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Why Are My Tropical Hibiscus Leaves Dropping?


“What are the reasons leaves drop from [tropical] hibiscus?” Question from Brenda of Miami, Florida
Answer: Tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa–sinensis) are lovely shrubs when they are healthy and happy, but they look so dismal when they’re in poor shape–especially when they start dropping their leaves. There are LOTS of problems that can lead to leaf drop. Some of these depend on whether your plants are […]

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Help! I Have Egg-Covered Tomato Hornworms on My Tomatoes.


“I noticed two strange-looking caterpillars with eggs on their backs in my tomato garden this year and learned these were hornworms and they are terrible for tomato plants.  I intend on moving my tomatoes elsewhere next year.” Question from Jennifer of Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania
Answer: You are in luck! You don’t need to worry about the tomato hornworms on your tomatoes because the eggs on their […]

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How Do I Stop Powdery Mildew?

This zinnia has a severe case of powdery mildew.
“Every year I get white mold on the leaves of various plants in my vegetable garden. I don’t use any fertilizer or pesticide, other than an organic compost in the soil. It usually doesn’t cause a great deal of problems but is there something I could or should be doing?” Question from Lynda of West Warwick, Rhode […]

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I Have the Ugliest Caterpillars on My Orange Trees!

The giant swallowtail butterfly (Heraclides cresphontes)
“I have the ugliest caterpillar living on my orange trees, eating the leaves. There are more than one. They are dark in color, with different markings. These are just smaller than your little finger, with the top or face part ????, bigger than the tail. What are these, and should I get them off my Orange Trees. Tree’s are only […]

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How Do I Get Rid of a Groundhog?


“What is the best way to get rid of a groundhog?” Question from Glenn of Parsippany, New Jersey
Answer: Groundhogs can be very destructive creatures as well as smart and evasive. I have dealt with a few around my vegetable garden, and they are real pests! Here are several removal methods that I recommend.
1. Remove cover. Groundhogs dig dens where there is ample green cover. […]

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Why Aren’t My Heirloom Tomatoes Producing Fruit?


“My heirloom tomato plant is growing beautifully. However, it has not one tomato on it, while another bush, under same growing conditions, is more prolific though it still does not have ample tomatoes. Is there something I am doing/not doing correctly? During the long summer days the beds do get over 6 hours of sun a day, as the days are getting shorter they […]

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What is Causing Leaf Spot and Drop On My Desert Roses?


“My desert roses are dropping their leaves and they have brown to blackish spots on them.  I have attached an image.”  Question from Charles of Sebastian, Florida
Answer: The yellowing and black blotching and spotting on your desert rose (Adenium obesum) leaves is likely caused by the fungal disease, anthracnose leaf spot (Colletotrichum spp.). Yellowing of the leaves is caused in the early stages, and then […]

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I Need Organic Solutions for Vegetable Pests and Powdery Mildew


“Which is the natural and most efficient solution against pests, aphids, white powder, etc. that year after year destroy our vegetables?” Question from Doina of Bothell, Washington
Answer: I wish that I could give you a simple answer. There are so many vegetables and so many pests and diseases that attack them that it is impossible to know where to start. You specifically mention aphids […]

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Help Me Grow Zucchini Better!


“I can never seem to grow zucchini right. Is there a type of soil that would be best for this?” Question from Amy of Oil City, Pennsylvania
Answer: We have gotten this question a lot, both with respect to zucchini and summer squash (both are the same–one is just green and elongated.).  I have provided links to several of these Ask a Garden Expert answers. […]

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Why Aren’t My Cucumbers Fruiting?

Female cucumber flowers have underdeveloped baby cukes at the base while male flowers do not.
“Why are my cucumber plants not setting many cukes?  The blossoms fall off before setting.” Question from Ron of Cashmere, Washington
Answer: There are several possible reasons that your cucumbers are suffering from blossom drop before fruit set. These include pollination issues, environmental stresses, and soil nutrient problems. Let’s take a closer […]

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