Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
There are white, fuzzy objects on the branches of my maple tree. Are they harming the tree?
Answer:

The white, fuzzy objects on the branches of your maple tree are wooly alder aphids.  (The insect is also known as the maple blight aphid.)  Wooly alder aphids feed on the sap of maple trees from bud-break until late June.  Then...

Question:
How do I control grasses in my iris bed?
Answer:

Annual grasses, such as crabgrass and foxtail, can be controlled by hand pulling.  

Perennial grasses, such as quackgrass, are much more difficult to control as they spread via underground stems or rhizomes.  (All of the rhizomes...

Question:
When should I divide my perennials?
Answer:

The best time to divide perennials varies with the different plant species.  Early spring (just as new growth begins to appear) is the best time to divide aster, chrysanthemum, hosta, bee balm, sedum, yarrow, obedient plant, and ornamental...

Question:
How do I germinate butterfly weed seeds?
Answer:

Harvest the seed pods of butterfly weed when the pods begin to split.  Seeds can be sown directly outdoors in late fall or started indoors.  

When sowing seeds outdoors, work up the soil in a protected location in early to mid-...

Question:
Which perennials bloom in late summer/early fall?
Answer:

Late summer/early fall blooming perennials include,

  • New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae),
  • New York aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii),
  • boltonia (Boltonia asteroides...
Question:
What type of grass seed mix should I purchase?
Answer:

When purchasing grass seed, select a high quality seed mix that is best adapted to the site.  Kentucky bluegrass is the best choice for sunny areas that receive at least 6 hours of direct sun each day.  Choose a seed mix that contains...

Question:
How do I establish a new lawn from seed?
Answer:

The first step in planting a new lawn is the establishment of the rough grade.  Remove construction debris, then fill in low spots and level off high areas.  The ground should slope away from the foundation of the house, drive, and...

Question:
How do I harvest, dry, and store shallots?
Answer:

Harvest mature bulbs in late summer when the tops have turned yellow and begun to dry.  Cure the shallots in a warm, dry location for 1 to 2 weeks.  After the shallots have been cured, cut off the dry foliage, place the bulbs in a mesh...

Question:
Is it necessary to fertilize annuals growing in containers?
Answer:

Plants in containers need to be fertilized on a regular basis as nutrient levels in potting mixes quickly fall due to absorption by plants and leaching during watering.  

Many commercial potting mixes contain a slow release fertilizer...

Question:
What would be a good planting site for chrysanthemums?
Answer:

Chrysanthemums perform best in moist, well-drained soils.  Avoid wet, poorly drained sites.  Improve hard, difficult-to-work soils by incorporating 2 to 3 inches of organic matter, such as compost, peat, or barnyard manure, into the...

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