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The Greener View: Weed Killer

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We are having an argument. We use a 2-gallon pump sprayer for our garden. Sometimes we use insect or disease stuff in it, and sometimes we use weed killer or plant killer stuff. It is rinsed in between uses, but it seems that we still get some plant damage after using it the next time. We are on a budget and don't want to buy another one. ...Read more

The Greener View: Softwood Cuttings

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, graduations, reunions and weddings are times to remember. One way people remember others is to give gifts. Trees can make very long-lasting gifts. Ones that have historical significance for the giver and recipient are even more special.

For instance, President Andrew Jackson planted a Southern magnolia ...Read more

The Greener View: Magnolia Trees

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Last year, right as my magnolia was starting to flower, there was a bad frost, and no flowers survived. The flower buds did not fall off though. They lasted through the year and are still there. Any ideas as to what needs to be done? I hope I don't need to physically remove all the dead flower buds because this is a tall tree -- about 25 feet...Read more

The Greener View: Sand and Poinsettias

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: The kids outgrew the swimming pool, and we removed it. There is a large pile of sand ranging from an inch or 2 deep to about 6 inches deep. We don't have any need for it; we just want to plant grass in place of the pool. Can we cover it with topsoil and plant grass, or can we till organic matter into the sand? It would be nice to keep it.

A:...Read more

The Greener View: Bat Houses

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We heard a short presentation about bats and thought that we might want to attract them to our lake house yard so they will eat the mosquitoes. But we do not want them invading our house. What can we do?

A: Bats may have a bad reputation with some people, but they are very safe and benign to have around. Panicking at the sight of a bat is ...Read more

The Greener View: Have a Healthy Lawn

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I want a nice lawn, but some of my friends say that this is selfish and wasteful. Is there a way to take care of my yard and have it look nice without using so many chemicals?

A: Lawn care is one of the hot-button issues these days. It may not rise to the level of the presidential debates, but maybe it should be.

The grass plants that we ...Read more

The Greener View: Potted Vegetables

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I want to try growing some vegetables this year, but I don't have much space and I was wondering how well these types of plants grow in pots on a patio?

A: You should choose your pots and varieties carefully. Look at the seed package or the plant tag for "dwarf variety" or "bush variety." This is especially true for some of the vines like ...Read more

The Greener View: Peony Planting

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Peony PQ: My local big-box store has peonies for sale. They are in bloom. They look healthy, but here is the problem: The peonies in my yard are only 2 or 3 inches out of the ground and won't be in bloom until Memorial Day. That means the ones in the store are blooming seven or eight weeks too early. It has other perennials in bloom that are ...Read more

The Greener View: Planting Blueberries

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I want to grow blueberries in my garden. I had the soil tested, and the results show the soil has a high pH, which is not good for growing blueberries. I have been told that I can add an acid to the soil to lower the pH, but I am afraid to try that. Do you have any suggestions? By the way, I don't understand what pH is.

A: Let's tackle the ...Read more

The Greener View: Pestering Woodpeckers

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: For the past few years, woodpeckers have attacked my house. Sometimes they are hammering on the chimney. Other times they are drilling huge holes on the sides of the house and pulling out the insulation. I want to do something before they come back this year. Do you have any suggestions?

A: They are protected by federal law, so there are ...Read more

The Greener View: Grass Seed Mixtures

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have a question regarding grass seed. I've heard that a bag containing various grass species is called a mixture, which would likely work best for most average lawns with various conditions, and that a blend of hybrid grasses (not true species) works best if your yard has the same growing conditions throughout. Is this correct?

A: Yes, you...Read more

The Greener View: Working With Garden Mulch

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Spring is coming soon, and I need to replace the mulch in my flower beds. I have noticed during winter that there is no mulch left in large areas of the beds. I am sure weeds are ready to fill in if I don't add more mulch. The last mulch I used was from the local arborist. It didn't last very long. Is there a better choice that would last ...Read more

Gardening for Local Conditions

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I recently retired and moved from South Dakota to South Carolina. I have been looking at garden catalogs and drooling over all the new plants I get to try growing in my garden. I have visited a few garden centers, and I have been told that a lot of the rules that I have grown my garden with, such as using plant hardiness zones to pick plants,...Read more


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