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The Greener View: Summer Rose Care

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Last week, you said to fertilize flowers that aren't blooming. My rose bushes are supposed to bloom all summer, but they have stopped. Can I fertilize them or is it just too hot?

A: Roses come in several groups and some only bloom once in a summer, including may old-time roses and many climbing roses. Most new varieties will bloom several ...Read more

The Greener View: Watering in a Drought

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Unlike other parts of the country, we have had plenty of rain all spring and summer. We did have a 15-day hot and dry spell at the end of June. That is when I noticed all of the trees in my yard started dropping leaves. Some were yellow and some were green. Do I need to fertilize them? How do I do that?

A: You don't need to fertilize the ...Read more

The Greener View: Getting Rid of Rose Rosette

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have various kinds of roses in a small flower bed. An unusual thing has happened to one of the rose bushes. This spring it started growing very small leaves -- really small, and there are dozens in just a couple of inches of new branch growth. Can you tell me if this is a disease?

A: Unfortunately, it is a problem. Your rose bush has rose ...Read more

The Greener View: Leaf Spot Diseases

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Brown spots are appearing on the leaves of my tomato plant. The tomatoes are still small and green. Last year these same spots appeared, and the leaves died, and the tomatoes stopped growing. What can I do to keep the plants alive this summer?

A: This is the time of year that tomatoes often become infected with different kinds of leaf spot, ...Read more

The Greener View: Fighting off Spirea Aphids

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I was gathering some flowers for a vase, and I wanted some greenery, so I cut off some spirea branches. I laid them all out on the counter to make the arrangement when I noticed millions - I really mean millions -- of green insects crawling all over the spirea stems and the counter. I destroyed them all, and when I looked outside I saw that ...Read more

The Greener View: Preventing Black-Spot Fungus

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I've had many rose bushes for years. They look great during the year, but every summer I begin to see black spots developing on all of them. By mid- to late summer most of the leaves have fallen off, and the plants really look sad. Do you know what's happening?

A: Your bushes have black-spot fungus, a fungus that causes black spots to grow ...Read more

The Greener View: Dethatch a Lawn

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We live in the south and have a zoysia grass lawn. It feels spongy when we walk on it. We have been told that thatch is growing. It costs a lot to dethatch a lawn. Is it very harmful to the lawn? Is there a less expensive way to get rid of it?

A: Thatch is made up of above-ground roots and stems of a grass plant. It is not the tan-colored ...Read more

The Greener View: Sawflies and Leaf Cutter Bees

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: My azaleas suddenly started losing their leaves. I saw some small, green things that look like caterpillars on the branches, but after spraying them with Bacillus thuringiensis, they are still alive and well. The azaleas are large and thickly clustered, so I can't reach back into the branches where they are. What can I do?

A: It sounds like ...Read more

The Greener View: Fireflies and Blossom-End Rot

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I always chased fireflies as a kid. Nowadays I don't see them. Is there a way to increase the firefly population, similar to how people are trying to increase the butterfly population?

A: The firefly is a beneficial predatory insect. It is also known as the lightning bug. It is neither a fly nor a bug: It is a beetle. They are among the most...Read more

The Greener View: Propagating Plants

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We have a Japanese maple growing in our yard. It is a dwarf maple that is only about waist-high, and it has weeping, crimson-red leaves. This spring, two new branches have grown at the top of the trunk. They have bright-green leaves with red edges. They are very pretty. Do we have a new variety of Japanese maple that we can propagate? We like...Read more

Topiary Designs

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We have a tall evergreen in our yard. I think it's a juniper. How do we prune it to make it a nice spiral shape? We have some other evergreens that have been pruned into squares, but they are totally boring. I want to do something artistic with them. If I can't, then I will get rid of them. Do you have any ideas on how to be creative with box...Read more

The Greener View: Window-Box Plants

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I want to give my mother a window box full of plants, but I can't seem to get plants to grow nicely together. They look pretty together at the beginning, but then something goes wrong and some of the plants begin looking sad. Eventually, half of them die and I get mad and throw them out. What is the trick to getting them to stay alive and ...Read more

The Greener View: Picking the Perfect Peony

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: My wife loves peonies, and I want to surprise her with some for Mother's Day. But I know nothing about them and don't want to ask her too much, otherwise I might spoil the surprise. What do I need to know to pick the best ones?

A: Peonies come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, and they live for a very long time. You may need to ask her ...Read more


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