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The Greener View: Using a Live Christmas Tree and Protecting Shrubs From Rodents

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: We were thinking of using a live Christmas tree this year instead of cutting one down. After the New Year, we want to plant it in our yard. Is there anything we should know about how to do this?

Answer: There are several evergreen tree species that can be used as a Christmas tree. Pick a tree that is appropriate for your landscape in ...Read more

The Greener View: Lawn Rakes

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

I always appreciate feedback to my articles. Recently, I replied to an older gentleman about using a leaf blower instead of the labor-intensive rake that he had been using. Several people thought I didn't give rakes enough love, and a few thought they had a better alternative by using a mulching mower.

They said things like: "I felt like the ...Read more

The Greener View: Trees and Grass

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Our backyard woods comprise oaks and other deciduous trees, so our leaf cleanup is constant every year. Over two decades, I have used every form of leaf removal. I have used my mower to mulch the leaves sometimes but have heard conflicting opinions on this. Some say it's good for the soil and grassroot systems (protected from the Virginia ...Read more

The Greener View: Garden Tools

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

In November, most of us will see our transition into winter, although many northern and high-altitude areas have already experienced a lot of snow. November is a cleanup month. It is a good time to fix up, clean up and put away tools and get out the snowblower. It is a good month to reflect on how well the landscape and garden looked and ...Read more

The Greener View: Fishpond

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: The water in my goldfish pond has turned a very dark brown color. What can I do to filter it out?

A: Is the water tea-colored but clear, or is it cloudy and brown? The coloring comes from tannins. The breakdown of leaves in water colors the water brown, like tea leaves in a tea bag. There are tannins in tree leaves, acorns and branches, ...Read more

The Greener View: Leaf Blowers

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I use a rake to gather the leaves falling from my trees. I am getting older, and the raking is getting harder. My neighbors have more trees, and they use leaf blowers, but they are noisy. Is there a benefit to the lawn for either tool?

A: A leaf rake is great for small landscapes. They can pick up large leaves, but leaf rakes are not good ...Read more

The Greener View: Birdbaths

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I had to work from home this summer, but I didn't mind, because I found a new passion. I love watching the birds in my yard, especially those using the birdbath. I saw more different kinds there than at the bird feeder. It will be cold soon, and the bath will freeze. Is there something besides an expensive heater that can be used to keep the ...Read more

The Greener View: Pumpkins

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Our pumpkin vines are growing very well. We have some that are already orange, but there are still small green ones starting to develop. We want some for Halloween, but we were also thinking of storing some for eating later and maybe saving the seeds for planting next spring. How do we do all this?

A: Pumpkins are a variety of winter squash ...Read more

The Greener View: Moles

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Please do an article on how to get rid of moles. I have lived 20 years at my home and never had a problem. This spring, I paid a wildlife person who only caught one mole. I sprayed mole repellent and also put down grub control. My yard now has many low spots from the damage they caused.

A: Mole tunnels are often found near the surface of the...Read more

The Greener View: Bulbs

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I saw tulip and daffodil bulbs for sale at the store. I remember my mom having tulips, but she also had problems growing them, as I recall. I would like to plant some, but I don't want problems. Any tricks for growing them?

A: If you are in the northern half of the country, you should be able to grow them pretty easily. Farther south, you ...Read more

The Greener View: Poinsettia Rebloom

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We kept our poinsettia from last Christmas, and it has done well over the summer. We want it to bloom again for Christmas, but we can't find the clipping of the newspaper article you wrote about what to do. So, what do we do?

A: There are several basic environmental requirements that need to be matched, but the main one is long nights and ...Read more

The Greener View: Tree Drought

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: It seems like everyone got a bunch of rain in the past couple of weeks except for us. We have not had a measureable rain in three weeks. Several of our trees are dropping leaves. They are turning yellow and falling off six weeks before they should be falling off. Should I be concerned? We are on a well, and we can't water them as much as they...Read more

The Greener View: Growing Pumpkins

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: My pumpkins have turned orange, and it is still two months until Halloween. What do I do now?

A: If the last few inches of the stem next to the pumpkin have turned brown, it is best to harvest it. If it is still green, leave it in the garden. If you harvest it, it should be kept in a cool location until you need it. If it is kept in a ...Read more



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