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The Greener View: Magnolia Trees Not Flowering

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have a magnolia tree in the backyard that is about 9 years old. It is very tall and seems to be in fair condition but hasn't bloomed. It is facing the east side and I do use the tree and shrub stakes. We do have water restrictions, but I do use a tree ring for watering. Can you suggest anything? Also, when do you prune Magnolias?

A: ...Read more

The Greener View: Fungus on Hedge

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I sure could use some advice on my red tip photinia; the shrubs have been planted since 2004.They are planted around the house facing the very hot west side. They did pretty well for a few years and then began having black spots and growing very sparse.

I have tried several things suggested from the local garden centers, but nothing is ...Read more

The Greener View: Tree Buying

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: Our tree died and we want to replace it with a small tree, but we don't know anything about trees. What do we need to consider for picking a good tree for our yard?

Answer: Often, the best tree to plant is the one that no one else in the neighborhood has. If an insect or disease comes along and the neighbors don't treat their trees, ...Read more

The Greener View: Spring Shrub Pruning

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

The best time to prune flowering shrubs is the month or two after they bloom. Most shrubs in North America are spring bloomers, so now is the time to begin pruning.

Spring bloomers get pruned in late spring and early summer, not in the fall when many people do prune them. Fall pruning of spring blooming shrubs cuts off flower buds, reducing the...Read more

The Greener View: Finding a Pond Leak

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Our water garden pond seems to have a slow leak. Over the winter, when the pump wasn't running, the water didn't go down. There is a main pond that is about 10-by-10-by-2.5 and an upper pond that is only 2-by-2-by-1. They are separated by about 6 feet of stream. How do I find the leak?

A: Finding a leak in a pond can be really frustrating. ...Read more

The Greener View: Finding Value in Trees

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

How would you like to increase the value of your home from 5 to 10 percent? What is your home worth today? Let's just use an easy round number like $100,000. Ten percent of that is a cool $10,000. You can make five to 10 grand just by planting trees in your yard. Maybe money does grow on trees.

Now, of course, they need to be the right trees ...Read more

The Greener View: Easter Lilies and Manure

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

If you still have an Easter lily, you can keep it as a perennial plant in your garden. Removing the flowers as they die will help make the plant's food production go into enlarging the bulb and not producing seeds. They will rebloom easily if planted outdoors in hardiness zones three through seven.

Keep them in bright, indirect light until the ...Read more

The Greener View: Sharp Shovels and Spring Bulbs

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I was talking to a neighbor the other day about getting his garden ready, and he mentioned sharpening his shovels. I have never sharpened a shovel, but he made it seem like they should be practically razor sharp. Isn't the soil just going to dull it as soon as he uses it? Am I crazy or is he?

A: I know gardeners who sharpen their shovels ...Read more

The Greener View: Gardening Myths

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

In honor of April Fools' Day, let's take a look at some foolish gardening advice gardeners. Have you read that hairy-leafed plants like African violets can be sunburned by water droplets sitting on the hairs above the leaf? Sunlight is supposed to be concentrated by the water droplets like magnifying glasses and the light is focused on the ...Read more

The Greener View: Bolting Lettuce and Moving Rhubarb

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Last spring, I planted lettuce early in the spring. We didn't get to harvest much as they started flowering and the heads of lettuce were not heads anymore. What can we do to prevent this from happening this spring?

A: There is nothing you can do except pray for a cooler spring. Lettuce is a biennial. Biennials live two years and are only ...Read more

The Greener View: Garden Hoses and Rain Barrels

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I am need of a new garden hose and the thought struck me as to if there is a hose that is drinking water safe? As a kid, I always drank from the hose. But I haven't done so in a long time. The question came up as I thought about using the water from a rain barrel in an aquarium. I am concerned about that, too, since that water might be ...Read more

The Greener View: Daylight Saving

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Wow, we made it to spring. Well, at least that is what the calendar says. There may still be snow on the ground just about everywhere, but the good news is that we have another hour of sunlight to help melt it away. OK, maybe not. But it sure feels good to have an extra hour of useful daylight in the afternoon to do something outdoors.

Usually,...Read more

The Greener View: Planting Bare-Root Plants

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We ordered roses, raspberries and a few other shrubs and one small tree from a mail order company. They emailed us that our order is shipping. We are not ready to plant these plants. I didn't think they were coming until the end of March. How do I take care of them until I can plant them? They are coming bare root. Is there a special way to ...Read more


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