Garden Questions of the Week
“We just got back from the south and love those Crape Myrtles. Can we grow them here if we grow in pots for winter protection?” -You can, and that does work great, but try growing them in the ground as well! Yep, we’ve been planting them in the ground, successfully, for several years now. If the winter is tough, they may die back to the ground, but pop right back up from the root – which is fine as they flower on new growth! Last year, many of the crape myrtles flowered all summer long. It was a great show. ‘Natchez’ and ‘Pink Velour’ are a couple of our favorites.
“I have a serviceberry plant that’s loaded with berries. Are these edible?” –They are, and are perfect additions to your cereal in the morning, eaten fresh, or for making pies and jams. But hurry before the birds eat them first!”
“I’ve had a rose for 5 years that was pink and white flowers. Now we have red roses. How do you explain this?” -Follow the stems of the red roses back to where they come out of the plant or ground. If the rose was a grafted rose, you’ll probably find the red rose stems coming out from below the graft, which is the root stock from another color rose. So you now have two roses coming out of one plant. Cut out the red roses if that’s the case and keep the canes from your pink / white rose.
“My flowers are falling off my squash. What to do?” – Check to make sure you have male and female flowers. If not the male or female flowers will fall off. If you do have both, then you’re probably not getting good pollination. Watch for honeybees. If none, get out the q-tips and start playing honeybee taking the pollen from the male flower and dusting it inside the female flower for fruit set. Works about every time. (Cigarette afterwards optional. J )
“I have some dead branches on my Japanese maple. When is it safe to prune those away from the tree?” -Anytime is the right time. Never leave dead branches on any plant. They can harbor insects or disease, as well as slow down re-growth of the plant. Anytime you see dead branches, get out the pruners and remove them – anytime.
“The lower branches on my trees are hanging down and have become too low. When is the best time to remove those to limb up the tree?” -Once again, whole branch removal can be done anytime. Remember, for larger branches, remove most of the branch working from the outside in the get rid of the extra weight. Then make your final cut with just a short piece of the branch remaining. And make sure your leave the branch collar in tact – that’s the swollen area around the branch where it grows out of the tree trunk. That branch collar is responsible for sealing that cut over when you’re finished. Make sure it’s a smooth clean cut, and remember, do not use tree paint or tree wound dressing on this cut. It actually slows down the sealing process. Just let the branch collar seal it over naturally.
“Is it too hot to put down a weed and feed?” -I like to do fertilizers and weed killers in the low 80’s or less just to be sure (labels will tell you temperature restrictions). But may I suggest you feed when needed and use a water soluble broadleaf weed killer and spot treat when needed rather than the weed and feed? Thanks.
“My husband accidentally sprayed the yucca with Roundup and now it’s all yellow and dead. Can I plant Knock Out roses there or will the Roundup still be in the ground?” Roundup only spreads thru the foliage and roots of plants, not the soil. So when it hits the soil, it’s done. Now the big question is whether or nor the yucca is dead, and I’ll bet it is not. In most cases it takes more than that to kill it. Make sure it’s dead before you pull them out and plant roses. Not because you could be digging live plants – but making sure they don’t re-grow after you plant the roses! “Yu-u-u-c-c-c-a-a-a!”