt or spinosid. These will not hurt the birds or other animals that eat them but will eliminate the problem.

Question #7

Question:  What is the best way to get rid of voles. They are eating all of my plants from hostas to Palm trees to even some annuals.

  Tracy Grattan, Mechanicsville, Virginia


ANSWER:   The only good way to get rid of voles is to set traps in their runs and kill them. You can usually get vole traps at feed stores and they come with directions for use.

Question #8

Question:  After 3 years of patience I have finally managed to get 3 apple trees growing from pips; on previous attempts they died because I left the pots unshaded (in the sun) and probably had too much sun. This third attempt I put them in the shade and they are now 4'-5' tall so have planted them in the ground. When will they produce? and do I need any special fertilizer?

  Ken Budden, Brooksville, Fl


ANSWER:   They will produce in when they are four to five years old. A regular balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 will work nicely. Fertilize in the spring when growth starts.

Question #9

Question:  What steps are necessary to repot a hibiscus tree before bringing it indoors for the winter

  Susan Guitard, Brampton, Ontario


ANSWER:   Remove the hibiscus tree from the old pot. Shake as much of the old growing medium off as possible. Trim any broken roots. If you are repotting the plant in the same size pot, trim back a third of the roots. If you are putting it in a bigger pot, just trim the broken roots. Place two inches of growing medium in the new pot. Place the hibiscus in the new pot. Finish filling the pot with growing medium. Tamp the medium down so it is just below the lip of the pot. Water the hibiscus well. Keep the hibiscus out of bright sunlight for a couple of days to let it adjust to the new pot. Then place it in bright indirect light as you normally would. Make sure your pot has drainage holes or the roots will rot.

Question #10

Question:  Suggestions for stopping the annual feeding frenzy by squirrels on my Shag Bark Walnut Trees.

  David Hamilton, Columbus, Ohio


ANSWER:   The only way to stop the squirrels is to trap and kill them or poison them. They will eat your walnuts other wise.

Question #11


  Irene Pelletier, Waterville Maine


ANSWER:   Composting stops when it freezes. You can leave it out and leave it alone for the winter or you can put it in the shed to keep it from freezing and continue to add material and turn it.

Question #12

Question:  some of my trees has developed red spots on the trunk then they die what can I do

  Brenda Sealey, Brora, Scottish Highlands


ANSWER:   The red spots on the trunk are fungus that are colonizing weakened trees. In other words, the trees were already dying when the red spots appeared on them. Your best bet to diagnose the underlying problem that is killing your trees is to hire a certified arborist to look at them and see what the problem is. The arborist can then tell you what to do about it.

Question #13

Question:  what can I do with my macho fern during the winter. Its in a large pot, the plant is about 6'wide by 4' in height. I don't want to lose this to winter but don't have the room in the house.. what to do hmmmmm thanks for your time...

  Kimberly Fike, Cookeville, TN


ANSWER:   Can you put it in the garage? Or a greenhouse? Either would do for the winter to keep it from freezing.

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