Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
How do I harvest snap beans?
Answer:

Snap beans (also called green beans, string beans, or wax beans) should be harvested frequently and thoroughly.  Leaving mature pods on the plant decreases yields as the bean plant puts its energy into seed development rather than additional...

Question:
How do I harvest tomatoes?
Answer:

The fruit of most tomato cultivars generally begins to ripen in August. Fruit production for early maturing cultivars such as ‘Early Girl’ or many of the cherry and grape tomatoes generally begins in mid- to late-July.

Tomatoes should be...

Question:
How do I get rid of mushrooms in my yard or garden bed?
Answer:

Mushrooms are the reproductive or fruiting structures of fungi. Their appearance in the lawn is usually indicative of decaying tree stumps or roots in the soil.  In garden beds, mushrooms can appear because they are associated with decaying...

Question:
Do I have to treat or chip the wood when I cut down an emerald ash borer infected tree?
Answer:

Ash trees infected with emerald ash borer (EAB) do not need to be treated or chipped when removed.  If you do plan to keep the wood for campfires or fireplaces use it on your property and do not transport the wood to new locations.  Any...

Question:
How do I sanitize my pruners and other garden tools to prevent the spread of disease?
Answer:

Proper cleaning and sanitization of pruners and other garden tools is important to prevent the spread of disease issues.  At minimum when removing disease-infected plant material, pruners should be disinfected between plants.  Ideally,...

Question:
How do I control poison hemlock and wild parsnip?
Answer:

Control of wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) and poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is the same.  Safely removing these weeds from the landscape is important as both species can be toxic to humans and animals.  ...

Question:
How and when do I prune suckers from the base of my tree?
Answer:

Remove suckers with a hand pruners as soon as they appear from their point of origin.  Often this requires pulling a little bit of soil back to find the base and clip it off while still less than 6 to 12 inches in length.  If suckers...

Question:
How do I control perennial grassy weeds in the lawn?
Answer:

Perennial grassy weeds die back to ground level in fall but send up new growth in spring.  These weed species have long narrow leaves with parallel veins.  They are often in the poaceae (grass) family or a closely related family and are...

Question:
How do I store seeds collected from my garden?
Answer:

Once seeds are collected and properly cleaned, they need to be stored.  Proper storage conditions for seeds are essential to maintain viability and good germination at planting time. ...

Question:
How do I prepare seeds collected from my garden after harvesting them?
Answer:

The late growing season is a good time to collect seeds from vegetables and flowers.  Seed saving allows gardeners to preserve heirloom varieties or their favorite plants from year to year. Once harvested, the seed will need to be cleaned to...

Question:
When and how do I harvest seeds to grow next year?
Answer:

The late growing season is a good time to collect seeds from vegetables and flowers.  Seed saving allows gardeners to preserve heirloom varieties or their favorite plants from year to year. 

Collect the Seed When Mature

...

Question:
Which plants are easiest to save seed from?
Answer:

Look for Open-Pollinated Plants

It is easiest to save seed from varieties of vegetables and plants that are open-pollinated.  These seedlings typically resemble the parent plants as long as they are not allowed to cross pollinate...

Question:
How do I manage and kill poison ivy in my garden?
Answer:

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a native vine common to woodland areas but found frequently growing in gardens and along fence lines.  This vine causes an allergic reaction (dermatitis) in most people when their skin comes in...

Question:
Why is my newly planted tree declining or dying?
Answer:

Unfortunately, there is not one standard answer to this question!  When trying to determine the primary cause of the problem, several factors need to be given consideration. Remember that dieback does not always occur in the first year. Some...

Question:
How do I control weedy vines?
Answer:

Weedy vines are fast growing plants, getting very large in a relatively short amount of time often climbing and covering other garden plants. If left to grow, they can smother other plants blocking out light and killing the desirable plant.

...
Question:
How do I control woody weeds like honeysuckle, tree of heaven, or mulberry?
Answer:

Woody weeds are trees and shrubs that have woody plant tissue.  They are perennial and typically classified as eudicots, although some may belong to other plant groups like gymnosperms (conifers).  Examples of woody weeds include...

Question:
How do I control perennial grassy weeds, like quackgrass, zoysiagrass, or nimblewill in my garden and lawn?
Answer:

Perennial grassy weeds die back to ground level in fall but send up new growth in spring.  These weed species have long thin leaves with parallel veins.  They are often in the poaceae (grass) family or a closely related family and are...

Question:
How do I control perennial broadleaf weeds in my garden and lawn?
Answer:

Perennial broadleaf weeds die back to ground level in fall but send up new growth in spring.  These weed species have leaves that are wider and often have a major vein running down the center of the leaf with secondary veins branching off of...

Question:
Can trimming, pruning, & mowing be used to control weeds effectively?
Answer:

Cutting back or mowing off weeds is sometimes used to control weeds in the garden or lawn.  Timely or frequent cutting back stresses the weed and reduces its competitive advantage over more desirable plants.  Consistent removal of the...

Question:
How can I use preemergent herbicides to control weeds?
Answer:

Preemergent herbicides are used to prevent weeds from growing. They interrupt the growing process of a newly germinating plant, preventing that plant from becoming established.  Preemergent herbicides will not impact mature or established...

Question:
How do I manage annual weeds?
Answer:

Annual weeds grow rapidly, flower, set seed and die in a single season. New annual weeds, such as crabgrass, velvetleaf, purslane, knotweed, lambsquarter and foxtail, germinate from seeds each year. Before they die, most annual weeds produce...

Question:
How can flame weeding be used to control weeds?
Answer:

Flame weeding is the use of intense heat, usually produced by a propane torch or other fuel-burning device, to kill weeds.  This organic option for weeding causes the water and sap inside the plant cell to boil and expand rupturing the cell...

Question:
Can I manage weeds with boiling water?
Answer:

Pouring boiling water on weeds can be used especially in situations where other plants are not nearby, such as in cracks in patios or sidewalks.   Boiling water will act as a contact "herbicide", killing only the portion of the plant it...

Question:
Why is my lilac, crabapple, or forsythia blooming in fall, instead of spring?
Answer:

Occasionally, spring blooming shrubs and trees, like lilac, crabapple, or forsythia, will bloom out of season during the fall months.  This out-of-season bloom is usually triggered by stressful environmental conditions during the summer...

Question:
How do I know if a plant is a weed?
Answer:

A weed is any plant growing out of place.

A weed is simply a plant out of place.   By this definition, any plant could be a weed if growing in a location where it is not wanted.  

There...

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