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The Greener View: Purple Tomato Problems

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have a question about our tomato plants. I didn't notice it at first, but the leaves are turning purple. At first, I think it was just the veins of the leaves, but now the whole leaf is turning purple. We planted them early in hopes of getting fruit early, but so far there has been a few flowers and no fruit. They are in the same garden, ...Read more

The Greener View: Sidewalk Flowerbeds

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: We're adding a sidewalk up to the front porch that will run along the side of the house. I was wondering what kind of plants would be good to use between the sidewalk and the house? There is no soil there, it is pretty much sand. We want something that will not get real tall. Some of the area is sunny and some of it has trees.

Answer:...Read more

The Greener View: Pruning and Japanese Maples

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: Recently, you mentioned pruning out one fourth of the oldest branches on spring blooming plants like lilacs. How should I properly prune summer bloomers like spirea, potentilla or crepe myrtle?

Answer: Small blooming shrubs like these can be planted for several different effects. They can be used as small specimens in flowerbeds, as ...Read more

The Greener View: Mosquitoes Bite

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Your landscape and local area may not have been affected by the flooding occurring in Texas and other areas of the South, but there has been a lot of rain in many parts of the country. Even without flooding, summer is when mosquitoes reign. Mosquito-borne diseases killed many settlers and their livestock before wetlands were drained and ...Read more

The Greener View: Wet Soil, Wet Grass, Dead Maples

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We are not in the really bad rain areas, but we have had a lot of rain this spring. The soil in the whole yard has been waterlogged for several weeks. I have noticed that some of the leaves in the trees are starting to turn yellow and fall off. I thought they did this with dry weather. Is there a problem with the trees?

A: Waterlogged soil ...Read more

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


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