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The Greener View: Dealing With Yellow Grass

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We had large, soft maple trees taken out this summer; the large trunks were ground down. We took out the chips before having new dirt hauled in to fill up the holes. We sowed grass seed over the whole lawn during the second week in September. It was basically all perennial rye with some blue grass. We kept it watered, and we got a fairly good...Read more

The Greener View: Tree Transplants

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We transplanted some 3.5-inch caliper trees six years ago. They seem to be generally healthy, but the leaves have never been full or bright or strong. The fruit trees and spruce trees we have seem fine, but the trees with this problem are red oaks, sunset maples, crimson king Norway maples and white birches. I had them professionally ...Read more

The Greener View: Agricultural Hardiness Zones

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Recently, you mentioned that some ornamental grasses were only hardy to zone 5 or zone 7. Does that mean they are hardy from zones 1 through 5 or 1 through 7?

A: I am sorry for the confusion. The lower the cold hardiness zone number, the colder the average winter temperature. The lower the cold hardiness zone number, the hardier the plant is...Read more

The Greener View: Managing Pine Needles, Crabapple Fruits and Fire Blight

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We have been in this home for less than a year, and we are running into new landscape questions all the time. We have a very large white pine tree in the backyard. It is at least 80 feet tall. It has suddenly started dropping thousands of pine needles. We've been told this is normal, but it seems like a lot. They are hard to rake up. Can we ...Read more

The Greener View: Ornamental Grasses

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

These days, the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence, and I don't say that because the grass hasn't been watered all summer. Fall is the time when most ornamental grasses begin to show off their best colors. The rusty reds, maroons and golds are highlighted by the low angle of the afternoon sunshine in autumn. This is ...Read more

The Greener View: Tomato Hornworms

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Tomato Hornworms

Q: What can you tell us about those big, ugly green single-horned tomato worms? Where do they come from? How can we prevent them?

A: Tomato and tobacco hornworms are two huge caterpillars (up to 5 inches long) that feed on tomato, eggplant, peppers and plants in the tobacco family. There may only be a couple on a plant, but ...Read more

The Greener View: Landscape Flooding

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Landscape Flooding

Before we go into today's topic, the effects of flooding on the landscape, we need to thank some people and count our blessings. The real heroes in our society are not the free-agent athletes making millions but the people who were out at 2 a.m. in Houston, Texas, helping those in need, whether it was their job or not. They ...Read more

The Greener View: Planting in Fall

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Planting in Fall

Q: Fall plant sales are starting, and I want to add to my perennial beds. I bought a few plants and began planting them. Some had roots all over the inside of the pot, and some had hardly any roots at all, even though the leafy area of both plants looked the same on top. Should I spread out the roots or leave them in their pot-...Read more

The Greener View: Fish Ponds

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Even though my pond has a skimmer, lots of leaves accumulate in the gravel on the bottom. What do I need to do about this? My pond guy said I will need to do a cleanout in the spring, but the leaves are beginning to accumulate now.

A: If you wait to do a pond cleanout till the spring, your fish may be dead. Leaves in a pond can harbor ...Read more

The Greener View: Butterfly Gardens

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Back in the spring, my kids and I planted some perennials that were supposed to attract butterflies, but we haven't seen any. What else can we do to attract them?

A: If all you want to do is attract adult butterflies, then you need to provide them with food, water, shelter and a food plant for the caterpillar stage of their life cycle.

...Read more

The Greener View: Pruning Shrubs

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Last fall, I put in a 5-foot burning bush and some other large shrubs. They are all sparse. They don't have very many leaves in the center or on the bottom half, especially the burning bush. I wanted them to be a privacy screen, but you can see right through them. Can I prune them to fill them in? If so, when and how?

A: Large shrubs that ...Read more

The Greener View: Juniper Pests

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We planted a juniper tree last summer, and it did fine until just recently. It is about 10 feet tall and growing taller, and it has a beautiful greenish-blue color except for a few large brown patches. It is planted in a flowerbed island surrounded by daylilies and other perennials. What could cause branches to die one at a time in different ...Read more

The Greener View: Getting Rid of Nutgrass

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: How do we get rid of nutgrass? We tried the vinegar sprays and a store-bought herbicide. We have also tried digging it out, but nothing seems to work. When we think we have it under control, it comes back in a few weeks as bad as it was in the beginning. What works?

A: Nutgrass is a sedge. Sedges are wetland plants. They love constantly wet ...Read more


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