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Your Letters

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  1. Janet, Thanks for your response . I was thinking about cutting to the ground the right and left trunks. You are correct that I am trying to give myself some privacy. Especially from the South / west (left corner window) . There are new viburnum coming up that don’t look like they’re coming from the trunk. They are nice plants at least five feet away. I’ll send you a pic of the trunk. Yours gratefully, Margie
  2. Hi Janet and Steve , This is the view from front and back of my viburnum . Any suggestions on how I could prune it? Or should I just leave it alone. It’s getting pretty wide and low over my other plants. It didn’t bloom very long this year. I’ll be on the webinar tomorrow if you get this in time. Thanks , Margie
  3. I attended a wonderful seminar you hosted at English Gardens West Bloomfield in the summer of 2019 and thought you may be able to help with an issue. My mom has a small vegetable garden in her fenced in yard in NW Detroit, and has been dealing with spurge (and another dense green weed) that is as dense as carpet. She did not treat the soil with a pre- emergent herbicide. She is pulling what she can by hand, but it is a losing battle. She is almost ready to let her beautiful tomato plants, etc. succumb to the weed invasion. Do you have any suggestions for pre-season and growth season treatments? This has completely taken away her joy of gardening! Thank you very much!! Kind regards, M.
  4. Last year a well-established clump of Praying Hands Hosta began turning yellow, then brown and dying off. The leaves were mushy at the base. I did not have any testing done, but treated with a fungicide after cutting the hosta back at the soil.I sterilized my tools and left it alone. This spring the hosta came back so I thought my actions worked until we hit these high temps in northern Illinois. The yellow/brown, mushy stems are back. If this is Sclerotium or any other difficult fungus/disease, I will dig the hosta and throw it away. That said, do I need to solarize the soil? Or perhaps just find a different plant not affected by this problem? I clearly did not fix the problem with my fungicide last year.thank you, C.G.
  5. Since I'm doing spring clean up I have some thought for next fall clean up. Can the deutzia and spirea in the front be cut back hard in the fall. If so to the ground and how often. Also can the hellebores be cut back to the ground in the fall rather than the spring. - S.L. -
  6. I think I've read that you recommend Hollytone as an appropriate fertilizer for a lawn. What setting should I use for a Scott's Rotary Spreader to apply the Hollytone? The bag only cites settings for new and established garden beds and shrubs. Thank you - S.S. -
  7. I have ant hills that are over a foot high. #1 are ants good for the flower garden? #2 How can I get rid of them? I have bamboo, should the bed be dug to remove? Thanks, - K.S. -
  8. In a recent video (March?) I thought I picked up that you cut your lavender, butterfly bushes, and caryopteris all right down to the ground. Is that correct? Even the lavender? - K.N. -
  9. About the ground nut at the beginning of this discussion: Thanks for the follow up on the weed! It's always comforting when a response starts with 'Whoa' (LOL). I've had this weed for probably at least ten years and if I wasn't so OCD about my perennials, this weed would wrap around everything. I always dig down as deep as I can without disturbing the adjacent perennials in the area, to dig out the bulbs. I'll look forward to hear from your readers, BUT I've got a feeling to just be persistent and one day the next owner of this house can deal with it ;-) Thanks for your response! - M.L. -
  10. You recommended your best spray bottle for applying those deer repellents made from blood, that clog so badly in sprayers. You said that you buy it from Home Depot at one of the webinars I just watched. Can you send a photo of it or its name? I want to buy a few. - L.B. -
  11. We bought two bare root pear trees. Cute little guys about 18" tall with beautiful roots. Here are the instructions for planting that came with. Didn't know about chopping down the top third -- do you approve? - S.N. -
  12. Now that we have been given the green light to start back to work in the gardens I have a few questions..I'm a professional gardener and the "order' has put me 1.5 months behind in my garden tasks, or has it. Can we do all the tasks, such as pruning and relocating shrubs, that are normally done March-April, in May and June without too many problems? Specifics are: 1. I need to relocate paniculata hydrangeas. Move now or wait until fall? 2. I have evergreens such as ground juniper and chamaecyparis to prune, prune now or wait until August/Sept? 3. What about deciduous trees/shrubs such as crab trees, burning bush, spirea, viburnum? 4. With regard to boxwood, can we prune those, cutting windows, between now and June 1 or wait and shear/cut windows into the shrubs in June when I normally take off all the new growth. I'm now realizing I need to readjust my pruning techniques for these shrubs, based on the info in your recent webinars. Any answers you can give would be helpful. - C.M. -
  13. Help! Have looked through weed books and combed the Internet to figure out what this "new" weed is that popped up across the back of our property this spring. It already has a tap root 4-5 inches long and little buds starting and has taken over a LARGE area. I have been trying to reclaim an overgrown area of wild grape vines, wild brambles, three different invasive groundcovers and now this popped up in addition. Grrrr! Please, I just need a name! - B. K. -
  14. My garden beds are ready for mulch. What is your experience with cedar mulch? Is it better than hardwoods? - C.B. -
  15. I have 100 feet of road frontage to put a hedge in zone 6a. We would like our hedge to be 5-7 feet tall. We were thinking of a boxwood evergreen variety that is deer resistant. I think it may be too small. Short. We ideally would like it to look like a solid wall of bush. What do you have/recommend? Please send specific links. Thank you very much. Shipping would be to zip 12533. - N. K. -
  16. Well here's another: What is this weed? My neighbors have it in their pachysandra and dont know how to get rid of it.. help! - M.T. -
  17. Here is a mature Japanese Maple that is cracking pretty severely. I understand it could be frost cracking or canker. There doesn't appear to be any oozing so it may be the former. Use tree wrap as a bandaid until it recovers? Thanking you in advance, - L.B. -
  18. Hey, I spent 3 hours covering yesterday, Friday, because it was going down to 25F. In May! Will it hurt to leave the covers on until Tuesday? That'll be 3 days covered but it took so long to cover things and forecast is for 33F on Monday. Do Japanese maples need to be covered from frost? Lots of leaf die out when nipped 2 weeks ago. - J.B. -
  19. Please let me know what Compost I should use to plant Camellias? THANK YOU. - M.W. -
  20. In your webinar on Soil Prep you mentioned using seaweed in the garden, would pond water weeds work, too? - P. H. -
  21. I watched your webinar "Improving the Older Garden" and got some wonderful ideas. However, I'm still not sure how to deal with my "shade" bed. Mine has 2 huge oaks and a maple. The ground is mainly roots, although I've managed to put some hostas in there. This bed is along the road. Would be nice to improve that area. I guess I could pull all the rocks away that I have bordering it and build it up some more? Advise if you can. Thanks. - D.T. -
  22. My friends are starting a little vegetable garden in their back yard. They're wondering if you have any tips! Specifically for strawberries (they want to keep them separate because they're invasive) and eggplant. Would appreciate any advice you have - A. S. =
  23. Is there any way I can save my white lilac ( it has borer)? It's 20 years old. - G. C. -
  24. This weeping Norway tree is my question. As you can see, many of the new branches are growing up. Should I prune those off or will they eventually weep? Maybe I should move it from the bed between my patio and the lawn? - J.S. -
  25. Every year I learn from mistakes. But these questions I am not able to find out what goes wrong: I try not to over water. But I still get that green slim on top. I have a fan blowing very gently like they say. Is there something I can spray the tops with that won't kill the seedlings? Like maybe weak peroxide? I let it dry out but risk killing the plant. Then when I do water it just comes back. I try to water from the bottom but it still happens. I have seeds that sprout with 2 little leaves then just sit there. What do I do to get the seedlings to grow up and healthy? They say not to fertilize. It's like they're stunted. I will get a seed to sprout but send up the stem and tiny leaves grow into the soil. I try to turn it over but it seems to die anyway. Why and how to prevent it? Why are you not to repot up more than one pot size? What happens? What difference does it make? Hope you can answer at least one of these questions and maybe refer me to where I can get the answers I need. - D.S. -
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