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Past Questions and Answers | September 2016

Question #1

Question:  What shade loving perennial stays green thru winter?

  Carl, Wilmington, NC


ANSWER:   There are many shade loving perennials that are also evergreen. I will list some below. However, there are so many I cannot list them all. You can also search Google with “evergreen shade loving perennial” and get a whole list of them.

Asarum inflatum 'Shanghai', Asarum splendens, Aucuba japonica 'Mr. Goldstrike'

Question #2

Question:  How ofton do i water a crimson king maple tree 6' tall when i 1st plant it im my yard?

  Mark, Alpena, Michigan


ANSWER:   When you first plant it, water it from a hose to water it in good. After that, use a sprinkler and water one inch of water from the sprinkler everywhere under the canopy once a week for a year to let it get established. If there isn’t much of a canopy, take a 5 gallon bucket full of water and put that water on the ground around the tree once a week. Be careful not to expose the roots or wash away the dirt around the tree.

Question #3

Question:  Why didn't my Mexican sunflower, (Bolivian sunflower) bloom this year?

  Judy Nelson, Brooksville, FL


ANSWER:   Did you have a wet and cold spring? Mexican sunflowers love the heat, and they may have not gotten enough this year to bloom. Also, if you overfertilize, especially with Nitrogen, the plant will grow very well but it won’t produce any blooms because it is concentrating on growing. Finally, lots of people have had problems with no blooms because there were no bees nearby to pollinate them. This is especially true for areas sprayed for zeke or west nile. Unfortunately, the insecticide that kills the mosquitoes kills bees too.

Question #4

Question:  Love all three of you and your show. I planted purple verbena in two planters outside in May. For two months they had beautiful blooms and the foliage looked so healthy. Then the leaves started curling up and I noticed small light green pests would fly away from the plants. I mixed some dawn dish detergent and water and sprayed on both of the plants. The pests were gone but the leaves have not looked right since then and the blooms are not as big. Now it looks like there is a mildew or fungus on the leaves making them look pitiful. Please tell me what I can do next Spring to prevent this. Thank you for all you do and have a great weekend.

  Debbie Mangum, Garner, NC


ANSWER:   It sounds like you had an invasion of thrips. These are small green pests that like verbena. The foliage that has curled up will not recover until next year, when it puts out new leaves. Your leaves have a fungus. You need to spray every inch of the plant with a fungicide. Follow the directions on the label for information on how often you will have to spray them.

Question #5

Question:  Help! My bush beans are vining. I'm trying square foot gardening for the first time so this is a worse problem than had I planted in the usual rows. The variety is Blue Lake Bush that I've planted for almost 40 years. In my second garden I chose a Harvester variety and these are also vining. What's up?

  Bontita Loidolt, Rice


ANSWER:   I cannot find any scientific answer for your problem. However, you can use one of those tomato stakes for the plant to climb on so they do not interfere with the rest of your plants.

Question #6

Question:  Why do all my ripe Roma tomatoes turn brown on the blossom end? My other tomatoes don't do this!!

  Nancy Lee, Stanford, MT


ANSWER:   Your tomatoes have blossom end rot. It is a nutritional deficiency that does this. The balance between calcium and nitrogen has gotten skewed. This is worse when the plant is only watered twice a week and it has water stress. The best thing you can do is keep the area they are growing in so the soil is always moist, but not soggy. When you fertilize, use a fertilizer designed for tomatoes and follow the label directions.

Question #7

Question:  I purchased 8 Little lime hydrangeas last year fro a garden center in my town. To say I am disappointed with them would be an understatement. They are a sprawling mess! I cut them beck last year hoping that would help. They did the same thing this year. Not a single stem stands even close to upright. Any suggestions before I dig them up & throw them over the fence?

  Therese Tatum, Lebanon, KY


ANSWER:   Lime hydrangeas grow eight feet tall and spread eight feet. They do sprawl quite a bit. You can try staking them and see if that helps. However, it sounds like you bought the wrong plant for your garden.

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Check Light Availability

Most shrubs can grow in both sun and shade to varying degrees.

Many flowering shrubs, however, tend to need some sun to flower.

Be sure to double check the amount of light you have available to the shrubs you are planning to plant so you are happy with the outcome.

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