Q: Back in the spring, we planted several 10- to 15-foot-tall trees around our new house. We tried to keep up with the watering, but the trees looked a bit wilted all summer long. Now that they are going dormant for the winter, is there anything special we can do to help them?
A: You did not say if the trees came from a pot or if they were ...Read more
For gardeners in the northern two-thirds of the country, the fall is a time to clean up the leaves, plant a few bulbs and pack things up for the winter. Even in the south, the fall is a good time to reflect on how things looked over the summer and begin the planning process for next year.
For those of us who enjoy the great American hobbies of ...Read more
Diagnosing Plant Problems
many lawns in our area suffered through. We had army worms. One day the grass was green and the next day it was dead-looking.
A: I tell people all the time that there are only three things that affect plants: insects, diseases and everything else. Dead grass looks like dead grass, but we often have to be detectives ...Read more
Q: Last week you answered a question about removing fungus from houseplant pots before bringing them in for the winter. My plants always seem to have whole armies of crickets, pill bugs, ants, earwigs or worms. How do I get rid of them?
A: I am glad you asked, because I have an update to my answer from last week, but first let's talk about your...Read more
Question: Fall is coming, and I need to move my houseplants back indoors. I noticed that some have a fungal type of growth on the soil surface. Is this condition harmful?
Answer: There are several types of fungi and algae that can grow on the soil surface in potted plants. I even found some rare liverworts growing on some nursery plants one ...Read more
Q: I have an old oak tree. During the recent cicada invasion, this tree took a mighty hit from those insects. Numerous small branches began to fall. I assumed they were falling because of the cicadas having made slits in the branches to lay eggs.
Then, later, the tree began to literally dry up. The moss on part of its bark began to fade and dry...Read more
Q: All of a sudden, half my lawn grass died. It is mostly on the sunny side, with some in the shade. This doesn't look like the grass has simply gone dormant with the usual hot, dry summer weather. When I pull up on the grass, it just comes off by the handful without the roots. Any ideas on what happened and what to do next? The lawn is many ...Read more
Q: I read your column and want to add to your answer to the question of why the rose plant hasn't bloomed again despite new branches. You mentioned that it could be the variety of rose or the lack of fertilizer.
I also had this problem in New England and found that I had a midge (tiny flying insect you can't really see) that enters the newly ...Read more
Q: A circle of mushrooms suddenly appeared in my lawn, which has never happened before. The mushrooms are about six inches tall and almost orange in color. How do I get rid of them, and are they harming the grass?
A: Your lawn has a fairy ring, also known as an elf ring or pixie ring. It was once believed that one of these creatures danced in a...Read more
Q: Our new house has a few apple and pear trees. They are older trees, but they don't have a lot of fruit. How do we tell when they are ripe?
A: The first thing to know about apple trees is how many days it has been since the tree was in bloom. The length of time from blooming to harvest is listed in information about every apple tree variety, ...Read more
Q: I lost all twelve of my Leyland cypress trees to seiridium canker. I was told by an arborist that the disease spread via the ground, and that there wasn't anything I could have done to prevent it in the first place. He explained that once they were infected, there was nothing I could have done to save them.
Some of the trees were higher than...Read more
Summer is rose time, so let's answer some of your questions about roses.
Q: My roses are dropping their leaves. They turn yellow and fall off. What can I do?
A: Take a close look at the leaves. Are they just turning yellow, or do they have some black spots on the yellow leaves? If they are just yellow, there are several possible causes. ...Read more
Q: We have some bearded iris that have spread out from their original planted spot and now form a circle with an empty spot in the middle. Can we divide them and replant them back into the spot they came from? It is the best location to see them from between some bushes.
A: Yes, you can divide them, and now is a good time to do it. Generally, ...Read more