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 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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Why Isn’t My Hydrangea Flowering?

“I have hydrangeas but each year they only get leaves and no flowers what can I do?” Question from Nancy of Campbell, Ohio
Answer: Generally when gardeners have trouble with hydrangeas that refuse to bloom, they are largeleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla hybrids). These survive just up to USDA Hardiness Zone 5, your zone, but you should be able to get them to bloom.
Largeleaf hydrangeas bloom […]

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How Do I Keep Mushrooms from Growing In My Mulch?

Pine needles or pine straw mulch do not encourage mushroom growth.
“I buy fairly expensive mulch each year but continually experience mushrooms growing in it.  What causes this and is there anything, (non-toxic), I can use on the mulch to stop mushrooms from growing?” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio
Answer: Traditional bark mulch is the perfect medium for mushroom growth, especially if it’s kept moist. The […]

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How Do I Remove Butterfly Bush?

“I just moved into a new house and will be removing a butterfly bush. How much of the root ball do I need to remove so it doesn’t come back?” Question from MaryAnn of Portland, Oregon
Answer: Though beautiful, standard butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) tend to be very weedy and invasive, which is why gardeners often remove it. Remove the whole root system to make […]

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Can I Grow Honeyberries in California?

“How can I grow honeyberries in zone 10?” Question from Nestor of Anaheim, California
Answer: Sadly, you cannot. Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea) is a temperate shrub that survives in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-7. This means that it requires winter cold to complete its life cycle each year and survive. For this reason, you are unable to grow honeyberries where you live, but you can grow so […]

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Why Isn’t My Wisteria Blooming?

“I have a wisteria vine that is several years old. It bloomed one year ago and was beautiful. Since then it has only about 1 or 2 blooms a year. What am I doing wrong? How can I encourage blooms?” Question from Carol or Drums, Pennsylvania
Answer: Successful flowering wisterias (Wisteria sinensis) are well trained, pruned, and fed with fertilizers designed to encourage blooming. They […]

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How and When Do You Prune Rose of Sharon?


“What is the best way and time to prune a Rose of Sharon?” Question from Rick of Roseville, California
Answer: Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a quite forgiving shrub when it comes to pruning. It blooms on new wood, so you can prune in the spring or later in the season. It’s your preference. This is a shrub that should not be sheared. Simply […]

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Why Is My Key Lime Losing Flower Buds?

“I have a Key Lime tree that keeps losing the flower buds, so we never get any Key Limes. Do you have any suggestions for the soil that may help? I water the tree every other day during the dry season, and every 3-4 days during our rainy season. Thank you.” Question from Jenifer of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Answer: You can always expect some natural […]

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How Do I Care for Butterfly Bush in Spring?

Lo & Behold® Purple Haze Butterfly Bush (Image by Proven Winners®)
“What is the care for a butterfly bush in the spring?  Mine is pretty old, and I always trim it back in the spring, but it isn’t yielding as many blossoms.” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio
Answer: Start by pruning your shrub, if you didn’t the previous fall. I recommend that you wait until after […]

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