Q: In the spring, we planted several new trees and a flowerbed with some shrubs. Now that we are going into summer, how do we water the plants to keep them alive? Is five minutes a day OK? We don't have an automated watering system. We could get watering bags for the trees, but how do we water the flowerbed?
A: How often do plants use water? ...Read more
Q: I bought a grafted grape vine that the sign at the store said was seedless, but the grapes have large, hard seeds in them. Is there anything that can be done to make them seedless?
A: That is a good question. How can you get seedless grapes or watermelons, for that matter, if there are no seeds to grow a new plant?
First, before we get to ...Read more
Q: I had a question about my ornamental pear tree that I purchased and planted last summer. The tree is about 6 feet tall, and the trunk has a 3/4-inch diameter. It seemed to do well all summer. However, this spring (mid-March), the tree got buds and they never opened. Now the tree is starting to grow leaves on the trunk at ground level. Any ...Read more
This is the time of year when the questions arrive asking what can be done with a baby bunny, a squirrel, a bird out of the nest or a bird that flew into a window and is alive but stunned.
In all, probably the best thing to do when you find any wild animal, baby or adult, is to leave it alone. It is against the law to keep wild animals in ...Read more
Small patio water gardens are one of the top gardening trends. It is easy to raise plants in a water garden. For one thing, it is difficult to overwater them. Put a shoreline plant in any container that holds water and you have a water garden. They can be big and hold fish, or they can sit on a tabletop.
One of the fastest ways to get started ...Read more
Q: We moved here a year ago and have a problem with squash. My plants look great, but the fruit gets about 2 or 3 inches long and then withers up. The garden has sandy soil. Any suggestions?
A: Squash need a lot of water. They have big leaves and grow big fruit. Sandy soil is fine for them, but you will have to keep them well-watered. A soaker ...Read more
Q: I bought male asparagus plants. They aren't supposed to bloom, and they are supposed to have more spears. But they have started flowering. Can they change into female plants, or did I not get what I paid for? What do I do now? Can I cut off the flowering stalks without hurting production?
A: Asparagus does come in separate male and female ...Read more
Q: The leaves on my hackberry tree have bumps. What can I do about this problem?
A: Your tree has galls. Hackberries are great native trees that are tolerant of many temperature, soil condition and moisture extremes. They have a few problems that are mostly cosmetic.
The gall that deforms the leaf is called a hackberry nipple gall. It makes ...Read more
Q: Wow, what a cold spring we are having. I have a lot of perennials in my yard, and the worse-looking ones are nearest the house. I thought they would get the most protection, but I must be wrong. What can I do for them now, and what can I do to keep them from having problems next time?
A: The problem for many early blooming plants isn't the ...Read more
Q: When I ordered some grape vines and raspberries back in January, It sure seemed like having them arrive in April would be a good idea. The catalog and websites I ordered from predicted this would be a good time to plant bare-root plants. The plants arrived on time, but we are not only still getting snow; the temperatures predicted for the ...Read more
Q: I was reading a mystery novel, and one of the characters mentioned that the garden had been double dug. I was wondering, is that still a common practice?
A: It probably isn't, but it should be. In the past, gardeners depended more on having a good soil than having good chemicals. A deep organic soil is much better for the plants. A deep bed ...Read more
Q: My maple tree was pruned two months ago, while it was dormant during the winter. There is still sap running down the trunk where the branches were removed. The arborist said that we should not cover the wounds with paint, but I think the tree would be better off if the sap were to stop running. What do you think?
A: Your arborist is right. ...Read more
Q: I have a friend who says he has switched to a nonchemical approach to lawn care. He says he went fully organic because it is safer. He wants me to switch, but I am not sure that I should.
A: First, we need to remember that the word "organic" is not synonymous with the word "safe." The attempt of organic gardening and lawn care practices is ...Read more