GARDENER'S MAILBAG

There is no hope to stop fungal leaf spot

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: My redtip photinias have brown spots on their leaves and it appears that they are dying. The local store told me it was a fungus and that there was nothing I could do to stop it. It's all up and down our street. Can you give us insights on what we should do?

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Brown patch less likely this year due to cold

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: How can I kill the fungus in my St. Augustine? My front yard is dotted with circles of brown spots. I've used several bags of a product that was supposed to kill brown patch and other fungi, also grub worms.

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Analyze bare spots to stop their return

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Over the winter I grew tired of some bare spots in my lawn. I planted ryegrass seeds, and now the lawn looks pretty good.

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Large junipers not easily moved

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I planted redcedars as a screen back in January. The plants are about eight feet tall, and now I'm starting to lose several of them. Can I save them?

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Let peach leaf curl run its course

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Why are my peach leaves wrinkled up? What should I do?

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Brown leaf spots normal for southern magnolia

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: A few weeks ago my magnolia tree started developing brown spots around the edges of its leaves. Then they turned yellow and fell off. I'm not aware of anything I might have done. What is happening?

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Keep Asian jasmine’s soil damp to halt wilting

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We have what is probably a 40-year-old bed of Asian jasmine. A large portion of it turned brown last year. Do you have any idea what might have killed it, and what can we do to make it safe for replanting?

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Bradford pears not recommended

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: How reliable are Bradford pears? Their blooms are gorgeous. I also understand they are fast-growing trees.

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Prune oaks before Valentine’s Day

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We've heard that you're not supposed to prune oaks in the spring to lessen the spread of oak wilt, but with temperatures getting warmer year 'round, we are concerned about pruning them in February. What should we do?

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Prune lantanas after year’s first freeze

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: When is it safe to trim my lantanas back?

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Get rid of dollar weed easily

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We had a really bad outbreak of dollar weed a year ago. I have physically pulled it up, and I tried two rounds of a broadleafed weedkiller that was supposed to eliminate it. It's just beginning to reappear now in my St. Augustine. What can I do?

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Consider hollies for privacy shrubs

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We have lived in the same home for several years. Now two new two-story houses are being built right behind us. We need privacy. What are the best tall evergreen shrubs or small trees to block a view?

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Lichens won’t hurt trees but could indicate dying branches

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Do I need to be worried about the fluffy moss that's growing on some of the branches of my pecan trees?

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Shade caused by ball moss may damage trees

Wednesday, December 28, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We have just acquired property in South Texas. The trees are covered with what we are told is ball moss. What can we do to stop it?

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Indian hawthorns susceptible to disease

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have five well-established Indian hawthorns in a row. Late August, one developed a small area of dead, brown leaves. I removed the dead leaves and observed a brown streak in them and others, also in some of the other shrubs.

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Keep your yucca plant dry this winter

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: What might be happening to our yucca plant?

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Thin out fruit for best produce

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I bought a grapefruit tree at a local hardware store a few years ago. It has produced fruit, but they've only been 2 inches in diameter and they're really sour. What could be causing this? Do they need another variety for cross-pollination?

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Trim lantanas in winter

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
By Gerry Lewis

Dear Neil: A couple of years ago I planted several lantanas. They were protected enough that they didn't freeze to the ground last winter, and this year they have looked crowded (see photo). Can I thin them out this winter? When is the best time, and how?

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Save the stress; plant fresh for fall

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: My Celebrity tomatoes are now 8 feet tall. The plants are healthy and quite bushy. The tomatoes that have now formed are ripening when they are no larger than golf balls, and they are mushy. Would I have been better off with new plants for a fall garden?

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Leave spiderwebs up to keep pest population down

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have a white, web-like material growing on my shrubs. It appears to have started at the ground and engulfed the stems and branches. Leaves are not affected yet. I have no idea how to treat it.

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