GARDENER'S MAILBAG

Magnolias make great replacement trees

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We recently lost a Bradford pear that split in a windstorm. What is a good replacement tree? We like magnolias, but they are so messy.

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Use fertilizer to shape up lumpy pampasgrass

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have three clumps of pampasgrass. This winter it froze, so I cut the clumps back to 18 inches like you told someone else to do. Now, all the new growth is coming up from one side of each clump.

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January freeze damages gardenias

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: What would be causing the slow death of our dwarf gardenias? These green leaves and yellowed leaves are both on the same plant. We have two other plants on either side, and they also have the yellowed leaves. This is our second bad experience with gardenias in this spot.

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Consider your sunlight when planting groundcover

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have an area roughly 30 by 40 feet in size. It is shaded, and bermuda has not grown well there. Last year I spread one to two inches of new soil thinking that would help the grass grow and cover, but it did not. What would you suggest I do for that area?

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Information needed to fight neighbor’s weeds

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We planted a new lawn 18 months ago. It has done very well, except along the boundary where our neighbor's weeds are invading. What can I put down to keep his weeds from taking over?

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Detergent can help fight oxalis invasion

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: This suddenly appeared in our lawn this spring. What is it? What would be good to control it?

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Mower idling could lead to bare spots

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I watched our neighbor mow his lawn really close early in the spring (scalping, I guess, to remove the old brown blades). As the bag would fill up, he would leave the mower running while he took the bag to the backyard for emptying.

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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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