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The Greener View: Ice Melters

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: My area gets a few ice storms each winter. We get a little snow, too, but that usually melts off quickly. My concern is getting rid of the ice. My neighbor told me I could use fertilizer to melt the ice and it would then fertilize the plants when the weather warms up. What do you think?

A: If you have traveled recently or just watched the ...Read more

Holly Pruning

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: I planted a holly tree 2 years ago. It is growing long and tall, with leaves only on the ends of the branches. It is 5 feet now. When should I trim the long branches to make it thicken up? I thought I would be able to have some holly branches each winter for making into wreaths, but this entire plant wouldn't make a single wreath. It ...Read more

The Greener View: Fall Tree Pruning

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: During the summer, I was told not to prune my oak tree because beetles could be attracted to the cut off end of the branch and then spread diseases. I was told I could prune the tree after it was dormant. Now that it is fall, I am wondering how to go about trimming this tree. What are the steps I should follow?

A: You are right in believing ...Read more

The Greener View: Fall and Winter Rose Care

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Our new house has two big rose bushes that bloomed all summer off and on. I would like to keep them alive, but I don't know what to do with them over the winter. What steps do I need to take in the fall, winter and spring?

A: Protecting your roses is not too hard to do if you live in an area that does not freeze for many days in a row. They ...Read more

The Greener View: Rose Protection

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I was given a rose bush that is growing in a pot on my third-floor apartment fire escape. It is big and beautiful. I can't plant it and I don't have room for it in the apartment. I am in planting zone 5, according to my garden book. Can I leave it outside over the winter? Can I bundle it up in a blanket or put it in a box?

A: Many people ...Read more

The Greener View: Grass Clippings and Hummingbird Feeders

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: In a recent column, you said that grass clippings should be left on the lawn. Won't this lead to a thatch problem?

Thatch is a very distinct item in the lawn. It is not the gray or tan, dead leaf blades left after mowing or from grass that died over the winter. Leaving clippings on the lawn does not contribute to thatch.

Thatch is a dark ...Read more

The Greener View: Rubber Trees and Amaryllis Bulbs

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I planted a variegated rubber tree plant in my outdoor flowerpots this summer. It grew really well and is now too tall for where I need to put it in the house. It didn't branch. It just has one trunk with big white, red and green leaves. What will happen if I cut it off at a more appropriate height?

A: Even though it would be better to prune...Read more

The Greener View: Allium

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I thought I was buying edible onions to plant in my garden, but I didn't read the package well enough and I bought ornamental onions. It looks like they are supposed to have a round ball of flowers on top of a tall stalk. Are they long lasting or are they more of an annual that lasts a couple of years and then dies out? I am trying to figure ...Read more

The Greener View: Glass Clippings

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We live in an area with large lots, some of the area is wooded and there is a stream that has high water quality. Many people mow their properties and dump the grass clippings on the shoreline of the stream bank. Is this a good idea?

A: Is there a reason they are dumping the grass on the stream bank? Are they hoping the grass will wash away ...Read more

The Greener View: Moving Plants Indoors

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Moving Plants Indoors

Q: Last summer, I bought several house plants that I used as patio plants. I spent more money than I had initially planned, but rationalized that it was OK since the plants would continue past the summer indoors and then I could use them again as patio plants this summer. I waited until fall, before the first frost, and ...Read more

The Greener View: Fall Bulbs for Spring

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

If your spring landscape needs a little brightening, fall is the time to plant some bulbs. With a proper selection of bulbs and bulb-like plants, you can have very reliable blooms from February until November, but spring is when bulbs shine the most.

True bulbs, like daffodil, lily, tulip and onion are composed of modified leaves. Cutting a ...Read more

The Greener View: Dividing Perennials

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have been told that my flowerbed is becoming crowded and that I should divide some of the perennials. I also have canna, dahlia and other summer flowering bulbs that I am not sure what to do with. What do you think?

A: Without seeing your flowerbed, I am not sure if it needs to have the perennials divided or not, but this is a good time to...Read more

The Greener View: Avocado Trees and Lime Trees

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: I have started some avocado seeds in water, suspended by toothpicks. Two of them have begun to root and sprout stalks. I intend to plant them soon, but wonder if I should prune them in any way or if they are simply meant to grow straight and tall. Will they grow large? Will it take years? Will they ever grow fruit?

Answer: Avocados ...Read more


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