GARDENER'S MAILBAG

How to prune old rose bushes

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: How important is it that we pick the seed heads off our pansies? I can remember my mother doing that. As many plants as we have now, I can't imagine doing it unless it was really critical.

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Easily move forgiving irises

Wednesday, December 27, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We are moving around the first of the year. I have a bed with some sentimental iris that used to be in my mother's garden. Can they be dug and moved at that time?

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Use netting to keep birds from fruit

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Something is chewing into my grapefruit and causing all the fruit to fall prematurely. What would do this?

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Seal cracks, vacuum to get rid of Asian lady beetles

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We are having seemingly unlimited numbers of brownish ladybugs flying around inside our house. What are these nuisances, and how can we get rid of them? Or will they leave on their own?

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Wait to transport trees after first freeze

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: When can I transplant trees and shrubs in my landscape? I need to relocate them.

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Twig girdler beetles leave broken branches

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: How can I kill several banana trees that I no longer want?

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Prune young trees to let sprouts grow

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have planted several young trees within the past several years. I have noticed that the tops of a few of them have died, but that sprouts are coming up near the bases of the trees. Should I prune out the dead wood and let the sprouts grow?

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Use high nitrogen, low phosphorus fertilizer

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I wasn't able to find the 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer you recommended. I found 18-0-12. Is zero as the middle number satisfactory?

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Asps won’t hurt plants

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Are these caterpillars harmful? Should we kill them?

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Burls rarely kill limbs

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I've had these "crop circles" in my lawn for the past four years. I've been told they're caused by insufficient shade, lack of water, worms or fungus. Nothing I've tried has helped. What would you suggest?

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Herbicides best for tackling nutsedge

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I've tried everything to kill nutgrass/nutsedge in my garden. Pre-emergent granules didn't help. Pulling didn't help. I've had a fresh crop every morning all year. What can I do?

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Dig crape myrtle roots to get rid of plant

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
By Gerry Lewis

Dear Neil: I had a crape myrtle cut down and the stump ground several years ago. Many sprouts have come up. I've sprayed them repeatedly with Round Up, but they're still there. What can I do?

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Edge burn caused by moisture stress

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have two young red oak trees in our yard. The leaves on one of the trees are turning brown. Is this something I need to be concerned about?

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Growing sansevieria can be a rewarding experience

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Almost 50 years ago I bought a 4-inch pot of sansevieria (snake plant). It had three leaves at that point, but now it has grown to fill four very large pots and it is blooming. I didn't even know that they bloomed.

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Crape myrtle problems merit professional help

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We have a crape myrtle that developed white spots on its bark this summer. Someone told us to spray the spots with alcohol, but that doesn't seem to have helped. Now there are orange wasp-like insects flying around it. Do you have any idea what is going on?

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No need to prune fusing crape myrtles

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have a crape myrtle with two trunks that are rubbing together enough that they are almost fusing. Is there any reason to worry about that?

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St. Augustine stronger than Bermuda if conditions are good

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: This spring I reseeded my lawn with Bermuda grass over St. Augustine. Now the Bermuda has taken over one-fourth of my lawn. Will it eventually overtake all of the St. Augustine?

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Call in experts for Texas mountain laurel spots

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: For the past year our Texas mountain laurels have been dropping leaves onto our deck almost every single day. Never more than 15 or 20, but always some.

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Hackberry may share roots, watch for decay

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We have a cluster of hackberry trees that shade our house and patio. They were here when the house was built eight years ago. A small one has gone from green to dead in just a matter of a few days. What would have caused this, and how can we keep it from spreading?

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Mow stinging nettles low, treat with weedkiller to eliminate

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We have recently moved to the country, and we have three acres that are literally covered with stinging nettles. I've tried lots of suggestions, all to no avail. What is the best way to eliminate it? It's even coming up through my sod.

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