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How and When Should You Prune Cape Jasmine?

How and When Should You Prune Cape Jasmine?
“When should an overgrown (8′ high) Cape Jasmine bush (we call them gardenias) be pruned? How severely can it be trimmed back? Thank you!” Question from Ann of Wake County, North Carolina
Answer: You have one happy Cape jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides, Zones 7-11)! You can take a couple of pruning approaches, but avoid pruning in fall. Spring is a […]

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When Is The Best Time to Prune Roses?


“When is the best/latest date I can cut back roses?” Question from Joseph or Milwaukie, Oregon
Answer: Late winter is an excellent time to prune reblooming roses, but you can also safely prune them at other times–including now. I recommend that you read our blog about pruning roses in spring (click here to view it). I also encourage you to watch our rose-pruning video with […]

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Can I Use Black Walnut Leaves for Compost?

Can I Use Black Walnut Leaves for Compost?
“I have several black walnut trees in my yard. Would it be alright to use the leaves in the compost? Question from Raymond of Holt, Michigan
Answer: I would not recommend it. As you surely know, black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) excrete the toxin, juglone, which is deadly to quite a few ornamental plants. The toxin helps reduce competition, […]

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Why Are the Leaves on My Potted Lemon Tree Disfigured?

Why Are the Leaves on My Potted Lemon Tree Disfigured?
“Ever since I started my lemon tree from seed, its leaves appear cut around the edges. I’m not overwatering. Today I gave it Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus fertilizer and treated with Bonide Systemic Insect Control, both of these being used for the first time, as I haven’t done anything but water and mist it since […]

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How Do You Harvest and Grow Peony Seeds?

“How do you harvest and grow peony seeds?” Question from Mark of Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Answer: If your peonies successfully cross-pollinated and produced viable seeds that can be induced to sprout, then the plants will develop seed pods that should contain fully mature seeds in late summer or early fall. The round, tough seeds should be harvested as soon as the pods open and begin […]

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How Does Wildfire Smoke Impact Gardens?

How Does Wildfire Smoke Impact Gardens?
“I live in northern California where we had a lot of fires and smoke. The sky was thick with smoke for quite a few days.  How will this impact my flowers?” Question from Jenna of Magalia, California
Answer: What a crazy season it has been! I have watched several of my western gardening friends struggle through the impacts of wildfires. Thankfully, […]

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How Do I Transplant a Japanese Maple Seedling?

How Do I Transplant a Japanese Maple Seedling?
“I recently bought a house in Long Island, NY, and found a 2-foot tall Japanese maple tree (I believe it is a Red Emperor Maple) growing under a much larger tree. The maple apparently sprouted naturally. I would like to transplant it to a more open space. When is the best time to transplant the tree?  See pictures […]

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How Do You Store Winter and Summer Squash?

How Do You Store Winter and Summer Squash?
“On storing squash for winter where is the best place to store a rather large abundance of fresh zucchini, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash.” Question from Jennifer of Wataga, Illinois
Answer: Summer and winter squashes are stored very differently. Tender zucchini and summer squash have a relatively short shelf life of a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, and […]

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Why Won’t My Dahlias Bloom?

Why Won’t My Dahlias Bloom?
“I have tried everything to grow Dahlias. They come up sometimes to about 1ft and never bloom.” Question from April of Dresden, Tennessee
Answer: I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your dahlias flowering. There are several factors that impact dahlia blooming, including light levels, fertilizer, and dahlia type. First, provide them with full sun–eight or more hours […]

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How Do I Repot and Care for My Plumeria?


My Plumeria needs repotting. What is the best soil and pot type?  What amount of sunlight is best – morning, noon? Watering schedule? Question from Jean of Diamond Bar, California
Answer: Frangipani or Plumeria (Plumeria species) shrubs are tropicals that are native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. There are many species that have been bred to create a fine array of colorful varieties–nearly […]

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