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How Do You Repair Rotten Holes in Tree Trunks?

How Do You Repair Rotten Holes in Tree Trunks?
“My pear tree has some large rotten holes on the trunk. What can I fill these up with (concrete)?” Question from Craig of Big Bar, California
Answers: That is an excellent question. The key is cleaning up trunk holes to stop the rotting process. Concrete won’t cut it (it’s also a chainsaw hazard), but there are some practices […]

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Why Did My Crape Myrtle Die?


“What caused my grown crepe myrtle to die? it was doing fine for many years, then just died. I cut down the branches [last spring] hoping it would revive, but it did not. I have several crepe mytles and never had one die before. Question from Sandy of Wake Forest, North Carolina
Answer: Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) are usually quite trouble-free, but there are some […]

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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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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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When Do You Prune Pomegranates and Figs?

When Do You Prune Pomegranates and Figs?
“When do you prune pomegranate trees and fig trees?” Question from Renita of Flomaton, Alabama
Answer: Pomegranate (Punica granatum, USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11) and figs (Ficus carica, Zones 6-10) may both grow as trees or shrubs and have different pruning needs. Here are tips for when and how to prune them.
How to Prune Figs
Figs are deciduous further north and evergreen […]

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How Do You Grow Paw Paws?

How Do You Grow Paw Paws? (Image thanks to Stark Bro’s)
“I have heard that it is almost impossible to grow a pawpaw tree. Is it possible for someone that is not a master gardener to grow this tree?  I would love to have a few.” Question from Cheryl or Harrison, Arkansas
Answer: You are in luck! Pawpaws (Asimina triloba, USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9), also called custard […]

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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 I Get Pomegranate Trees to Set Fruit in Florida?


“I live in Southwest Florida (Englewood, FL) to be exact. I bought 3 Pomegranate Wonderful trees and planted them about 3 years ago. They’re really not doing much of anything. They just exist. They refuse to flower, they barely have grown at all, and one just clings to life and is constantly yellow. I planted them with storebought soil at the base, and fertilize […]

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What Rosemary Varieties Survive in Southern California?

What Rosemary Varieties Survive in Southern California?
“Will rosemary plants survive a mild winter in Zone 9?” Question from Linda of Fresno, California
Answer: Yes! Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a drought- and heat-tolerant Mediterranean shrub made for California growing. Here are my top four favorite rosemaries that will grow beautifully where you live. Each is unique in its own way.
Top Four Favorite Rosemary Varieties

‘Blue Boy’ dwarf rosemary […]

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