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How Do I Recover Tree Roots Exposed by Erosion?


“I have tree roots that have been exposed near the ground because of soil erosion.  Should I try to recover with soil or leave it be?  Will it kill the tree? I think they are the roots of a very large willow oak.  There is also a very large poplar tree close by, too.” Question from Richard of Winston Salem, North Carolina
Answer: Extensive root […]

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How Do I Find Out My Planting Hardiness Zone?


“How do I know what zone I am in for growing specific plants and trees?” Question from Kathy of West Rutland, Vermont
Answer: The USDA Hardiness Zone map, which helps gardeners determine what perennials, trees, and shrubs will survive the cold in their area, is available online. Click here to view the map. All you need to do is add your zip code, and the […]

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How Do I Remove Liverwort From My Garden?


“Can I get rid of Liverwort by burying it in the ground?” Question from Russ of Berkley, California
Answer: It depends on the site’s soil, soil level, and moisture level. Admittedly, I kind of like the common liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha). Sorry! But, they’re kind of cool. The funny little non-vascular plants are close relatives of mosses and a sign of a very moist, shaded, nutrient-rich […]

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What Light and Soil are Best for Roses?


“We will be planting roses on the north side of the house this summer. We have clay soil. What do you recommend mixing into the soil?” question from Roseanne of Rockford, Illinois
Answer: Roses grow and resist disease best when grown in full sun. The north side of your home may not be the best spot for roses unless you plant them far enough from […]

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What is Better for Stopping Weeds, Weed Barrier or Newspaper?


“Does laying down newspapers diminish weed growth as well as laying down weed mat?” Question from Barbara of Afton, New York
Answer: It’s an excellent question. They can both work very well. I have a love-hate relationship with mulch cloth/mat that does not organically break down over time. It helps keep back aggressive weeds, like Canada thistle, in the first season, but then it quickly […]

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What are the Best Perennials for Foundation Plantings?

Large, showy perennials with a long season of interest make the best foundation perennials.
“What are the best perennial plants to use for foundation planting? [I need] something to cover a fairly tall, 5ft swath of concrete foundation. Thank you!” Question from Trish of Newton, New Jersey
Answer: There are lots of wonderful garden perennials ideal for foundation plantings. Those that I recommend the most are long-lived, […]

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How Do I Remove Whiteflies?


“What can I use for whiteflies on Jatropha plants?” Question from Susan of Pembroke Pines, Florida
Answer: I recommend physical methods of removal for whiteflies followed by the use of an insecticide approved for organic gardening.
What are Whiteflies?
Whiteflies are fast-to-produce sucking insects that remove the juices from plant leaves and stems. Tiny whiteflies can be very destructive when populations are high–causing leaf drop and decline. […]

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I Am Looking For a Deer-Proof Chartreuse Ground Cover

Golden lemon thyme is a great groundcover that is disliked by deer.
“I planted a chartreuse ground cover, I believe it was a sedum, not sure.  Very low growing.  It looked great & then the deer discovered it – they ate it all.  Can you suggest another chartreuse ground cover that perhaps the deer wouldn’t – the little darlings.” Question from Peggy of Canton, Michigan
Answer: Many […]

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Ants Are On My Fava Beans. What Do I Do?

These ants are farming aphids for their sweet honeydew.
“I planted fava beans, and I noticed that I have ants on them. How do I get rid of them without using any unnatural pesticides?” Question from Isabella of Waxhaw, North Carolina
Answer: There are two possible reasons why ants may be visiting your fava beans, and in both situations, the ants are not doing damage. Here are […]

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How and When Should I Prune Lavender?


“When should I prune lavender?  I tried it at the end of summer last year, but I think I might have cut too far back.” Question from Manda of Florence, Kentucky
Answer: In my experience, lavender has the best regrowth results if one waits to prune until the plants begin to produce fresh spring leaves. It simply bounces back best when it has begun to […]

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