We wanted to do an article focused on common gardening problems, however this would hardly serve any purpose if we weren’t answering the right questions. Thank you to all who have submitted questions! We sure hope this article helps you out. Remember, if you ever have any questions you can always call us or post it on our Facebook page.
Q: I have a Bridal Wreath Spirea outside my window at the cabin. I would like to know when and how to trim it back and not kill it so I can see outside my window again.
A: You can prune the Bridal Wreath after it is finished blooming. Most of these are done blooming now so you’ll want to do it as soon as possible. Spirea will develop their flower buds for next year later on this season. Because of this, they must be pruned as soon as they are done blooming so that you still have a beautiful show next season. This same rule applies to lilacs.
Q: Is it necessary to keep pruning rose bushes? Somebody advised me to go to a 5 leaf but they are hard to find.
A: It depends on what kind of rose you have. If it is a shrub rose, you don't have to continue to prune it if you don't want to. The person that recommended you prune to a 5 leaflet branch was referring to a technique that is used on hybrid tea roses and floribundas. The theory behind it, is that if you prune back to a 5 leaf outward facing branch (aka cane) the plant will flower more frequently.
Q: Where can I get apple trees to espalier on my brick wall?
A: You can purchase these at Linder’s. We should have some in around August 15th!
Q: We bought and planted a Tamarisk 3 weeks ago and it’s turning yellow! Help!
A: Heavy Watering! We are currently in the middle of a drought. The tiny root balls that these trees have need tons of water. Especially during the hot dry weather. Give it a long slow drink so it has time to take in some of the water.
Q: Any natural or less chemical rememdies for apple scab on a crab apple?
A: Try Bonide Orchard Spray. It’s safe for use up to the day of harvest. As always with chemicals, read and follow the directions carefully. You can find this at our Garden Center.
Q: I’m looking for shrubs that will live under maple trees. I’m aware that the trees will try to absorb most of the water and nutrients. I have two dogwood shrubs and two ninebarks each three feet away from the trees but none are reaching their full potential.
A: Shrubs are going to be tough to grow under a tree. We would suggest perennials. Try some that don’t require full sun.
Q: Why don’t my Endless Summer Hydrangeas have blooms this year?
A: We had many of you asking this question. It could be a number of problems. Please read this article by Endless Summer: http://endlesssummerblooms.com/en/consumer/plants/bloomingsuccess
Q: Many of my raspberries are ripe but some of the segments are dried up and white. Is that Japanese Beetle damage?
A: This could very well be Japanese Beetle damage. You can safely spray Bonide Beetle Spray as long as you follow the directions. This should help with the issue.
Q: Do new trees need to be staked?
A: No, the only time a tree needs to be staked is if it is in a very high wind area. Normal amounts of wind actually promote the strong sturdy tree trunk.
Q: Do trees need to have trunks wrapped in late fall for winter protection?
A: For trees with tender bark, i.e. Acers (Maples), Malus (Apples & Crabapples) and Prunus (plum and cherry) it is important to wrap the trunks. This will prevent sunscald which causes the cells in the bark to warm up and forces the bark to burst open. In result, your tree will have a gaping wound, open for diseases and pests to make themselves at home.
Q: My Astilbes went from pink to brown in almost 2 days. Can you help?
A: Of course we can. They need lots of water. Astilbes dislike drying out. With this weather, it’s no wonder you (and many others) are experiencing this problem. Give them a good drink in the morning before it gets too hot so the plant has enough to keep it going through out the day.
Q: I planted Spiderwort last year, they came up very nice this spring but they’ve stopped flowering. Is it because of our heatwave? They've been watered and fertilized, but no luck. Should I dead head them?
A: This Is actually common for Spiderwort. Some varieties actually go dormany during the summer when it gets hot. This plant also prefers partial sun-shade so that may have an affect also depending on where you have it planted. You could most certainly dead head or cut back your plant, but don’t be discouraged if your don’t see any more blooms until the weather cools off.
Q: Almost all of my indestructible daylilies have a large number of dead of yellowing leaves. I expect a few during this time of year, but not this many. Some are young and some are mature, some in part sun and some in full sun. Do you have any ideas why this is such a bad year for daylilies? Anything I can do to stop or slow this process?
A: Your mature daylilies may need to be divided. It could be due to the large amounts of rain we had earlier in the season. Don’t be afraid to pull the leaves off. Also, make sure to fertilize them every other week!
Q: Two out of my six mature peonies did not flower this year. Two others only had 1 or 2 blooms. Was it the unusually warm weather or another issue?
A: There are many factors that could be causing this issue. Most importantly, they could be planted too deep. Also, Peonies dislike wet feet so make sure they aren’t getting too much water. They will need to be fertilized as well. The unusual weather we’ve been having for almost a year now may be having an affect on them.
Q: I have 3 different Hosta varieties that have flourished over the last 5 years and grown to be quite large. They are all in one garden in front of my house. One of the varieties came up much more slowly this year and the leaves are turning brown. Both Hostas are the same variety, planted in a different location. What should I do?
A: This could be a number of things causing this problem. There are so many new varieties of Hostas introduced every season, it could be that this one is more susceptible to disease than others. They may need to be replaced. If you can remember the variety of the hosta, we may be able to be of more assistance to you.
Q: My aunt has a perennial hibiscus and was wondering if the plant could be planted in a large disposable pot and planted in the ground to overwinter then continue to keep it in the ground throughout the summer that way? Would the roots survive the winter in that condition? She has a problem with rodents eating the plant roots. She has grown it for a few summers and really enjoys the flowers.
A: You could try it. Unfortunately, there aren't many success stories using pots in that way. You may have better luck trying to prevent the rodents instead.
Q: Why doesn’t my foxglove come back each year and how do I get a patch of these started?
A: Fox Glove is tough! They actually like more sun than shade. They are also biennials, meaning that their life cycle last 2 years and then they usually die off. They also prefer rich, well drained soil. Depending on where you have yours planted, this may be a factor.
Q: When can I trim back the greens from the lilies and irises after the blooms are done? How far down can I cut them?
A: The foliage doesn't need to be removed unless it is dead, diseased or dying. The foliage is needed to supply the bulb with the necessary energy to keep it healthy.
Q: I have 2 questions…
1. Most of my perennials came through the short and mild winter just fine, but a couple of established plants are sort of stunted (unusually small and much less bloom) – two pink bleeding hearts and the Monarda (I think it was called Marshall’s Delight – a mildew resistant variety). My white bleeding heart about 10 feet away grew and bloomed normally. I suspect this is telling me which plants need a winter mulch during winters with little snow and thus lots of exposure, but could there be something else going on? I plan to leave them alone and see how they do next year.
2. Some of the Lysimachia on a north-facing slope by the sidewalk is browning up, as the Vinca sometimes does (amount of light doesn't seem to be a distinguishing factor). I think it started before the heat wave. I don’t do a lot of extra watering – the slopes get it when I water the lawn and I limit that to once a week or less. Until this heat wave there hadn't been much need.
1. You are spot on with your assumption of your perennials. We would definitely recommend adding a winter mulch to those perennials you saw struggle due to the lack of snow we experienced last year.
2. It sounds like you have your Lysimachia on a slope. Our guess is that it is not getting enough water. Even though it is north facing it may be very dry with heat and lack of rain we’ve had. If it is a on a slope, we recommend doing shorter and more frequent waterings. With a slope, the water will just run off and may not be taken in by the soil.
Q: I have a Bleeding Heart that is so big, I would like to split it twice. Can I do it and do it now?
A: Yes you can split it and yes you can split it now. We recommend that you do so in the morning when it is cooler or on a cloudy day to prevent extra stress. Also, the stems are quite fleshy and may break off, so you’ll need to be gentle with it.
Q: How do you take care of petunias? Should I snip off the stem that is done with the bloom so more stems will grow?
A: There are a few different ways you can go about taking care of your petunias. First, you can deadhead them. This is done by simply pulling the spent flower off of the plant. This will leave the plant looking cleaner and more healthy. If your petunias are looking a little leggy, you can actually cut them back. Do this by trimming off about 1/3 to ½ of each branch. If you have a large planting of petunias in your garden, do every other plant and then a few weeks later do the other half. This will leave your garden colorful, while promoting more blooms through out the summer.
If you have some of our ‘Specialty’ petunias that are grown in the white round pots, many of these don’t require any dead heading or pruning. They should continue to perform.
Q: What causes dry spots on peppers?
A: It’s hard to know exactly what the issue is with out seeing the plant. However there are a few common reasons why this happens. It could be from over-spray from your neighbors, mildew or mold due to the high humidity or it could just need some fertilizer.
Q: How do I get rid of Japanese Beetles?
A: The majority of you that wrote in were asking this question. We have a really great article online that should help you out. Here’s the link: http://linders.com/post?id=13568&b=japanese-beetles-join-the-battle-against-the-beetles
There is no product available that will completely get rid of these insects yet. Try a combination of the proposed solutions for the best results & spread the word! No matter how many beetles you kill, they can still fly in from your neighbor’s yard. Make it a group effort!
Q: I have tried many weed killers but can’t get rid of the creeping Charlie! What else can I do to prevent it from entering my lawn?
A: During this time of the year when the weeds are already full fledged, we recommend using Weed Free Zone or Weed Beater Ultra. Weeds are much easier to manage if you get started early on in the spring using pre-emergent methods.
Q: What are the little white moths that are in the grass? They seem to be about ¼ - 3/8 of and inch and they fly up as I walk through the grass. It seems like everything needs chemicals, I try to be environmentally friendly but I feel like I’m losing the battle against the pests and weeds.
A: Sounds like web worms. They are a moth that does little damage until they lay eggs. The larvae can cause some damage to your lawn. You can try to control these by knocking out their webs. They form webs in trees, plants or sometimes in the grass. Taking them out with a broom will limit their population.
Q: Is Bermuda grass harmful to be growing around the base of my trees? I keep pulling long lengths of it out from under the trees.
A: Bermuda grass is not necessarily harmful. It won’t cause much competition with the tree. If you don’t want to have anything growing under your tree, you can lay down a weed barrier and mulch around the tree.
Q: I have bacterial tomato wilt. Is there a type of tomato that is resistant to the wilt? This is the second year my tomatoes have it… Help!
A: Bacterial wilt is a tough disease to deal with. Unfortunately, there are no tomatoes that are necessary resistant to it. The smaller tomatoes (cherry, super sweets, moby grapes) may work better in that space because their life cycle is shorter. Otherwise, you’ll need to either treat the soil by using fumigation or replacing the soil or plant your tomatoes somewhere else.
Q: Help! My lawn has so much crab grass. What should I do?
A: Crab grass is really hard to kill once it is mature. We recommend the Bonide Weed Beater Ultra for Broadleaf weeds and Crab Grass. It may work if your crab grass is not mature. Next year, get an early start by putting down a pre-emergent weed control so the weeds don’t ever get a chance to get started.
Q: How do I identify what disease a plant has?
A: We received many, many questions regarding pests and diseases. There are an unbelievable number of pests and diseases that exist and it’s very difficult to diagnose them without being able to look at the plant very closely. Some even need a microscope. For this reason, we recommend you bring a sample of a leaf, branch, insect, etc. to our Garden Center. This way, we can make a more educated guess as to what you can do get rid of it.
Q: What is the best way to prepare to bring your houseplants back inside after spending the summer outside?
A: You’ll want to start preparing your houseplants in September. A gradual introduction is preferable. Any drastic change could send your plant into shock. Start out by determining if any of your plants have outgrown their pot. If they have, remove the plant, scrub the pot and use fresh, sterile soil.
Inspect the plants for diseases and insects and treat appropriately before your bring them indoors. One good way to do this is to soak the pot in warm water for 15 minutes. This will force the pests to come out of the soil.
Gradually expose the plants to reduced lighting by moving them from full sun to a less sunny area and so on. Put your plants in front of a south facing window if they need high light. You can put them under grow lights to help out.
Q: What blooming annuals would do well as indoor houseplants?
A: Try impatiens, begonias, geraniums or coleus. Bring the whole plant inside (gradually) or you can take cuttings. If you take cuttings, snip off a 3-4 inch branch and stick into a mix of peat moss and perlite. Keep the soil moist. As the plant out grows the pot, you can move them into a larger pot.