Q: My old maple tree has a few dead, bare branches at the top, and next to them, there are a couple of branches with leaves that started turning brown and getting their fall color in the middle of the summer. What can I do to save the rest of the tree? This summer was dry, but we did try to water the tree a couple of times.
A: When any tree has...Read more
Q: My lawn was looking fine until the recent rains. Now there are several colors and sizes of mushrooms popping up all over the lawn and in the flowerbeds. Some orange ones are even growing on top of the roots of one of the oak trees. What should be done about these ugly things?
A: Mushrooms are kind of like the flower for a fungus. They are ...Read more
Q: It is almost that time of year again when we need to move our houseplants indoors. Last year we also moved in annoying small, black gnats. At first, we noticed them in the room with the plants. Over the winter, they moved into the bathroom. Every morning there would be one or two more. We killed them each day, but there were always more. It ...Read more
Q: Several years ago, I bought some inexpensive Japanese koi and they eventually had babies in the pond. There are quite a few. Will they become very valuable as they get larger?
A: There are several things that go into the pricing of koi. In judging how valuable any animal is, there must be some rules. For example, you can go to the pound to ...Read more
Q: In the springtime along the road near my house, there were some phlox plants blooming. I kept track of them, and now I see they have long seedpods. I collected a few pods' worth of seeds, but I am not sure what to do with them. Do I plant them now or wait until spring?
A: The best thing to do when planting wildflower seeds is the same thing ...Read more
Q: We planted raspberries this spring. The stems that were on the plant when we bought it are dying. The leaves turned yellow along the whole stem all at once. There are new stems coming up from the ground that are doing fine. What is going on?
A: Nothing beats having fresh raspberries in your ice cream. Raspberries and blackberries are ...Read more
Q: I was hoping you could help me with pruning dogwood trees and a lilac bush. When is the best time of the year to shape or cut limbs off these two trees?
A: The best time to prune flowering trees and shrubs that you want to bloom next year is in the few months after they bloom. Most trees and shrubs that bloom in the spring produced flower ...Read more
Q: We heard squeaky noises in our fireplace and thought there were bats in the chimney. Then a small gray-colored baby bird fell into the fireplace. After a bunch of research, we figured out it is a chimney swift. Using a small mirror, a flashlight and a plastic cup on a stick, we were able to put the bird back on top of the metal flue. Is there...Read more
Q: I just saw a huge wasp drag something into a hole in the ground near my patio. I am freaked out a bit. I want wildlife in my yard, especially butterflies, but I don't want to use pesticides to kill the wasp. Do you have any idea what it is and what to do about it?
A: You most likely saw a cicada killer wasp. There are five species native to ...Read more
Q: We moved into a home with a wooded lot and found out that most of the small trees and shrubs in the woods are invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle plants. We have been cutting them down and have lined up a company to come and chip the branches and trunks. They will charge more to haul away the trimmings, or we can keep them. Can we use the ...Read more
Q: A few weeks ago, you mentioned that there is a weedkiller for grass in a flowerbed. That is the problem I have. Can you suggest one that would work?
A: The Hi-Yield brand makes the simply named Grass Killer Postemergence Grass Herbicide. The Ortho brand makes Grass-B-Gon Garden Grass Killer. Both should be available at your local nurseries ...Read more
Q: My parents have old evergreen bushes in front of their home that have gotten out of hand, and I'm wondering if we can save them. They are over 7 feet tall and need to be significantly trimmed down. The problem is that the branches are bare underneath the shallow surface of greenery. Can we trim them down and expect the ...Read more
Q: I went to buy weedkiller at the store and I got so confused that I didn't buy any. There are weeds under the shrubs and in the lawn. Is there one product that will cover both situations? Is it better to use liquid or dry weedkiller? Should I apply weedkiller within the lawn fertilizer?
A: Weedkillers come in three major groups. Those that ...Read more