Q: I have a special angel trumpet I planted this year and I don’t want to lose it. How will the cold affect it? Tommy Myers, Bartow County
A: Angel trumpet can sometimes be killed by Atlanta winters. Wait until Thanksgiving to cut the main stem down to six inches in height. Put a gallon pot over it and cover it with a big mound of straw or leaves. For insurance, collect some green stems to root indoors. Use your pruning loppers to cut off a couple of large branches, then strip off the leaves. Cut a dozen 12-inch lengths of the branches, noting which end of each section pointed toward the branch tip and which end pointed toward the plant’s trunk. Place the “trunk” ends of the sections in a small plastic bucket and cover the ends with six inches of water. Put the bucket and branch sections in a sunny window in an unused bedroom. You’ll be surprised to find how fast the bottom ends of the lengths will sprout roots. The other ends will soon sprout leaves. You can plant the rooted pieces in individual pots by late December and then plant them outdoors in April.
Q: I’ll be out of town January through April next year. Can I fertilize my newly planted trees and shrubs in late December? Glenn Fionte, Cherokee County
A: Some fertilizers, like 10-10-10, are dissolved into the soil with the first rain. That’s obviously not what you want. There are various ways to make fertilizer products release nutrients slowly. Some product granules are coated to respond to either temperature or the presence of moisture to release their nutrients. Organic fertilizers rely on soil organisms to first digest the product and then excrete the nutrients. Since the organisms are most active when the soil is warm, these fertilizers are considered to be temperature controlled. For that reason, I think you could apply an organic fertilizer like Holly-tone or Milorganite or E B Stone as early as December and still have nutrients left for your plants when things warm up in April.
Q: We used gas on three different yellowjacket holes. There are now dozens of yellowjackets flying over this area during the day. Is it possible these insects were not in the nest when it was destroyed and are trying to find it? Jeff Marquardt, Monroe County, W.Va.
A: I think it’s very possible the yellowjackets you’re seeing are the ones that were away when you destroyed their home. Earlier this year I had a nest in my garden I was keeping an eye on. One night some creature dug it up and destroyed it. For the next week I would occasionally see yellowjackets flying aimlessly above the area. Next time, rather than using gasoline, go out at dusk and sprinkle a tablespoon of Sevin insecticide powder in the opening of each hole. The yellowjackets will die but you won’t risk polluting the soil.
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