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Dividing and Repotting Orchids with Pseudobulbs


“Can you propagate orchids? My orchid has a another stem growing at the bottom and I am wondering if I cut it off if it will grow and how to do that?” Question from Krystal of Lincoln City, Oregon.
Answer: Orchids with pseudobulbs, like yours, can easily be divided when the plants reach a substantial size. These orchid types include lots of common household favorites, like […]

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When Can You Start Pruning Lilacs?


“How long should you let your lilac bush grow after planting before starting to trim and shape it the way you want?” Question from Traci of Ithaca, Michigan
Answer: It all depends on your size preference for your lilac. Aside from pruning off dead or damaged branches or spent blooms, you can select prune your lilac to meet a desired height and to remove unwanted suckers […]

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Using Sawdust in Gardens


“Is 30-year-old decayed sawdust good for vegetable gardens?” Question by Jean of Elizabeth, Arkansas
Answer: It depends on how decayed your sawdust is and its wood type. First, be sure your sawdust is not from treated wood. (Hopefully you can ask the person who created all that sawdust!) Treated wood contains dangerous heavy metals that can leach into the soil and be taken up into […]

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Adding Manure to Gardens


“When is the best time to put cow manure on your vegetable garden?” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Answer: Be careful when adding manure to your beds. Fresh manure is too “hot” with nutrients, particularly ammonia, to put directly around growing plants and can literally burn their foliage and roots. Fresh manure is also filled with weed seeds just ready to germinate and […]

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Weeds as pH Indicator Plants


“Is there any way to tell if you soil is acidic or alkaline, by the weeds that grow instead of a soil sample?” Question by Barbara of Youngstown, Ohio
Answer: This is an interesting question, but sadly the answer is, not really. Still, there are some great sources that can help you easily determine your soil’s pH.
Here’s Why…
Lots of research has been done on ecological “indicator” […]

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Creeping Jenny Removal

Creeping Jenny (Image by Kurt Stüber)
“I have been trying for years to eliminate the creeping jenny that is seeming to take over my garden and flower bed with no success. What is the best way to get rid of it?” Question from Brenda of Peterson, Iowa
Answer: Such a pretty plant…such a pain to remove when you want it gone. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) is a […]

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How to Store Weed Killers

“Have any studies been done to determine if bags of weedkiller “offgas” and contaminate any seed starter/potting soil/etc. stored nearby?” Question from Julie of Hortonville, Wisconsin.
Answer: Not any comprehensive study we can find. The ability for an herbicide to offgas would depend on the product. We recommend looking up the SDS or MSDS for each weed killer in question to determine its ability to give off harmful gas. You might also contact the maker of the weed killer in question […]

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Amending Hardpan Clay Soil

Amending clay soil with lots of organic matter yearly will turn it around! (Image by Jessie Keith).
“I have hard clay soil. I have been adding one plant at at time and even that is hard digging holes large enough to amend soil around roots. But now I want to start a large bed by putting down cardboard, putting a bed border around it, and using […]

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How Often to I Apply Liquid Plant Food?


“How often [do I] apply liquid plant food?” Question from Nancy
Answer: When it comes to water-soluble plant food, the application frequency and concentration depends entirely on the product, formula (10-10-10 versus a 20-20-20 NPK) and crop. Please let us know what you are growing and product details! Also, when it comes to application guidelines, always refer to the instructions on the product label. Happy Gardening! […]

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Yellow Chlorotic Blueberries


“My blueberry plants have yellow leaves. Why is this happening and what can I do?” -Question from Emily of Columbus, Ohio
ANSWER: Your blueberries have chlorosis. This is caused by a soil pH problem. Blueberries like acid soils between 4.5 and 5.5. When soils are too alkaline (have a higher pH) blueberry plants cannot access necessary nutrients, and their leaves start to turn yellow. Thankfully, […]

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