Despite its beauty, honeysuckle is a weed


Q: I hate honeysuckle. It invades everything from anise to camellias. Mark Mauldin, email

A: I share your dislike. Despite the sweet scent of its spring flowers, this vine grows vigorously in places where it’s not wanted. I think your best bet would be to first pull as much honeysuckle off your shrubs as you can. This goes more smoothly if you have a buddy who can clip as you tug. Next, crawl under the affected shrubs and clip the honeysuckle vine where it emerges from the ground. The stems have a distinct reddish color. Spray each freshly cut vine stump immediately with glyphosate (Roundup, etc). The vine stumps will absorb the chemical and will not sprout again.

Q: Is it too late for blueberry pruning? Ken Turner, Smyrna

A: You can prune blueberries anytime between late fall and late winter. Actually, they require little pruning until they reach four to six feet in height. At this point, start a cane-renewal pruning program. Remove one to three of the largest canes each winter, cutting at six to 24 inches from ground level or a total of about 20 percent of the canopy. Over a period of five years the bush will be totally renewed. New, more productive canes will sprout from the old canes and even more will sprout from below ground level. In addition, very tall canes can be pruned back to six feet each winter.

Q: We planted arborvitae outside of our sun room but now we’ve decided to go another route. Can we move them to another location now when it’s cold? John Burkett, East Tennessee

A: It is very hard to transplant an arborvitae successfully from one spot to another unless it is very small. They are very sensitive to dry roots and summertime heat. You must bring along much of the existing root ball in order for the tree to survive hot weather. If your arborvitaes are more than three feet tall, I wouldn’t bother trying to move them.

Q: During the last snow storm one of our cherrylaurel trees fell over. The weight pulled up half of the root ball but did not damage 75-80 percent of the roots. I used ropes and pulleys to bring it upright and covered the roots with new soil. To keep it upright, I attached three spring-loaded cables. But now I see that some of the top leaves are turning brown. What can I do to help the tree recover? Roland Kort, Alpharetta

A: My guess about the brown leaves is that when the tree fell there was enough damage to the root system to interrupt moisture going to the top of the tree. I predict you’ll continue to have brown leaves, particularly if the summer is dry. There is not much you can do to speed up root recovery. A light application of fertilizer in spring, plus water when the soil is dry and mulch to keep the soil cool, is the best you can do. Keep the cable support system in place for at least ten years. It will take that long for new anchor roots to grow. You might be better off to replace this tree with a new one in the same spot.

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips



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