Georgia Native Plant of the Year announced


Q: What is the Georgia Native Plant of the Year? Kathren Fogg, email

A: The Georgia Native Plant Society declares the Plant of the Year to be sweet Betsy, or Trillium cuneatum to be exact. It’s one of the largest and distinctive trilliums of southeastern forests. Previous winners include sassafras, buckeye, butterfly weed and white oak. You can get all the details at gnps.org.

Q: Do you think a six-week fertilizing interval is good for my Bermuda lawn? Rick Swartz, LaGrange

A: It all depends on how much you like to mow your grass. Fertilizing at a six-week intervals from mid-April until early September will make your grass grow rapidly, as long as adequate water is available. You’ll probably need to mow every five days. Fertilizing every eight weeks would be sufficient to keep the lawn healthy and give you more free time.

Q: On a recent radio program, a caller complained about twigs being mysteriously cut from his White Ash tree. I suspect his problem is being caused by gray squirrels. Hugo Kollmer, email

A: I should have thought of that! Last year a gardener sent pictures of dozens of maple twigs that had been clipped by squirrels eating the new buds. Thanks for your help!

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Q: Three weeks ago, a lawn service sprayed an area set aside for gardening. The company says to till the area and water, water, water. Any more thoughts? Arolue Prater, McDonough

A: Much depends on what was sprayed, but in general, the advice is good. Weed control chemicals are broken down by exposure to sunshine and oxygen, so tilling and watering are good recovery techniques. Any sort of compost or organic matter added to the soil will encourage fungi and bacteria in the soil to consume and break down the chemicals as well.

Q: My backyard is terraced with Blue Rug junipers that have died. I want these removed. I’m told because it is a hill they must be cut at ground level, not dug out. Why? Diane Pratt, email

>>MORE: Atlanta Botanical Garden among top 10 botanical gardens in the U.S., according to poll

A: Possibly the advice to cut them off at ground level and leave the roots was because of the threat of erosion if they are removed. Junipers do not sprout back from being severely pruned. Once the stems are cut, the roots will hold the soil in place and you can plant anything you want between them.

Q: We have a Meyer lemon tree, 3 feet tall and indoors by a bright window. It is blooming profusely and producing lemons. But they get to the size of the tip of your little finger and fall off. Any ideas? Steve Preston, Decatur

A: Small fruit dropping off a lemon tree might indicate lack of pollination. Indoor lemons don’t have the advantage of wind to shake the pollen loose. I have instructions on how to hand pollinate a Meyer lemon at bit.ly/GAlemonpol. Or you could take it outdoors for the summer.

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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