Q: I was wondering about grubs because my neighbor said his yard had lots of grubs last fall. When should we start to treat them?
A: How bad were the grubs in his lawn last year? Most people are caught up in the craze of killing every grub, when, in fact, most grubs do very little harm.
Almost every yard has grubs year-round. In our lawns, ...Read more
Q: We moved into this house two years ago. We were told there was a 3-year-old apple tree in the backyard. Last year, there was no fruit, but this year, the tree has thousands of small apples. First, is this normal? One year of no fruit and the next with too much? Second, will the tree drop a lot of apples prematurely, or do we need to prune ...Read more
Q: We planted a new vegetable garden with a lot of different vegetable seeds. We killed the existing lawn grass by scraping the plants off, and we did some digging to loosen the soil. We covered the garden with 2 to 4 inches of bark mulch from the city to keep out the weeds. The city grinds up branches from tree trimming around power lines. We ...Read more
Q: We bought some strawberry plants at the big-box store and planted them. They seem to be growing just fine. I did some reading about the strawberry variety we bought, and some of the sources said to cut off all of the flowers this year. The plants are supposed to grow more strawberries next year. If they are flowering now, aren't they capable ...Read more
Q: As a Master Gardener, I'm disheartened your article on pest control is promoting GMO plants as a means of pest control for home gardens.
A: As a former instructor of Master Gardeners, I am disheartened that you are confused about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Sometimes, people argue about a controversial topic without knowing the ...Read more
Q: Can you help me remember the difference between annuals and perennials? For some reason, I have it in my mind that a perennial is a plant that I have to keep planting and an annual is a one that replaces itself annually. I know that is wrong, but how do I remember it correctly?
A: Have you ever had to make an annual payment for something ...Read more
Q: I am planting some 6- to 10-foot-tall fruit trees and a couple of small shade trees. Is there really a benefit to painting the tree trunks or wrapping them in that spiral wrap stuff?
A: How many trees do you see in nature that are painted or wrapped? Tree trunks do not normally need to be painted or wrapped in plastic pipe, wire or cloth. ...Read more
Spring is moving north. One way we know that is to look at the early spring ephemeral wildflowers. These flowers are designed to leaf out, bloom, produce seeds and then go dormant before the landscape becomes too shady. Some of them keep their leaves all summer, and some go dormant as the summer heat comes.
Anyone who has spent much time in the...Read more
As spring arrives, it is time to start scouting for signs of diseases, insects and weeds. Once a pest is found that may result in significant damage, a control measure must be found to produce an economical reduction of the pest population. The control must also be minimally disruptive to the natural controls of the pest. It should be the least ...Read more
Last year at this time, around Easter, most areas had lockdowns. Most churches were not able to have in-person services and were not buying Easter lilies. I wrote about how many independent garden centers that sold Easter lilies, annual flowers and vegetable plants were having a hard time financially. But as people stayed home from work and ...Read more
Q: Last year, I planted six roses. Over the winter, the stems have turned brown except for the very bottom. Rabbits have begun eating some of them. Is there something I can do to protect them?
A: Late winter is a hard time of year for many animals. New sprouts have not yet started their growth, and last year's foods are almost gone. Rabbits and...Read more
Unfortunately, this year, the Tropical Plant International Expo was held online instead of in person. There are many wonderful producers of houseplants and their accessories that really need to be seen in person to really see what the plants look like, how big they are, how healthy they are, etc. Fortunately, a lot of plants and accessories were...Read more