Ask the Expert--Landscaping, Lawn and Garden Q & A Forum - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Ask the Expert--Landscaping, Lawn and Garden Q & A Forum

Get answers to your questions here: Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert Disclaimer: Greengate Garden Center makes every effort to address your questions based on the accuracy of the information you provide. However, these responses are not intended to be a substitute for a professional consultation.

QUESTION: When is the best time to dig up Crepe Myrtles & Rose of Sharon plants, and transplant them?

ANSWER: The best time to transplant crape myrtles and Rose of Sharon is in the winter or late spring before they leaf out in the spring. Use Fertilome Root Stimulator solution when transplanting. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

 QUESTION: Do you need more than one fruit tree to produce fruit? I heard that trees such as pear, pecan, and plum trees need to be planted in pairs.

ANSWER: Most fruit trees are self pollinating and those that usually need a pollinator often have a good variety that is self pollinating. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My Satsuma tree has long branches that trail on the ground especially when full of fruit. They need to be pruned back. What time of the year should I prune them? Cindy

ANSWER: Cut back at the end of winter. Cut just below on upright growing branch or leaf bud on top of the branch so that the new growth will grow upward. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

 QUESTION: For the past two years I have had trouble with grubs. Is their any certain time of the year to use products on the lawn before you see the results of the presence of the grubs to rid you lawn of them before you see them? Thank you. 

ANSWER: High-Yield Kill-a-Grub granules will get rid of your grubs. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: We have an armadillo that is really tearing up our yard and gardens. Is there anything we can do that would not be cruel, but send him on his way? Kim Wright

ANSWER: Kill the bugs that the armadillo feasts on and he will move to another yard. Spread Hi Yield Kill-A-Grub granules over your grass and bed areas. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: When is the best time to plant Myers lemon trees? I was told two different things by two reputable nurseries. Please help me. I also have a Key lime tree. Can that be planted in the yard or do I need to keep in a large pot? How do I care for the trees? Thank you for your help.

ANSWER: You can plant Myers Lemons anytime if purchased in pots, but there is an outside chance of damage from severe winter cold. Key lime is very tender to cold, so it would be better to keep it in a large pot so that it can be moved to a protected place in the event of severe cold. Mulch over the root areas and fertilize the citrus plants with Fertilome Citrus fertilizer 3 times during the growing season. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: How do I kill bamboo? My neighbor's bamboo hedge is invading our property and creates a lot of maintenance.

ANSWER: If there are only a few canes of bamboo on your property and you can bend the canes so that you can reach the leaves, wipe them with Glyophosphate solution. It will take almost 2 weeks for them to die if in an active growing state. If there is a lot to treat cut off at the ground. Let the sprout 3-5 inches and then spray or wipe with Glyophosphate. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My banana trees freeze back every winter. What should I do or what should I have already done to them to prevent the mess of dead stalks and leaves that I have every spring? Thank you, Roger Maxey

ANSWER: You can cut off all or most of the leaves just leaving bare trunks. The trunks may freeze back but you won't know how far until the end of winter. At that time cut back to where solid. The more trunk remaining the quicker they will recover. Fertilize with Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Wanted to know if I spray round-up in the winter when it is dry if it will work? Thanks

ANSWER: For Roundup to work, the plants need to be in an active growing state. Winter and drought cause dormancy and Roundup probably won't work. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a Lemon tree about four feet tall that freezes back each year. It is finally growing well. Each year I try to protect it when a hard freeze is forecast. I have tried covering it with plastic sheeting, blankets, etc and still its leaves turn brown and fall off. Some of the limb tips and small limbs turn brown and have to be pruned. So far this year we have not had a hard enough freeze to damage it. What should I do to protect my lemon tree? Thank you, Roger Maxey

ANSWER: It appears that you are good to your Lemon tree. There is a material available at Greengate called N-su-late that will protect plants better than plastic or blankets. Fertilize your lemon tree 3 times through the growing season with Fertilome Citrus fertilizer to get vigorous growth. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: What is the earliest date that one could plant shrubs (Hybiscus) and be safe from frost?

ANSWER: Usually the chance of freeze is over March 20th and planting hibiscus is safe. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Since arriving home after Hurricane Rita, I noticed that my Bradford pear tree is blooming! Driving around town I've noticed the same thing all over town. What has caused this and will it harm their natural cycle of growth?

ANSWER: Stress from the hurricane caused plants to go into the reproduction cycle which starts with blooming. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My Satsuma tree has long branches that trail on the ground especially when full of fruit. They need to be pruned back. What time of the year should I prune them?

ANSWER: Cut back at the end of winter. Cut just below on upright growing branch or leaf bud on top of the branch so that the new growth will grow upward. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: What would be a ball park figure for the value of a pine tree over 50 years old & about 75-85 feet tall? Do you know of a reference to determine value of trees that were lost in the storm for tax purposes.

ANSWER: There is a method used by certified Arborists to determine the value of residential shade trees, but there are many factors involved and you would probably need to pay an arborist. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

 QUESTION: Hurricane Rita destroyed a Bradford Pear tree in my front yard, I would like to replace it; when is the best time to plant?

ANSWER: The best time to plant trees is in the late fall. That allows the maximum amount of time for establishment before hot weather next summer. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: When is a good time to plant fruit trees? Apple, orange, and plum? Also, do you need more than one of each to have them produce fruit? Thank You Tammy

ANSWER: Plant fruit trees anytime if available in pots. However, the best time is fall because it gives the maximum amount of time for establishment before hot weather next summer. I apologize for taking so long to answer this. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Dear Sir: I have a dwarf gardenia that has developed some type of fungus. The leaves appear to be variegated as with them being green and white. Someone said this is a fungus. How do I get rid of it? Thank you

ANSWER: The variegation of the dwarf gardenia is normal and is more the rule rather than the exception. Disease is not a factor. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a very tall pine tree in my yard that was struck by lightning. The bark is stripped off about an inch wide on the top part of the tree but does not reach the ground. It stopped 20 feet from the ground. Will the tree die or will it live?

ANSWER: If the lightening wound on your pine tree is only an inch wide, the tree will probably survive. However, the bark may be separated from the trunk further than can be seen. You will know about living or dying in the spring when the sap tries to flow to the top. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have poison ivy in my plant beds. What can I do to get rid of them without harming my plants?

ANSWER: I have gotten rid of poison ivy by wiping the leaves with the generic of Roundup. We have at Greengate a wiper tool that will get the job done without your hands getting close. The plants need to be in an active growing state for the chemical to work. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Since arriving home after Hurricane Rita, I noticed that my Bradford pear tree is blooming! Driving around town I've noticed the same thing all over town. What has caused this and will it harm their natural cycle of growth?

ANSWER: Stress from the hurricane caused plants to go into the reproduction cycle which starts with blooming. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I had a wax myrtle tree that I intended to remove. Hurricane Rita took care of that for me. What should I plant there? It is very near the house and driveway. I don’t want anything that will get too large or that will have invasive roots. Any suggestions?

ANSWER: I am very sorry that I am late answering about replacing your wax myrtle. You did not give me enough information. A few snapshots and the distance from the house would help. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: A friend gave me what he thinks is the bulbs for the saga palm.. This is orange and came from inside the cone. What do I do with it??

ANSWER: Plant your Sago Palm bulb in potting soil in a pot. It may take a long time but you should end up with a rooted plant. Treat with Fertilomw Root Stimulator several times in the spring. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Hi, In the middle of my sago I see some large orange seeds or looks like potatoes? Are they pups? They are still wrapped in the middle. I have never seen them before and I read they grow at the bottom of sago. Do you think these are pups? Thank You, Debbie

ANSWER: The large orange seed looking things in the middle of your Sago are seeds and not pups. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Hi there. We are extending our lanai and want to transplant our 4 Sago Palm trees that will be removed. Please advise the best way to do this. We might not be able to replant them immediately due to the construction...help! Thank you! ~Sarah Freeman

ANSWER: Transplant your Sago Palms digging a root ball like you would for any other plant. Use Fertilome Root Starter solution and Agriform fertilizer tablets when transplanting. The former gets the roots moving and the latter feeds them for one and a half years. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a Satsuma tree in the back yard that is flourishing. It is beginning to get too big and I would like to prune it but I am not sure where to prune or when is the right time of year? Please email response to mjabshire@cox.net

ANSWER: The long loose lower branches of a Satsuma will drag on the ground when weighed down with fruit. Direct the growth into branches that are growing up. Otherwise let it grow naturally. Fertilize with Fertilome Citrus Food. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

 

QUESTION : We are extending our Lanai and want to transplant our four Saga Palm trees that will be removed. Please advice the best way to do this. We might not be able to replant them immediately due to the construction.

ANSWER: Transplant your Sago Palms by digging a root ball like you would for any other plant. Use Fertilome Root Starter solution and Agriform fertilizer tablets when transplanting. The former gets the roots moving and the latter feeds them for one and a half years. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : I have a Satsuma tree in the back yard that is flourishing. It is beginning to get too big and I would like to prune it but I am not sure where to prune or when is the right time of year?

ANSWER : The long loose lower branches of a Satsuma will drag on the ground when weighed down with fruit. Direct the growth into branches that are growing up. Otherwise let it grow naturally. Fertilize with Fertilome Citrus Food. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : While visiting the Houston zoo I saw plant labeled "giant Chinese bamboo", in the primate exhibit. The smaller stalks were at least three inches in diameter and most were six or eight inches in diameter (some appeared larger) and well over twenty feet tall. Is this a plant which can, or should, be considered for ornamental use in a private yard in Southwest Louisiana ? If so, where can it be purchased and when should it be planted?

ANSWER : Giant bamboo can be purchased in Southwest La. We at Greengate Garden Center do not have it in stock at this time, but have easy access. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : We have a large lot, approximately 1.5 acres. It is all sodded with san Augustine grass. Our yard is well established, we have lived in this home for fifteen years. This year our san Augustine has large, dead brown patches all throughout the yard and seems to be spreading. Any ideas on what could be causing this? We have not used any weed and feed or any fertilizer that could have burned the grass. We are concerned it may be a bug or some type of fungus.

ANSWER : The dead brown patches of St Augustine are from insects or fungus or both. Chinch bugs eat the roots and grass dries up. Fungus attacks the grass blades and causes spots and then dying leaves. Come to see us with samples with roots and soil attached and then we can probably determine the problem. Come to see us…Julian Dondis

QUESTION : I have twenty year old oak trees and every year we are loosing more grass under them in a large radius. Is there anything we can do about this?

ANSWER : The grass dying under your oak trees is natural since St. Augustine grass requires at least 20-25% of the day’s sun. I have been pruning my large Live Oaks for many years and have significant amounts of St. Augustine grass underneath. However, I do have large areas of ground cover with liriope, mondo, ivy and fern also. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : Several years ago a vendor gave me three orchids. They’ve only bloomed once. I re-potted them a few months ago and they are doing poorly. They are in a clay pot about 7.5 inches deep – 3 plants. I’ve saved the ‘stick’s on them all this time and they are as follows: 2 each Cookara Tropical Snowflake “H&R’ (Dial.Snowflake x Ctna. Keith Roth) and the other is Bl. Morning Glory “H&R (L. purpurata x B. nodosa) they were so pretty when the bloomed but I just can’t seem to get them to flourish. They are in an office setting w/fluorescent lighting, watered from the bottom of the pot and seem to have nice white roots but the leaves, long, skinny and fairly sturdy, are starting to shrivel up. What should I do?

ANSWER : We have had many orchid plants in our house and have found them easy to grow. They stay much of the time in a large east window with a big high branched live oak filtering the morning sun. My wife waters once per week in the sink with a diluted solution of Orchid food. We have Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium varieties, but do not recognize the varieties that you named. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : I just received a plant called Spathiphyllum. it is about four inches tall. How do I care for this plant? What do I feed it and how much water should it have?

ANSWER : Spaths will take fairly low light but high light without direct sun is the best. Fertilize with three month Osmocote that has a high nitrogen analysis. Check for soil moisture every few days and when it starts to feel dry water thoroughly, until water comes out of the bottom drain holes. It is usually best to water the plant in a sink, shower, etc., let drain for a few hours and then move back to the desired location. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : We transplanted a Myers Limon plant from a neighbors yard to ours Saturday Aug 20th. It was only out of the ground for maybe 2 hours tops. The neighbors soil was very loose so the roots were showing so I covered them up with a sheet until we got her in the ground. We have watered her daily. 1/3 of the leaves have fallen off. She's not looking very good. Today Aug 24th I gave her 1 tbs spoon of miracle grow to 1 gal of water.  Should we prune back the plant? or anything else?

ANSWER : Any time you move anything from the ground, you need to compensate for root loss by trimming at least 1/3 of the plant. Use root stimulator & keep it moist but not wet. If there is any fruit on it, take it off now.

QUESTION : I have a star magnolia I planted in the early spring and the leaves turned brown as if the are burnt and then fell off. I haven't noticed any certain bug around or on it. I need to know if it is normal for this to occur or what is a treatment to care for it. I haven't notice any kind of mildew or mold on the leaves either. I don't know what it could be that is causing the problem. I spent a little money on it and I surely don't want to loose it. Could you please give me a hint to try?

ANSWER : Your Star Magnolia appears normal in the late summer, especially if not mulched and allowed to get dry. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : I visited the nursery and bought an Avocado tree. I would like to know how long it will be before it produce fruit. Also, what do you use to fertilize them and how often?

ANSWER: I have been told by the Avocado plant growers in Florida that the plants that you purchased should produce fruit within one or two years. Fertilize with Fertilome Fruit Tree Food if in the ground or Osmocote if in a pot.

Come back to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My two oak trees in the front yard have a “web” starting to take over. I have never had this problem. What is the “cure”?

ANSWER: Your oak trees have bark lice...It will not hurt your tree. They feed on the algea on the bark. They will move up or down on the tree and after about two weeks they will be gone.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : My daylily flower stalks make a group of leaves about halfway down the stem.Can these be new plants that I could pot, or are they leaves for the flower stalk ?

ANSWER: The leaves on your daylily flower stalks are not new plants. New plants may come from seeds but are best reproduced from expanding root tubers.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION :  My elephant ears shoot up and then the leaves turn yellow. They are watered regularly and I have never used a herbicide on the area. The soil is rich and for the last two years they have been large and beautiful. I see no bugs or fungus. What nutrient are they missing?

ANSWER: Your fast growing Elephant Ears probably need a high nitrogen fertilizer such as Fertilome Tree and Shrub Food to support healthy green growth.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: What type of flowering plant is in season right now? We have a planter on the sidewalk outside of our office and have some Impatients planted in there right now, however, they aren't looking to healthly anymore. I guess the heat is getting to them. We would like to plant something else. (something with flowers)

ANSWER: In place of the Impatients how about dwarf lantana, gold, white or lavender. They are tougher.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a black fungus on my "crepe myrtle" trees. What is the best treatment for this? It looks like little white bugs and I'm thinking the fungus may be their droppings.

ANSWER: The black fungus on your crape myrtle leaves is growing on bug droppings. The bugs are usually aphids & thrips and are easily killed with High Yield Acephate spray. Then the black will gradually go away.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: How do you get a Bougainvillea to bloom?

ANSWER: To get Bougainvilleas to bloom let the plants get dry as possible without permanent damage before watering. Do not use usual fertilizer. Fertilize with Fertilome Blooming & Rooting and not too often.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My mother gave me a sago palm a couple of months ago that came off of her palm. It has started turning a light greenish yellowish color. Should I stop watering it for a while, and will it turn back to its normal color if that's the problem?

ANSWER: Before watering your Sago Palm check for soil moisture with your finger. If already wet do not continue to water. You may have damaged the new roots by over watering.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Can avocados grow in the state of Louisiana . If so where can you purchase one?

ANSWER: Avocados grow very nicely in Southwest Louisiana area. However, they could freeze back in a severe winter. In the mid to north part of the state, they should be planted so they can be protected in winter. They are presently available at our nursery, Greengate Garden Center in Lake Charles .

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I planted three crepe myrtles in May. The leaves were beautiful in color. Since all the rain, they have a black coating on them. They also have a white, real tiny bug on the bottom. So far they do not fly. In one, (around the bark) there are ants. What should I do with this problems? I don't want to loose them.

ANSWER: The black mold on your crape myrtle is growing on the excretion of bugs. The bugs will damage the leaves and flower buds. Kill the bugs and the black mold will gradually go away.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: We have always planted elephant ears and Begonias in the front of our house between the landscaping. This year the elephant ears came up and the stems are curling plus not getting very big. The begonias are wilting and eventually die. We thought it was some weed spray that received a small mist from the application, but when I replaced the elephant ears with healthy ones, they are doing the same thing. Could there be a deficiency in the soil?

ANSWER: Your problems with Begonias and Elephant Ears sounds like it is from herbicide residual in the soil rather than plant nutrient deficiency.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I live in southern California and have an orange tree that has been damaged by fire. Most of the branches are blackened and leaves either burned off or so dry that they crumple to the touch. Should I prune it or just water it and hope for the best?

ANSWER : Scratch your orange tree branches and prune back to live wood. Fertilize and water to encourage new growth.

Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My Sago Palm is yellowing but mostly on the side that faces west. Can you tell me what I should do to stop this? We have had a lot of hot weather and no rain. I do water it about four times a week.

ANSWER: Your Sago Palm sounds like it is suffering from either too much water or not enough. Feel the soil before watering and if moist do not water that day. On the other hand you may not be watering deep enough and the lower roots are suffering. Fertilize with Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food and mulch over the roots to help hold moisture.

Come to see us... Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have Hibiscus that I think either crickets or grasshoppers are eating. How do I get rid of them? Also the yellow Hibiscus have stopped blooming, but the red, orange and pink still have plenty of flowers.

ANSWER: If you find caterpillar worms on your Hibiscus leaves spray or dust with Bacillus Thruingensis. If no worms, treat on the ground under the leaves with Green Light Snail and Slug Bait. The yellow hibiscus will bloom again if not too shady.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: What kind of shrubs grow well in the shade? I’ve been told azaleas and hydrangeas do well. I was hoping to find a couple more types of shrubs to plant.

ANSWER: There are many shrubs that grow in high light shade as well as azaleas and hydrangeas that you mentioned. We have them in a segregated shade area.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: In the spring of 2004, I planted a Muscogee Crape Myrtle. Shortly, thereafter, it bloomed sparingly. So far this year, it has shown no signs of budding or blooming. Is it safe to say, that it will not bloom this season? During the year, it has grown unruly, is it okay to go ahead and prune it? I would like to get it into shape, or should I wait until another time of the year?

ANSWER: From what you have said about the poor blooming and unruly growth of your Muskogee Crape Myrtle, it appears to be in too much shade. If so transplant it in the winter and prune it to improve it's shape at that time. Treat it with Fertilome Root Stimulator in the early spring. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My young Crepe Myrtle has black on the top side of the leaves and white larvae on the underside. Please advise on what to do.

ANSWER: The black mold on your Crape Myrtle is growing on the excretion of bugs. The bugs will damage the leaves and flower buds. Kill the bugs and the black mold will gradually go away.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: We transplanted our large Saga Palm to the backyard four years ago and it is thriving. It has a pup that is about 3' high and we'd like to remove it. What is the best way to do this and not harm either plant? Should we pot the pup for awhile or can we put it right in the ground?

ANSWER: To remove the Sago Palm pup from the mother plant, cut it away from the mother plant as close as possible with a sharp shovel. Replant it in a pot or in the ground as soon as possible and water with a solution of Fertilome Root Stimulator.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a Rubber Tree plant that has grown about eight or nine feet high. It is beginning to have a shoot that is growing off to the side of the main stalk (and growing at a pretty good rate). Can it be trimmed (topped) so it can be bushy rather than a straight stalk? We were barley able to put it under the patio for the winter but won’t be able to again.

ANSWER: Yes, you can cut back your rubber tree and it will sprout wherever you cut from a joint. If you really want it bushy, cut it way back to about a foot above the pot and it will make multiple sprouts. Then cut it back again when the sprouts have grown about two feet and it will then make multiple sprouts on the multiple sprouts. To facilitate growth fertilize with 3 month Osmocote.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I seeded my two acres with Bermuda seed about six weeks ago. I mixed the seed with triple- 8 fertilizer to spread it. The grass is looking good and seems all the seed came up. I was wondering if I should fertilize the grass again? What should I use and what rate should I apply at ?

ANSWER: Bermuda Grass likes more fertilizer than St. Augustine grass. Fertilize again with Fertilome Lawn Food. The chemical nature of the main nutrients will allow it to last much longer than triple- 8 fertilizer.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: We have recently cleared our acre lot but left all of our hardwood trees standing. What do you suggest we fertilize the oak trees with and how much? Is it too late to fertilize now?

ANSWER: It is not too late to fertilize with Fertilome Tree Food, and the suggested rate of application is determined by trunk diameter and is on the bags.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I used Fertilome with iron to get my grass green. In some areas it burnt my grass. What can I do to get the burnt grass green ASAP?

ANSWER: Water your grass regularly and it should rapidly recover. The burned grass is probably due to dry ground at the time of application and/or too much fertilizer in some spots. You used a good fertilizer.

Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have recently purchased a lot that I intend to build a house on. It has about twelve oak trees on it. They appear to be mostly pin oak or white oaks. I need to move some dirt around. What precautions should I take in hauling in or moving dirt around some of the oaks in low lying parts of the lot?

ANSWER: Do not spread more than one inch of compacted soil over your oak tree roots. It probably would kill or severely damage the trees.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : If you just have one yellow crooked squashed and planted the seed from it, would you get more squash from it? Or do you have to have a male and female squash planted together for success of the raising more squash?

ANSWER: If the seed was taken from a mature squash, the seeds should be viable(good). The squash plants have both male and female flowers on the same plant, so one plant is sufficient.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have two large Crepe Myrtles in my yard that sparsely bloom. However, several of my neighbors' trees are loaded with full, colorful flowers. What could be the problem with mine?

ANSWER: The most common reason for poor flowering of crape myrtles is insufficient sunlight. The insects in the flower beds are also often the problem.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION : I have a "volunteer" Mimosa tree that is about four years old. It is probably 15 ft. high already. The trunk is about 4-5 inches across- and about 3 feet from my foundation. Can I dig up my BABY and move it down into my yard? Or should I just let well enough alone? If I can move her, how do I do it? I don't want to take any chances with losing my PRIDE! This is the first year that she bloomed.

ANSWER: It would be very difficult to move a Mimosa tree of that size successfully without using a "tree spade".

QUESTION: My Hydrangea are blooming beautifully, and just as the began to peak, the flower wilts and dies back. Why, and what can I do to prevent this?

ANSWER: Your wilting and dying Hydrangea flowers are probably due to lack of moisture.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Something is rooting around in my flower beds and making holes and "trenches". Do you know what it could be and what can I do?

ANSWER: The holes and trenches in your flower beds are probably due to Armadillos looking for bugs to eat. Kill the bugs with High Yield grub insecticide granules and the Armadillos will move elsewhere.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a fig tree that is about 2-3 years old. I water it about every other day in the evening. I noticed that some of the leaves are turning yellow. What causes this and how can I prevent it in the future?

ANSWER: Fertilize your fig two to three times during the growing season at 75 to 90 day intervals, starting in mid March with Fertilome Fruit Tree Food. The yellow leaves could also relate to insufficient moisture.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: What is the root system of the Saga palm? Does it grow down or across? How deep do the roots get? Can the roots lift a sidewalk?

ANSWER: A Sago Palm roots grow down and across. The roots do not get big enough to lift a sidewalk.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have Sega palms outside my home but I recently purchased a smaller version of the Sega palm in a nice pot for inside. It didn’t come with any instructions. How often does this little palm need water? It’s so beautiful inside and I want to care for it as best I can. How much light does it require?

ANSWER: Every few days stick a finger or moisture meter into the soil to test for moisture. Do not water if already moist. I do not think that you can successfully grow a Sago Palm under a roof with just windows for light.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have what I believe to be yellow jacket that have built in the wall of my house, on the outside of the house it looks like a hornet nest but the bees look like a yellow jacket, we sprayed with some wasp & Hornet spray that we have used before, but this time it didn't kill these yellow bees. we have sprayed with Diesel & Demon as well. What can we do to move them out, so far no one has been sting,they have not been aggress at all.

ANSWER: Try spraying with Cyper WP Insecticide. It has a very good residual. Follow directions on the label.

Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I was wandering what do I use to fertilize my Sago Palms, I just got them and I don't know what to do for them. I got on one site that says to use the following for late June-early July - apply slow-release 3-1-2 ratio fertilizers. (Recommended formulations 19-5-9 , 19-4-10 , 18-4-6 , 15-5-10 .) Do I just pick one of them or do I mix all of them and them fertilize my Sago Palms and also, where can I purchase these fertilizers? Can you please help me?

ANSWER: Come to Greengate Garden Center in Lake Charles , La. and they will give you the correct fertilizer.

Julian Dondis

QUESTION: How often should Satsumas be watered when it is dry?

ANSWER: To determine when to water any plant, put your finger in the soil. If it is moist, do not water. Check the soil with your finger or a moisture meter every few days and water when dry.

QUESTION: Every year my Coleus plants get a white, sticky growth on their branches. What is this and how can it be prevented? I have them planted in pots on a porch, but they receive morning and afternoon sun light.

ANSWER: It sounds like either mealy bugs or cottony cushion scale that gets on your Coleus. Use the Fertilome Systemic Insecticide Granules in the soil of the containers and spray your plant occasionally with a systemic insecticide that has coleus on the label.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have two  Saga Palms about ten years old. One of the palms has put on a long cone in the middle. It appears that the fronds around the cone are dying. Do I need to leave the cone alone or do I need to cut it out?

ANSWER: The cone in your Sago Palm is the pollinating mechanism and it takes considerable energy away from leaf growth, so removal should help leaf growth.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I would like to know how to preserve Magnolia blooms in order to use them in arrangements.

ANSWER: We have a product called Rose & Flower Preservative. It should extend the appearance of the bloom long enough to be used in an arrangement, but we have not had personal experience with the product.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have two large Sago Palms in the front yard. We have a tradition during homecoming football season to toilet paper the front yards. I thought that the paper was sticking to the bottom of the leaves. The palms made new growth one week ago. I just notice that the new leaves have some type of white powder, white spots on the bottom of the leaf (fan ).It covers the whole leaf from the base to the end. It does look like pieces of white powder.  One palm is a lot bigger than the other but was the same size when planted.

ANSWER: The white on the bottom of the Sago Palm leaves is most probably scale insects, but it sounds a bit strange. It would be best to bring a sample to Greengate for us to see and judge. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Can Saga Palms be cut back? Will they start new shoots from the bottom of the base or will they looking strange? Mine is getting to big and I want it confined and thought pruning it may help.

ANSWER: I recently did some severe trimming of my old Sago Palm. I removed all of the heads around the main trunk except two at the base and it looks much better. I fertilized it with Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a tree in my front yard that has 'white' mulberries. I've never heard of this, only the purple ones. Is there a white mulberry and are there many in this area?

ANSWER: I have never seen or heard about a white Mulberry. You may have a variant that if attractive or tasty a grower may want to propagate. Sounds interesting. If convenient bring me a few, to see and taste at Greengate...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: A friend gave me some Saga palms that had grown off of hers. Where do I begin with these new growth palms. Do I plant them in pots first or can I plant them in my garden immediately. and what are the growing do's and don’ts on this plant?

ANSWER: If you see other Sago Palms growing in your area by all means plant yours either in the ground or in pots. They are not hard to grow.

 Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I need to know if the seeds in the palm can be planted and a palm will grow or not?

ANSWER: Palm seeds are an integral part of the reproductive system and should produce new plants that almost always resemble the parent plant. But, not two different offspring produced by seed are identical, sometimes there can be significant variations. There is also significant variation of seed germination from different plants. Good Luck!

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

 QUESTION: My husband has just pruned three out of four of our fig trees. Without any knowledge, he took it upon himself just to saw the branches off the trees. What is remaining is the trunks and shoot braches about two to three feet long. He sawed off about ten feet of the individual branches. I am devastated and want to know if we can do anything to help these poor once gracious fruit trees back to healthy plants.

ANSWER: Fig trees are tough and yours will most likely grow back and make nice trees. Fertilize as soon as possible with Fertilome Fruit Tree Food. Water deep during the hot dry months. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My rose bushes get these fuzzy worms on them and I wondered if it was because there are pecan trees nearby. Can I get rid of them without killing my rose bushes? Also, they will bloom and look healthy and all of a sudden half of the leaves will be eaten off and yellow spots will appear on the remaining leaves.

ANSWER: Spraying with Thuricide will kill the worms on your roses. Spray with Fertilome Systemic Fungicide to stop the yellowing leaves.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a small flower box in my front yard that is being destroyed by acorn planting squirrels. I tried putting red pepper but that doesn't seem to discourage the chubby little guys. Any ideas?

ANSWER: To discourage squirrel digging put weed barrier cloth over the soil and use pins to keep it in place...Good Luck!

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: We have carpenter bees in the rafters underneath our deck roof for the second year now. They are damaging the wood and making a mess. What's the best way to eliminate them for good.

ANSWER: Carpenter bees are very difficult. Squirt Permethrin solution into the holes and plug with caulking. Come to see us... We are fighting them at Greengate also...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have bullet-shaped holes appearing on the leaves of my Hostas. What is causing them and what do I do about it?

ANSWER: If you do not see worms feeding on your hostas the problem is from snails and slugs feeding at night. Treat on the ground around the plants with Green Light Snail & Slug Bait.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: We have two Chinese pistachio trees that have leafed out real good, but the trees are loosing the bark. It just seems to be curling and peeling off. What can we do? We would hate to loose these trees

ANSWER: My Chinese Pistachio tree has had peeling bark for approximately 30 years and it is a healthy tree.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My Sago Palm is turning yellow. Can you offer any reasons?

ANSWER: Yellow leaves on Sago is probably due to scale insects on leaves, soil that is too acid or too wet.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: A friend gave us an assortment of Palm trees, but we do not know about care and maintenance for these plants. Some of the plants have brown tips. Can we cut them back?

ANSWER: I use Osmocote (14-14-14) every 3 months in the pots with palm trees. If planted in the ground I use Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food. You can trim the brown tips off the palm fronds or just remove the bad looking fronds and leave the good ones.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I don't know what is wrong with my tomato plants. They are real pretty but some of the branches are wilted. The leaves are wilted. I don't see any worms and nothing is eaten on the plant it just has some wilted leaves. Could you let me know what I have to do to fix this problem?

ANSWER: It sounds like a moisture problem. It is probably that you are watering too often. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Water very well, but not as often.Come to see us.

Julian Dondis

QUESTION: What is the best and I guess fast growing shade tree that is evergreen that may not loose a lot of leaves?

ANSWER: A Live Oak would be the best evergreen shade tree with a spreading habit of growth and long life. They do drop all of their leaves at one time in the spring when new growth begins. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

 QUESTION: We have a Meyer lemon tree that has yielded enormous crops. It followed its regular regimen and had tons of flowers that now have become lemons – still very small and green. But the problem is that the tree is rapidly defoliating and a lot of the lemons are falling off. It is about 8 years old and has constantly produced fruit. I also notice that the birds seem to have a great time with the tree around this particular season of the fruit bearing as well and we always have fruit that has been pecked on by the birds. But now it almost looks as though we might be losing this tree. What can you tell us to help solve this problem? This tree has given us so much pleasure all these years and is a conversation piece as well…we are very upset.

ANSWER: Make sure you do all of the cultural things... Water well in the dry season, make sure the trees have good drainage and put mulch around them. Check for bugs and treat if present. Fertilize 3 times through the growing season. Damage could have resulted from spreading a weed & feed over the grass in the vicinity of the tree root area.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: How do I get rid of crawfish in my lawn?

 ANSWER: Pour Carbaryl liquid or powder into the holes. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I recently bought two Magnolia Fiscoti's from Greengate I would like to know how often they need to be watered and will it hurt to use miracle grow on them?

 ANSWER: Every few days stick your finger or a moisture meter into the soil under your Magnolia Fuscata, and if dry soak with water. If already wet, leave them alone. Go ahead and use Miracle Grow at the recommended rate. Thank you for buying the plants from Greengate.

Come back to see us soon.

Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My front porch faces due east and gets a blistering morning sun. What shrubs can I plant so that they survive that morning sun and look nice all year round?

 ANSWER: So many plants will thrive in full morning sun. They vary in scale (size), shape, texture, and color. Bring us a picture of your front porch, nearby areas and dimensions and then we can be specific in making recommendations.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have been planting vinca (periwinkles) in my flower beds for several years now. However, the last two years, the new ones I planted started dying after about two to three weeks. They weltered and died. They are in the sun most of the day. Could it be the soil? I water them at least every other day.

ANSWER: There are two things that I suspect may be causing the death of your periwinkles. If you are watering at least every other day, you probably have been watering too much and causing root rot. Do not water anything without first checking for soil moisture with your finger or a moisture meter. If already wet, do not add water. When planting do not cover the new plant roots with soil. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My garden seems to be growing well but tomato plants are not that green. What fertilizer can I use to "green it up". I am currently using a slow release.

ANSWER: Use Fertilome Tomato and Vegetable Food on your tomatoes.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have about a 20ft long area next to my brick home that is shaded by a large oak tree. I need to plant some type of shrubbery that will thrive in the shade with no direct sunlight. I like color. I have tried several shrubs that did not make it. What are your suggestions?

ANSWER: Hydrangea is an excellent flowering plant for shady areas. There is a new variety that blooms all summer called Endless Summer. Jacobina is an unusual shrubby plant that blooms in the shade. The natural habitat for Azaleas and Camellias is under trees. A new azalea variety that blooms almost continuously is called Encore.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I was wondering if it is OK to plant sweet-olive trees next to the house? My house is on a slab and I don't know if the roots will eventuality grow under my house and harm the foundation. Any help on this matter will be most appreciated.

ANSWER: Sweet Olive roots will not hurt your house slab. Come to see us. We have Sweet Olive plants.

Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have some rose bushes that are located around pecan trees. My roses start blooming and looking beautiful and I start getting these big fuzzy worms. Is it from the pecan trees and what can I do to get rid of them without killing my roses?

ANSWER: The fuzzy worms are easily killed by spraying or dusting with Bacillus Thruingensis.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I would like to know what I can use to kill wasps that are nesting in our bushes next to the house without harming any of the shrubbery. I have been told that there are products that will do this and leave a repellent so they will not return. However, to this point I cannot find anything.

ANSWER: We have a wasp and hornet spray that our service personnel use all the time.

Come to see us at Greengate...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Are you supposed to spray plum trees? If so what do you use and when?

ANSWER: Spray your plum trees when the blossom petals are approximately 1/2 fallen with Fertilome Fruit Tree spray. Read the directions on the container.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a "beefsteak begonia" in a pot that blooms often and it is beautiful. The problem is that there is something eating the leaves leaving a hole in the middle of the leaf. What can I do about this?

ANSWER: If you cannot find worms on your Begonia leaves the damage is probably from snails or slugs at night. Put Green Light Snail & Slug Bait on the soil in the pot and on the ground around the pot.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I transferred two 3-foot camellia bushes that had grown on the west side of my house in Southern California about 20 feet over. The leaves are turning brown, drying out, and fall off to the touch. Do you have any suggestions?

ANSWER: Try to save your camellias by cutting back and treating with a root stimulator solution. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Is there any way to stop an extremely large, old mulberry tree over our patio from having fruit? It didn't until a couple years ago. I don’t know which is the worst; the berries or the purple bird droppings. Same question about pecan trees.

ANSWER: I do not know how to keep your Mulberry and Pecan trees from fruiting. You may want to consider removing the Mulberry tree.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My wife and I were lucky enough to buy a house with  five big and beautiful sago palms and I am wondering  about  pruning .  I have seen some saga palms trimmed from the bottom  up  to give them a "tree stalk" like appearance with the  leaves fanning out at the top and absolutely no  leaves  at the bottom towards the ground.  Also, I have seen  saga palms very thick from the bottom where you  cannot  see the trunk. I prefer the latter (and not the  tree  trunk like appearance where there are no leaves from  the ground up, except for the very top).  What type of pruning leads to the thick bottoms where  you can't see the trunk?  Should I trim back the  new  leaves that come up from the top in order to keep  the  old lower leaves healthy? 

Lastly, my dog relieves himself on some of the ends  of  the palm leaves as they fan out. Short of pruning  these back to get them out of his "range",  I guess  there is not much I can do there...any suggestions? 

ANSWER: The Sago Palms make many smaller palms (pups) at their base which together with the mother plant become a big mound. I personally like the look of being able to see the texture of the mother plant with a few of the pups developing at it's base, thereby removing most of the pups. Come to see us....Julian Dondis

QUESTION: We have a rather large pear tree not even 20 feet from our back door. It yields a large amount of the fruit every summer and it is quite a problem. The fruit is usually rotten by the time they fall to the ground and with so many we are forced to rake them up every few days to control not only the stench but also the flies. Is there anything that can be done to discourage the tree from producing such an abundant amount of fruit or should we just consider cutting down the tree?

ANSWER: Regarding the fruiting pear tree near your back door, weigh it's advantages and disadvantages and consider removing the tree.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: How often should I change the potting soil in my container plants? What trees should I plant in an area that is large but has poor drainage?

ANSWER: Container plants continually lose soil when being watered and gradually sink in the pot. Once a year raise the plants or move them into a larger pot using a good quality potting soil such as Fertilome potting mix. Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I am concerned about my Bradford pear tree because it has a moss like substance growing on the trunk of the tree and outward to limbs, etc. I looked it up online and could not find a picture of the stuff that is on my tree. It is greyish/light green in color and feels like moss. (Like little needles all bunched together, or shag carpet) I also found it on four other small bushes that died. They were totally covered with it. I also just planted a flowering dogwood tree. It now has small holes in the leaves that are red in color. From a distance, it looks black.

Finally, I have a large gardenia bush that is thriving and blooming yearly just beautifully, but it appears to have a black substance covering the leaves. It does not scratch off or wash off and does not seem to be hurting the bush, but thought I might mention it in case it is the beginning of something I need to worry about.

ANSWER: Your Bradford Pear tree and other plants that are and have done poorly have Lichen on the trunks and branches. That means that they have been in stress due to lack of nutrient, too wet, too dry, lawnmower damage, etc. It is easy to kill the lichen with a copper sulphate spray but that does not solve the cause of the problem.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: My home faces the west and gets shade in the morning and hot sun in the evening. What plants would be best for this condition?

ANSWER: There are many more plants that thrive in sun than in shade, such as hollies, Indian Hawthorn and outdoor palms. But size is also an important factor. Bring pictures to your nurseryman.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: Is there a liquid concentrate that can be mixed and sprayed around homes and building to prevent ants from entering these areas?

ANSWER: Better than spraying would be to spread High-Yield Kill-a-Bug granules around the foundation. It is also available in a liquid, but the granules will last longer.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I recently purchased a rosemary plant and a cyclamen plant. The rosemary plant has died either from too much or too little watering. Can the dried leaves be crushed and used for cooking? The cyclamen plant is on my sun porch and is beautiful, with many flowers blooming. Should I plant it outside in the spring or do you think it will continue to thrive inside? Does it bloom seasonally?

ANSWER: The dried rosemary leaves can be used for cooking. The cyclamen plants are planted all over my yard. They have thrived with temperatures as low as 20 degrees F and will last until it gets hot. They are the only bedding plant that will bloom all winter in the shade or sun, but they will last longer in the shade.

QUESTION: I have peach, citrus, pear and fig trees. When should these be pruned?

ANSWER: Regarding pruning fruit trees: If removing entire branches you can do it any time. If trimming do it just before new growth emerges in the spring and fertilize with the appropriate Fertilome plant food at the same time.

QUESTION: We were wondering--how much space in a yard do you need for a Meyer lemon tree to produce well? How tall and what kind of spread does it get to? Are there any special planting methods that we need to know about? We plan on planting the lemon tree in the backyard, which is on the East side of the house. I was worried about the North winds hurting it. It will be planted on the side of a building protecting it from the north wind. Is that okay?

ANSWER: Allow 12-15 feet for a lemon tree that may get to 10-12 wide and tall. If planting where the ground is flat with heavy soil, do not dig a hole. Take the undisturbed roots out of the pot and place on top of the ground and build up a wide mound around the roots with potting soil mix. Mulch over the roots and mound with compost or cypress mulch.

Come to see us. We do have Meyer Lemon plants in 3 and 10 gallon pots.

Julian Dondis

QUESTION: I have a decorative indoor corn plant. The plant is slowly dying. I've tried using fertilizer and replanting it in a larger pot. Is there anything I can do to save this plant?

ANSWER: It needs, a good potting soil. Fertilome and Shultz soils are good. The water needs to drain easily out of the bottom of the pot. Do not water until the soil starts to feel dry. Feel with your finger down to the first joint. If you think that light may be a factor, move the plant outdoors in the summer to a shady, high light location. Clean the leaves with a damp slightly soapy cloth every month or two. If you are not sure about insects or disease bring us leaves that appear infected.

Come to see us...Julian Dondis

 

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