Overgrown gardenias benefit from pruning


Q: My gardenias once had large flowers. They have declined and now have small leaves, small flowers, and lichens on the stems. Should I prune and fertilize them now to help them regain their beauty? Ruth Green, email

A: My feeling is you should wait until mid-February and prune them severely then, perhaps as low as 18 inches high. In April, fertilize with Ferti-lome or Holly-tone. You’re probably not going to have very many flowers next year but in my experience overgrown gardenias respond very well to severe pruning. In years to come, prune your gardenias after the heaviest flowering is over.

Q: My landscaper is installing some Green Giant arborvitae. Is it safe to plant them now? Brad Brown, Roswell

A: I think they would be fine to plant now through December. Quiz the installer to make sure he is giving the Green Giants a wide area in which to spread their roots, not a small hole slightly bigger than the root ball. I have seen many arborvitae shrubs suffering from drought this year. My preference would be to loosen an area eight inches deep and six feet in diameter for each one and put the shrub in the center. If your arborvitae have been growing in pots, it is imperative that the roots be untangled before planting so they spread out in all directions. None should be allowed to circle close to the trunk. It would be best if you were present for the entire process to make sure things are done correctly. After planting, watering regularly is paramount. It is hard to guess what the weather will be but my recommendation is to give each shrub 5-10 gallons of water every week for the next six months. Your goal should be to keep the soil moist, not soggy nor dry.

Q: I have a well established bermuda lawn and am thinking of overseeding with rye. Do I plant rye every year or is it a one time deal? David Scheller, Ball Ground.

A: You’ll have to plant the ryegrass every year, usually in September. Make sure your lawn is in good health first. The ryegrass will look great in the winter but will die when hot weather comes. I have more details at bit.ly/GAoverseed.

Q: I hired a company to install fescue sod. I asked them to mix soil conditioner into the soil as they prepared. They raked the soil conditioner over the soil but didn’t really mix it in. Is the sod going to root through the layer of soil conditioner? Mike Haremski, Tucker

A: In general, plant roots find it hard to penetrate successive layers of different soil types. The goal of soil preparation for sodding is to make a homogeneous six-inch strata in which grass roots can grow without stress. If the soil conditioner layer is just an inch thick, I don’t think there will be a problem. If it’s thicker than that, grass roots will tend to grow there exclusively, leading to problems with drought and heat stress.

If your company is a member of the Urban Ag Council (www.georgiaurbanagcouncil.com) you could get the association to help rectify the situation.

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.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

CMA Awards 2018: what you need to know about Wednesday’s show
CMA Awards 2018: what you need to know about Wednesday’s show

As niche music awards shows go, the CMAs always bring a wicked lineup. The 52nd Country Music Association Awards will air at 8 p.m. Wednesday on ABC and blast off with a performance from Leesburg native and entertainer of the year nominee (he’s won it twice) Luke Bryan. Never one to hog a spotlight, Bryan, who will perform “What Makes You...
Interracial love in the time of slavery
Interracial love in the time of slavery

It began with a picture. Paula Wright, 52, was just a baby when she was photographed in a onesie with her fingers in her mouth while balanced on the lap of an elderly man with a gray tie and a big smile. Each time she visited her great-grandparents in New Jersey, Wright would ask to see the pictures. She would stare at the man’s ruddy complexion...
Jennifer Leslie leaves 11Alive 
Jennifer Leslie leaves 11Alive 

Jennifer Leslie Boettcher, a veteran 11Alive reporter, is leaving the station to become the communications director for the City of Dunwoody. In a press release, the city cited her “extensive media experience and strong community connections.” “She is well-known around the community, and strengthening this connection is that she is...
Will Packer’s OWN family drama ‘Ambitions’ begins production in Atlanta with Robin Givens, Essence Atkins
Will Packer’s OWN family drama ‘Ambitions’ begins production in Atlanta with Robin Givens, Essence Atkins

OWN has started production in Atlanta of new family drama “Ambitions” starring Robin Givens, Essence Atkins and Brian White, among others. This is the sixth scripted series OWN has shot here following four Tyler Perry shows (”The Haves and the Have Nots,” “If Love You Is Wrong,” “Love Thy...
“Who Do You Think You Are?” returns December 3, with a lineup of actors
“Who Do You Think You Are?” returns December 3, with a lineup of actors

Returning to the TLC network December 3rd for its 11th season is the award-winning genealogy show “Who Do You Think You Are?” At press time, the featured celebrities are Josh Duhamel, Regina King, Mandy Moore and Matthew Morrison, all of whom are actors. Series promotional material indicates that at least one of them will travel to England...
More Stories