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FAQs / Ask the Expert | Hewitts Garden Centers
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FAQs / Ask the Expert

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Gardening

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Hello. I had a container garden last year that did very well. I am wondering if I have to replace all of the soil that is still in the containers or is there something I can mix in to reuse it? Thank You. Pam

No need to replace the soil unless you had disease problems. You can renew the nutritional value of the soil by blending in some Espoma Garden-tone or Flower-tone. I do this in all my large pots and planters every year….works great!

Mark as helpful. 40

I planted a Hydrangea plant 3 years ago and it has yet to bloom. It will produce the green leaves.

There are many differnt hydrangeas and several reasons why your hydrangea isn’t blooming…the first that comes to mind is: ‘Not enough sun’ Since I don’t know what type of hydrangea you have nor enough clues to answer your question, I’ll direct you to this website…great information: http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/index.html

Mark as helpful. 25

We recently dug up some daffodil and tulip bulbs to redo our garden — can we plant them now or do we need to dry them and plant in the fall?

By now the bulbs have stored as much energy for next year’s flowering so it is up to you whether you want to replant now or in the fall. You can replant now if the space is available or later if it is not. I like to see bulbs like daffodils, tulips and such planted as early in the fall as possible so they have a chance to root in and grab some nutrients before winter. By early in the fall I mean late September or early October. The later they go in, the less chance they have to set roots which help keep the bulbs from being forced up but frost.

Mark as helpful. 20

do I remove the leafs from my perinnel garden or do I rake if in the spring. Thank you for your help.

I leave the leaves on my perennial bed. They will protect the crowns of the perennials from drying sun and wind over the winter. This is important especially if we have a snowless winter…snow is the best protection leaves second best. Resist the urge to rake the leaves out too early in spring. The layer of leaves will help keep the sun from thawing out the beds during any early warm weather we might get in late February and March. A week of warm weather and sun can thaw the soil and bring our perennials out of dormancy too early. When the cold returns, it can damage or kill perennials that were lured out of dormancy too early. I’d leave the leaves on the beds until mid to late April or so. Peter Bowden

Mark as helpful. 18

When lilies are done blooming and go to seed (big pods at top), do we need to keep them 6 feet tall or can we cut them down? Will cutting them prevent the little baby lilies from forming below the soil?

You should cut off the top of the lily stem to remove the seed pods that are forming there after the flowers finish. The plant pumps a lot of energy into those seeds while we’d rather that energy be sent to the bulb below to be stored for the next flowering cycle and to create new baby bulbs below the soil. The remaining leaves should be left to gather sunlight (food) as long as they are green. Once they turn yellow they can be cut off. The longer you can maintain those leaves, the faster your lily bulbs will reproduce.

Mark as helpful. 16

Peter,I have been planting my tulips bulbs in late Sept, early Oct, and the moles or something are eating them. always in the same spot on the left side of my house, the ones on the right front they leave alone, what can i put in that is healthy and natural to repell, what I think is moles, eating my bulbs

One of the most common problems folks run into is having their bulbs dug up or eaten by mice, chipmunks, squirrels and voles. In the past this has been dealt with by adding black pepper to the planting holes or, in extreme cases, by surrounding the bulbs with wire mesh. Thankfully there’s a product that has come on the market in the last few years that makes those techniques obsolete and unnecessary. I’m talking about MoleMax. MoleMax is an extract of Castor Beans and the presence of it in the soil keeps moles, voles, and any burrowing rodents away. Just to keep the record straight, moles are NOT the culprit when your bulbs are dug up or eaten. Moles only eat insect larvae (like grubs) and earthworms but not plants or bulbs. Usually chipmunks are the real culprit but their cuteness seems to earn them immunity from blame. I’ll take a mole over a chipmunk any day. Here’s the directions from the package for using MoleMax when planting bulbs: For Bulbs: After placing bulb in hole, apply one (1) tablespoon of product into the hole, making sure granules surround the bulb, then backfill with soil. I’ve used MoleMax and it works great. I’ll apply it again in the spring to the area as a follow up. In reality I apply MoleMax to all my flowerbeds in spring to discourage the moles. If I can keep the moles out of the flowerbed then my dog won’t be tempted to try to dig them out. The mole damage is minor but the destruction the dog can do in a few minute of digging is something I’m glad to avoid.

Mark as helpful. 14

My flower gardens are covered in moss. I did a PH test (thank you for the “how to” on your blog) and surprisingly they all came out in the 7.0 to 8.0 range. They are fairly shady areas, but they do get at least 4 hours of sun and they are not kept overly wet. Any ideas as what I should do to solve this problem?

I’m glad you pH is good but, as you see, moss can still grow in neutral soil.   I’d rough up the area and consider mulching the area between the plants.  You can tear brown paper leaf bag up and fit the pieces among the plants then cover the paper with a 2″ layer of cedar mulch.  This will smother the moss over time.

Mark as helpful. 13

I have some Stella D’ora daylilies that I planted about five years ago. The plantings have become quite large. I know I need to separate them, as they are not blooming as abundtantly as they had been. What time of year is the best time to separae and replant them? Should I wait until the fall after they have bloomed, or can they be separated now, when they are just starting to form flower buds?

If there is no hurry to do this, I’d wait until September to divide them.  While daylilies are robust and can probably handle summer dividing, they’ll be all floppy and beat looking for the rest of the summer.  Why not enjoy them for the summer and divide them at the end of the season?   Summer dividing is so rough on them (and any plant) that there is nothing to be gained by dividing them now.

Mark as helpful. 13

Hi Peter!I bought one of those new variety Peony plants this Spring. Awesome, huge yellow flowers. But, after the flower falls off, am I supposed to deadhead? And, do I cut to the ground in the Fall?Thanks!

Yes snip off (deadhead) the flowers when they finish to stimulate reblooming.   Yes, cut then to the grown after hard freezes have killed the foliage.  A light covering of evergreen boughs will help keep the soil from thawing out during winter warm spells that may occur.  Resist the urge to uncover them until late March.

Mark as helpful. 13

Correct watering of hydrangeas

Hydrangeas like evenly moist soil but not wet soil.  It is best to water deeply but only when necessary than wait a couple of weeks and check the soil.  If you even think it felt moist, don’t water it and check again in a few days.  They need less water than most folks think…nothing kills a plant quicker than over watering.  Water by soaking the soil but keep the leaves dry.  NEVER SPRAY WATER.  Spraying you hydrangea or any of your landscape plants shocks them with cold water and promotes fungal diseases.   It would be a good idea to feed your hydrangea and all your other Shrubs, trees and perennials right away.  More on that here. 

Mark as helpful. 11

How do I get rid of a rabbit in my garden that is eating my vegetables?

The easy answer is to build a fence to keep the rabbits out of the garden. I’ll assume that you’re not in a situation where a fence is feasible. At Hewitt’s we have ‘Repels-All’ which is a combination of dried blood, putrescent whole egg solids and garlic oil. It can be quite effective and claims to last for ‘up to 2 months’. The reality is that it will last only until the next rain shower washes it into the soil. You’ll need to reapply after every rainstorm to remain protected. Then there’s Liquid Fence which contains fewer ingredients that Repells-All but seems to do the job for many folks. To be most effective, apply these repellents as a stronger barrier around the area to be protected rather than scattering it about everywhere. There’s also Hot Pepper Wax spray which can be sprayed on vegetable plants. Rabbits don’t like the taste at all. You may also find that a repellent works well for a few years and then seems not to work. This means that the animals have become accustomed to the repellent and it is time to switch to a different one for a few years or until the animals become used to that one. This means that you should alternate between Repells-All and Luquid Fence every three or four years.

Mark as helpful. 10

I have a hosta that has big leaves and when I bought it 2 years ago, it was blue. Now it has come up green. It is currently in a heavy shade area. If I moved it to an area with more sun, would it revert to blue? Or, is it something in the soil that will make it blue? I want it to be blue.

Sometimes if a blue hosta gets too much sun they can take on a greener look. If yours is indeed getting no sun then it might be that you need to feed it to help darken the foliage. I’d trench out away from the hosta just outside the root zone and sprinkle in some Flower-tone into the trench and then cover it up and water it. Do this every spring as early in spring as you can. It may be that the hosta is missing a nutritional element it needs to stay blue. This would be especially likely if the soil is very sandy.

Mark as helpful. 10

I have two Azaleas I purchased from you last fall and planted. Each is about 3 ft high and has a few buds (6-10). They look awful. What should I do? Thanks.

Fall planting is always tough since the plant has no time to get established before winter. The best thing to do at this point is to feed them with Holly-Tone in the soil and get some Mir-Acid plant food. Dissolve the Mir-Acid in water as directed and wash that down over the leaves and stem. Mir-Acid can be absorbed through the leaves and stems for emergency feeding. Do this once a week for the next month or so. The Holly-tone is slower and will feed the azalea for the rest of the season. Use Holly-tone every spring from now on.

Mark as helpful. 9

How to care for a hanging basket

The first step is to chose the right basket for the light you have.  Once you know that, you can go to the garden center and they can help you pick one based on the conditions you have.  Then it is just a matter of watering without drowning, regular feeding  and deadheading.  Click on highlighted words for more details.

Mark as helpful. 9

What is the best way to store dahlia bulbs?

Cut off the foliage when you are ready to get them ready for storage. There is no need to wait until frost kills the foliage. Carefully lift (dig up) the tubers being careful not to slice the tubers with your shovel or fork. Gently hose off any soil off the tubers and let them dry for an hour or so. Dust them with a bulb dust (available at Hewitts) to prevent rotting while in storage. Place them into plastic bag like those in your grocery store’s vegetable section. Fill the bag around the tubers with vermiculite or very dry potting soil. Peat moss and sawdust are also used. Place those bags into light-proof boxes and place those boxes in an area that will be between 35° and 50° over winter. Check them a couple times over the winter to make sure they are OK. Remove any that appear to be getting mushy. If they seem to be getting limp from dryness, it is a good idea to mist them a little before they go back into storage.

Mark as helpful. 8

what to do to have more flowers and not all vines on periwinkle plants

Two things can prevent flowering…not enough light (so thin branches above the myrtle) and a lack of phosphorus.  Feed the area wit Espoma Flower-Tone right away to provide phosphorus.  You could also cut it back and that could trigger extra flowering.

Mark as helpful. 8

Is it OK to allow a clematis to climb up the trunk of a maple tree?

Yes, you can allow the clematis to grow up a maple tree.  This will harm neither the clematis nor the maple.  I wonder if the clematis will get enough sun under a maple tree.  With less than enough sun, the clematis will grow but not produce as many flowers as it would in a sunnier location.    Also maples use a lot of water and have shallow roots so the clematis will need extra watering in that location.

Mark as helpful. 8

I have many daffodils that never get a flower. What c an I do?

Make sure they are planted un full sun…7+ hours.  Every spring pound holes 6″ deep among or around them and pour Espoma Bulb-Tone into the holes to feed them.  When they do start flowering, make sure to cut off the spent flower stem but leave the leaves on as long as they are green.  You can cut the leaves back after they turn yellow.  More on that here.

Mark as helpful. 8

I bought a Mallow Hibiscus, just about 3 weeks ago. I read on the Internet that they like lots of water. I made sure I watered it at 8am when I went to work and again, around 8 at night to make sure it had plenty, but it is turning all brown Can you give me any suggestions? I have it in front of my house, that gets all day sun, it that the problem? When I bought it, I noticed you had it in front so I thought that would be ok Marlyn

Marlyn, Mallow hibiscus do indeed enjoy full sun. While you need to make sure that the soil stays constantly moist it is possible that you’ve been giving it too much water and the roots are drowning. Soaking it morning and night will create soil that is “soggy wet” not ‘constantly moist’ as is recommended for Mallow Hibiscus. Back off on the watering….you’re drowning the plant! Before you water again, poke your finger into the soil to a depth of 4″ to 5″. If the soil is cool and slightly moist, don’t water. Check again a couple of days later. Only when the soil at 5″ is dry should you water. Soak it thoroughly then check it again after four days or so. Never, never spray the plant with water but soak the soil below to keep the leaves dry and healthy. More on that here: See Wise Watering Without Waste http://ourgarden.freedomblogging.com/ You might remove any really brown leaves so it will grow some new fresh one to replace them. Feed them a high phosphorus liquid plant food like Blooms Plus or Jack’s Classic every fourth or fifth watering to help with the recovery. In spring, your Mallow Hibiscus won’t show any sign of life before the Lilac are blooming or even later. Be patient, they’ll be along. Peter Bowden

Mark as helpful. 7

I was reading your article about crabgrass and on line says, 3. An area treated with crabgrass preventer should not be raked or roughed up (kids, dogs, etc.) for four to six weeks so that the preventive barrier is not disturbed. I have crabgrass in my flower bed, can I rake it and them put the crabgrass preventer on the dirt? Can I plant in that area and if I do, do I have to wait before planting?

Crabgrass comes from seed each year so, if you have clumps of grass growing already in your flowerbeds then it isn’t crabgrass but some other perennial grass that comes back from an established root system, not from seeds like crabgrass. There are weed preventers that can be used in flowerbeds that will stop weed seeds from sprouting. There’s Preen and the organic alternative Corn Gluten. You’ll need to still pull any weeds or grass that are there now and then apply the Preen or Corn Gluten. Any seeds that blow into the flowerbed (from the lawnmower for instance) won’t be able to sprout through the barrier of Preen or Corn Gluten. If you dig or scratch up the surface of the flowerbed it breaks the barrier and seeds WILL be able to sprout and grow. Wait to apply your weed seed preventer until after all your planting is completed. Peter Bowden

Mark as helpful. 7

how high can you go with mulch around your plants

Mulch any deeper than 4″ is excessive.  Also, make sure that you never pile mulch up against the bark or stem of your plants.  Mulch or dirt piled against the stem and bark of plants slowly strangles the plant.  When you mulch, the last thing you do I go around to each plant and brush the mulch back until you can thee the stem where it enters the soil and leave it that way so the plant can breathe…more on that HERE.

Mark as helpful. 7

I want to plant a knockout rose in my yard to replace another shrub. Since it is the middle of August, is it to late?

Not too late at all.  Get it in right away and add some Bio-tone starter food to the planting hole to get it established before winter.

Mark as helpful. 7

Looking into Diatomaceous earth — do you recommend for my garden/yard and do you sell it?

Yes, I do recommend using Diatomaceous earth as and organic solution to many of the insect pests found in the garden and around the yard. DE appears to be a powdery substance but on a microscopic level it is a very hard and extremely sharp particle that ire the skeletal remains of tiny sea creatures called diatoms. When sprinkled on the ground, DE will slice through the exoskeleton of insects or slice slugs that crawl through it. Any insect unlucky enough to actually ingest DE will be sliced form the inside as well. Yes, Hewitts does sell diatomaceous earth.

Mark as helpful. 6

is it too late right now (June 27) to prune a lilac tree or a hemlock tree. My hemlock tree is dead on the bottom but has branches growing up on the top. someone told me to cut the whole thing down and it would fill in on the bottom better.

You can prune your lilac now without any problems. The best time to prune a lilac is right after the flowers have finished. Lilacs form buds this summer that winter over and open in spring. Be aware that new growth that occurs near the pruned areas might not have time to form buds so there might not be flowers on those branches next spring. To prevent shocking the plant, don’t remove more than 1/3 pf the total branch structure. Likewise the hemlock can be pruned lightly now without problems. It is normal on most evergrees that the lower branches turn brown as the upper part of the plant fills in. As the upper part fills in it block sunlight from reaching the lower branches. Again, don’t remove more than 1/3 of the foliage to avoid shocking the plant.

Mark as helpful. 6

Hello, on Saturday, we lost half of our garden to a ground hog. We had a rabbit fence up but somehow ‘Phil’ got into it. He didn’t go under it and I don’t think he can fit through it. Well today during the six o’clock hour, we lost the other half of the garden except for the red bell pepper. What would you recommend we do to win our battle against Phil? Also, do you think that some of ours plants will battle on? He ate pumpkin, squash, lettuce, tomato, and celery. The vines are still there but not much else…

I’m always sad to hear of this situation but many of us have hade the same thing happen at one time or another. Let’s start with the fence. A fence can exclude a woodchuck (groundhog). You’d need to start with a 5′ fence and bury the bottom foot of it at a 90 degree angle away from the garden since woodchucks will dig underneath a fence. This may deter a woodchuck but, since they climb, it is also suggested that an electric fence also be installed down low to discourage them from climbing. Another approach is to use rodent smoke bombs. This is tricky since you need to find and block all exit burrows before igniting and placing the leathal smoke bomb intothe main burrow. If just one exit is left open, the woodchuck will escape and may reinhabit the burrow again later. Then there is trapping. NY allows leg and body traps but you’ll need a trapping license to purchase and use those. You can use a live trap like a Hav-a-Heart but then waht to do with the living woodchuck. In NY it is illegal to transport or release wild animals unless you are registered to do so. I’d have to suggest that you hire a licensed pest removal person to trap and remove the woodchuck and improve your fence. Consider getting a dog. Here’s a website that has great information on woodchuck control:…. http://www.extension.org/pages/Woodchuck_Damage_Management Whatever is left of the garden will try and grow and you may get some squash and pumpkins tomatoes and peppers the woodchuck is removed.

Mark as helpful. 6

I added lime to my vegetable garden last fall and now it has a ph of 7.5. Is this too alkaline to grow vegetables? Should I add gypsum?

Oops! I guess you over did it with the lime. You’ll need to turn in some garden sulpher to bring the pH down to 6.5 or so. Follow the direction on the package to determine how much to use for the size of the area you have.

Mark as helpful. 6

i did a soil test and found my garden has very low nitrogen , it states that i need to add ammonium nitrate . but all the others tested very high how do i add only one thing ? all the furtilizers i have seen are 5-10-5, 10-5-5 etc.

It sounds like you need some Milorganite…it is not real strong but is almost totally nitrogen (5-2-0). Here’s a link…Hewitts has Milorganite as well: http://www.milorganite.com/home/

Mark as helpful. 6

I have started a new veggie garden this year only to find out my garden and my entire lawn is infested with grubs. What is an effective way to get rid of the grubs that is also safe for my garden and is my garden doomed for this year.

Don’t worry about grubs in the vegetable garden.  If you see them just step on them to kill them.  Early in June they turn into Japanese Beetles and you can spray for them then if they seem to be a big problem.  The lawn, if it is healthy can withstand up to 4 grubs per square foot.  If the lawn is suffering from the grubs then you should start treating every July…the grubs you have now hatched last year.  Here’s a blog post all about grub control

Mark as helpful. 6

I planted a red bee balm in my garden. I water it at night after the sun is gone from that area of the garden, a few days ago, before this intense heat, it starting looking funny, loosing it’s bottom leaves, the top leaves have a greyish tint the them, almost looks like dust. It is in full sun and I don’t water it every night just when its really hot or we haven’t had rain for a while. Do you have any suggestions to save it. Thanks, Dotty

OK, first of all, stop watering in the evening or at night. If you water at night and get the leaves of the plant wet they will take longer to dry thus providing an extended period forfunal diseases to take hold. Water in the early morning instead. Also use a watering wand so you can soak the soil without wetting the leaves. Wet leaves are just what fungal diseases need to get started and thrive. What you describe is a fungal disease called powdery mildew and it is very common to see this disease attacking bee balm, lilac, garden phlox and some other plants. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the powdery mildew on your bee balm is specific to bee balm and won’t spread to your other garden plants nearby unless the are also bee balm. Once powdery mildew starts, you have no choice but to spray with a fungicide. Since you know that you have this issue now, you can expect it next year as well. You could start spraying or dusting the plants with the organic fungicide Garden Sulfer about once a week or after a heavy rain. Rains washes the sulfer off the leaves. Since the disease has already started, you’ll want something stronger. For this I suggest Bonide’s Infuse fungicide. It is a liquid spray and you want to apply it every 10 days or so following the directions on the package. Remember, these sprays are most effective when used as a preventative before the symptoms show up. If you like bee balm then you should start spraying by early June and continue through the the first half of August.

Mark as helpful. 5

I just dug up the caladium bulbs I planted this spring so that I can reuse them next year. Should I trim off all the roots? One of the larger bulbs have two mini-bulbs attached. Should I seperate the little ones from the big one? How do I store them? I was going to put them in an onion bag and keep in my basement. Is that the best way? Thanks for your help. Kris

Thanks for your question Kris Now that you have them out of the ground, let them sit on some paper for a week or until the leaves have dried out. Trim off the leaves and any roots that have shriveled and dried. Your onion bag plan sounds good but make sure you store them in an area that says between 50° and 60°. The area also needs to be dry…humidity increases the chance of molds and fungus. If your basement tends to be humid, you might consider dusting them with a fungicidal bulb dust (like the Bonide Bulb Dust at Hewitt’s) before storage. Check them regularly in winter and discard any that seem to be getting mushy or very soft. You can pot them up inside in March and bring them upstairs to a sunny window. Then they’ll be a nice size when they go out at the end of May or early June. Don’t let them get any sun at all when you move them outside in to avoid sunburning the leaves . Peter Bowden

Mark as helpful. 5

Mr. Bowden, We recently added a water softening system to our well system. Will we have problems when watering our raised bed gardens from the water softened system? Should we try to bypass the softener and still use the hard water from the well? Thanks love your info on the news Pete

You should NOT use softened water on your garden or houseplants. Here’s what an ag agent at Texas A&M about it. “Softened water is not recommended for watering plants, lawns and gardens due to its sodium content. Care must also be taken that water used in recharging a water softener be disposed through a storm drain or sewer due to its damaging effects. If you are on a septic tank, the logical method of brine disposal is to discharge the brine into the septic tank and soil absorption field where some leaching of sodium salts will occur. Other alternatives include a separate holding tank which could be evacuated by a vacuum truck or a separate disposal field or discharge point that does not affect neighbors’ property.” Get a bypass installed and use that hard water. The plants may benefit from the minerals in the water but will suffer from the sodium in the water softened water.

Mark as helpful. 5

I am desperate to get rid of a grape vine that has taken over my yard. It grows and makes a canopy over my flowers and kills them. I need a permanent solution? What do I use to get rid of this monster?

Go to Hewitts and get a bottle of Bonide’s Stump and Vine Killer. Follow the vines back until you locate the main stem where the vine emerges for the ground. Cut the vine a few inches above where it emerges from the soil. Where you have made the cut, paint the Vine Killer (full strength..do not dilute) onto the cut and bark just below the cut. Be careful not to get it on any of the other plants nearby or it will kill them too. If there are multiple vines emerging from the soil, you’ll need to cut and paint them all with the Vine Killer. That’s it….end of vine.

Mark as helpful. 5

We just built container gardens, filled them with a mix of topsoil/purchased compost/peat moss, and planted seedlings (started from seeds a month previous) about 2 weeks ago. The zuccini in particular looks a bit rough — yellowish, weathered leaves – almost a bit scorched maybe? The corn also looks yellow-ish. I’m new at this – any ideas? thank you!

When you start seedlings indoors they will have trouble making the transition from the dimmer light inside to the bright sun outside. It is best to provide them shade for the first few days outside and gradually reduce the shade until they can handle the full sun they want. Also make sure that you haven’t buried dirt up the stem any higher than it was in the pot you started them in. While burying the stem is OK on tomatoes it is not OK on the rest of your garden plants including trees and shrubs as well as perennial and annual flowers. Both squash and corn will do better if they are started from seed sown directly in the garden. Squash in particular are sensitive to transplanting and often suffer from the transition. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and a few others veggies need to be started indoors in winter to produce in our short growing season but the bulk of our crops do best when directly sown in the garden…and it is easier and cheaper too! In fact, my blog this week is about just that…fear of seeds: http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/fear-of-seeds/727/

Mark as helpful. 5

I have beautiful hostas and want to transplant and separate them. They are tall and when I transplant them, they “flop”. Am I supposed to cut them down before moving them?

The best time to transplant hostas would be in very early spring before the hostas have come out of dormanct or in early fall after frost has sent them into dormancy.  Anytime you transplant them after they’ve leafed ot, they are going to do the “flop”.  I wouldn’t cut them back since this will shock them even more than transplanting them at the wrong time.  The best you can do to alleviate some of the shock will be to keep them moist as they try to survive the hot days of summer ahead,

Mark as helpful. 5

My garden helper cut back my hydrangas to nothing. They have grown alot of leaves but I dont think they will have any flowers. Last year the smallest one had no flowers and the slightly larger one had 3. Can they be saved and can I get any flowers this year (they are endless summer)

Your endless summer will bloom on new wood so yes, it should flower this year.  Hydrangeas will flower best when they are fed.  Nothing will boost more flowers than feeding it Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster every week and a half from now through mid August.  Dilute as directed on the package and pour the food on the soil below the plant keeping the leaves as dry as possible.  HERE’S A LINK to more on care of you Endless Summer hydrangea.

Mark as helpful. 5

So many chipmunks this year! In an ill-advised attempt to get rid of them, I put moth balls sown their holes. I thought they didn’t like the smell, no idea it was poison (naïve, yes). Now I am noticing that the hedge of schrubs under my window is turning brown and dying. Yes, many chipmunk holes under this hedge, so, yes, many moth balls. I am now assuming I killed my hedge. I am thinking of putting in a shade garden when I remove the shrubs. I am wondering if I ruined the soil and what I can do to correct my mistake. Thanks!

That is very bad….yes, between the chipmunks burrowin and dump mothballs down the holes, you have probably killed the hedge and, hopefully it doesn’t get into the ground water and hopefully you aren’t using well water in your home.  How long it will persist in the soil?  no strong data that I can find but I’d suspect that it will be late in the summer before that area will be safe for plants.  Here’s some links you might find useful.  BTW…MoleMax repels chipmunks.

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/naphgen.html

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100706055049AAntov1

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/mothballs-landscaping-51104.html

 

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2 questions Why are our squash plants only getting false blossom flowers and no squash buds? How long does it take for potatoes to be ready to dig or how can we tell when to dig them up? Thank you

The problem with squash, cukes and other curcurbit producing flowers but no fruit can usually be traced to water washing the pollen out of the flowers before bees and other pollinators can pollinate the flower. If the pollen is washed out of the flower before pollination, the plant aborts the useless flower and puts its energy into producing another fresh flower. Rain can be the culprit but usually it is the gardener him/herself that is causing the problem by spray watering their garden. Remove all LAWN sprinklers from the garden and get a watering wand so you can soak the soil at the base of the plant without getting the flowers and leaves wet. You can also get those black soaker hoses that lets the water ooze out without wetting the plants. Spray watering not only washes off the pollen but wetting the leaves with cold water shocks (weakens)the plant and creates the perfect environment for fungal disease to take hold. There is no good reason to spray water your vegetable garden or flower beds unless you enjoy mushy flowers and vegetable plants that struggle to produce fruit. You can wait until frost kills the plant to harvest your potato crop. If you want ‘new potatoes’ you can harvest them from mid to late summer. I leave mine until frost so they can get as large as possible. You wouldn’t think that home grown potatoes would taste so much better than store bought but they really are…that’s why we grow them every year.

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I have hydrangeas they were planted 3 yrs ago, first year they bloomed . They have not bloomed since .Ifeel that I have taken good care with them , they are growing taller with lots of leaves. No blooms.

This is pretty difficult to answer without knowing what type of hydrangea you have. The only clue I get is that they are getting taller which means that it is possible that they are getting leggy due to too little direct sun or maybe not enough enough phosphorus is being provided. Espoma Flower-Tone would help with that. The best suggestion I have is for you to visit this website to figure out what type of hydrangea you have and how to properly care for it: . . http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/

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I was wondering if I could split the pots of mums I just bought. Even though I bought the smallest size, I have some smaller pots I want to plant them in and wondered if splitting the root balls of each mum would kill it. It would be great if I could cut the root ball in half and use a smaller portion of the whole pot in my smaller planters.

Your mums are probably in flower right now. Plants are expending maximum energy during the flowering process. Cutting into the root system during the flowering cycle might not actually kill the mum but it will shock it hard enough to cause it to abort the flowers. I assume you bought them to enjoy the blooms so I’d suggest that you not try and divide the plant right now.

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I have a variety of Lillys of the tall variety I think they are called stargazers. Do I cut them low when they are done blooming? Also, are there any (photo)reference guides to help distiguish weed leaves from the leaves of plants that you wish to nurture? In early summer it ‘s very hard to discriminate. Thanks in advance……..

Thanks for your question Larry. Right after your Stargazer Lily finishes flowering you should cut off the remainds of the flower (called deadheading) to prevent the lily from putting any energy into making seeds. Leave the leaves below the flowers as long as they remain green. The leaves are converting sunlight into food that is sent down to the bulb so it can grow and expand. Little bulbs will form from the sides of the original bulb and become full-sized lily bulbs producing their own flowers within a couple of years. When you have a cluster of lilies growing where you only had one, you can dig them up and replant them as individual bulbs and the process will begin again. make sure to use bone meal in your planting holes to provide phosphorus to help them root in and mature more quickly. This is one of the things I love most about lilies…their ability to reproduce quickly. As far as your question about a chart showing what weeds look like vs. what desireable plants look like, I haven’t ever seen such a chart. There are, however, charts that show what common weeds look like. You’ll have to use one of those to help you learn the common weeds and then go from there. Here’s a link to a good weed chart. http://njaes.rutgers.edu/weeds/thumbnail.asp

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My pachysandra is dying in clumps around my maples…it used to be extremely lush…what to do??? thanks!!

Maples have a shallow root system and may be competing with the pachysandra for moisture and nutrients. I’d suggest broadcasting some gentle plant food over the pachysandra…Espoma Plant-tone would be my choice. You should also consider adding a thin (no more than an inch or so) layer of soil over the pachysandra to refresh it. This can be done by lightly sprinkling the soil from your shovel…not the easiest task but, id the pachysandra has been there a while, it could probably use a pick-me-up.

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Good afternoon Peter,I have 2 impatience hanging plants. I bought them a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, I let them in my hot car for about 3 hours…..flowers started drying up. I have them hanging now but they are in some sunlight. I have been watering from the get go and the buds are not flowering. What should I do ? Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Well, I guess you’ve learned to bring your plants right home on a hot day…I’d say you’re lucky they survived at all. Now you’ll need to ne patient with your impatiens. Keep the soil just lightly moist but not wet. You don’t want to drown them at this point. Some sun is good but not a lot of hot afternoon sun. You’ll probably lose some leaves and the first round of flowers since the buds aren’t opening. A light feeding with Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster will help too. Dilute per package but no stronger (more isn’t better). It will take a month or so before they start to look happy again. Peter Bowden

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Hello-a have a purple clementis vine clipping from a friend.How do I root it, ?? Does a honey mixture really work for rooting.thanks so muchbev cdocbci@yahoo.com

Here’s a GREAT LINK all about rooting clematis.  Honey doesn’t have a lot to offer as a rooting helper.  Rooting powder will provide hormomes that will stimulate root growth much more rapidly.

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If I use miracle grow, garden soil to ant my vegetables. Do I need miracle grow plant food,as well?

While Miracle-gro soil has some nutrients added, I’d suggest adding additional nutrients in the form of high quality organic garden food like Espoma Garden-tone.  Miracle -gro food isn’t organic and doesn’t do anything to help the health of the soil…the soil that feeds your plants.  In addition to nutrients, Espoma “tone” products also provide a compliment of beneficial soil organisms that help build the soil and release nutrients from the soil that might otherwise be unavailable to the plants.

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I am new to knock-out roses and have recently planted some in my yard. Can you tell me what I need to do to them to prepare them for winter? Thanks!

The beauty of Knock out roses is that there is little needed for them to come through winter.  Stop trimming off the spent flowers and let the seed pods (called hips) form.  Once freezing weather arrives, you can trim them back about 1/3…that’s about it. When we get snow, you can shovel it onto the rose to help protect it from drying wind. If we don’t get snow then cover the area around the base of the rose with evergreen boughs to keep the soil cold.  Once it starts to grow in spring, feed it with Espoma Rose-tone and trim off any stems that died over winter…that’s it!

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What flowering perrenial will bloom throughout the summer? Thanks

None really…there are some repeat bloomers like Stella D’oro dayliliies that can send up a lesser second round of flowers but it is the nature of perennials to bloom for a specific 2-3 week period and then go to seed.  The trick with perennials is to have a mixture of early, mid and late season blooming varieties.  For all summer flowering, you’ll need to look to the annuals.  They only last one season but flower continuously right up until frost.   Roses are another option for continuous color all summer.

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Is it safe to plant impatiens? Last year we were told not to plant because of a fungas and impatience were not being offered in most nurseries. I see them for sale again – is it safe to plant them?

The situation is basically the same as last year.  You can plant them but the chances are that they will fail.  Click HERE for more information on Downy Mildew.  There aren’t any fungicides you can use to control.  Greenhouse growers can produce the plants in their controlled conditions but there’s nothing the public can use.  If you have no history of the disease where you plan on planting them, you may get away with it but the disease is still spreading.  It would be best if everyone stopped growing them in the hope that the disease will subside but that isn’t happening.  It is probably best to assume that this is a forever situation.  Wax begonia are the next best substitute.  They are working on breeding disease resistant varieties but that will take several years at least. There are some people that insist on having impatiens so we still carry a small amount each year.

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We have a 400 sq ft garden where we grow tomatoes, peppers, corn, peas, lettuce, gourds and a few other vegetables. I would like to plant a cover crop this fall and would like to know the best thing to grow and when to plant it. Thank you.

I’ suggest winter rye. It is fast growing, will control erosion and help buid the soil when turned under in the spring. It can be sown as soon as the crops are finished. It can germinate in coll weather so late September/early October seedings are possible. Winter rye will green up early in spring and can help get the soil dry enough to till a bit earlier. Winter rye can get tall in spring so it may need to be mowed down before getting turned under in spring.

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f a snap hot of an area was brought in are there design people on site to help plan out a ;andscape?

Bring your snapshot into Hewitt’s and we can make some great suggestions for you. We’ll also be able to make better suggestions if you have an idea of how much sun the area gets and what direction it faces.

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Peter, Want to plant brussel sprouts. Seed packet says 4 months before fall frost, which is Oct 3 here in Albany. Do I sow directly in garden June 3? They sell transplants now, wouldn’t a transplant be too early to plant in May, for Harvesting after frost in October? Your planting guide says direct seed may 15 – June 10. Please help me resolve this confusion. Thanks Peter Best, Larry

Brussel Sprout transplants (started from seed indoors earlier or purchased at the garden center) can be planted now for harvest in summer. Seeds can be sown in June as you state for harvest in October. The crop sown in summer will be the better and more flavorful crop since it will mature in the cold days of October.

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Hi I am making a 4’x12′ garden and I know I have hade a mole problem in the past. Anything you suggest to keep them from destroying my crop possibly a barrier of some type?

You can use MoleMax Mole repellent in a barrier around the garden but NOT in the actual garden.  If they get inside the garden then a mole trap will be the solution.

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tomatoe stakes. whats best?

I use tomato cages attached to hardwood stakes pounded into the ground.  I will even add metal staked to the hardwood stakes if they get really heavy.

 

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Is it too early to plant pansies in my garden?

Not at all…pansies love the cool weather and can even handle a little snow.

 

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how do flowers and plants at Saratoga Racetrack and other public places grow so very large? We use miracle grow as per directions but never have such huge plants. Thanks

Miracle Gro is OK but Jacks’ Blossom Booster is better for more flowers.  Use it every 2 weeks.   No matter what you use, you’ll never be able to duplicate the look they get at the track.  Those planters are started very early and grown along all winter and spring in greenhouses and then brought out in summer a month or so before the track opens.  They are lavished with care throughout the growing season as well.  Without large greenhouses, you’ll never match their displays…just something else that is special about Saratoga.

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when do I trim rose bushes when in bloom and what is the right way to trim them,does it matter if it’s spring or fall, thank you

Cut off the flowers as soon as the petals fall off.  This will promote more flowers.  Follow the stem down from the spent flower until you find the first 5 leaf cluster and prune just above that.  In late fall after the leaves fall off, cut it back to about 1′ tall for the winter.  Rake some leaves up around it for some protection.

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Hello Peter, I have a couple questions. it’s now the end of April 2014. 1. When can I plant new bushes? I lost 5-7 andromeda’s (think that’s the name) this past winter. 2. What time of year can I move my rose bush? 3. What 3-4 flowering bushes like full day sun from 11-dusk and which ones like morning sun and afternoon shade? 4. Last year my two year old azalea loved being in partial shade under a pine tree, this year there are only about six. Buds on it. Should it be moved or fertilized?, thank you for you help. Stacie Ryan

Hello Peter, I have a couple questions. it’s now the end of April 2014. 1. 

 

When can I plant new bushes? I lost 5-7 andromeda’s (think that’s the name) this past winter.

You can start planting shrubs and tree as soon as the ground has thawed and can be worked…the earlier the better.

2. What time of year can I move my rose bush?

Move them right away before any signs of growth appear.  once it has leafed out, the shock of transplanting will likely killit.  This is true for most shrubs, trees and perennials.  Make sure to blend a good starter food like Espoma Bio-Tone into the soil at the bottom of the planting hole.

 

3. What 3-4 flowering bushes like full day sun from 11-dusk

Lilacs, spirea, weigela, roses, althea…there are too many to list.

 

 and which ones like morning sun and afternoon shade?

Azaleas, rhododendron, Andromeda…all the broadleaf, flowering evergreens.

 

4. Last year my two year old azalea loved being in partial shade under a pine tree, this year there are only about six. Buds on it. Should it be moved or fertilized?, thank you for you help.

Feed them (and all your landscape plants right away.  This winter was rough on azaleas and broadleaf flowering evergreens.  They for buds in the fall and those buds have to survive winter to flower in spring.  The unrelenting dry, cold wind this winter dried the buds out and they have failed.  You are not alone with this problem.  Consider building burlap winbreaks next fall to protect you broadleaf evergreens.

Here’s a link to a blog post about winter protection.  Here’s a link to a post about spring feeding.

 

 

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I noticed tiny black eggs on the underside of the leaves on one of my brussel sprout plants. They are in small, round bunches and resemble caviar. What are they and how do I get rid of them?

Your question is a little tricky since I can only go by your description. I’d suggest bringing a leaf with the sample eggs to one of the Hewitts locations for a positive ID. Having said that, I make an educated guess that you probably have Squash Bug eggs on your brussel sprouts. The easiest way to control them is to remove and discard the eggs before they hatch. Once they hatch, the beetles can be controlled with insecticidal soap or other contact killer rated for use in the vegetable garden. Here’s a link for more information on Squash Bugs http://www.planetnatural.com/site/xdpy/kb/squash-bug-control.html There are other insects that may attack your brussel sprouts. Here’s a helpful link to identifying them. http://www.harvestwizard.com/2009/06/brussels_sprouts_growing_probl.html

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How do you test the Ph level of your soil!

http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/the-acid-test/567/

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My rhododendrons (2) are almost 4 years old and have not bloomed for the past 2 years. They are in the North at the suggestion of a local nursery but do get some sun. Is there a special plant food for them? They are not growing even though I feed them. I would appreciate your suggestions.

Northern exposure is rough on rhodos.  Drying winter wind dries out the foliage unless there is some sort of windbreak.  Rhododendron can take morning sun until about noon so the east-facing wall is best…that way the house will provide shelter form winter winds that blows from the north and west.  Rhodos set their buds the summer before and those buds wait until spring to open.  If winter wind dries out the buds too much, they just dry up and fall off in the spring without opening.  Yes, poke some holes out away from the trunk of the rhodos and pour some Holly-Tone evergreen food into the holes right away.  See the package for the correct amount to use.  They need the food now and you could fee again in 8 weeks, this should be done every spring.  Check to make sure you haven’t piled mulch up against the bark of the stems of the plant where they come out of the soil this smothers the crown of the plant and makes it hard for moisture and nutrients to move through the bark to the stems and leaves.  It may take them a couple of years to regain the extra vigor they need to produce flowers.  If they form flower buds this summer, then you can expect flower in spring…perhaps building some windbreak of burlap will help them endure the northern exposure.  If they are getting less than 4 hours of direct sun a day in summer than they will have trouble flowering.

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I just planted some clematis and under it I put that black landscaping paper and put alot of mulch on top,should I remove the paper and mulch and just rock it ,I planted them 5 or 6 wks ago,will they get the proper water and drainage with this paper and mulch ,I was told by someone that the paper wasn’t good need your opinion pls

Everything you did was fine….just make sure you haven’t piled mulch up against the stem of the vine…brush it away form the stem where it enters the soil until you see the original soil.  Mulch is a good thin around clematic since the prefer sun on the leaves but cool soil below.

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have a small red bettle on lilies, he is about 1/4 inch long. how to get rid of itit seems to be eating the liily

You have scarlet lily beetles.  They are a recent arrival from Asia.  To kill the beetles on contact, spray with Bonide Beetle killer.  For ongoing control after that I’d suggest Bonide Bon-Neem II.  sprayed every 5 days the next month until they subside (are no longer feeding). This will kill any larvae that hatch from eggs that the adult beetle may have laid before you killed them with the Beetle Killer.  If you start spraying with the Bon-Neem II next year before the beetles  show up, you may repel them and prevent any damage.

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Zucchini plants don’t get female flowers, help??

It is common for the male flowers to appear before the female flowers.  Be patient.  Also make sure not to spray the plant (especially the flowers) with water.  Unhealthy for the plants but, worst of all, it washes the pollen out of the flowers so there is nothing for the bees to move around.  No pollen, no fruit.

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I have never gardened before. My daughter picked up some rose seeds and I have no idea how to start the process. Please help

Most roses are grown from cuttings and many are then grafted onto a hardy root stock.  I’m not sure growing roses from seed would be a rewarding project for a beginner but HERE’S A LINK to how to go about it.

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I want to start a garden where the above ground pool use to be. There is approx. 4″ of sand. Would I have to remove all the sand or mix it up with other soils. What’s best process to get this moving? Any other suggestions to make the garden thrive? thank you.

Keep the sand…good for drainage.  You can beef up the soil with compost…we sell composted manure in 1.3 cu. ft. bags (approx. 40 lbs.) that would be prefect for this.  Cove the area with 4″ of the compost then blend it into the sand.  I’d also add some Espoma Bio-Tone organic food into the soil at the time you’re turning it.  This will add organic nutrients as well as beneficial soil microbes to jump start the soil.

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Hi Peter I need your help! I have red lily beetles, I have sprayed Spectracide® Triazicide® on the lilies and dirt. I thought it got rid of them but know after a week they are back. What would you recommend? Thank you!!! Dina

I use Bonide Bon-Neem against the lily beetles.  It is a combination of Pyrethrin and neem oil…both strong contact killers.  There is no safe spray that will get rid of them forever.  You’ll need to start spraying when you see the first sign of them and then every few days.  It is important to kill the first ones as soon as you notice since they give off a scent that attracts more to the area.  They will eventually subside as their breeding season ends.

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when to start garden plants by seed

Here’s a link to show how to figure out when to start seeds indoors that need to be started indoors as well as a schedule for what can be directly sown into the garden once it warms up.

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My Peonies are covered with a white mildew and some of them have a blight causing the foilage to turn dark. What should I do for them? Do I cut off the foilage? Will it affect next year’s growth and bloom?

Once the foliage starts to yellow, cut it off and remove it from the yard in a garbage bag.  The best way to control powdery Mildew is with preventative sprayings with copper of sulfur fungicide before the symptoms show…around mid-May through mid-June.  It is difficult to control once the white powdery coating on the leaves shows up.   None of the should create problems for next year’s flowering cycle.

 

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Hi Pete. Like many people, I very often over-water my plants once I bring them inside. I usually water my plants weekly. Today after watering, the very large saucer under my hibiscus plant quickly filled with just as much water as what I watered it with (about 16 ounces of water). The pot feels heavy too.I have two “large” glass watering bulbs still in the box from several years ago. If I stick these in the soil (using a pencil), will they help me gauge when my plants need water or will the water just drip out slowly regardless of the soil moisture? I am terrible with guessing by sticking my finger in the soil to see if plants need water.PS – I wish you had another category to select, such as “indoor house plants”. I think of “gardening” as outdoor plants.Thanks – David

Leave those watering bulbs in the boxes…they will guarantee that you’ drown your plants.  It sounds like your hibiscus is potbound which is why the water just runs on through.  I’d repot it and water very lightly.  The hibiscus is going to lose lots or most of the leaves inside.  The light inside is dramatically less than outside so the plant adapts by dropping leaves.  Your finger is the best method to check for soil moisture.  Push it into the soil as far as you can and, if you even think it felt moist, don’t water.  Plants in this indoor “dormancy” need very little water since the leaves that evaporate the moisture are no longer there…nor are the sun and breezes that dry out the plant.  Under watering is always safer than keeping the soil constantly moist.  Remember, the saucer is there only to protect the floor and has nothing to do with the plant…other than creating and increasing the possibility of drowning.  When you water, give the water in the saucer 5 minutes to soak back up into the soil…after that, get the water out of the saucers the plant doesn’t drown…which happens very quickly…a matter of a couple of hours standing in water in the saucer is enough to drown a substantial part of the root system.  Dehydrated roots will often bounce back but drowned roots are dead and gone forever.

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Are there any perennial flowers that I can sow by seed in summer or fall? Or should most have been planted in spring?

Actually summer is a great time to sow perennials from seed.  They will not flower this season but will get established and be all ready next spring for their first flowering cycle.  Commercial perennial growers are all busily sowing seeds now to sell as flowering plants next year.  I mention this at the bottom of THIS BLOG POST.

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Pete or anyone that can help me from losing all my moneyHow to keep rabbits , deer’s or whatever else is out there from eating my day lilies , hosta , hydrea, etc, What kind of animals besides these two eat everything.10,000.00 in landscape and all I’m doing is feeding animals with my hard earned bucks.I’ve tried coyote urine, Deer Be Gone.Have not tried the Deer Fence product. How would that be applied around perimeter of garden – my garden is plants and shrubs no vegtables. How do you all keep these pests from eating all ur plants.Also what are the best scrubs and plants to replace these plants I had planted last summer with that will for sure not be eaten by animals.Please help

Here’s a list of some deer resistant plant options for you.

 

 

 

That said, it is possible to repel the critters that are assaulting your landscape.  I use Bonide Repels-All which is a combination of different organic ingredients that repels a wide range of animal pests.  It can be used on anything but edible food crops.  The trick with repellents is to spray the plants early in the season and frequently at first so the animals come to associate the area with “nothing here smells or tastes good”.   With all the rain so far this year, this has been difficult since the heavy rainstorms wash the repellents off.    I’d start in right away again and follow the directions on the label.  Remember, you spray the plants, not so much a “perimeter” around the area.   Repels-All comes in a concentrate if you have your own tank sprayer.  The hose-end sprayer is a nice option if you hose can reach everywhere in the yard.  The little hand pump ready to use is useless over a large area…you want to soak the leaves and stems of the plants down with the repellent for it to do the job you need it to.

 

Peter B

 

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can I spray neem oil on my flowering tomato plants and pepper plants which have some peppers started. also my eggplant is turning yellow . too much fertilizer? I’ve been using Epson salt on my pepper plants.all of my pepper plants had scabs on them right from the garden center.i was hoping they wold have gotten better by now.

Yes, you can spray Neem oil on you plants while they are in flower. Spraying at sunset is best so that pollinators won’t be harmed by the spray.

 

The yellowing of the eggplant could be due to a lack of nitrogen so a light, ½ strength feeding of a good soluble food like Jack’s All Purpose Plant Food or Blossom Booster would help. It could also be due to mites which the Neem Oil Spray can control.  The scabbing on the peppers may be a fungal disease which the Neem Oil can also control.  I’d suspend any more Epsom salt applications and feedings should be light.

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How to water hanging baskets

Always fee the soil before you water your hanging baskets.  If you even think the soil felt moist, wait a day and check again.  Nothing kills a potted plant quicker than drowning from overwatering…it is a VERY common mistake.  Newbies are always asking “how often should I water it?”.  There is no good “one a week”or “twice a month” answer since every plant, container and situation make that impossible.  Also, NEVER spray water…just water the soil but keep the foliage dry.  Here’s blog post that explains why.

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What can I put around my garden to keep the squirrels out, last yr they ate my entire garden. Does that shake away squirrel repelant work and if so where can I get it? thank you

The easy answer is a dog or cat…from there it gets more difficult. Just about everyone with a yard has squirrels. Some of us love them and some of us love them but wish they would leave our gardens alone…but how? At Hewitt’s we have ‘Repels-All’ which is a combination of dried blood, putrescent whole egg solids and garlic oil. It can be quite effective and claims to last for ‘up to 2 months’. The reality is that it will last only until the next rain shower washes it into the soil. You’ll need to reapply after every rainstorm to remain protected. We also have ‘Critter Ridder’ from Havahart that contains oil of black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin and can also work well if reapplied after rain. You also ask about ‘Shake Away Squirrel Repellent’…we have the ‘Shake Away Small Citter Repellent’ which doesn’t list squirrels on the label but is the same ingredient (fox urine). The idea here is that small rodents have a very keen sense of smell and, since foxes eat them, they will steer clear of an area that smells like them. Once again, fox urine will need to reapplied after a rainstorm. To be most effective, apply these repellents as a stronger barrier around the area to be protected rather than scattering it about everywhere. You may also find that a repellent works well for a few years and then seems not to work. This means that the animals have become accustomed to the repellent and it is time to switch to a different one for a few years or until the animals become used to that one.

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I bought some shallot plants at the beginning of June. I transplanted them into a garden plot. It then rained for almost two weeks straight. The green shoots on one plant have all turned brown and shriveled up, the other plant is mostly brown. Every where i look online it says they are ready to harvest when this happens. I dont think they transplanted well. What do i do?

Ugh…what a bummer. It sounds as though they must’ve rotted in the rain. Had they been planted a little earlier and had a chance to start growing they might have been handle the rain better. My only suggestion would be to replant but they won’t get as large as they would have with an earlier start.

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I am starting my veg. seeds at work. We cannot use grow lights. An suggestions on how I can keep them from becoming long and spinly? Thanks.

Thanks for your question Al, How unfortunate that you can’t use grow lights. The reason seedling get long and spindly is that they are not getting enough light and are reaching for more. The ONLY windows that have any chance of providing anywhere near enough light are south windows. Even then, with days as short as they still are. your seedlings will reach for the light. But, lets get back to basics….it is a month too early to start most of your seeds. Planting season for tomatoes and other tender seedlings is the middle of May…three months (12 weeks) from now. The earliest seeds that need to get started like leeks and impatiens need to get started indoors 10 weeks before planting. Tomatoes and peppers should be started 6 to 8 weeks before mid May so that means the middle of March…about a month from right now. All this information is on the back of the seed pack. There is no real advantage to starting your seed a month too early since they will be the stretchy, leggy seedlings you’re trying to avoid. By waiting another month (in the case of tomatoes and peppers) you’ll have longer days and the seedlings won’t get as leggy. Spring won’t come any earlier just because you start your seed too early 😉 Get a calendar and designate the week of 5/15 -5/21 as “PLANTING WEEK” . Then mark the week before that WEEK 1 (one week before planting) and keep going back labeling each week with the next higher number. You should end up with the week of March 20 – 26 as WEEK 8. Sometime between WEEK 8 and WEEK 6 is when you should start your tomatoes and peppers depending on the variety. This information is on the seed pack. You can read all the other seed pack and make notes on your new “Seed Starting Calendar” that you’ve created so you’ll know when to start what. Remember, starting your seeds too early doesn’t gain you a thing. I’d also suggest a small fan to move the air around your seedlings once they sprout…it can help strengthen the stems. Be patient and you’ll have better plants for May…now you just have to convince the person with the south-facing window to let you set up shop there 😉

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We have many leaves that were not raked up last fall, I am expanding my vegetable garden and would like to turn the leaves and some sand into rather heavy clay soil. Should I add anything else because of the leaves?

Adding sand and organic matter to the soil is a great idea. The leaves will break down and help loosen the soil and add somenutritional value as well. Leaves will also lower the pH of the soil so it would be a good idea to check the pH in spring and fall to make sure you’re keeping the soil’s pH around 6.5/ Here’s an excerpt from my vegetable gardening seminar that talks about pH. Here’s alink to the seminar schedule in case you want to drop by: http://www.hewitts.com/meetpeterbowden.html Check the pH Once you’ve beefed up your new garden with plenty of organic matter, it is time to check the pH (acidity) of the soil. The benefits of properly adjusting the pH of the soil and the benefits of limestone itself are far reaching. I could carry on for pages about nutrients in the soil (or from the fertilizer you pay good money for) being “bound up” and unavailable to plants because of acidic soil. I could write reams on how the microorganisms that “feed” your lawn die off in soils with a low pH. I could rant and rave about how important calcium and magnesium (from limestone) are in the formation of plant fiber or how osmosis (the ability of plants to draw moisture from the soil) is impeded in acidic soil. Let’s just say, it’s VERY important. Here’s the deal. There’s a tendency for soil to gradually become acidic over time. Decomposing organic matter, fertilizer and acid rain all contribute to acidification of the soil. In heavier soils like clay, this happens very slowly. In looser soils like sand, acidification occurs more rapidly. The more fertilizer and organic matter you apply to your lawn or garden, the more often you should check the pH. Different plants prefer different pH levels. Most vegetables grow best in slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.5 to 7) while your lawn will be healthier if the soil is neutral (pH 7). Every once in a while I run into someone who’s heard that lime is good for the lawn and they’ll ask, “I’ve got a 10,000 sq. ft. garden and I’ve never limed it. How much lime should I apply?” To the uninformed, this seems like a reasonable question. To me, it’s like asking your mechanic, ”I have a mid-sized sedan. How much oil do I need to add?” There’s no way your mechanic could answer unless you allowed him/her to look at the dipstick. The inexpensive and easy-to-use soil pH test kit is your “dipstick” to determine how much lime you need to apply for healthy plant growth. If I’m asked, “I have a 10,000 sq. ft. garden and the pH is 6.0. How much lime should I apply?” I can then say that you need 10-40 lb. bags of pelletized lime to bring your soil’s pH up to the desired 7.0 that it should be. Of course, you may not need to ask since the information is provided in the pH test kit. Once you’ve corrected the pH, you shouldn’t need to apply it again for 3 to 5 years, maybe even longer depending on your of soil type.

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how deep should i rototill my garden? its going to be 24’x24′. there may be large rock in some spots.

Cover the area with whatever organic matter (aged manure) you’re going to till in and then rototill to a depth of 8″ or so. Good luck with those rocks!

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What would you suggest I use for an organic fungicide? What about Green Cure? Does Hewitt’s carry Green Cure? Our garden last year had fungus on everything except lettuce. Thanks.

What would you suggest I use for an organic fungicide? What about Green Cure? Does Hewitt’s carry Green Cure? Our garden last year had fungus on everything except lettuce. Thanks.

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i have beets in my garden up about1″.i have noticed quite a few ants at the base of the greens.is this because all of the rain we have been getting or should i be concerned about something else? and should i let them be or try to kill them with something?

Beets are sweet and ants like sweets. A couple of ants aren’t worth reacting to butm, if it seems that they are hariming the beets then I’d sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the beets . Diatomaceous earth is the sharp skeletons of diatoms. There are very small and sharp (on a microscopic level) and will slice the ants if they attempt to go near the beets. All safe for you thugh I’d wast the beets before eating them. I’m sure you do that anyway. Peter B

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Normally this time of the year my impatients are gorgeous, however this year they are dying off daily. It starts with the flowers & buds & eventually the whole plant disappears. I cannot find anything on them that could be eating them. Is it because of the dry summer? I know they like a lot of water. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Val

I would like to see a sample or photo of your impatiens to be sure. Maybe you could bring it into one of out locations for a Manager to look at. Is there any white powdering substance on the plants? If so, it probably is a fungus called Powdery Mildew, which can be treated organically with Garden Sulfur or chemically with Daconil. If this is not the case, my inclination is to think that is water related. Try to keep your plants evenly moist through-out the growing season, and add a light dose of Blossom Booster fertilizer.

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Peter, We reseeded our lawn a couple of weeks ago and the new grass is growing in but it still looks very patchy. I used the recommended setting on the spreader but I think that heavy rain storm we had last week lifted and washed away a lot of grass seed (I saw a lot in puddles by the road at edge of the lawn )How long should I wait before I start to try filling the bare patches? Will the grass grow or spread out? I don’t want to disturb or destroy the new grass that has grown in with loosening the soil again etc. but I don’t want anything to start invading my lawn again either in the bare spots. Can I just drop some grass seed on the bare spots without and keep it watered or will this not work? Thanks again for all your help!

Fescue and bluegrass seeds take about 2 weeks just to sprout. At first there is a single blade but each will grow into a clump of grass covering about 2″ by 2″ square. Over time they will fill in even more. Since the pesky storms have washed the seed around you may want to overseed the worst areas. You can do it right away just remember that you’ll need to keep it watered even as the other grass matures. Starting a lawn from seed is a tricky task because of the constant light watering necessary. These thunderstorms aren’t helping the situation either.

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Is it too early to plant Martha Washington geraniums? I am planning on potting them outside.Thank you!

It won’t be safe for tender annuals like MW geraniums outside until about the second week of May.  As long as there is the possibility of frost tender annuals must be protected. If the posts are small enough to move inside on any night that will drop below 32° then you could plant them and protect them as necessary.

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I was given Asian Lilly bulbs for Easter and put them in a pot with the condensed dirt (looked like a hockey puck) that came with them. They are now really tall and have flower buds on them and almost ready to bloom. My questions are: how long do they bloom, do I have to leave them in the pot, can I plant them outside and when (while blooming or when the flower dies like tulips). Thanks, Connie

Enjoy them in the pot while the flower (a week or two) and the cut off the spent flowers but leave all the leaves.  Plant the bulb with the leaves in a sunny spot outside adding a little bone meal to the planting hole.  It will return next year and each year you get more stems with more flowers to enjoy.

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I ?bought some six inch pots of flowers from your green house. Should they be allowed to harden off? How long will they need

No need to harden off those plants.  They can go in as soon as you get a chance to plant them.

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how do I get rid of grubs in my vegetable garden without hurting plants or seeds

I wouldn’t worry about a few grubs in the garden.  In a couple of weeks or so they will pupate and become the adult beetle.  For them you can spray with sevin or eight to kill the beetles but, by then, they will not be grubs in the garden.  Grub controls should NOT be used in food growing areas.

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How do I keep a woodchuck out of my garden, he’s eating all my greens

This is a tough situation.   You’ll need to install a 4′ fence with the bottom foot buried so that the woodchuck can’t push or dig its way under the fence.  The other option is to trap the varmint with a havahart trap.

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Weve been trying to plant a garden for 3 yrs now..and have too much clay in soil..we sdded peat to lighten it up..any other suggestions?

The key to breaking up your clay soil is going to be the addition of organic matter in the form of dehydrated manure (cow or horse) and even sandy loam (we sell bags of ‘topsoil’ which is sandy loam).  Also, the addition of Espoma Bio-tone will provide nutrients but, more important. microbes and fungi that will help digest the organic matter and convert it into loamy soil over time.  HERE’S a link to more on Bio-tone.  You’ll need to turn or rototill the organic matter into the soil to a depth of 8″ or so to break up the clay and blend it with the organic matter and Bio-tone.

The addition of organic matter is an ongoing process.  The best soil additive will be your own homemade compost.

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hi I have double headed begonias in a tub, im just wondering why the water is takeing along time to soak in to the soil when I water them also they don’t seem to be flowereing much, I bought them from a garden centre about 6wks, I water them everyday, is this too much or not enough?

I’m not sure why the water isn’t soaking in quickly…probably the type of soil you have.  It sounds like you are watering WAY too much.  Always check the soil by poking you finger into the soil an inch or so..  If it feels cool and moist wait another day and check again. Depending on the size of the pot, it shouldn’t need watering but every few days.  It may be drowning and that will prevent it from flowering.  You could feed it with a soluble plant food like Jack’s Blossom Booster every three weeks or so and that will help give the plant the energy it needs to flower.

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How do I plant flowers

http://www.wikihow.com/Plant-Flowers

 

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We recently bought a Knockout rose from Hewitts. The plant, leaves, etc are healthy. The problem is the blooms. Many buds form but then turn brown and never open to flowers. Is there a cure for this?Ron

It sounds like your rose has picked up botrytis.   This is a fungal disease and our damp humid season is making fungal diseases a real problem this year.  The first method of control is to make sure you’re pruning away seed pods that form after they finish flowering.  Also remove any flowers that are yellow or spotted.  The buds that are rotting before opening should also be removed.  Don’t let the material you remove fall to the ground but bag it up and put it in the garbage.

Make sure that, when you water the roses, you don’t spray the foliage with water.  Use a watering wand to direct that water to the soil below the plant.  Wet foliage is the perfect place for fungal diseases to take hold.  We can’t do anything about the rain but we shouldn’t add to the problem by spray watering.  More on that HERE.  Always check the soil before watering…if it is already wet, don’t water and check again in a couple of days.

You should start spraying the roses with Bonide Rose Rx . right away.   This is a neen oil spray that can control insects, mites and fungal disease and is organic.  Read and follow the directions on the label.  It would be wise in future years to start spraying earlier in the season before the disease takes hold.

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tried everything in the last 6 years to get rid of tomato blight nothing works is there anything I can add to the soil to get rid of it

You need to move your tomatoes to a new location each year.  Once the spores of the disease are in the soil they will remain and reinfest the next year’s crop.  You should wait 2 years before planting there again.  Black or red plastic mulch covering the soil will also help prevent the spores from splashing up onto the leaves…this is how the diseases get their start.  Also NEVER spray your tomatoes with water.  Wet leaves are the perfect place for disease to take hold.  Cutting off the leaves closest to the soil will also help.

 

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HiI have two stargazer lilies. One is doing well the others leaves are a lighter color green almost yellow at top and pods are a yellow with some brown spots appearing on upper leaves and the pods. They have not opened as yet. Any ideas on what this is or how to treat it?

It sounds like you may have a fungal disease called botrytis   HERE’S a link that discusses that.  During a damp, humid season like the one we’re having, diseases are common.  Don’t promote disease by spray watering your gardens.  Use a watering wand to direct the water to the soil while keeping the leaves and flowers dry.  Wet plants make it easy for diseases to take hold.  MORE ON THAT HERE.    Now that the disease has takn hold, you’ll need to spray with a fungicide like Bonide Fungonil.

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How long as putting down Milky Spore powder can I plant my fall bulbs

Milky Spore has nothing to do with your bulb planting schedule one way or the other.  I’d get the Milky Spore down right away though.  Plant you bulbs whenever you normally do.

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This year all of my lilies not day lilies were eaten up by some kind of beetle with reddish wings. I srayed insect killer on them but it seem like it didn’t work please help

You have now been introduced to Scarlet Lily Beetles.  You need to start spraying as soon as you see the first beetle arrive.  Spray with Bonide Bon-Neem every few days for 3 weeks as soon as you see the first one.  The fist beetles to arrive send out a scent that lures in MANY more.

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does hewitts use neonicotinoids

We don’t.  Most of our supplies do not either but, dealing with multiple suppliers, there is no way I can realistically 100% guarantee that, at some point earlier in time, all our plants were never treated with them.

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Peter, we are planning to plant tomatoes (mostly grape/cherry and Big Boy types) in pots. What is the best growing medium for that kind of crop? Last year we used potting mix, which was OK, but did not result in much abundance.Many thanks. Rob

I like the Espoma Organic Potting soil.  However, don’t count on the soil alone to provide all the nutrients for the plants.  You’ll need to add food.  Espoma Bio-Tone can be added to the potting soil and you can also promote even faster growth and fruit production by feeding them with Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster every 2 weeks.

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We lost several perennials this year of different types. Some Daisy’s, about 4 rose bushes, and a few others that I don’t recall what they are called. We’ve had these for several years, but for some reason, several did not come back this year.Could this be the odd winter weather we had where spring like temperatures caused some plants to started growing in winter, then re-froze?I’m wondering if you have heard of this from other people locally?Thank you.

You nailed it…the warm fall was nice for us but rough on hardy plants.  Then late march featured a warm up which brought already advanced plants out of what short dormancy they had just in time to succumb to four unusually cold nights April 3rd – 6 with temps of 24°, 18°, 14° and 17°.  This not only did severe damage to the apple crop but to many landscape plants from arborvitae to perennials.  No, you are not alone.

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if I planted some cherry tomato plants in the beginning of June, will I have tomatoes before the end of july, w/ all the rain we’ve had in Berkshire county, MA?

Yes.  We’re all struggling with the same lack of sun, heat and too much wetness.  Next week looks like a warm up.  To help them along, don’t water unless they absolutely need it since the cold water from the hose will chill the soil and, of course, NEVER spray water…spraying the leaves and stems with water…cold water from the hose, shocks the plants and it takes a few days for them to recover…days we can’t afford in this already dim and wet growing season.

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I bought 4 large asters and planted them last week.Two are wiltingAnd might be dead. I gave them lots of water!What could be wrong?

Two possibilities…you buried them too deep hand have dirt piled up too high on the stems.  Brush the soil back until you find the original soil level.  The other possibility is that you’re drowning them.  As long as the soil is lightly moist, they’ll be fine.  If the soil is constantly soggy the roots can’t breathe and the drown causing the plant to wilt…this is a very common mistake.

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I have a plant in my outside garden that produces purple/blue flowers that open in the morning and close at night. It also is spreading very quickly. I am trying to figure out what the plant is and how I can control it from spreading. It has deep hard roots.

Hard to say without a picture but it sounds like it might be morning glory.  If it is among your garden plants you’ll have to pull/dig it out.   If it is not, you can spray it with Kleen-up plant killer.  Remember though that that spray will kill any plant it touches and should never be used in a vegetable garden.  Always read and follow the directions on the package.  If you can bring a bit of the plant to the garden center, we can ID it for you.

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When is the best time to plant fall bulbs? I think I planted them too early one year, and they started growing about a week after I planted them, so I think it was too warm. Thanks

Anytime from now until the ground freezes.  Some bulbs may grow some leaves if we get a warm spell but, without a winter’s chilling, they won’t flower.  Getting bulbs in now will give them a chance to grow some roots to anchor themselves and gather some extra energy before winter.  More here:  http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/lets-plant-spring-flowers/6467/

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Was given some hostas that have been split and potted they were just roots and stumps, one pot has sprouted and grown leaves but the other pots stumps are turning white and soft.

I’d get them into the ground right away.  In the past, I divided some and was a little too aggressive and the smaller clumps didn’t make it.

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I have a small section of my yard which I wish to turn into a vegetable garden. It has scraggly grass now, and since I live in Wilton, a sandy base under a foot or so of topsoil. How do I transition into an area suitable for vegetable gardening?

Great…sandy soil is a great base for gardening.  Make sure the area is sunny…7+ hours of sun per minimum during June.  More sun is even better.  To beef up the soil, you’ll want to add compost.  You can buy that at the garden center this year but I’d suggest starting a compost bin so you can recycle your garden and kitchen scraps into your own compost.  For the best result’s I’d turn in some  organic Espoma Bio-Tone food into the area.  Bio-Tone will provide a with lots of great organic nutrients.  Best of all it will supercharge the soil with microbe and mycorrhizal fungi.  These microbe work with the roots of the plant to gather the nutrients that the plants need from the soil…amazing stuff!  These microbes live on and spread from year to year so adding them can really enhance your garden’s health and productivity.  More on Bio-Tone HERE  More on mycorrhizal fungi HERE.

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What type of plants and flowers thrive in shady areas? Oh and where can I get them in the capital district?

We have a wide selection of perennials and some shrubs for part shade to shade…too many to list here.  The best thing to do is take pictures of the area with your phone and drop by the garden center to talk to our folks and read some of the plant tags.

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I am looking for an aggressive and fragrant flowering vine for my pergola. I have spent time in the south and love jasmine. Would this be appropriate for our zone. If not suggestions?

Jasmine is not hardy here.  You best choice for an aggressive vine would be Trumpet Vine although it isn’t particularly fragrant…but the hummingbirds love it.   Honeysuckle vine is another option…some fragrance and a quick grower.

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I have a small flower garden and for the past two years Nut Leaf Weevils have been eating the leaves on many of my flowers. I pick them off and kill them but I must have killed over 50 last year. It’s hard to stay ahead of their damage. I was thinking this year of trying insecticidal soap or something that would kill them if they took a bite. Do you have any recommendations for a brand of the soap that would work or something else. Thanks, Linda

Insecticidal Soap is a contact killer so any insects that are actually hit by the spray will be killed but other that arrive later won’t be effective.  Poking around the internet I’ve learned that Spinosad can be effective against weevils and have a longer lasting effect.  Here’s a link to a page that describes several products that you might find useful.

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My tulips don’t produce flowers any more. Why?

Tulips in our climate need all the help they can get. The trick to perpetual success with bulbs is knowing how to “recharge the battery” after they flower in spring. The “growth energy” stored in the bulb is quickly depleted during the all-out effort to reproduce (flower) in spring. After the flowers go by, cut them off including the stem but make sure to leave the leaves. This prevents the bulb from wasting “growth energy” producing seeds. That “growth energy” is instead directed to the bulb where it is stored until next spring’s flowering cycle. Feed your bulbs during their growth cycle starting when the first shoots appear in spring. Bulb food (my favorite is Espoma Bulb-Tone) will provide the balance of nutrients your bulbs will need in addition to the phosphorus from the bone meal.

Think of the bulbs’ leaves as solar collectors that change sunlight into “growth energy” that is sent to the bulb below for storage. Don’t cut off these solar collectors when you remove the spent blossoms. Let them remain until they finish charging up your “bulb batteries”. The leaves will eventually turn yellow, letting you know when it’s time to cut them off.

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I have a Mountain Hydranga that will not bloom. The leaves are green and the plant is healthy. It receives afternoon sun. Can you suggest anything? Also I read keep the soil moist at all times without soaking the root system. Thank you for your time

Mountain Hydrangeas bloom on old wood so, if you a pruning them in late summer or fall, you are removing the buds for the following spring’s flowers. In winter, deer will often nibble the nutritious buds off preventing spring flowering.  Also, a tough winter can also damage the buds so a burlap windbreak installed in the fall may be necessary to protect the hydrangea from the drying winter winds.  Here’s a link you might find helpful:  http://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/mountain-hydrangea

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I found beautiful foxglove plants at your store a month ago and they’ve been a beautiful addition to my garden! But now those first spikes are almost spent of flowers. I’ve read about cutting back the central spikes to encourage flowering of side shoots, but to keep them on if you want to promote reseeding. I do want to promote the reseeding in this area of the garden, but I also want them to keep flowering this year. What should I do? And if the answer is cut back, can you please explain in basic terms how to do that? The suggestions about going to the first floret or something like that makes zero sense to me novice gardening skills! Thank you!

Perennials, including Foxglove have a flowering period of a couple to a few weeks and then they are done.  If you cut off the flowering stem down at the base, it will likely send up a few smaller flowering stems but they not be as large and dramatic as the original spring stem.  Foxglove is a short lived perennial so allowing it to produce seeds is a good way to keep them going in future years.  Id suggest cutting off this larger early to promote the smaller second round of flowers and then leave those on the plant to provide seeds for the potential for more plants next year.

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hi peter,this is my first year starting tomato and pepper plants by seed.I listened to a person I work with and was told to start the seeds in february, which I did.I started with heat mats and grow lights in a 2 ft.x 3 ft. portable greenhouse.problem is,I started them way too early.all 36 tomato plants are getting too large,(I think). they are about 12 inches tall already. I already transplanted them into the red solo cups.I still have the grow lights on them for about 14 hours a day.I usually don’t plant my garden until memorial day weekend.is there anything I can do to slow them down without hurting them?thank you,barry

Not much to be done about it now.  Tomatoes don’t need to be started inside until the last week of March or so.   Keep the lights going or even increase the hours .  If you can cool the area off that will slow them down but stay above 55 degrees.  A gentle breeze from and oscillating fan will also wiggle the stems making them sturdier.  When they go into the garden, you can remove some leavers and  bury the leggy stem (tomatoes are one of the few plants you can do this to) so that it will grow into a sturdier plant.

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I started tomato and pepper seeds in February. first time starting from seeds. I used heat mats and t-5 bulbs to help. now they are aprox 12-15 inches tall and leggy.very healthy but leggy.I’ve put a fan on them to harden them.How can I slow them down without hurting them?I don’t plant my garden until memorial day weekend. I live in southern Columbia county.thank you, barry/ “

Consider it a lesson learned.  Not much to be done about it now.  Tomatoes and peppers don’t need to be started inside until the last week of March or so.   Keep the lights going or even increase the hours .  If you can cool the area off that will slow them down but stay above 55 degrees.  As you are doing, a gentle breeze from and oscillating fan will also wiggle the stems making them sturdier.  When they go into the garden, you can remove some leavers and  bury the leggy stem on the tomatoes (tomatoes are one of the few plants you can do this to) so that it will grow into a sturdier plant.  You can’t do that with the peppers though so ll you can do is add a small stake to support the leggy transplants.

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I am a pretty new vegetable gardener. Last year something kept making little bore holes into my peppers. Not into the stem, but the fruit itself. The holes were little, maybe a few millimeters in diameter. I just found the same type of hole in a very timy start of a pepper. I haven’t found any worms/caterpillars/bugs around to explain it. Any suggestions? I have not used any type of insecticide so far, but since I am a little more experienced, I want to try a lttle harder!

Welcome to the world of vegetable gardening. Kudos to you for not getting discouraged by last year’s lousy growing season From your description and the timing (small fruit stage) I’d surmise that you are having a problem with pepper weevils. Pepper weevils are fairly common and easily controlled by dusting or spraying with the insecticide Eight from Bonide. You’ll want to start spraying right away and repeat once a week for three weeks. That should take care of it but if the symptom returns, start spraying again. You can use Eight up until 3 days before harvest. As always read the label and follow the directions you find there. Make sue to remove any fruit displaying the holes from the garden…don’t compost them, throw them in the trash. In the future, you could try covering the peppers with a floating row cover (called ‘Grass Fast’ at Hewitts) early in the season to prevent the weevil adults from getting at the peppers.

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I have 2 Mulberry trees, 1 red, 1 white under which I’d like to plant something perennial and hardy. Right now, I’m dealing with an ugly, almost bare lawn because, of course, nothing grows really well with almost no sun. Am I limited to hostas or do I even have that option? Are there any other options?

K., First I’d like to dispel the idea that “of course, nothing grows really well with almost no sun.” I’m sure that it seems that way because it IS difficult to grow a lawn or plants in shade but, it really has little to do with the shade. The real culprit here isn’t the shade but the roots of those mulberry trees. Your mulberry trees have a large and fairly shallow root system that is competing with the very shallow roots of your lawn. Guess which is winning that competition? That’s right… the trees. If you plant grass types that can grow in shade like those in Hewitt’s Shady Blend of grass seed then it will do fine under the mulberries. This is good news for you though since there are lots of option for perennials and annuals that can thrive in shade. Annuals for shade include impatiens, coleus, non-stop and wax begonias and others. You certainly can grow hostas and there are lots of interesting types to choose from. Other shade perennials to consider would be heuchera, bleeding heart, astilbe, ferns, epimedium lamium, vinca, and lots more. Google ‘perennials for shade’ and you’ll see lists galore. Before you plant under those mulberry trees though, you’ll want to improve the soil’s ability to absorb and hold moisture. This means blending peat moss into the existing soil at a 50-50 ratio. If you can blend the peat moss into the soil to a depth of 8″ to 12″ that would be ideal. Yes, that is a lot of peat moss but it will benefit your new shade garden for years to come. The you can start hunting for shade perennials to add to your new shade garden. Make sure to add bone meal into your planting hole to provide slow release phosphorus to help get the plants get established. Bone meal will last in the soil for several years but must be placed where the roots of the plant will grow into and use it. Bone meal sprinkled on the surface does no good. In spite of all the soil building you’ve done, it will still be necessary to water your shade garden a little extra since those mulberry roots are still down there robbing water from your shade garden. Oozing soaker hoses work great form since they soak the soil slowly while keeping the leaves dry and healthy. Thanks for thinking of Hewitts, Peter Bowden

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I currently work in an office with no windows and I am looking to have plants there. Can you tell me what plants I can get for this situation, any suggestions on how I can have plants is welcome, I was also considering a solar lamp (because I really want a gardenia bush there.

It sounds to me as though this will be a very difficult environment to grow any plants. There ARE some plants that do well in low light but no light??? not really. The best solution will be to place so gro-lights so that they shine down onto the area where your plants will be. Remember, those gro-lights might seem bright to you but they still will only put out a fraction of the light that even a bright window will provide. Keep those grow lights only a few inches above the plants…a gro-light several feet from a plant provides little energy. I’d put a timer on your grow lights so they’ll provide for the plants even when you are off for the weekend or vacation. Even with added light, you’ll want to stick with low light plants. For upright plants you should consider: . . Aglaonema aka Chinese Evergreen. it is a graceful plant with sword-shaped leaves with silvery highlights. Spathiphyllum aka Peace Lily. Similar in stature to Aglaonema the Peace lily has dark green leaves and puts out an interesting white flower once in a while. . . Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’ aka Corn Plant. Not really a corn plant but a tropical plant that reminds folks of a corn plant. It is often found in larger sizes as a accent plant in offices. For hanging plants you’ll want to check out Pothos and the Heart Leafed Philodendron. Both these plants have heart-shaped leaved but those of the Pothos are speckled with yellow. There are a few others but these are the ‘old reliables’ and are commonly available. . . The biggest problem houseplants have is with their caregiver’s overwatering. Remember, low light plants use very little water. In most cases they’ll only need to be watered anywhere from once a week to once a month. Always check the soil by poking your finger into the soil a couple of inches before you water. If you even think it feels moist wait a few more days and check again. Never leave plants standing in water for more than a few minutes or they will drown. Drowned roots are dead forever and the leaves of the plant will whither in a few days to a few weeks after the roots have been drowned. It is actually better to let the plant get a little limp or wilty before you water to avoid overwatering. Likewise low light houseplants require very little food. I would suggest not feeding at all from November through March and then only light, quarter strength feeding every fourth watering from April through October.

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The soil under my pines is very “rroty” and undiggable. Hostas thrive, but the roses don’t flower, the phlox and mock orrange have died. Can I add soil (2-3 inches) in those spots whre roots are not showing above ground in order to plant more shade-loving perennials? This is how the plot was found when we moved in. thanks!

Thanks for the question. I’m not surprised that the hosta are the only plant doing well under the pines. Roses, mockorange and phlox all need as much direct as possible to thrive and flower…10 hours of DIRECT SUN…not just a bright location. I find that people tend to overestimate the amount of sun they are getting (wishful thinking I guess.The other problem is that, under evergreen like pines, the soil becomes acidic more quickly than out in the open part of the yard. To correct that, you’ll need to check the ph of the soil with a ph test kit (very easy) and apply the amount of lime that the test indicates you need. Yes, you can add some soil to the area but make sure you don’t pile the soil up against the trunk of the pines since that can harm them. Finally, make sure that you choose plants that can thrive in shade. Hostas of course, ferns, huechera, tiarella, myrtle, hecherella, lamium and ladies mantle are a few that pop to mind. Do a search for ‘shade plants”‘ and you’ll find lots more suggestions…just make sure they are hardy for our zone, zone 5. Naturally, once spring arrives, the folks at Hewitt’s can help you pick out the right plants as well. Have fun! Peter Bowden

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we have kept the decorative sweet vine tubers from last year,I have one in water now –with no roots forming??? Also is it easy to raise real potatoes??

I have saved those tubers as well and am going to plant them right outside in the ground in mid May. From what I gather you can get the roots started in water but folks report varying success with that. Yes, potatoes are very easy to grow. Plant the seed potatoes in early May in shallow trenches and continue to mound soil up around the plants as they grow all summer. By fall you will have mounds instead of the trenches you started with. After frost kills the leaves, dig up your buried treasure. You usually get 5 lbs. of potatoes for every pound you planted.

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We wanted to put some vibrant color flowers in our front yard )perferably to stay in their pots) and put some red mulch around with a water fountain to make it look neat and inviting. We just don’t know what type of flowers to purchase that will stay with little maintenance. Any suggestions?

You need to plant annuals every year but they flower all summer and do fine in pots if enough water is provided. Assuming it is a sunny area then there are lots of choices. Geraniums, Ivy geraniums, vinca vine, spike plants, marigolds are just a few durable low-maintenance annuals that pop to mind. There are many more choices. Look at the tags and seek out plants for sun. Naturally you can ask the folks at Hewitt’s to make suggestions based on what is in the greenhouse at the time you visit.

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what can i use or do to kill the grass growing up between my tulips in my tulip garden without harming the flowers themselves?

The only solution is to pull the grass our by hand. Any spray that will kill the grass will kill the tulips as well. After that you can use a weed preventer like Preen or Corn Gluten to keep new seeds from germinating

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My pachysandra are doing horribly this year. The beds are dying. What could be causing this. I read online about a blight that can infect them. What do I do? The beds are about 15 years old.

It is difficult from your description to tell if you have the blight. Here’s a link so you can see if you symptoms match up. http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/FactSheets/leafblight/pachleafblight.htm This was a difficult winter for pachysandra…I’ve heard others with similar problems. The heavy snow cover flattened pachy’s evergreen leaves. Compacted like this pachy will be more susceptible to disease. I’d get in there and rake and rough up the beds as well as removing any bad leaves. I’d go so far as to thin out the bed by ripping out some of the older looking plants. It would be a good idea to lightly sprinkle some plant food over the bed as well. Healthy, well fed plants can ward off disease better than weak anemic plants. I’d use something gentle like Espoma’s Holly-Tone. Lightly broadcast the food and then water it in to get any of the food off the leaves and into the soil. If the problem continues, snip off a coup[le of leaves and bring them to Hewitt’s so they can identify the problem and suggest the exact solution for it.

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i have squash seedlings about 3″to 4″ high.they are covered with these little bugs that look like ground black pepper on them. could you tell me what hey are and are they harmful and if they are, how do i get rid of them?

From your description it sounds like you have some black aphids although, without a picture I’m just making an educated guess. Aphids are easily killed with insecticidal soap. Here’s a link that might help you figure out exactly what you have. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2207.html

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I just put my herb garden in on Sunday. In the last three days, ants have taken up residence in the garden…lots of them. Will this be a problem?? If not, I’d rather leave them alone. But if they are going to eat my herbs or if their tunneling is going to cause problems for the roots/new seedlings then can you suggest a good way to get rid of them? Thanks!

Chances are the ants won’t cause a problem. I’d suggest dusting the soil with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is the ultra sharp (on a microscopinc level) skeletons of sea creatures. It is a harmless powder to us but ants running through it will be sliced and die. This will discourage them without the use of a chemical among your herbs. Peter Bowden

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I have been told that impatiens have some type of disease could you please enlighten me,Thank you

Here’s a link to a blog post all about the impatien disease that is making it impossible to grow them.  The are working on resistant varieties but it will be a few years before they are available.  Best to look for a substitute in the meantime.

 

 

 

 

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Any suggestions for flowers in a small container graden which is on the street – State Street – and subject to unwanted attention ?

I’m not sure what you’re asking exactly but wave petunias, geraniums, vinca vine, salvia would be good choices…there are many others though.

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With the very warm weather in November, many of my perennial plants began to send up new growth even after all the leaves had previously fallen. Some of these plants were roses, hydrangeas and iris. Will this have a negative impact on next year’s growth and flowering? Thanks, Diane

They should be fine.  If they produce flowerbuds that then freeze, you may lose flowers that would appear in spring but the plant will survive.  To help them stay cooler you might consider raking leaves onto the beds to keep the sun from warming the soil.  We had this problem (even worse) during the winter od 2011-12.  HERE’S a link to a blog post I wrote then that addresses the issue.

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I accidentally cut part of my rose bush with my mower. Can I propagate the piece? If so how?

It is possible to grow roses from cuttings.  HERE’S a link to a good article on doing that.  You can try it but it is liable to be more trouble than it is worth.

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My turtle head is up about 3 inches,can I dig it out and move it?

Yes, but do it right away before it grows any more.  Keep it well watered after the move.

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How do I get last year’s mandevilla to bloom again?

During the winter, we don’t want to feed our mandevilla since the days are so short.  Once summer arrives and they are growing quickly, they’ll need to be fed every 2-3 weeks with a high phosphorus, soluble plant food like Jack’s Blossom Booster (10-30-20).  We also don’t want to keep the plant soggy wet all the time, just lightly moist.  Always check to see if the soil is moist before watering.  Poke your finger a couple of inches into the soil before watering.  if the soil feels damp, wait a couple of days and check again.  It is better to underwater a bit that overwater…plants drown very quickly.

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hi peter, I started planting my vegetable garden yesterday and noticed a lot of grubs in the soil.what can I use to get rid of them without harming my plants and seeds?thank you barry

Honestly, I wouldn’t bother with them.  By the time your vegetables are growing, those grubs will be pupating and emerging as adult insects (Jap. beetles, June Bugs etc.).  That is a whole different issue.  A few grubs found in you vegetable garden or flower bed doesn’t warrant treatment.  Jap. Beetles are more of a problem for the lawn…not so much the flower or vegetable garden.

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Do you sell jamaican thyme

No, probably something to shop online for.  Jamaican Thyme isn’t hardy here in zone 5 so it would have to grown in pots and brought inside over winter.

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I have a hydrangea that was planted and flowered a bit and the moved to the front of my house at the appropriate time. I believe that it is dead because it looks like straw and nothing has happened since it was moved. I am all for digging it up and planting new ones, but my husband thinks it will revive somehow. Any ideas? Also, my husband wants to plant a small veg garden and we have an area all set up. It doesn’t get a whole lot of sun. What will grow best?

I have a hydrangea that was planted and flowered a bit and the moved to the front of my house at the appropriate time.  I believe that it is dead because it looks like straw and nothing has happened since it was moved.  I am all for digging it up and planting new ones, but my husband thinks it will revive somehow.

5/22   If you don’t see any signs of growth from the ground in the next couple of weeks then you can assume it is dead.

 

Any ideas?  Also, my husband wants to plant a small veg garden and we have an area all set up.  It doesn’t get a whole lot of sun.  What will grow best

The best bets in a shady vegetable garden will leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard.  Green beans and peas would also do OK.  Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and the large fruiting tropical veggies will struggle to produce much fruit though they will grow in shade.  Most veggies really need 8 hours of direct sun  per day to thrive.

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I have a few questions… How do I beat red sorrel in my flower beds? I’ve pulled and pulled, gently getting the trailing roots and sifting them out, but it still comes back! I tried adding lime because I read they liked acid soil so I figured if I changed the ph. maybe that would work….. no luck. I tried mulching.. thickly… it still comes… At least with the mulch, it is easier to get out. It is makes me nuts! What can I do? It is now invading my husband’s strawberry beds too. Now we’re both going crazy in our red sorrel battle!My Gramps gave me a shoot from beneath Grandma’s white lilac. It bloomed this year for the first time but it is purple???? How did that happen!? Thank you!Katy

I have a few questions… How do I beat red sorrel in my flower beds? I’ve pulled and pulled, gently getting the trailing roots and sifting them out, but it still comes back! I tried adding lime because I read they liked acid soil so I figured if I changed the ph. maybe that would work….. no luck. I tried mulching.. thickly… it still comes… At least with the mulch, it is easier to get out. It is makes me nuts! What can I do? It is now invading my husband’s strawberry beds too. Now we’re both going crazy in our red sorrel battle!

Mulch with a barrier of cardboard or brown paper  underneath will smother weeds.  Lay cardboard on the ground covering the weeds and covet that with 3″ of bark mulch.  In flowerbeds you can cut up the brown leaf bags to fit around your plants to cover the soil and weeds and then cover the paper with 3″ of mulch.  These barriers last long enough to smother and kill the weeds but then decay adding organic matter to the soil.  HERE’S a blog post about using cardboard to create a bed.  That post was from 2011 and the bed I created is still weed free.   Make sure to over lap the cardboard several inches at least so the weed can’t find a way through.  There is no spray that you can use on the sorrel that won’t kill you garden plants as well.  There will always be some to pull that come up right near your plants but the paper and cardboard method can at least keep the areas in between weeds free.

My Gramps gave me a shoot from beneath Grandma’s white lilac. It bloomed this year for the first time but it is purple???? How did that happen!? 

The white lilac you took the shoot from was grafted.  The white flowering branches were grafted to a hardier purple root stock so any suckers coming from that root stock are going to be purple as well.

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what flowering plants do well in flower box type things in partial shade / partial sun in and around schenectady, ny?

Lobelia, New Guinea Impatiens, fuchsia, tuberous and wax begonias, coleus for colorful leaves, ageratum, heliotrope, browelia …there are many more.  The little tags that are in the plants at the garden center will tell you which ones will grow best in sun/part shade.

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planting schedgual

If you are asking for the Vegetable planting schedule, you can pick one up at the garden center.  Here’s a link to Page 1 and page 2

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My ground ivy is strategically located to cover a berm. It was very healthy and suddenly it began to die. The leaves turned brown, dried out. It spread from a central spot and moved outward. I thought it might be a fungus, so I tried a fungicide which just made it worse. What happened?

Very hard to tell without seeing it…what do you mean by “ground ivy?…that could be any number of things.  It may be a fungal disease but it could also be drowning from overly aggressive use of a sprinkling system that runs every day or every other day.  Best thing to do is bring a sample to the garden center and let us see what it is.

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My rose bush has holes all in the leaves with white spots all over. Some of the stems has white cotton looking stuff popped around. Is this a bug or some sort of disease eating away. Also the rose buds are dried and dead. It has always bloomed well until now.

Yikes, sounds like a mess.  You have a couple of things going on.  The white spots on the leaves are probably Powdery Mildew, a fungal disease that occurs during humid weather.  If you are spray watering your roses, stop.  Every time you wet the leaves, you are inviting Powdery Mildew, Black Spot and other fungal diseases that can afflict roses.  Water the soil below the plants (not just your roses but all you landscape plants, flowers and vegetables)  More on that HERE.

 

Now that the disease is established,   you’ll need to treat it with a strong fungicide like Infuse following the directions on the label.  You can find Infuse at Hewitts.

 

Your “cotton liking stuff” is a soft scale insect.  It is sucking nutrients from the rose.  Between that and the mildew, the rose is so weak that it is aboprting the flowerbuds in a n effort to conserve enough energy to simply survive.  To kill the scale, you’ll need to spray with Bonide Rose Rx following the direction s on the label…it will take multiple spraying to get the scale under control.

In the future, you should consider spraying with Rose RX earlier in the season before the pests show up to prevent these issues.  Above all, DON’T spray water your plants.

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Some of the leaves at the base of my clematis are turning yellow or have yellow/rust spots on them. Any suggestions?Thanks!

It sounds like you have a fungal disease like leaf spot.  Start spraying with Bonide fungonil right away asnd follow the spraying schedule on the product’s label.

 

To avoid fungal diseases, NEVER spray your plants with water.  When you need to water, direct the water onto the soil below to water the roots while keeping the leaves of your plants (not just the clematis)  as dry as possible.  With the hot, humid weather and intermittent heavy rain we’re getting, we’re seeing a lot of fungal diseases cropping up.  No need to add to the problem by spray watering.

 

 

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looking for prices on perlite and vermiculite 4 cubic ft bags

We only stock them in 2 cu. ft. bags and they are both $29.99 for 2 cu.ft.

 

We can order you 4 cu.ft. bags and they would be $39.99 for either

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Hello Peter-Missed your discussion on Hibiscus today; I have two purchased this year and one is lovely the other losing m)ost leaves, but still flowering somewhat. They are planted in large planters (w/holes in bottom for drainage) I put stones in bottom and lots of potting soil. Please advise. Thank you. Dara Martin (oldehaggg@nycap.rr.com)

The symptom you described is usually cause by one of two things.  The first is overwatering. The soil needs to be lightly moist but not soggy wet all the time. If the soil is always very wet and filled with water, the roots can’t breathe and drown just like we would underwater. Plants need some water to replace what they lose to evaporation but too much and they drown. Also, if you piled dirt up higher on the stem when you re-potted it that will cause the same symptom as drowning (leave turning yellow and falling off). Dirt piled against the bark cuts off the flow of moisture and nutrients from the roots to the branches and leave above. Brush away any soil from the stem until you find the original soil level and let the trunk breathe. Most folks think they are doig the palnt a favor by adding more soil around the stem but the opposite is actually true…it slowly strangles the plant. Hibiscus like to be fed in the summer but not at all once they come inside from Oct.-March. They will also use only a tiny fraction of water once they are brought inside as well.

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My basil plants, the leaves are turning black, and falling off??

It sound like you have picked up a case of bacterial leaf spot.  With all the rain we’ve been getting, there are lots of diseases cropping up.  The disease comes from the soil and gets splashed up into the plant were it takes hold.  A layer of brown paper and then straw can prevent this from happening.  Also make sure that, when you water, you aren’t compounding the problem by spray watering.  More on that HERE  At this point all you can do is trim away the affected leaves and flower spikes of course and hope the dry weather lets the disease subside.

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how canI get ridof grub that’s what I thinki have they are eating my petunias stems in my large pot

Spinosad is an organic spray that will knock them out quickly.  HERE’S a link to the version we sell at Hewitt’s.

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Will the vista red salvia come back next spring?

Here in the Albany NY area we are USDA hardiness zone 5.  Vista red salvia is only hardy to zone 11.  So, if you live in Florida, it will grow all year long but not here in Upstate NY.

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I have peonies that need to be spread out. Is it okay to do that now (fall) ordo I need to wait till spring? Thank you

September is the best time for this project  HERE’S A LINK to a great tutorial on this.;  Bear in mind that peonies don’t like to be moved and may not flower the first year after this is done…even longer if you divide them.

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What do you do to the soil on a raised bed vegetable garden that may have been blighted?

You can remove and replace the top 5″ of soil with sterile potting soil in spring.

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Hi, I have strawberry plants and some of the strawberries near the ground are rotted or don’t grow! Any suggestions on what I can do?Also my tomatoe plants have some type of disease, the branches and leaves turn yellow then brown and die! The plants have tomatoes but not many! What can I do now? What can I do to rid the soil of the disease?THANKS!

You can place straw under the berries to keep them from coming in contact with the soil so they don’t rot.  This is so commonly done that that is the reason they are called “strawberries”.

Tomatoes are prone to several diseases.  The spores for these diseases general get their start from soil splashing up when rain falls.  I use black plastic to cover the soil below the plants and stake them up to keep most of the leaves above the soil.  Also, NEVER spray the plants with water…disease love wet leaves so, if you’re spray watering, you are making the situation MUCH worse.  More on that HERE.  Since these disease can remain in the soil from year to year, you shouldn’t plant your tomatoes in the same place every year.  Rotate them around the garden so that they won’t be planted in this spot they are in now until the year after next.

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I have crabgrass growing up thru my mountain pinks can you tell me what to use to kill the crabgrass and not my plant?

You’ll need to pull the crabgrass out by hand.  Crabgrass comes from seed every spring so, if you use a “seedling preventer” on the area in the spring before it has sprouted, you can avoid this problem in the future.  Preen and Corn Gluten are products that prevent seeds from sprouting.  At this point, there is no spray that will kill just the crabgrass.

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What are the bugs creating a little web over my potted flowers, and how do I get rid of them?

It is pretty hard to tell from just a description.  It might be something as simple as a spider which isn’t a problem…just brush the web away.  If it is a denser web then it might be spider mites which can for a web-like structure on the stems.  In that case, spray the plants with Bonide Bon-Neem…an organic spray that is effective against spider mites.    If you can bring a sample in a baggie or some clear pictures of the problem to the gsrden center, they can ID it.

 

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last year I planted a forever & ever white out hydrangea. This year when the flowers bloomed after a couple of days all the petals turned brown on half of each petal. Could you please help me These are beautiful flowers

This was probably caused but the rainy summer we were having until recently.  Also, spraying the plant with water will cause this same problem.  Make sure that, when you water, you direct the water to the soil below the plant but keep the plant dry.   If you have a sprinkler system that wets the landscape plants frequently, then this is the culprit.

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arry Heuchera ‘Paris’ PP 18,881 (Paris Coral Bells) for sale?

I haven’t seen that particular variety among the several we have available.

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my black eyed susans have developed a fungus and am wondering what to spray on them. The foliage is a powdery white and the heads are dying.

The first this to do to prevent this is to avoid spraying your plants with water.  When they need watering direct the water to the soil with watering wands or soaker hoses to soak the soil while keeping the leaves. stems and flowers dry.  HERE’S A LINK to the dangers of spray watering.

 

It sounds like you have picked up powdery mildew, a fungal disease.  You can spray it with Fung-o-nil a garden fungicide.   The better approach would be to start spraying in spring with the fungicide to prevent the disease.  They will come up next spring just fine in spite of the damage the mildew has cause this year.

 

 

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do you guys sell sorrel seeds or know any place to find them.

I have seen the seeds on the seed racks but I’d call ahead to confirm since the seed racks are getting pretty picked over at this point.  http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-7309-red-veined-sorrel.aspx

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what is good to keep chipmunks out of my flower garden

Bonide Repels-All.  This hose end spray version makes it easy to spray the flowerbeds and won’t harm the plants.  It lasts a month or so but rain may make more frequent applications necessary.  Read and follow the direstion on the label.

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do you have flowers that attract hummingbirds

Hummingbirds love almost all flowers so yes, we have them.  Hummingbird are attracted to bright colors, red especially.  Colorful objects in the yard…like a red gazing globe will attract them as will the sound of splashing water.  Once in the yard, it is nice if they find nectar producing flowers like columbine or hostas.  Of course a hummingbird feeder will keep them coming back when the flowers are between blooms.  Here’s a site with a great list of plants for you.

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When should I plant eggplant, and full sun or partial sun? Does Hewitts sell these plants?

Like most vegetables, eggplants should be planted in the sunniest place possible.  They should be planted when the soil is nice and warm…around the 3rd week in May.  Yes, we sell several varieties of eggplant and they will be available when it is time to put them in the ground.

 

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Could you tell me what I can put in my vegetable garden to kill weeds, and is safe for the vegetables.

 

There are no sprays to kill weeds among vegetab le plants.  The best method is to cover the soil with paper or cardboard and cover that with straw to suppress the weeds.  Once you weed an area, you can apply corn gluten to the area to prevent any seeds from sprouting but it can’t stop weeds that are coming up from an already established root system .

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I have a large yard (about 3 acres) that includes several flower gardens and a large vegetable garden. I am infested with snails and slugs….thousands of them. Can you recommend a cost efficient method to get rid of them? I cant pay $15 for a small container of Sluggo. I need to do something more on the commercial level.

You’ll just have to look for a source for larger quantities of iron phosphate.  Remember though that a little goes a long way.  You place it in small piles in the worst infested areas and they are drawn to it.  If you start early in the season, you can prevent the population explosion that happen now when we have a wet summer.

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I have a very boggy corner in my garden. What can I plant there ?It is on the corner of my leach field so nothing with invasive roots. I would like to use perennials but I have no preference as to plants, bushes, grasses etc. At the moment it is just a thistle patch. Thank you.

Here’s a list of perennials for damp areas pulled from this link:

This is just a list of the perennials…if you are interested in shrubs as well, click the link above for the full list.  I’d avoid anything larger than the perennials though to protect you leach field

Ferns (Botanical Name – Common Name)

  • Athyrium filix-femina – Lady Fern
  • Athyrium nipponicum – Painted Fern
  • Cyrtomium falcatum – Holly Fern
  • Dryopteris erythrosora – Autumn Fern
  • Dryopteris filix-mas – Male Fern
  • Matteuccia pennsylvanica – Ostrich Fern
  • Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern
  • Osmunda cinnamonea – Cinnamon Fern
  • *Osmunda regalis – Royal Fern
  • Thelypteris palustris – Marsh Fern

Ornamental Grasses (Botanical Name – Common Name)

  • *Arundo donax – Giant Reed
  • *Carex species – Sedges
  • Chasmanthium latifolium – Northern Sea Oats
  • Schizachyrium scoparium – Little Bluestem
  • Sorghastrum nutans – Indian Grass
  • Spartina pectinata – Cordgrass

Perennials & Bulbs (Botanical Name – Common Name)

  • *Acorus calamus – Sweet Flag
  • *Acorus gramineus – Dwarf Sweet Flag
  • *Alocasia macrorrhiza – Giant Alocasia
  • Arisaema triphyllum – Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  • *Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed
  • Aspidistra elatior – Cast Iron Plant
  • Aster novae-angliae – New England Aster
  • Astilbe x arendsii – Astilbe
  • *Canna species – Canna
  • Chelone species – Turtlehead
  • Cimicifuga species – Bugbane
  • *Colocasia esculenta – Elephants Ear
  • Convallaria majalis – Lily Of The Valley
  • *Crinum americanum – Swamp Lily
  • Crinum species – Crinum
  • Eupatorium purpureum – Joe-Pye Weed
  • *Filipendula species – Meadow Sweet
  • Galium odoratum – Sweet Woodruff
  • Hedychium species – Ginger Lily
  • *Helianthus angustifolius – Swamp Sunflower
  • Hemerocallis hybrids and species – Daylily
  • *Hibiscus coccineus – Scarlet Swamp Hibiscus
  • Hibiscus species – Rose Mallow
  • Houttuynia cordata – Houttuynia
  • *Hymenocallis – Spider Lily
  • *Iris ensata – Japanese Iris
  • *Iris hybrids – Louisiana Iris
  • *Iris laevigata – Rabbitear Iris
  • *Iris pseudacorus – Yellow Flag
  • Iris sibirica – Siberian Iris
  • *Iris virginica – Southern Blue Flag
  • *Leucojum aestivum – Summer Snowflake
  • Ligularia species – Ligularia
  • *Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower
  • *Lobelia siphilitica – Blue Cardinal Flower
  • *Lysimachia clethroides – Gooseneck Loosestrife
  • *Lysimachia punctata – Yellow Loosestrife
  • Malvaviscus arboreus – Turks Cap
  • Mentha species – Mints
  • Mertensia virginica – Virginia Bluebell
  • Monarda species – Bee Balm
  • Myosotis scorpioides – Forget-Me-Not
  • Physostegia virginiana – Obedient Plant
  • *Rhexia virginica – Meadow Beauty
  • Smilacina racemosa – False Solomon’s Seal
  • Tiarella cordifolia – Foam Flower
  • Tradescantia virginiana – Spiderwort
  • Tricyrtis formosana – Toad Lily
  • Vernonia noveboracensis – Ironweed
  • *Xanthosoma atrovirens – Taro
  • *Zantedeschia aethopica – Calla Lily
  • Zephyranthes atamasca – Atamasco Lily
  • Zephyranthes candida – Rain Lily

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I have a perennial sun flower that had red spider mites last year. I had to cut the plants back mid summer, I am noticing they are starting to come back this year again. How can I get rid of them, the soapy water didn’t seem to help last year. Thanks in advance

Just plain soapy water is not going to kill spider mites.  Even insecticidal soap doesn’t work well against them.  Neem oil is what I would suggest.  We sell it as a product called “Bon Neem” which is a combination of pyrethrin and neem oil.  You’ll need to thoroughly drench the plants when spraying and spray once a week for 3 weeks to insure control.  Pay particular attention to the undersides of the leaves when spraying.

 

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how can I kill creeping charlie in my garden?

If it is growing among other plants then weed killer spray can’t be used.  Pull as much as you can and then cover the area with cardboard or a couple of layers of brown paper (leaf bags cut open).  Cover that with cedar mulch of the mulch of your preference.  In the flowerbeds, I use cedar mulch…in the vegetable garden I use straw to cover the paper.  The paper cut the plants under it off from sunlight and they die.

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do you carry pro mix potting soil

Only in the 3.8 Cu Ft. compressed bale.  $44.99

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What is a great plant food? I would prefer something organic.

Espoma Bio-Tone or any of the Espoma “Tone” foods.  HERE’S a link to more about them.

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when is the best time to plant purple top turnips to avoid root maggots?thank you barry

One of the best way to control root maggots of any kind is to mix diatomaceous earth into the soil where the turnips will be growing.  DE will slice and shred the maggots or any insect and they die from dehydration.

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What is the best rabbit repellent for my small container garden of herbs and a potted tomato plant?

Around edibles, the one to use is Hot pepper wax repellent…here’s a link to the product.   http://www.bonide.com/products/product.php?category_id=127

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In the fall I put tulip bulbs in the freezer. I would like to plant in a pot for Easter, but how should I do it.

Just plant them in a shallow pot with the pointy side up.  The bulbs want to be just below the surface of the soil with the tips just poking out.  Water thoroughly and keep in a warm place until they sprout and give them the sunniest windowsill you have.  The bad news is that it is too late to do this (3/12) and have them in flower for Easter…they’ll flower a week or two later.  Also…no need to freeze the bulbs…chilling them in the regular part of the refrigerator for 8 weeks will work fine.

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Hi I decided to plant all my own flowers for my wedding. I was wondering what flowers I should choose that are pink and purple and would be harvestable around the 22nd of August that would be good to put in my bouquets and centerpieces. Also what time I should start planting. Thank you

Cosmos, snapdragons, cleome and there are other annuals to choose from.  You’ll need to shop for and plant them right away though.  Honestly, plan on buying some flowers to supplement what you grow.

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I have a half wine barrel in a very shady spot in my front yard, looking for suggestions on what type of flowers would like an area such as this. Would love to add some color. Thank youMichelle. H

Options are limited for shade.  Wax and tuberous (non-stop) begonias are a good choices.  Coleus for colorful foliage (pick off the boring flowers for better results).  Caladium can tolerate shade.  Trailing lobelia is also an option.  Torenia aka wishbone flower is another possibility.

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my hydrangeas do not bloom well got from hewitts, many yrs ago i must not be doing something wrong please help

Without any information to go on, the best I can do is send you to this website…there are different types of hydrangeas and they need different treatment for success.  This site will help you figure out what type you have and how to care for it.  http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/

 

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tomatoe plants leafs turn yellow on edges

This is a classic symptom of wet soil.  Back off on the watering and only water when they start to wilt a bit.  NEVER spray the plants with water.  Just wet the soil where the roots are.  More on watering HERE.

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preparing soil for vegetable garden what do we add? Manure, peat moss, … what amounts?

Aged manure or composted manure is the beast.  Peat moss has no nutritional value it is use for moisture retention.  You can mix it 50%-50% with the original soil.  While your doing this, you should also add Espoma Bio-Tone to jump start the soil with organic nutrients, beneficial soil microbes and fungi.

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How do I winterize a Knockout Rose Tree planted in the ground The Graft is about 36 inches high this is the first winter in zone 5will it die. if not wrapped up?

You are right to think that tree roses need a little extra care to come through winter.  Here’s a link to fill you in on what needs to be done

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I bought a Hardy Aster last year and planted right away. It grew fine through the late fall however, I do not see any growth at all yet. The mums are already growing leaves so I thought the Asters would have a similar growing season? Thanks!!

I’m sure your aster will show up.  They tend to lay low until a few weeks before their flowering period (late summer/early fall) and then rise up above the surrounding plants and then flowers.  Soon you should see it growing down low waiting for its season.

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Does Hewitts sell mulch that isn’t treated with chemicals and dyes?

I don’t know of any mulch that is treated with chemicals.  Most of the mulches we sell are not dyed.  The only ones that are dyed are the black, red and brown dyed cedar mulch.  My favorite is the natural cedar mulch…we also have natural pine and other mulches to choose from.

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I’ve seen reports of many stores getting their plants from sources that use the pesticide neonicotinoids. Does Hewitt’s sell such plants?

Dealing with multiple suppliers for nursery stock, perennials and other plants, there is no way I could honestly say that none were ever treated with neonicotinoids at some point. 

 You may find this article helpful as well.

 http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/planting_garden_center_flowers_is_good_for_bees_and_other_beneficial_insect

 

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I bought bulbs 3 weeks ago at Hewitt’s—still not planted. Is it too late ?The ground is definitely frozen.

If we get a warm spell and the ground thaws get them in.  You could even dig through the thin frozen layer to the earth below and plant them…cold won’t hurt them.  If you can’t get them in, store them in a very cold place like the ‘fridge or an unheated garage until spring and plant them then.  They need at least 8 weeks of cold storage (or spending the winter in the ground) to get them to flower in spring.  If you store them in a warm area, they won’t grow…they need a period of cold before spring.

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Do you have hanging baskets of tomatoes?

Our Clifton Park store had a few but call ahead to make sure they are still available.  371-0126

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I have grubs in my vegetable planters and raised beds. I won’t use chemicals there as we want to eat the vegetables. What’s the safest way to get rid of them?

I would pluck them out and dispose of them as you find them.  A few grubs here and there aren’t a problem in the vegetable garden.  By the time the vegetable are growing, they will have matured and emerged as the Japanese Beetle or whatever insect they are destined to become.

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Nice service. Thanks. Why is there mold growing in my potted new soil pot? It’s white. John jwolner@nycap.rr.com

If the plant was outside and then brought in then the spores probably came in with it.  Even if not, there are mold spores in the air even in the house that can float in the air and land on the soil.  Most plants shouldn’t Be kept so damp that mold can grow so I suspect that you are overwatering.  Plants need far less water than most folks believe.  If there is a saucer under the pot, it is there only to protect the floor or woodwork…not for any benefit of the plant.  NEVER let water stand in the saucer.  When you water, any water in the saucer that doesn’t get drawn up into the soil within 5 minutes or so should be dumped.  Now that the mold is there stop watering and let the soil dry.  Take a pencil and scratch up the surface of the soil to help it dry out.  Keep the surface of the soil dry by light watering and pour the water into the saucer below and let it get drawn up from below. And discard any that isn’t.  Less is more when it comes to houseplant care.  These molds aren’t usually a problem for the plants but the drowning conditions are the real culprit.

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leaves on Tomato plants turning yellow and dying

It could be as simple as them getting too much water with all the rainy weather.  Let them dry out for a while and never spray the leaves with water…water the soil below the plants ONLY when needed.

 

There are also several disease that can attack tomatoes and wet leaves make it easier for them to spread.

 

Yellow leaves can also be due to a lack of nutrients….scratch some Tomato-Tone food into the soil below the plants right away…you can also use soluble foods for a quick boost as well.  Jack’s Classic is the best…Miracle-Gro would be my second choice.

 

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is it necessary to replace potting soil in containers every year or can you just add fertilizer to it

No need to replace it.  I’ll remove any root balls from last year’s annuals and add a little new soil as needed and mix a little Espoma Bio-Tone to the soil.  I also feed the annual flowers Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster every other week.

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We failed to read the directions and sprayed our vegetable gardens with Bayer Advanced Complete Insect killer. Is it now unsafe to eat the produce?

Yes, it is now unsafe to eat the produce.  You have applied a systemic insecticide that is absorbed into the plants and  so it should not be eaten.  In fact, I’d removed the plants to eliminate the possibility that it is eaten by anyone.  ALWAYS read the directions before applying any insecticide or herbicide.

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Can I use crabgrass preventer around day lilies?

Yes…crabgrass preventer stops seeds from sprouting so daylilies won’t be affected.  Preen is essentially crabgrass preventer and is intended for use around flowerbeds.

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i am looking for a rex bagionia plant.,., do you know where i can find them

We don’t have any right now,  I’d suggest calling around to some of the other local Garden Centers to see if they do.

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I live at the bottom of a hill in an area with clay soil, so our yard is pretty wet in the spring – and it can continue to be wet into the summer depending on how much rain we get. There is a corner of our yard that is downright swampy, and it’s pretty unusable as it sits right now. We would like to make it functional in some way and are considering turning it into a large garden. Are there flowers and plants that will work in a spot like this? Can you recommend a few to try this year? Thank you!

There are few plants that will tolerate extended time in wet soil.  There are willows…weeping willow trees, pussywillow and dappled willow shrubs that can deal with the wetness.  If you are intent on gardening in this are, you’re going to have to bring in several of inches of soil to raise the are up and improve drainage so there is no standing water.

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do you have any Playboy knockout roses that grow in partial shade

Our Knockout roses are arriving today but none called “Playboy”.  “Playboy” appears to be a floribunda rose, not a knockout.  We have a few of the floribunda Playboy roses but only at our E. Greenbush store at Rt 4 and I-90.  There are only 5 so get them soon.

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When should dwarf evergreens be covered to protect them for the winter

Anytime now.  HERE’S more on winter protection for our landscape plants.

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too late to plant hosta

You can plant hosta up until the ground freezes.  An earlier start would be better but they are better of going in the ground than sitting in pots all winter.

 

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I want to add composting worms to my vegetable garden. I don’t want to order them online. Do a year garden stores… say, Hewitts… sell them in any physical stores in the Capital District?

We don’t sell composting worms but a bait shop will have earthworms you can set loose in your gardens.  Also, add some Espoma Bio-Tone (which we do sell) to release beneficial hardy soil organisms including mycorrhizal fungi into the soil.  This will benefit both the soil and the worms.  Of course adding organic matter in the form of compost will feed all these things and supercharge your soil over winter.

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I want to grow some garlic this year. what type of fertiz. to I need? I heard to apply nitregon in the spring?

You can add some food to the planting holes and then scratch some more around them when they show signs of life in the spring.  A balanced food is best.  I’d suggest Espoma Bio-Tone organic food (4-3-3)

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What are the best holly bushes varieties to plant in slightly wet, full sun area and when is the best time for the Latham area.

Winterberry Holly is the best for this location.  Spring is always the best time to plant but fall can work out if you provide some protection from the drying northwest wind.

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I live in California and have just had raised beds built from birch wood. They are filled with soil. Do I need to paint or stain the outside of the boxes? If so what would you recommend? Thank you.

Obviously you need to be very careful with paints and stains around edible plants to make sure it doesn’t get into the food.  There are lots of options out there though HERE’S an article all about it and a web search for “eco friendly paints and stains for raised beds” will show you even more options.

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I live in VT and was wondering if I could leave my Tropica Escape Mandevilla out side during the winter if I cover it.

Mandevilla is only hardy to zone 9 (25° to 30°) so, even with covering, it will never survive outside in Vermont over winter.  It must be brought in.

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Will maiden grass seeds blow in the wind and reseed in the near buy fields and swamp land?

If it is one of the sterile plants then no but if it is a wild cultivar than yes.  Here’s a link…look for “Japanese silvergrass” in the list.

 

 

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how do i order perenials for sprtng planting

Sorry, we do not take pre-orders for perennials.

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We Purchased bush style hydrangea should we cut dead flowers off ?

Whether or not you cut them back depends on what type of hydrangea they are Go HERE for help determining what you have and how to prune it.

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how to get rid of Lilly of the valley

You can kill it with a spray of Round-up during the growing season or cover the area with several layers of plastic or old carpeting for a full growing season.

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can you transplant upright elaine princess lily to another location in your yard

Princess lilies (alstroemeria) are only hardy to zone 8…we are zone 5…much too cold for them to survive winter.  In our area, the bulbs will need to be dug out before frost and stored inside for the winter and re-planted each spring.

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We are taking our vegetable garden a little more seriously this year, after several years of pretty successful gardening. We want to venture outside of our normal gardening range, and we want to make sure to buy and grow plants that are successful in our region, and are curious where to buy plants and how/when to plant them. We are planting in Clifton Park, NY. Any direction or suggestions are appreciated, Thank you for your consideration,Natalie & Jason

Naturally, you can get everything you’ll need at Hewitt’s.  There are a few plants that you’ll need to but that need a head start.  Even if you don’t do seed starting, you can buy the started plants from us.  The bulk of your garden will come from seed sown directly into the garden.  HERE’S A LINK that can help you get a handle on when to start seeds indoor if you want to experiment with that, and HERE’S A LINK with information on when to direct sow seeds into the garden for different crops.  It includes links to the handy “Vegetable Schedule”…you can also pick up your own copy at Hewitts…it is a great resource designed just for our climate here in the Capital Region.  There is a second seed sowing season in mid-summer for late crops that mature in the fall…gardening doesn’t end with frost…HERE’S A LINK to that article.

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What is the difference between compost and fertilizer, and witch is best?

Compost I rotted organic matter (leaves, vegetable kitchen scraps, egg shells, etc) and is used to improve the texture and nutritional value of the soil.

Fertilizer is a combination of nutrients concentrated so that it can be added to the soil to improve the nutritional value of the soil.

Neither is “better” and it is best to use both to improve the soil.  I prefer organic fertilizer and strongly suggest its use.

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I have an inground pool and am looking for something to plant along fence line for privacy screen> I have considered ornamental grass, or arborvitae. I would like it fact growing up to 7feet, and don’t want to spend a fortune… Right now it can be temporary and I will replant to side fence lines as I can afford other options.thoughts? recommendations?I am in Zone 5 (Waterford NY), the area is full sun

It depends on the sunlight the area gets.  If the area gets 7+ housr of sun per day in midsummer that an economical choice would be forsythia.  it will flower well before the pool is open so won’t be messy.  For a shady area, Clethra would be a good choice.  HERE’S more on Clethra and HERE’s more on Forsythia.

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Hello Peter. I have three beds of various types of lilies such as asiatic, orientals, stargazers,etc. They are covered currently with cedar mulch for winter protection. The past two years I’ve battled lily beetles like many folks and I’m wondering if it would be better to remove the mulch this spring when the bulbs start to poke through. Also can you recommend an organic deterrent for those little pests.

Lilies don’t really need any winter protection.  If the is a couple of inches of mulch, that’s fin but a heavier laer should be reduced in thickness once it thaws out in late March.  Scarlet Lily Beetle have become a huge problem.  Keep an eye out and, when you see the very first one start spraying once a week with Bon-Neem.  Bon-Neem is a combination of an organic contact killer Pyrethrin and Neem Oil which is not only an insect killer but fungicide as well.  It is important to kill the beetle at the first sign since the first to arrive will put a scent out into the wind that will attract even more.  Spinosad has also been found to be effective against lily beetle if used at the first sign.  HERE’S A LINK you might find helpful.  We sell both Bon-Neem and Capt’n Jack’s (spinosad) at Hewitts.

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I have a 40 yr old Ti plant. Over the past 2 yrs it has grown out of control. Can I cut it back and replant the trimmings?

You can cut it back and it will regrow from the original root system.  You can also root the cutting for more new plants… HERE’S a link on how to do that.

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Can I start my dahia tuber after I treat with bleach? I have some with light mold should I treat all of them that wintered in the same place? I thought they were dry enough when I put them up in peat moss and newspaper in a box but a few have mold. Also should I plant them as usual or let them dry out after I treat for mold?

I’d avoid treating your tubers with bleach but you might as well try starting them as usual.  The mold indicates they are being stored in too-moist and probably too warm conditions. Try dry, sterile potting soil for storage medium.  Take them out of storage once a month or so and brush them off with a whisk broom and let them dry on the surface before returning them to their cool storage location.  Peat moss is not sterile and may have the mold spores present.  Potting soil is sterilized.  “Garden Soil” and peat moss are not.

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I just bought two cedar elevated garden beds to grow fruits and vegetables this year with my preschool age sons. The problem is, I’m not sure what I’m doing 🙂 First, what type of soil/fertilizer should I fill them with? I need about 18 cubic feet. Also, when is the time to plant these fruits and veggies (tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, snap peas, etc)? It’s been warm already but should I wait until there is zero chance of frost? Sincerely, A Mom trying to grow a green thumb

You can get “garden soil” in bags from the gardens center.  I’d jump start the microbial and nutritional value of the soil by turning in some organic Bio-Tone food.  You can do that anytime now.  Once that is done, you can start planting  HERE’S a link to a blog post about scheduling your crops.  Drop by the garden center to get your own copy of the “Vegetable Schedule”  to help you time your seed sowing throughout the spring and summer.  Other than tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and a few others, most of your crops will be started from seed directly sown into the garden outside starting with peas in a couple of weeks.

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I’m looking for a flowering vine to climb my lamp post. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Clematis …lots of colors to choose from and they are winter hardy so they return year after year.

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PeterI have a beautiful Blushing Bride hydrangea- too bad there are no flowers. I just checked ph and it is very alkaline so I know I have to adjust this. Questions:1. It is placed among other acid loving plants. should I just add sphagnum peat moss or lime or both?? Is the lime/peat mixed into top layer?2. I never cut it back in the fall- yes or no?3. I add Holly Tone in spring around perimeter/driplines but am never sure how much??ThxNancy G

Your Blushing Bride can be pink or blue depending on the ph.  Alkaline for Pink, acidic for blue.  Adding lime will make it alkaline for pink.  Adding sulfur will make the soil more acidic for blue flowers.  I’d switch to Flower-Tone instead of Holly-tone for extra phosphorus for more flowering.  There is no need to add peat moss since it has no nutritional value and won’t adjust the pH to an noticeable degree.  The Flower-tone and sulfur should be turned into the top few inches of soil. HERE’S A LINK that should help you.

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When will you have vegetable plans for sale?

We’ll have some coold weather veggies available around mid-April.  The rest will be available in early May.  Be aware that most vegetables are grown from seeds sown directly in the ground.  Stop by Hewitt’s to pick up a “Vegetable Schedule” so you can see which need to be started from transplants and which from seed.  HERE’S a link that may help you.

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my garden didnt do well last year…we are pruning some nearby trees for more sunlight; but feel that the soil lacks some nutrients….can we have it tested somehow? Thanks…Dorothy

We sell soil test kits if you wish to do it yourself.  You can also (for a small fee0 have it tested through the Cornell Cooperative extension.  Here’s their website  so you can find contact information for your county.

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I am reworking the gardens and lawn in my back yard. I want something that is pet safe (dog) so it needs to include the plants as well as the chemicals used. Do you do a seminar on that topic?

Hewitt’s sells plenty of organic and pet friendly products…drop by and ask…they will be happy to show you.  I’ll be doing a seminar on Pet and Wildlife Friendly products and techniques on April 16th at 10 AM at our Guilderland (Rt 20) store and again on April 23rd at Noon.  As far as plants, I do not do a talk on this but a quick search of the internet yields NUMEROUS RESULTS.

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What does hewitt’s have for veggie container gardens?

We have a variety of different containers depending on the size of container you are looking for. Here is a list of just a couple of options that we have in larger planters. Whiskey Barrels(both wood and plastic in a couple of sizes), Earthbox Garden kits which are perfect for container gardening on decks or patios, large plastic terra cotta look pots, large decorative clay pots and more. Your best bet is to stop into the store and take a look.  We also have all the seeds you need and will have started vegetables for you when it is time to plant.

 

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I have a couple of pots with mums from last year and the branches are dead, does that mean the part that is in the dirt is dead also or can i try and plant it. How can i tell if the part of the plant inside the dirt is dead

Once it warms up a bit, they will grow if they are alive…if not, they won’t.   Cut off all the dead branches from last year.  If they were left outside in the pots, they are probably dead since they would have experienced repeaded freeze/thaw cycles.  The best way to get them to come back to plant them ion the ground or at least sink the pots into the ground up to the rim.  I’d wait and watch…plants are tough and never give up.

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Planting Bare Root Ferns? Soak in water 1 hr prior (what temp?) – Potting soil add Bio Tone Starter or ? to potting soil outside of the potting soil that is in contact with the initial bare roots?

You could moisten the roots with some lukewarm water but don’t leave them submerged for more than 5-10 minutes.   Use the Bio-tone very sparingly since ferns don’t like too much food.  Bio-tone is a gentle organic so there will be no harm if a bit of it comes in contact with the roots.

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is it okay to spray rose garden with Kleenup weed and grass killer

If you are EXREMELY careful and you can spray the weeds without getting any of the vegetation killer on the roses, you could.  Kleen-up kills any plant it touches (not just grass and weeds) so, if you attempt this be VERY careful.

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I have a rock ledge behind my house that I would like to put perennials in. Do you have any suggestions?

I’m picturing ferns, trillium and other woodlands plants many of which are available as bare-root plants right now.  Of course I have no idea how much light the area gets so they may not be good suggestions at all.  Check how much light the area gets (once the trees leaf out) and then come in and start reading plant tags to see what is a match.

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What are some flowers I could plant and keep in a pot so late in the spring?

Flowering annuals are perfect for this and it isn’t late for this at all.

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Years ago I found a part of a rosebush root that our dog had torn out two weeks earlier. I planted it and the bush grew again, flourishes but never produces roses. is there anything i can do to re fertilize it?

Feed it right away with some Rose-tone rose food and again in 6 weeks.  If it is planted in a spot that gets less than 7-8 hours of sun, it will never flower much.

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squirls are in my garden and lawn. How do I get rid of them?

Bonide Repels-All animal repellent spray will repel squirrels.  Spray every 2-3 weeks through spring.

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Hi,Would you please tell me which varieties of seed potato do you sell?isaThank youLisa

We have Dark Red Norland, Yukon Nugget, Purple Majesty, Rose Finn, French Fingerling, Kennebec and Terra Rosa seed potatoes.

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Can you suggest a quality mulch that will control weeds and also enrich the soil as it breaks down? Do you deliver large quantities of this type of mulch?

No mulch alone will totally control weeds.  You’ll need a barrier under the mulch to prevent the weeds from coming up through the mulch…like cardboard or weed block fabric.  I like Cedar Mulch.  We don’t deliver bulk mulch but our bagged mulch is competitively priced and mulch in bags makes the process much easier than a pile of bulk mulch.

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I live in Manchester Vt. Which variety boxwoods are hardy for this zone and do you carry them ? If so could you give me an idea of cost. I would be planting them myself.Cathy

We sell, Winter Gem, Green Gem Green Velvet, and Korean Boxwood.  All are hardy to zone 4-5 so they should do fine in your zone 5a.  They will struggle to survive in very windy locations.  We also sell Newport Blue pyramid Boxwood but it is only hardy to zone 6 so avoid that.  They are balled in burlap or potted with priced that range from $40-$75.

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Hi do you sell Mophead hydrangeas? If so when is a good time to plant these?Do they require a lot of sun?Thanks!

Yes we do…you can plant them as soon as the ground can be dug so…anytime now.  Spring is the best time so they have a chance to get a good root system before fall.

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My forsythia bush did not bloom? What’s up with that?

Forsythia and other early flowering shrubs form their flower buds the summer before and they winter over on the plants.  Last fall and early March 2016 were very warm so the bids were advanced toward blooming much too early.  Then April 4th, 5th and 6th happened with lows of 18°,14° and 17°.  That froze the buds and so, no flowers this year.  Many magnolias and azaleas suffered the same fate.  The plants will be fine and leaf out just fine.  This happens every so often

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I see that annuals are already out in gardening stores. Can they be planted now? It’s only May 1st.

The average last frost date for Albany is May 2nd and later for the surrounding hills.   There is no frost in the forecast right now either.  Planting now would be a bit of a gamble so be prepared to cover up.  Tomatoes, pepper eggplant and other “tropical” veggies don’t like lows below 50° so they want to go in the week after Mother’s Day or even later in May depending on what the forecast looks like then.  I live in the hills at about 750′ elevation so mine will go in the week before Memorial Day.

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I need 4 ground cover plants that are under a gas fireplace for our home. The area has weed control fabric. We planted 4 foxglove plants that did not last the mild winter.Please let me know what to recommend. Thanks in advance for your advice

If it is a sunny area, low growing sedum can probably handle it.  If it is shady them perhaps periwinkle.  it will have to be something very low to handle the heat from the vent.  The foxglove was too tall I’d imagine.

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A lot of my beautiful and healthy hostas did not return this years. I haven’t seen any sign of voles and they were all there last fall. What could be the problem?

Be patient…things are running late this year with the cool May weather.  Mine are just starting to poke up out of the soil.   Deer can be a problem for hostas so an application of repellent like Repels-All in the fall and early spring might be in order.

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When is it safe to plant annual flowers this year

There is no frost in the forecast so anytime now looks fine but I’m waiting until after Mother’s Day to start and even then I’ll keep an eye on the forecasts and be prepared to cover if something changes.  Every year is different as this year is reminding us.  I won’t put tomatoes, pepper or eggplant and other “tropical” vegetable starts in until the week before Memorial Day…they don’t like nights colder than 50° to 55°.

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I have some Spurge Power and Bayer 3:1 insecticide that froze over winter. Will it still be effective. Thank You, Karen

Possibly…probably not…best to store these things where it doesn’t freeze though.  The container will tell you of any special storage requirements.

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How many planting seasons before I can plant impatiens again.

Probably never.  Sorry.  It is an airborne disease so, unless everyone stops for about 10 years, it will never subside.  They are working on resistant varieties now so maybe someday…..

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I planted 10 lobelia fan scarlet perennials lost year. None of them came up this year. I line in Rhode Island. What did I do wrong?

Hard to say…you may have done nothing wrong.  If they were planted late in the season, they may not have established a strong root system before winter.  Voles may have nibbled them away over winter as well.  Here’s some more info on the plant that may help you

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Hello Peter, I have red beetles that look like lady bugs on all of my lilies. Can you advise me on what to do?I currently pick them off but there must be another way.Thank you,Erika

The Scarlet Lily Beetles have found you.  Spray with organic Bon-Neem.  The Pyrethrin in the spray will kill the adult beetles on contact and the neem oil will disrupt the feeding of the larvae causing them to die before they become beetles.  Spray weekly for the next three week or so until they subside.  Note on a calendar when they arrived this year and start spraying next year about a week before that date…you can expect them every year once they are in your area.  Without treatment, they will kill the lilies.

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My hydrangea has some drown deying leafs and they look like they also have some white on the leafs there in pots write now with Good drainage what amounts I doing wrong?

It sounds like they are winding down for the season as the days get shorter.  The white may be powdery mildew, a fungal disease…rarely does permanent damage.  Keeps the leaves dry when watering….spray watering encourages fungal disease like powdery mildew.  For a more accurate assessment, bring the plant or leaves from the plant to one of our garden centers so they can see exactly what the problem is.

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What shrubs might do well on the wet shady north side of my house? I would love something to grow at least 3-4 feet high to help hide an air conditioner unit.

Tough spot…Dappled Willow will work but won’t be very colorful in the shade.  Pruning will also be necessary to keep it as low as you want.

 

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Do you or your suppliers use neonictonoids on any of the plants you sell?

We do not.  We have requested that our growers not send plants that have.

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What can I do to keep the red and black beetles from eating my lollies?

For scarlet lily beetles spray with Bonide Bon-Neem as soon as you see the first lily.  The Pyrethrin in the spray will kill the adult beetle and the neem oil will disrupt the feeding of the larvae…eventually killing them before they become the beetle.  Spray once a week for a month or so until they subside.

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daylilys are dying after adding preen mulch plus

Clearly that isn’t supposed to happen.   Mulch (any mulch…not just the preen product) piledup and around the plant will slowly kill the plant be it a daylily or a Maple tree.  Brush the mulch back away from the stem 4″ or so until you see the original soil where the leaves enter the soil and keep it that way.  Mulch is good but not when it is piled up around and actually touching and smothering the crown.  More on the topic HERE.

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Hello, any suggestions for perennials that are short on stature but bloom all summer? I’m looking to border my sidewalk. I do it every year with either begonias or inpatients but it’s a very long sidewalk and would like to put something more permanent in.

Perennials by their nature only bloom for 2 to 3 weeks.  This is why we plant annual flowers as you have been doing.  There are some that can re-bloom like cranesbill geraniums for shade so you could try those but it won’t be the showy display you get with begonias.

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Yesterday, I had a huge white petunia in a large pot, and today, It has been eaten nearly to the soil. No flowers left just thin green stems It was so lovely and all the neighbors commented on it. I almost cried when I saw it this morning. What could have eaten it in since yesterday. I live in Iowa in town, if that helps. Have never seen any slugs here but wonder if it was that or maybe chipmonks??

Eaten that quickly it can’t be slugs.  Chipmunks, red squirrels or rabbits could do that though.  There are area repellents like Repels-All that can deter them but Hot Pepper Wax Spray can be applied right on the plants and they won’t touch them.  Re-Apply after heavy rain.  Give it a shot od soluble plant food like Miracle Gro 20-20-20 and they can bounce back quickly.

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how do i grow hosta lemony from starter plug thank you

Hosta “lemony” isn’t hardy here in zone 5 so you’ll need to pot it up and grow it as a houseplant.  Expect it to go dormant in the fall so let it get dry and rest without feeding from November through March.

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I have a little tiny clumps of mushrooms growing in one of my flower boxes with marigolds. They first came up as tiny little bright red clumps of mushrooms disappeared and are back but now they’re brown. What are they need I get rid of them and how ? I can text you a photo if you want.

They are harmless and are responding to the moist soil.  Pluck them out and discard them.  Perhaps water less to keep the surface of the soil dry.  Stir up the top 1/2″ of soil with a sharp stick to help the surface dry more quickly.  They won’t harm the marigolds.

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If accidentally swolled about 1/2 cup of crown & glory mixture that was in a water bottle can it cause harm to one shelf

I have no idea what you are talking about.  You should probably call the poison control center.  https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/poison_control/centers.htm  Assuming what was drunk was Crowning Glory floral spray, I’d contact the manufacturer:

A division of Smithers-Oasis Company
751 Thunderbolt Drive
Walterboro, SC 29488
U.S.A.
(843) 538-3839
(800) 323-3689
e-mail: info@floralife.com

 

 

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My cucumber plants are getting little brown spots on them which turn into holes in the leaves. Why is this happening?

It sounds like you might have a Cucumber Beetle or Squash Bug problem…common for them.

 

Here are some links that might help you pin down the exact issue:

 

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2207.html

 

http://www.almanac.com/pest/squash-bugs

I suspect squash bugs from your description.  A combination of Pyrethrin (contact killer) and Neem Oil (stops larvae from feeding and maturing) would do the trick. 

Follow the directions on the label. 

 

http://www.bonide.com/products/insect-and-disease-control/view/026/bon-neem-ii-conc

 

Here’s the label.

http://www.bonide.com/assets/Products/Labels/l026.pdf

 

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Good morning Peter,Does Hewitt’s sell climbing features for cucumbers?Paul

We sell all kinds of stakes, supports and trellis from string trellising to wood to metal…something to support whatever you have.

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I am having trouble keeping the animals from invading my garden. What is the best way to keep the wild animals from coming in and eating my plants?

In ornamental beds you can spray with Bonide Repels-All every three weeks and that will keep the critters out.  A fence around the vegetable garden will work but you can also spray Hot Pepper Wax spray directly on the plant and no animals will eat them  Repels All can be used around OUTSIDE the veggie garden but not actually on the vegetable garden directly.

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Peter – Something, I believe it was chipmunks, have broken off the stems of some of my asiatic lilies before they had a chance to flower. Will these bulbs survive or should I give them their last rites?

Let whatever foliage that is left grow and the lilies will be fine and return next year.  You might want to consider applying Mole-Max repellent or Repels all to the area to prevent this from happening in the future.

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is it ok to dig up my currently blooming flowers & put them in flower pots because voles are eating them

The shock of doing that will likely be fatal to them or at least set them back to the point of being useless and ugly.  How about treating the area with organic Mole-Max repellent to keep the voles away.  Mole-Max works against all rodents including voles and chipmunks.

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John Cancio at Niskayuna Senior Center Garden Club. Want to know if fertalizer should be applied to a new garden Cow maneur. Any help would be appreciated. How about visiting us tuesdays, thursdays at the old locomotive club Aquaduct road. My Phone 518 393 3226 Thank you

Adding organic matter like cow manure is always a good idea.  This is also a good time to check the pH of the soil and add lime if needed.  Applied now, it will have all winter to correct the pH of the soil…it takes about 6-8 weeks so the soil will be nice a sweet and ready to go in spring.  HERE’S A LINK that describes how to do a pH test…easy peasy,  Vegetable gardens like a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.  Blending in some Bio-Tone organic plant food when the soil warms in spring would be the best way to supercharge the nutrient level in spring prior to planting,  More on Bio-Tone HERE.

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I do container gardening but I put it off this year,is it too late for my to grow tomatoes and lettuce?

If you can find a well established patio tomato still available you could try.  You are right on time for sowing lettuce and other greens like spinach and swiss chard which are best when the mature during early fall.  For a look at your late season possibilities (and there are many) check out the Vegetable Schedule…you can pick up your own copy at any Hewitts.

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if someone sprayed weed be gone on hostas & hydranga is there any hope that they will come back next spring?can we replant or is it in the ground?

Wash the weed killer off the foliage with water.  Keep the soil well watered as well  It is possible they will survive…

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I bought two mums in pots a week ago one is o k. The petals have fallen of a lot of the flowers on the other. What could be the cause please?

Mums are perennials so, when they finish their flowering cycle, the petals fall off.  Snip off the flowers that have finished.  They only produce one set of flowers per year.

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I have two areas in my mulch with a yellow fungus or something growing on it. What is it and what do I need to do to get rid of it?

it is just some slime mold that is feeding off the decaying mulch…not a problem for the plants.  Rough up the area with a rake and let the mulch dry out (stop spray watering if your are) and it will dry up and disappear when the heat and humidity subside.  Here’s a link to more:  http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/fungus-lichen/what-is-slime-mold-slime.htm

 

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my variegated Bishop’s weed is now solid green. Is there anything I can do to get it to be variegated again???

Probably not.  Once the green shoots take over, they are more vigorous than the variegated and choke it out.  You could try mowing it down and, when it restarts, rip out anything that comes up green.

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What Can I do to get my Morning Glories to flower? The plants are doing well but no blossoms yet.

Stop feeding them and don’t water until they start to wilt.  Scare them a bit…it works.

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We just installed a small 60 gallon Garden Pond and I would like to plant perennials around. I have a great deal of area and I am really not sure what to plant. The area receives morning sun until early afternoon and then it is shaded. The top 6-8 inches is nice soil and then it becomes very clay like. Is it still safe to plant perennials now at this late in the summer, will they survive the winter?

The sooner you plant your perennials, the better the chance they will have surviving winter.  You should amend the soil with some composted manure which we have in bags.  Also add a bit of Espoma Bio-Tone to “supercharge the soil.  When you are looking at the perennials, look at the tags and and choose plants that say that they are good for “sun” or “sun to part shade” and they should do very well in your location.

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How long for cucumber seeds to grow into plants? Is this a good time to plant the seeds?

It is WAY to late (8/11) to start cukes in the garden.  They need to be sown from late May through June to have enough time to mature and produce fruit in our area (USDA zone 5).  HERE’S a link to the Vegetable Schedule we provide to our customers so they can stay on track with their veggie planting.  You should drop by and pick one up.

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how do I get rid if theses v back buggs

I’m not sure what bug you mean so I can’t answer.  You can bring a sample to one of the Hewitts locations and they can suggest a solution or send me a picture at peterb@hewitts.com

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Will you be getting/have gotten broccoli, etc plants for the fall? If so, when and what. We live in Western KY but come to Nashville quite a bit and would love to get them there for our fall/winter garden. Also, do you have any African Violets in stock?

Here in Albany NY (you are thinking of a different gardn center I think) we plant the seeds of broccoli and cauliflower, etc in July for the fall crop…we will not be selling starts for fall crops.  Our selection of African Violets is best in fall and winter.

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my alstroemeria rock n roll hasnt flowered this is our first year with it and its in a container growing bigger but no flowers also small holes in leaves will it be slugs or snails

Yes, probably slugs…an Iron phosphate (organic and harmless to all but slugs and snails) bait at the base of the plant will prevent this.  Here’s a link on care for you plant.

Not hardy here in USDA Zone 5 so it will need to come in for the winter.

 

 

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I have a Cannova Yellow Canna Lilly. The cold hardiness says 20 to 10 degrees Farinheit. I have it in the ground. If I mulch and cover with a bucket can I save it through the winter? What are your suggestions for it’s survival?

If you live here in the Albany area (USDA hardiness zone 5) there is no amount of mulch or covering that will keep them alive over winter…they must be dug up and stored in a cool place inside.  HERE’S A LINK to a tutorial on how to do it.

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Is there such a thing as male and female bell pepperso

No, this is a common gardening myth.  HERE’S a link to more on that.

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What eats leavea on a hibucs ? I have twi and flowered beautiful but something is eating the leaves. Please help me wth them

Hibiscus are attractive to large number of pests so without seeing the damage It will be impossible to tell what insect is doing it.  Whatever it is though Bonide Bon-Neem will take care of it…it even controls spider mites.  Spray thoroughly every bit of the plant…concentrate especially on the undersides of the leaves once a week for 3 weeks and that should take care of whatever it is.

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Did a nice raised bed garden for the first time this summer.Produced like crazy. So how do I close for the winter. It is 12ft.x12ft.x12″ deep.

Not much…pull the plants out and maybe do a pH test to see if any powdered limestone is needed although, if the garden performed well, that probably won’t be necessary.

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Does Hewitt’s carry the product OSMOCOTE?

Yes we do.  Here’s a link so you can call the store closest to you to check the current sizes and prices.

Find a Store

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best soil to plant sweet potatoes in?

Loose, loamy soil would be best.  HERE’S a link to a great article on how to grow sweet potatoes.

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I’m looking for a “strawberry”planter, about 2 foot tall and made of stoneware. Do you carry anything like that?

The largest we carry is a 5 gallon strawberry planter and only our E. Greenbush store is showing 2 of them in stock now (11-26-16) and they are $46.99.  The other stores are showing the 3 gallon size (about 18″ tall) and they are $28.99.  It would be a good idea to call ahead to confirm the availability before you make the drive.  HERE’S a link to the store phone #s.

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Hello, we are planning to move in the spring so, we want to bring our various Easter and giant Lillies with us. How do i store them over the winter for planting next Fall? Thank you.

Cut off any remaining stems and dig the bulbs right away.  Bruch off any excess dirt, and let them dry indoors.  Brush off any remaining soil after they dry with a brush like a whisk broom.  Place them in some cardboard shoeboxes or paper bags filled with sterile potting soil and put them into cool storage.   Pick a spot that gets and stays very cool but doesn’t freeze and thaw repeatedly…a cool basement usually works or a garage that is attached to the house that never freezes.  Plant in spring one the ground thaws and warms a bit.

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I live in Saratoga Springs, NY. This past two years voles have invaded our neighborhood. I killed over 70 of then with mouse traps and apple but there are still here. My neighbors have similar experiences. The voles love my hosta and lilies. We need a line of products from our local Hewitts that are vole resistant. Products like lavender, mint, or others.

Vole populations spike whenever their predators, like foxes, suffer population drops…usually from diseases like rabies.  Habitat loss can also be a factor…with all the development in you area, that may be a contributing factor as well…the foxes may have been driven out so the voles are thriving.  Climate change may also be a factor.

The list of vole resistant plants is short.  The use of a vole repellent can help drive the voles and other destructive rodents from your yard and provide relief until the vole population stabilizes.  Mole-Max is an effective repellent and can be used in your ornamental beds.  Continuing to trap then will also help break down the population eventually.  More on Mole-Max HERE.

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I live in Wilton CT and am despondent about my garden. The easiest, most reliable bulbs planted in the last few years show signs of such minimal health, to bloom would almost seem impossible. They may grow shoots or some weakened sprouts, but are far too compromised to obey their genetic instructions in any natural way. This has left me with flower bed after flower bed of living cells that are being eaten alive and all but doomed to die. Gladiolas and astilbe never appear and even established astilbe I have purchased will dry out and die within days no matter how much water or shade they get. Same with the vines I have trained for years to climb my trellis by planting clematis ad infinitem. I have nothing to show for all the work I have invested not a single flower among all the half dead vines where leaves brown out within a week or twoLast year an entire area of Lilly’s of the Valley turned brown, bone dry and died a very ugly death which lasted all season. Rhododendrons are always wasting away if not in full than half the plant will die before the other half realises no one is driving the bus and soon follows.This has been the case for my plantings ever since we had two intense winters in Wilton, 2013 and 2014, even though these plantings have plenty of sun, water and mulch when neededCornucopia and dianthus as well as numerous other flowering plants like hydrangea and similar offshoots like Weigelia and Quince seem to die right from the root You can see how the flower bud attempts to take hold initially but rots before any bloom. Peony remains in a tight petrified ball.I planted so many young shrubs last year particularly Mock Orange and Spirea as well as Butterfly Bush and lots of grasses. In review, only a scant few grasses stayed alive, but just barely and I have no confidence that they will come back next yearThe only luck I had was with a Dalia, one of five clumps, and like all my plants I am aware of their basic needs and provide staking andor every thing possible in order for them to thrive without problems.Last year I ordered some live “good” nematodes when the problem was egregious–which is to say when this (not new but) novice gardener was forced to realize a major infestation was in full bloom because I missed the clues waiting for flowers The nematodes helped for a very short time And a week or two later the deterioration picked up from where it left offI am ready to throw in the towel with the whole idea of gardening Vegetables have been a complete nightmare and the areas that were earmarked for squasashh and tomatoes look, after a season of working the earth, like the “Killing Fields”, but this smorgasborg is not meant for burial just the morbid view from the windowCan anyone give me some advice? Just the thought of holding out more hope for the joy flowers can give and being so completely disappointed is enough to cause me to want to move

A severe nematode infestation is difficult to control  HERE A LINK to info on that.  There is research that indicates that the introduction of Mycorrhizal Fungi into the soil may give you hope.  HERE’S more on that.  Mycorrhizal Fungi is, thankfully, readily available.  We sell it in an amazing plant food called Bio-Tone which has organic nutrients as well as several strains of Mycorrhizal Fungi as well as other soil microbes.  I’d suggest working it into the soil of your gardens as soona s the soil warms in spring.

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In my house i have planted many hibiscus plants one out of them grows very well but no flowering takes place how to make flowering

During the short days winter inside the home, hibiscus will enter a dormant period and will likely not flower at all.  They may even lose many of their leaves.  During this time they need very little water and no food.  When they show renewed growth, usually in mid March. light 1/4 strength feeding with a water soluble plant food can begin with about every 4th watering.  As the days grow in length, they will start producing buds and flowers once again.  By mid May, regular feeding can resume through summer until September when the days start to shrink again.

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We have an Iris bed at our vacation home that over the years has become inundated with “quack” grass. Is there a chemical control that would spare the Irises and eliminate the grass. If not, what would be our best recourse to gain control of the beds? Clay soil, pulling the grass in not effective.

Ugh…that’s a nasty problem.  Possible the only sure fire approach would be to remove al the iris tubers and making sure that there are no quackgrass roots clinging to them and set them aside and then treat the area with RoundUp plant killer.  Once the quack grass is dead, replant the iris.   HERE’S MORE on quackgrass control in beds and gardens.

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Can you transplant hydrangeas from the yard into pots the deer are eating them in my yard

Digging them up would likely cause stress to the point that it would kill them.  A better idea would be to wrap them in deer netting to prevent the damage.  This is something you should do every fall since you now know how attractive to the deer they are.  More on that HERE.

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my garden has not produced good vegetables the past couples of years. what can I can to make it plentiful again?

If there are trees that are shading the area, remove some branches to get more sun.  Probably, in your case, you need to beef up the soil with more organic matter (like compost)  and nutrients.  For nutrients I’d suggest turning in some Bio-Tone plant food as soon as the soil warms up.  Bio-Tone is a combination of high quality organic nutrients as well as a host of soil microbes and beneficial fungi to supercharge you depleted soil.  More on Bio-Tone HERE.

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I bought a product systemic granules from a co called bonide is this harmful to honey bees

All systemic insecticides are taken up by the plant an permeate the entire plant.  if the plant is a flowering plant then there is the potential for bees and other pollinators that visit the flower to be affected.

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Peter, you have always given me great advice and I am back for more. I am looking for a pink flowering plant that will bloom throughout the season. It is the front of my house and will receive afternoon sun. Thanks

Plants that flower all season long fall into two groups..annuals and roses.  I’d suggest a rose called “The Fairy”  it is an old variety with a great track record…very hardy.  HERE’S a link to more on them.  We have them available every year…starting in a month.

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where can i find the section that has the info sheets you have at flower show, or aren’t they on you web site?thanks,gale gridley

On the Hewitt’s website homepage on the bar across the top of the page you’ll see “Peter’s Blog and Garden Info”  Click on that and you will see a list of categories (gardening, houseplants, insects, etc)  The information on the tip sheets is in those categories.

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Should I rototill my flower bed to thin and dig up daffodil bulbs?

I’m afraid I don’t understand your question.  If you rototill a bed filled with daffodil bulbs, that would certainly destroy most of the bulbs if that is your goal.  The best time to dug up and remove daffodil bulbs would be in late summer or fall.

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Hello Peter, I have a small area I’ve designated as a garden. Last year I added lots of topsoil and manure. The soil seems to be fairly sandy, and I thought that would be a good start. I had moderate results, but well below expectations. What nutrients should I add?Thanks,Chris Appel

The best thing to add would be Espoma Bio-Tone.  it has organic nutrients as well a host of beneficial soil organisms to supercharge the soil.  Turn it into the garden and  add it to planting holes.  More on Bio-Tone HERE.

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My tulip leaves are up and I want to move the plants. Will that affect them blooming or kill them?

This isn’t the best time to move them.  If you take plenty of dirt with them so the roots aren’t disturbed, the damage will be minimal.  If the dirt falls away from the bulb, this will cause stress and may prevent them from flowering well.  It would be best to wait until the flowers finish and the leaves turn yellow later in spring to move them.  Moving any plant during their flowering cycle is the worst time.

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What could be causing my aspiditra leaves to SHRED?

When the leaves get very old, this can happen.  Trim away the old leaves gradually and new ones will grow to replace them.

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I’m looking for a plant to keep at work. Something that would flourish without a lot of light. Also, something sort of easy to take care of as I don’t have the greenest of thumb (I killed a cactus, probably by overwatering, but whatever). Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

The best potted plant for low light would be sansevieria and for a hanging plant pothos or philodendron.  These are all very low maintenancejust watch out for overwatering.  Here’s a list of some more very good choices for low light indoors,

 

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I would like to begin this year with growing my own vegetables. I have look at some planters and found some that will do but I have no idea what vegetables I should start with. I haven’t done this before so I’m kinda clueless. If you could tell me what you think, it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

You”ll need some very large containers and make sure that the spot you choose to do this has full sun…7 hours minimum.  Just about anything you can grow in the ground can be grown in containers.  There are even smaller tomato vines called Patio Tomatoes that grow full sized fruit in a smaller plant.  HERE’S a great link to show you all the possibilities.

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Hi Peter, Can you help me? I want to make a small memorial garden for my dog and 2 cats that have died. I have their markers and I want to plant something around them to come back every year. I prefer perennials to annuals because they don’t require a lot of upkeep. I was thinking something low to the ground showing off their markers. Any ideas? Thank you for your help and ideas. I look forward to visiting Hewitt’s purchase what you recommend.

There are lots of low growing perennials to choose from. Sedums…and there are many varieties are a great choice.  Dianthus is another great low grower.  Lamium is a low growing ground cover.  There are thymes that grow flat on the ground.  There are lots of choices.  Probably the best thing is to do is come in in early May and start reading the labels on the perennials to see which fit your height and light requirements.  Remember, perennials will generally only bloom for a couple of weeks and then are done for the year.  Perhaps a mix of some perennials with some annuals added to the mix to provide flowers all summer long.

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What do I use to keep my micro nutrients up high

In the lawn, Country Estate Lawn Food provides a range of micro nutrients.  For Gardens both flower and vegetable, check out our selection Of Fox Farm organic plant foods.

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Are impatiens okay to plant again? I know a few years ago they were diseased.laj1450@netscape.net

Downy mildew is still a problem…I’d look for an alternative like wax begonias.  Breeders are trying to develop shade tolerant varieties of New Guinea Impatiens (New Guineas are not susceptible to downy mildew) but don’t expect anything real soon.

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I’m interested in lemon grass plants for pots around my patio. Do you sell plants or best to start with seeds?

You can get some seeds but we will have the plants in early May…look in the herb selection we have from Gilbertie’s herbs.

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Why is my Lysimachia “Alexander” not varigated anymore? Grows beautifully but is all green now.

Lysimachia “Alexander” is a hybrid and will often revert back to the original green form of the plant.  Nothing can really be done about it.

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Hi there! I have a shady corner that I need advice on. I would like to fill it up with small rounded bushes, perennials and maybe some grasses that do well in this climate that back ever year, Can you help me?

My best advice would be to go to the garden center and start reading the tags and ask the salepeople there for suggestions.  If you can bring in some pictures of the area to show them, that will help a great deal…you have many options to choose from.

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I stored my dahlias over the winter. Some are brittle; some have some sprouts on them and some seem solid, but no sprouts. How can I tell if that are any good?

Brittle stems don’t mean anything…focus on the condition of the tubers.  If they are firm, go ahead and plant them whether they have sprouts or not.  Any tubers that are soft and mushy or dried up can be discarded.

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How do I get rid of Voles. They are in my flower and vegetable gardens ? Is there any natural ideas? I have three labs and I don’t want poison in my food. They have eaten almost every perennials, and eat my root vegetables

In areas with ornamental plants MoleMax repellent will send them away.  It repels all rodents.  MoleMax CANNOT be used in the vegetable garden though.  In the vegetable garden you can stop the damage by spraying the plants with Hot Pepper Wax Spray.  Neither of these products will be harmful to any animals.  Always read and follow the directions on the label.

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Hello Peter,I put my pickling cukes in too soon this year. While it didn’t get down to a frost, it was in the thirties and most of the plants have been burned. It seems like the inner growth has potential to recover fully. Are you optimistic that the plants will come back or will my crop yield be affected adversely?

It will be a struggle for them.  I’d get some seeds and interplant (after the rain stops) next week.  Cukes generally do better started in the ground from seed any way.  When the seeds come up let them grow among the struggling transplants for a couple of weeks and then decide which look more promising and rip the others out.

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I have a patch of lilies of the valley (approximate 10 ft x 4 ft) adjacent to my grass. Are there any effective barriers that I can embed around the patch that would prevent them from evading into the grass area? Your suggestions and thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanx.

The plastic edging that you can install along the bed would work.  There’s also the “old school” air barrier edging method that should keep the LOV out of the lawn and the lawn out of the flowerbed.  More on that method HERE.

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What are the best types of soil to use when growing plants from seed. Also, what makes some soils different from others?

For seed starting in pots you’ll want a seed starting soil.  Seed starting soil is like Potting Soil but ground to a finer consistency for seed staring.  Bot “Potting Soil” and “Seed Starting Soil” are sterilized by heat so there are no weeds, insects or fungal diseases present.  They are best for post and containers.  Soils labeled “Garden Soil” or “Topsoil” are not sterilized and are for adding to dirt on the ground…not for use in pots.

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Looking to create some sort of privacy screen, using lattice and some sort of climbing vine. I found a few I like (coral honeysuckle, moonflower and virginia creeper). I have dogs and want to make sure these plants are safe for animals, and looking for the quickest growing, with low maintenance. Thank you for your time!

We have Moonflower seed…it is an annual vine. We also have Trumpet Vine, Clematis and Wisteria in stock. We have Honeysuckle Vine and Climbing Hydrangea on order so you can check back in a week or so for them.  They dogs won’t be interested in them.  “Quickest growing” and “lowest maintenance” are qualities that are at odd with each other.  Trumpet Vive would be the quickest but will need regularly pruning to keep it from becoming invasive.  Clematis is the lowest maintenance but will take longer to fill in the area. 

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Do you have perennial geraniums and can they survive in queesnbury ? thank youplease email response to Helen

They are more commonly known as “Cranesbill geranium” and our Glens Falls has them in stock.  They are perfectly hardy in Glens Falls.  They prefer some shade in the afternoon.

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Whats the best way to prevent spider mites? Last year and the year before we got spider mites in our Green Room. We think it might have been the soil, but what would the chance be of getting it from the soil 2 years in a row?

Neem Oil is proving to be quite effective against mites and can be safely used inside and outside. The chances of getting them again once you’ve had them is very good.  A single spraying is never enough.  Thorough sprayings once a week for three weeks give you the best chance of breaking down the population.  Always read and follow the directions on the label.

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insecticide for asian lilly, what do you recommend?

Spray your lilies as soon as you see the very first beetle show up since it will put out a scent that will lure lots more to the area. Spray with Bonide Bon-Neem 2. It is a combination of two organic insecticides. The pyrethrin in it will kill the adult beetle on contact and the neem oil in it will disrupt the feeding of the larvae so they never reach maturity. Always read and follow the directions on the label. To avoid harming bee with the pyrethrin, spray early in the morning before the bees become active. Once the spray dries, it won’t harm the bees.

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Can lilies be planted in containers

Hardy lilies can be planted in containers but won’t survive winter in them. This is true for all hardy perennials, shrubs and trees. In containers, they will repeatedly freeze and thaw and freeze and thaw all winter long and this kills them. In the ground, they go dormant and stay frozen…which is what they need. If you want hardy plants in containers, you’ll have to sink those containers into the ground up to the top of the pot for the winter.

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I bought tomato plants in May and they are turning brown and dying and it isn’t from last of water or rain, they are in terrible shape. What is the matter with them?

They could be drowning or they are being attacked by one of the many diseases that tomatoes are prone to  HERE’S A LINK that can help you figure out which one it is.

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Lovely storm today just wiped out my garden with organic plants just purchased on Monday in Latham, Hail and rain very heavy holes in leaves and snapped off will they come back.

Plants with holes in the leaves will probably recover…trim away the damaged leaves as the plant grows new ones.  Plants than were broken off will need to be replaced.

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how do you keep squirrels from eating your flowers

Spray them with Hot Pepper Wax Spray.  They won’t touch them after that.

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Hi, I have purple dragon lamium and it is in full bloom right now and has a fungus that is spreading. I have alot of bees that go to the blooms and don’t want to use a fungicide on it that would harm the bees. Don’t know if the lamium will survive till the end of blooming time to use a fungicide, should I cut all the lamium back to prevent it from spreading?

Naturally this wet spring and early summer have been causing fungal diseases to flourish.   Do everthing you can to keep the area dry.  if you have a sprinkler system hitting the area, shut it off.  I don’t know what fungal disease your getting hit with but a good organic fungicide least harmful to bees would be Seranade .   Here’s another link you might find useful.  I’d also get in there and start cutting it back to stimulate some new growth.

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Hi Pete! We are moving in to a new house soon and wont be able to get the garden going until the end of July. I read your Summer Sowing article but wondered how far we can push some of those recommended dates? I have some hidasta red beans and bush lima beans I’d like to plant (80-100, 60-65 days to maturity, respectively). Should I try or wait for Spring?

Albany’s AVERAGE first frost date is around the first week of October…HERE’S a site that will give you your’s based on your zip code.  All of August and September would give you 61 days…probably not worth it for the beans.  You could do some greens and cool weather crops like broccoli which don’t mind a little light frost.

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I harvested seeds from reddish Lilly plans outside my office. They were in a green pod with 3 small black seeds inside. It is mid August in MI. Can I plant them now? or do I have to store them for the winter.

It would be best to wait until the seed pod turns brown before harvesting the seeds to be sure they are viable.  Also be aware that the lilies that grow from the seeds may not match the plant you harvested them from.  Growing lilies from seed is a long process…here’s a couple of links that you should find helpful:

http://www.rhslilygroup.org/aboutlilies/page4.html

http://www.bdlilies.com/propagaton.html

Grow lilies from seed

 

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I lost a Nelly Moser Clematis to powdery milder in last yeAr.. Cut it back to 6 inches and this year it did not come back. My question is can I plant another clematis in the same spot or is the fungus in the soil?Thank You

Yes, you can plant another clematis there but you may want to spray with neem oil once in a while to prevent another outbreak of powdery mildew.  Just follow the directions on the package.

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I want to plant a perennial flower garden in the front of my house. It gets full sun almost all day. I want something tall for the back and smaller in the front. Full color and all spring/ summer blooming is a plus. Can you help???

The best advice I can give you is to go to the garden center and start reading the tags in the plants you like. The tags will tell you all about the plant.  Bear in mind that the selection changes throughout the season.  Spring features spring flowering varieties, summer’s selection features summer flowering varieties and so on.   I might take you a couple of years to fill in all the spaces with plants you find attractive.  There are so many possibilities and color combinations that you’ll need to take some time to learn about what’s available and what you like.  Think of it as more of a hobby than a project.  Here’s a link to get you started.  https://www.google.com/#q=planting+Perennial+flowers+for+sun++season+long+color&spf=1499783517026

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will milorganite repell sage rats?

I’ve heard of Milorganite being used as a deer repellent (and not very successfully) but never rats. You’d probably have more success with a rodent repellent like Mole-Max

It comes in granular or liquid.

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I’ve been using Miracle Gro Bloomin Boost for my flowers. Works fine but I’m interesested in Tigers Bloom. I notice it has overall lower percentages yet I understand it’s potent. How is this possible, how does it compare, and do you sell it?Thank you

We do sell Tiger Bloom but you are correct, it isn’t as strong as the Miracle Gro.  We sell Jack’s Blossom Booster which is 10-30-20 plus micro nutrients…a bit of a step up from the M-Gro product.  Either one will outperform  Tiger Bloom.

 

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Is river rock available at Hewitts and how much would be needed for a pathway about 80 feet long 2 feet wide and 2-3 inches deep thank you

We sell round river stone (pebbles) in .33 cu ft. bags and the price right now (7/13/17) is 4 bags for $18.  You’ll need about 83 bags to cover the area you have to the depth you desire.  Here’s a link to a handy coverage chart.

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My plant in the garden all look beautiful, green and sturdy. My tomato plants were flowering but I have hardly any tomatoes. Any thoughts as to what may be going on?

It could be due to a number of reasons. Here in NY we planted late due to lingering cold.  It has been wet and not as sunny as normal this summer  and so the tomatoes are running late.  Perhaps you’re feeding it with a plant food too high in nitrogen?  Here’s a link to a site that might help you determine what the problem is:  http://www.tomatodirt.com/blossom-drop.html

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We brought a large variegated hibiscus from my moms in the back of truck. The leaves on one side are dead (browned and wilted)..what do I need to do? Do I just strip leaves that are damaged or cut those limbs? This very mature plant is about 4ft tall in a pot. I can’t let this plant die. Thanks Laura

Pluck off the dead leaves and keep in a full sun location.  Keep the soil lightly moist (not soggy wet) and feed it with a good soluble plant food…like Miracle Gro every 3 weeks or so.  It should grow new leaves but be patient.

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For Peter , planted tomatoe plants 2 big boys& 2 yellow cherry variety the bottom leaves up to about a third of the way to top of plant have spots and are drying out what can I do to stop this from destroying all my tomatoes from growing . I just love to pick them fresh in my back yard. Can you help me? , thank you 😊 Liz lis

Tomatoes are prone to quite a few diseases and, sadly, the wet weather is working in their favor. From your description, it sounds like you have septoria leaf spot.  Here’s a link that should fill you in on what you need to do to try and control it.  We do sell the Seranade fungicide mentioned in the article.

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Hello, we’ve seen you on the noon news and thought you might be able to help. We have lost our Buttercup squash and cucumbers to wilt from striped cucumber beetle. What do we do to prevent this from happening next year? thank you, Sue

Thankfully there are a couple of organic products that can protect your cucurbits from most of the pests that attack them. Diatomaceous Earth or DE sprinkled in the soil prevents insect from crossing the soil to get at them.  More important though is a product that we sell called Bon-Neem which is a combination of pyrethrin which is a quick contact killer and Neem Oil which kills on contact as well as disrupting larvae that hatch later.  Neem Oil is also a miticide and is an effective preventive fungicide.  If you start spraying every couple of weeks with Bon-Neem you should be able to protect you squash and cuke plants. Here are a couple of links you should fine useful:  https://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/pdf/hgic2207.pdf

http://www.bonide.com/products/garden-naturals/view/025/bon-neem-ii

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I CURED MY SHALLOTS IN THE GROUND (NO H2O) FOR A week then pulled them and placed them in the shade on a screen. Its been almost three weeks and the tops will not shrivel. Thoughts

I’m not sure where you are located but here in NY it has been very damp and humid this summer so that will slow down the curing.  Make sure that they are in a place where they won’t be rained on.  HERE’S a link to a discussion by others who are having the same problem.  http://forums2.gardenweb.com/discussions/1421570/curing-shallots

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I want to buy several Hostas to cover 2 areas 3 ft long x 2 ft wide. I don’t want they to tremendous in size but yet look special. Any idea on how many to purchase and which size ?

Hostas come in dozes of size from tiny to huge.  How many you need will be determined by the ones you choose to plant.  I’d suggest going to the garden center and reading the tags on the hostas.  They will tell you the spacing requirement so you can determine how many you need to fill the space you want to plant.

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I had a beautiful Colorado Columbine plant outside. It had some dead foliage, so I cut it back and it died???????

It isn’t uncommon for columbine to die off during the heat of summer.  It will be back in spring…not to worry.  it may even pop up a couple of leaves this fall.   They love the cooler weather.

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I just planted some beans in the ground but forgot to add inoculant. Can I mix it with water and water it in? The plot had been sitting dormant for quite some time so I’m concerned the soil is missing the microbes the inoculant would provide. I had worked in some compost but that’s about it. Any suggestions?

Chances are good that the beans will do just fine without the inoculant but you could poke some holes next to the seedling when they come up and sprinkle a bit of the inoculant in and cover it up.  You want to get the inoculant of the surface of the soil a bit.  Compost will be a big plus since there will be soil microbes in it s well.

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I have Eastern Lily Blubs with roots in water. They look good What do I do Thanks Julie

I’d plant it outside…with any luck it will flower again for you next summer.

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Hi, I have 4 plumeria plants that I purchased in Epcot, they are all growing with nice green leaves but I’ve noticed little fleas in the soil. I’ve tried loosening the soil and irrigating the mix but nothing seems to work, I need to keep them indoors through the winter but want to keep them healthy so they flower next year. How can I mangage the flea/knat investation?

It sounds like fungus gnats.  They feed on fungus that grows in the soil and is an indication that you’re keeping the soil too damp for too long.  If you have saucers under the plants, never leave tham standing in water…the saucers are just there to protect you shelves and carpets.  The plants NEVER need to stand in water.  Water less frequently so the surface of the soil can dry out more,.  Now that you have the fungus gnats you’ll need some systemic insecticide granules.  You’ll put this into the soil and it will kill the gnats and protect the plants for several weeks from and other insects as well.  The fungus gnats aren’t eating your plants but keeping then too damp for too long will eventually drown your plants. The will need very little water as the days grow shorter.

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I am leaving my caladiums in the ground, so do I cut of the yellow leaves?

If you live in USDA zone 9n (no colder than about 25° F in winter) or higher, you can cut the leaves off once they start to turn yellow.  If you live in any USDA hardiness zone lower than Zone 9 (we are zone 5 here in the Albany NY area) the caladium bulbs will need to be lifted and stored for the winter an replanted outside next mid-May.  HERE A LINK to that procedure.

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my red spider lillies was accidetally sprayed with pest cotrol poison and blooms dead within hours. . will they come back next year?

Spider lilies are pretty tough so the chances are that they will return,  I’d cut off the dead flowers and foliage…this may help prevent any of the chemical from being transmitted to the bulb below.

 

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I have Endless Summer Hydrangeas. Do I cut them down to the ground now? Or do I leave the leafless sticks to bloom again next year? Thank you 🌺

You can cut them back to about 12″ (or just below the old flowers) now or in the spring. If you cut them all the way to the ground, you’ll miss the first flush of spring flowers.

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Can I bare root and store raspberries over the winter in Washington State, on the Olympic Peninsula? I have a morning glory problem in the raised bed and would like to replace all the soil.tumbleweed.smith@gmail.com

You can dig them out and heel them into another area for the winter.  You can bundle them together and dig a hole in a sheltered area and cover the roots with soil.  You could also place he roots of the bundles bare root plants into plastic bags with some dry sterile potting soil and store them a cool place inside like a cold basement or unheated garage and plant them in spring.

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Temps are getting into mid 40′ at night and so far, my cold weather crops are fine..but I know some DO need to be covered from the first hard frost. I’m guessing my peas and carrots need to be covered, but my 6inch kale and my cabbages will be fine? Also- I put in garlic bulbs for the first time; do I need to mulch them under straw and do you have straw (SO hard to find around here). Rsvp. 🙂 mardeka@aol.com

You can wrap your peas with frost fabric if go below 32° to extend the harvest.  Carrots should be fine in the ground right up until the ground freezes.  Kale and cabbage should need no protection down to about 28°-29°.   If you can’t find straw, just rake about 4″ of loose leaves over the garlic for the winter.

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We planted our mums in the ground and they have rooted. When do I cut them off?lynnstever@yahoo.com

You can cut the spent flowers off but leave the leaves as long as they are green.  You can cut them to the ground in spring if you want.

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I just brought Brussel Sprouts on the stalk.My question can you reroot the stalk.and how would I do it.Thank you,

No, you cannot root the stalk.  Brussels Sprouts.  They are grow from seed or, more commonly, from plants purchased that were grown from seed.  Here’s a link on more about how to grow Brussels Sprout.

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Im trying to determine if its possible to get a ‘Privet Hedge’, as a replacement for a row that was approx. 25 years old, 90 feel long and approx. 18 feet in height. Roughly 40 individual plants (initially). Is this something you can acquire? cost?

We sell privet in 2 gallon pots for around $30.  For the amount you need, you might do an internet search for smaller, bare root whips that will be more cost effective.  privet is very fast growing so there is no need to start with large plants.

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how long do unused granular garden fertilizers remain potent?

If your granular garden food has been stored well and is kept well sealed in a cool and dry location then it can remain potent for 5-10 years and perhaps longer. If it has gotten damp and clumpy it will not last as long.  If it is an organic food that has soil microbes added, the nutrient level will be maintained assuming a well-sealed cool and dry storage but the microbes will have lost viability after a couple of years or so.  It is still worth using but that benefit will have been lost.

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I bought some sunny robyn oriental lilyis and planted them outside the temperature drop and the lily’s are brown are they dead .

If they were lilies that were grown on in a greenhouse for earlier flowering and they have been frozen then yes, they are probably dead.  On the other hand, if the bulb in the soil didn’t freeze then there is a chance it might survive but you won’t be seeing a flower on it until next spring, over a year from now.

 

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can i use wood ash on my vegetable garden?

Used in small amounts, it can be beneficial.  Wood ash can vary depending on what wood it is from.  A little goes a long way so you really need to know what you are doing.  Since there consequences of improper use are so dire, I generally don’t recommend it.  Here’s a link so you can learn more about it if you want to give it a try.

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Will you be selling miniature pansies this year and if so, when would they be available for purchase?

I’m not sure what you mean by “miniature pansies” but we to have violas and johnny-jump-ups which have a much smaller flower than pansies (and are pretty much a miniature version of pansies) at the stores right now and more will be arriving as long as the weather stays cool.

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Hello…I think I need to refresh my raised bed vegetable garden. I’ve read to loosen up the winter compaction, then add compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. First, do you agree, and second…does Hewitt’s carry all these?

Both peat moss and vermiculite (yes we sell them) hold water so, if your soil is prone to drying out, they would be appropriate additives. Otherwise just adding compost (we sell composted manure) and some organic nutrients would be all I’d suggest.  For nutrients, I’d suggest Espoma Bio-Tone since it contain the organic nutrients as well as beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi to help you plants make the most of the nutrients.  More on Bio-Tone HERE

 

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My canna lily I started in pots in the house. It was too cold to put them out and now the are too tall and the stalk is thin. I have put them outside and they are just falling over. Can I cut them down a little or will that destroy them. Help!!!!

If it is just the first few leave that are up, you can cut them off and it will grow well.  If a substantial stem has emerged the remove the leggy leaves but avoid cutting the beefier stem they are growing from.  This late spring has thrown everything off schedule.

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Peter, A question on fertilizing….We fertilize all plants and shrubs in mid-may utilizing a dibble method and administer between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of either Hollytone or Plantone per plant. We give Jacks Bloom to all flowering plants about every 3 weeks. The questions is should we be doing something for the flowering and ornamental shrubs (hydrangeas, beebalm, joe pyle, ironweed, milkweed and boxwood) during the course of the season? If so, what is a good fertilizer for them and how often? Thanks, NancyLMartino@nycap.rr.com

Nancy,

 

If you fed all your plants in spring, there is no need for more feeding other than your feeding of annual flowers with Jack’s every three weeks.   The spring feeding replenishes the nutrients in the soil and helps the plants recover from the rigors of winter and have a successful growing season.  Right now, watering is the order of the day.

 

Peter B

 

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Can you use bayer rose and flower care on canna lillies

Yes you can. Always and and follow the directions on the label.

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Can I use need oil on my fatsia jeponica for rust and how do i apply it.My email is aldridges42@googlemail.com Thanks sylvia


Use the pre-diluted spray every  days until the problem clears up.  Always read follow the directions on the package.

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I tested my vegetable garden soil and the PH came out good, but the Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash were all extremely low. What should I be adding to my soil?Please email

Naturally compost is always great but to add nutrients I’d suggest Espoma Bio-Tone. It will provide not only high quality nutrients from a variety of organic source but a full complement of soil organisms including 10 strains of mycorrhizal fungi. More on that here: https://www.espoma.com/product/bio-tone-starter-plus/

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I want to plant flowers in a shady spot near my pine trees. What kind do you recommend?

Perennials for shade would include hosta, epimeduim, bleeding heart, lamium, hellebore, and there are many others that will show up in a web search for “perennials for shade”.  Annuals for shade would include begonias, coleus, balsam, fuchsia, lobelia, torenia, perilla and you may find more by doing a wbs search for “best annual flowers for shade”

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When will you have a selection of grown day lilies? Looking for purple, pink and yellow mixtures (potted, blooming and ready to plant)

There are 5 varieties on the ground right now and more arriving by the weekend.  The varieties we have right now are:  Celestial City, Hyperion, David Kerchof and Setlla D’oro.  I won’t know what varieties are coming by Friday (5/11) until they arrive.

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I had three large areas of irises and this year they didn’t come up. what would cause that?

There are a number of things that might have happened…the very cold, snowless December and early winter might have had a hand in it or possibly crown rot.

 

http://www.plant-care.com/iris-dying-check-crown-rot.html

 

There are also insects like borers that can do them in.

 

http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/local/bearded-iris-disappearing-with-invasion-of-pesky-macronoctua-onusta/article_66279e08-16fd-11e3-9e32-001a4bcf887a.html

 

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trailing vincas were blooming when we took them out of winter storage but since being put out in the sun, there are no blooms- what happened.

They are probably just getting used to the new conditions…they should bounce back and start flowering again.

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I planted ornamental grass last year, it grew beautiful, now it is like straw , will it come back?

Ornamental grass can be perennial or annual depending on the variety.  If it was a perennial variety, it should come back.  If it was an annual variety it is done.

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I bought Astic Timy Lille’s two weeks ago and put in huge pots. They are dropping buds now?? Will they come back? Or do I need to rerun them? I had in sun and they started dropping them I put in shade and they all dropped??? Suggestions or ideas?

When lilies drop their buds without the flowers opening, it is usually due to drowning in soggy soil.  They are better planted in the ground.  They are perennial and will return next spring for another flowering cycle.

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How do you get rid of tree suckers at the base of the tree?

With sharp pruners, cut the as close to the trunk as possible.  Keep and eye out for more.  If you can catch them when they are small enough, you can just rub them off with your thumb.

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Need a deer deterrent from eating roses. Do you have electronic devices in store?

No, no electronic devices. We sell a spray called Repels-All.  Thoroughly spray them with it once a month and the deer won’t bother them.  HERE’S A LINK to more on that.

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I accidentally broke off a female blossom while i was pollinating it with a small zucchini attached. Can the fruit still survive and grow?

Yes, the fact that the fruit was forming means that the pollination was already complete and the flower wasn’t needed anymore.

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Is Sunshine Ligustrum hardy for Albany coynty, NY. Will it survive winter here

No, it is hardy only to zone 6.  We are in USDA hardiness zone 5

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I am trying to grow hers and veg. in plastic storage. We drilled the holes. Put bark down in the bottom and then my soil. I don’t seem to have the proper drainage. I dumped out everything and the bark is growing roots. What would cause this?

It is hard to imagine bark growing roots…perhaps it is a type of mold.  Mulch isn’t the best choice foor drainage.  Try larger holes and small stones instead of mulch.

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Is it absolutely neccesary to prune my pepper plants?

No it isn’t but a snip early in the season can result in more branching and a sturdier stem.  Once they set fruit, don’t prune.

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Over the past 3 years once the weather gets warmer, my coneflowers and black-eyed Susan’s tune black near the base as do the bottom leaves. The plants blooms, but the black leaves look awful and must be harming the shoots. Why does this happen and how can I prevent this before it starts?

It sounds like they might be suffering from stem rot or other fungal disease.  Both these plant prefer dry conditions so don’t water them and, if you do, make sure to moisten the soil and not the leaves.  Wet weather is bad enough for this problem and spraying your flower and vegetable gardens with water just makes things so much worse for the plants.  You could also start spraying now, before the problem shows up with a fungicide like sulfur, copper, Neem oil or Seranade which are all organic and can help prevent certain fungal diseases.  Always read and follow the directions on the products label.

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I’m looking for perennials that do not spread and will bloom in July and/or August. I am on shale.

Some that come to mind are Daisies, coreopsis, daylily, garden phlox, cimcifuga, rudbeckia, coneflower, astilbe, veronica, hosta. yarrow, mallow hibiscus, balloon flowers, gallardia, sedum…there are many.  Here’s a link you might find helpful:  https://www.thespruce.com/long-blooming-perennials-2131857

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The slugs and snails seem to be attracted to every kind of perennial I’ve planted – daylilies, Hosta, coneflowers, tickweed, black-eyed Susan’s, etc. I’ve used the granuals recommended around my plants, but they still come back. Any suggestions? AND – my flowers tend to get black spots on them from the base of the leaves to the tips – is this from the sugs and snails, or another problem entirely? And dhow for I prevent it from happening again? Any help you can offer is GREATLY appreciated as it ruins all my gardens.sjacklin@nycap.rr.com

Iron phosphate pellets wok but you have to stick with it and follow the directions.  Don’t scatter the pellets but leave small piles throughout the area.  With consistent use, it will break down the population to tolerable levels.   The spotting is generally due to fungal disorders so early application of a fungicide can help…something like sulfur, or neen oil sprays as a preventative.  Another mistake folks make is spray watering.  When you water, use a watering wand or soaker hoses to wet the soil while leaving the foliage dry.  Regularly watering your gardens with a lawn sprinkler is weakening the plants as well as providing the perfect environment for fungal disease to thrive.  More on that HERE. 

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What is tthe best way to keep deer out of a garden, both vegetable and flower gardens?? Thank You, Jim Pickett

For the vegetable garden you’ll need a Hot Pepper Wax Spray and for use on your ornaments plants you want Repels-All animal repellent.  Read and follow the directions on the labels.

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I have an area beneath a stone wall that gets sun all day but is usually wet from underground sprigs that come out at the base of the wall.What ground cover would you suggest for wet soil that gets a lot of sun like this. Thanks.

That’s tough spot.  Perhaps the best suggestion would be Stella D’Oro daylilies.  They aren’t as low as some groundcovers but will tolerate the wetness and sun.  Another, lower option would be periwinkle (vinca minor).

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will iris grow without fans? Fan part was cut off.

Chances are they will grow some new leaves and survive.  In the future, cut the spent flowers stem off after the blooming period but leave the foliage fans and cut them back in fall or in early spring.

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I have those red beetles on my lilies there destroying them what can I purchase to spray on them

Bonide Bon-Neem.  It contains a contact killer and then the neem oil disrupts any larvae that may hatch from eggs so they can’t feed and never mature.    Mark this date on your calendar and start spraying a week before that date next year to keep them away before any damage occurs.  Always read and follow the directions on the label.

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Hello. I need the product to buy to treat my asparagus for the Common Beetle. Thank you.

I’d suggest an organic spray called Bon-Neem II. It is a combination of pyrethrin, a contact killer and Neem Oil which will prevent any larvae that may hatch from developing.  More on Bon Neem HERE

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Hello, I recently planted 5 beautiful Corral Cove rose bushes and were later destroyed by Colorado hail the size of golf balls. They went from large healthy bushes to infant size twig bushes. How do I nurse them back to health or will they eventually die? Thank you.

Ugh…I hate hail.  The good news is that plants never give up nor should you.  Trim any broken stems off so they have nice clean cuts and be patient.  The root system isn’t damaged and I think you’ll be surprised to see how quickly new growth starts.  Once you see fresh growth starting, you could give the soil a good soak with a soluble food like Miracle-Gro but other than that, all they need is time and your patience.

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I am so frustrated. I have a friend with terminal cancer who I am staying with and helping, and to cheer him up, I planted his yard in multiple flowers, some annuals, some perennials. I planted over 60 Petunia plants. All of the flowers are doing well, except the Petunias. Something is eating them….whatever it is is consuming the entire blossom down to the bottom, but leaving the greenery. I have tried Monterey BT, Neem Oil, sprinkled fine pepper on the plants, and fertilized to strengthen the plants. The Bt helped with holes in some of the leaves, that resolved, but every morning the Petunia blooms are gone. I deadheaded over 800 eaten blooms yesterday. I so want this garden to look beautiful for my friend as it may be the last one he sees. He lives in a mountainous area, but there have been no deer around. I haven’t seen rabbits. There are Quail, but they don’t seem interested. Whatever it is will eat all the purple flowers first. They also eat the “skeleton” of the flower…there’s nothing left but a stub. Anything you can suggest would be most appreciated, I am really upset.

It sounds like you might be dealing with a slug/snail problem…the DO love to eat petunias.   Thety come out at night so you might not catch them in the act.   The best method of control is Iron Phosphate granules.  We sell them as a product called Slug Magic.   It is organic and only harms slugs/snails.  Just tread ad follow the directions on the package.  Here’s a link to more on that product.   http://www.bonide.com/products/garden-naturals/view/903/slug-magic

 

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The first 5 ripe tomatoes I picked all have blossom end rot. The plants seem to be healthy.What should I do it is July 25th.Richard

For these tomatoes, the quick fix will be a spray of Bonide Rot Stop for some quick calcium.    Long term, the solution is going to be to correct the calcium deficiency in the soil where you plan of growing tomatoes next year.  More on that HERE.

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My pot growing Japanese eggplants are all very dry and very hard like rocks.I have many hanging in my plants but all of them are this way. I like to knowwhat need to be done to fix this problems. Please let me know Thank you. my e-mail address is lex92505@aol.com

It sounds as though your eggplant fruit may have become over-ripe. They will get hard if left on the plant too long before harvesting.  I’d snip off the hard fruit and harvest more regularly before thy have a chance to get too hard.  Snipping off the “old” fruit will also promote more flowering and fruit formation.

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Tiny brown hard shelled insects on all of my columbine seed pods.

It sounds like a scale insect of come kind.  More on them HERE.

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I need a gground cover for a sunny area ..What do you suggest?

There a many low-growing hardy sedums that will work for that.  Also Ajuga and there are creeping thymes that are quite winter hardy that can be used as ground cover.  Another that is often used ire the “rug” junipers that hug the ground and grow outward.  Lily of the Valley could also be used but can be invasive.

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My forsythia plant is next to a more recently planted hibiscus plant? Should I remove the forsythia plant to allow the hibiscus to spread

They need to be spaced at least 12′ apart.  If they are closer than that then yes, you should probably move the Althea (hardy hibiscus) although I’d wait until late fall to do that.  Digging it up and moving it right now during the peak of the growing season will likely shock it to death.  Wait until all the leaves have fallen off it before you dig it out and move it.

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My perennial garden has grown out of control and is hiding some plants. I have never split perennials before and need some step by step directions. I am an amateur and nervous about plants dying. My email is. kmarthy50@gmail.com Thanks!

Generally perennials should be divided in the fall or early spring. Dividing now in summer when they are in the middle of their growing season isn’t ideal since the shock is much greater.  Here’s a link to a blog post about the project although it is an older post and I would now use Bio-tone starter food rather than the Bone Meal. https://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/dig-in-and-divide/6447/   You could google “dividing irises” for instance to get more specific suggestions for each plant.  It isn’t difficult and is a great fall project.  Best of all you’ll have extra plants to use in other places or share with friends

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I have a lucky bamboo plant in water but want to put in dirt because water is drawing gnats. It has a cardboard tube in center with gold bands around it, do I remove bands and cardboard when I put it in dirt?

Lucky Bamboo isn’t actually bamboo but Dracena sanderiana.  Yes, you should remove and wrappings when you move them into soil.  Here are a couple of links that will show you how to make the transition from water to soil:

Lucky Bamboo Plant Care for Soil-Grown

https://dengarden.com/gardening/What-is-Lucky-Bamboo-Facts-about-Lucky-Bamboo

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Holly tree I bought whole top has no leaves button does I have the lifetime warranty on it but don’t want to dig it up until I know it’s gonna be replaced

As long as it wasn’t purchased during the late season clearance sales, it is covered. Just bring it back with the receipt and it will be replaced.

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can a knockout rose be easily transplanted?

Yes, but you’ll want to wait until very early spring when the soil is thawed but before the rose shows any signs of new growth.  HERE’S A LINK to more on transplanting Knockout roses:

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should you cut off dying leaves from an elephant ear plant?

Yes.  They have done their work and can be removed.  Cut the leaf and its stem off close to the main shoot.

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Hi..I have a young lilac tree that is about12 feet tall but is leaning over to one side despite staking it initially..can I prune the leaning side to correct this please or not. Thank you

A lilac does this trying to reach toward the sunlight it wants and needs. No amount of staking or pruning can fix this.  Only moving it to a fully sunny location can help.

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I live in Mechanicville NY.. When is the best time to transplant peonies? Thank you

Now through mid-October would be the best time to transplant your peonies.

 

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Usually the leaves of my peonies stay green and pretty until the first frost, but this year (it is September) something is eating the base of the stems, making the stems and leaves die and fall over. What varmint would be responsible for this?

It may be that you have picked up a disease called “crown rot”. You can read more about it, and other peony diseases, here: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/visual-guides/peony-problems.aspx

 

If they are actually bitten off then I’d suspect chipmunks or red squirrels. We have a spray called Repels-All that will keep them and other animals away.

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Do you have the plant called the money tree?

We sometimes get them.  I’d check the store you’re planning to visit to confirm that they have some.  Here’s a link to store phone #s for the locations.  http://www.hewitts.com/find-a-store/

 

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How and where should I store canna bulbs here in zone 5? I’m not sure I have anyplace that will be cool enough, but not freezing.

Here’s a link to an article that describes the process.  As long as you can find an area around 50 degrees to store them, they will be fine.

https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-store-canna-bulbs-2132870

Another good source:

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/visual-guides/digging-and-storing-cannas.aspx

 

 

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does hewitt’s sell exotic plants like Japanese monkey face. would be wonderful as a Christmas gift for my wife.

We have some houseplants but not a monkey face orchid.  That will be a rare thing to find.  Even mail order, all I see is the seeds for sale.

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I know it’s very early – but when do you start stocking MANDEVILLA plants?

Very Late April or early May for tropical plants like Mandevilla

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Help my houseplants are loaded with gnats & eggs, I have no idea how this happened. Do I need to dispose of them or is there a way I can save them, how do I prevent this from happening again . THANK YOU ELAINE

Fungus gnats are a problem this time of year. They are the result of keeping the soil too damp.  Here’s a link to a very good article about the problem with solutions mentioned at the bottom of the article:  http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/fungus-gnats-as-houseplant-and-indoor-pests-5-584/

 

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Good morning, I’m trying to locate Firecracker Sedum in seed form. Is this something you can provide?Many thanks,Lesley

I have never seen firecracker sedum seeds available in the seed racks. Your best bet would be to search out a source on the internet.

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Last year my cucumbers I got one picking, after that the plants turned yellow and I didn’t get any more off them. What would be th cause and what can I do to rectify that this year.

Cucumbers are prone to several problems that can cause yellowing of the leaves.  Here’s a link that may help you diagnose and solve the problem .

https://harvesttotable.com/cucumbers_growing_problems_tro/

 

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Does Hewitts sell cat grass seeds?

Yes we do, It is on the seed rack from the Lake Valley Seed Company. (3/25/19)

 

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Ok so i have 8 plants about 2 weeks oild and i gave them the first dose od fertilizer i use fox farm big bloom and the next morning one plant has what looks like a brown dried up edge. My question is what may have caused it amd how i can fix it please. Asking for a friend

It is a good idea to start your feeding with a half strength feed for the first few feedings before going to the regular rate.  Browning leaf edges can also be a symptom of drowning caused by keeping the plants too wet.  suspend any more feeding and lighten up on watering until the plants recover and show normal growth.

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My trumpet vine received damage in a late season hail storm. Will it recover?

It is almost impossible to kill a trumpet vine. Yes, it will recover.

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late fall the periwinkle/mrytle was racked and the vines were striped. What should Ido?

I’m not sure what “racked” is but deer or other critter are known to strip off and eat the leaves of periwinkle.  Don’t worry, it will bounce right back as the weather warms up as we move from winter into spring.

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I have rock beds that contain some evergreen shrubs, day lilies and various hostas. I get a lot of weeds in these beds and was hoping to apply some kind of pre-emergent granule that will help but not harm the existing plants. Do you have any recommendations as to what product I should use? I am looking for something that is safe for kids and pets as this is in the backyard where both play.

We’d all love it if there was a magic dust we could sprinkle around that would only let the plants we like to grow and not the ones we don’t like. Sadly, there is no such magic dust.  What you do have is a product like Preen which will stop weed seeds (or any seeds) from sprouting.

https://www.preen.com/products/preen-garden-weed-preventer

This can help but won’t stop perennial weeds that aren’t coming from seeds but from an already established root system…like a dandelion for instance…and there are many other perennial weeds. For them, you need a spray like Round-Up or the organic plant killing spray, Burn-Out.  The problem with the sprays is that they will kill ANY plant the spray touches so it needs to be used VERY carefully among desirable plants. It can be done but It isn’t easy.

https://www.bonide.com/trusted-brands/burnout/

It may be that you’ll have to do what gardeners have done since the dawn of time…get in there and pull the weeds.

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I have a very large blue hosta about 8 years old. It was beautiful last year but when I cut the foliage in the fall the center had no leaves. This spring it has a huge ring of eyes but a bare center. Do I need to divide it to get rid of the center? I loved it last year so I hate to do anything to it if it isn’t necessary. Thank you!!

As hostas mature, the center tends to die off as the newer growth around the original plant takes over around it. You can divide it in half or quarters if you wish or just enjoy it as it is.   If you decide to divide it, do it soon before it leafs out so it will look nice this season.

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Do you have, now, gladiolus bulbs for sale in your WILTON or Q’BURY stores? Thank you.

Yes, all of our stores have gladiolus bulbs available. Be sure to look for the bag of mixed HARDY glads that don’t need to be dug up and stored for winter.

 

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I want to plant cilantro mint and green chili seeds, but whenever I do this they don’t grow well

If you are seeding outside, make sure it is nice and warm before you do..late May.   If your starting them indoors, they usually fail due to lack of enough light…adding grow light close to the plants and running them 14 hours a day is often necessary

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I want to plant Invincible Mini Mauvette Hydrangas along with Sweetly Japanese Anemones and Autumn Frost Hostas. What kind of soil would I need?

The plants you mention will perform best in a soil rich in organic matter and nutrients. You can blend in humus or aged manure for organic matter and Espoma Bio-tone for nutrients and beneficial soil organisms.  The area should be well drained as well.

 

More on Bio-Tone HERE: https://www.espoma.com/product/bio-tone-starter-plus/#tab2

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I have a weed in my garden that looks like a carrot top when I pull it out it has long trailing roots can you tell me what it is!

From that description I can only make an educated guess that it is “wild carrot” aka Queen Anne’s Lace”

More on that HERE: http://www.msuturfweeds.net/details/_/wild_carrot_21/

 

There are other that you might want to consider…more on them HERE: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/weeds-leaves-like-carrot-67679.html

 

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hello peterI wrote to you about a month ago about trying to slow down leggy tomato plants and still haven’t heard anything yet.hopefully this question will be answered.my plants were set outside in the sun and went into shock. they were very leggy but healthy before that. do you think there is any saving them or should I just start with new tomato plants? the leaves are dying or wilting and some of the stems snapped. thank you.

I answered your question on 3-18 on the website but your email failed to get through. Hopefully this one makes it.

 

It is too late to start more tomatoes from seed so I’d suggest just getting some nice strong starts from the garden center.

 

Yours are so battered at this point that they will struggle to catch up.

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My husband purchased 20 tulip plants from Clifton Park store. They have not bloomed yet. Can I plant them now or should I wait until after they bloom. Thank you. Cathy Farrell

That’s entirely up to you. Just make sure that after the flowers are finished, cut them off but leave the leaves until they start to turn yellow.  The leaves need to be left on so they can “charge up” the bulbs so the tulips will flower again next spring.

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Can a 2 year common milkweed seed still germinate?

As long as they were kept dry during storage, they should still sprout and grow.

 

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I’m growing my tomatoes from seed and have already potted them up to four inch pots. They are now about 10-12 inches tall and I’m going to put them up again. My questions is, when should I pinch them off?

Since we’re only a couple of weeks from setting your plants out into the ground, I’d not bother repotting them. I wouldn’t pinch them back either since that will force side growth and suckering.  Not pinching will let it get taller more quickly once set outside rather than a low, bushy plant.

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I have a bunch of irises in my garden they are growing and multiplying fast will they choke each other out if I do not send them out

Yes, eventually you will need to thin them out.  You’ll know it is time when they stop producing as many flowers as they once did.

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I have a rhododendron in a pot and 3/4 has died but there are a few stems that are alive and in flower. Will it show new growth?

As long as part of it is alive, it will try to continue to grow.  You can cut off the dead sections.  It will always struggle to thrive growing in a pot though…it really would prefer to be in the ground in a not-too-windy location.

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I CONTINUE TO GET WEED’S AFTER FOLLOWING ADVISE OF NEWSPAPER AND MULCH. NOT AS MANY BUT THEY DO KEEP COMING. WHAT CAN I BE DOING WRONG?

I recommend cardboard, not newspaper. Newspaper disintegrates quicker than cardboard. You need to make sure to overlap the cardboard about 8″ to 1′ to make sure there are no gaps for the weeds to find a way through to the surface and sunlight. Weed seed may also land in the mulch on top and sprout and grow…they will need to be pulled. Cardboard is a permanent solution though. Eventually even the cardboard rots away and weeds can grow and will need to be pulled. There is no permanent solution to weeds. Here’s a link to my blog post about using cardboard. https://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/cardboard-the-gardeners-friend/7188/

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Will Troy’s Gold that is growing on the garden floor eventually choke out plants in it’s path?

It is only hardy to 30° so, unless you live in Florida, it will die off in the fall.

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My Iris and Jonquils have taken over my beds. Can I divide them now, May 2019. Thanks so very much and have a blessed day.

Late summer is the ideal time but, if you have the need to do it now, they will do fine. I’d probably wait until after they finish flowering at least.

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When is the best time of year to pland Lilly of the valley…as well as when do they bloom

The best time is now, in spring although they are pretty tough and can generally be planted anytime all summer long as long as they are watered regularly.  The bloom from mid to late May depending on your location

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I was given a helleboruss prince ivory plant for Mothers days do i plant it or put in container was told to keep in pot outside and bring in at fall internet is confusing some say shade others sun also say it can go outside all yearn email

Your hellebore is a hardy perennial so it should be planted outside in a generally shady area.  They can handle some morning sun but avoid locations with hot afternoon sun.  Since it is very cold hardy, it won’t need to be brought inside for the winter.  Here’s a link to info about your hellebore that you can trust:  http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=d652

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Can tulip bulbs overwinter in a whiskey barrel in Vermont, or must they be dug up?Thank You.

You can do this if you mulch up around the barrel in the fall.  If you don’t the barrel will thaw out on a warm winter day only to refreeze.   Once frozen, the tulip bulbs want to stay frozen of cold until it is time to grow in spring.  Repeated freezing and thawing will kill them.

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We have a rosebush 3year old still haven’t bloom damcus rosebush.

Unless the rose is getting full sun (7 hours or more) it will grow but not have the energy to flower. You can try feeding it with a blossom booster type of soluble food (high in the middle number) but, unless it is getting lots and lots of sun, it will never perform as you’d wish.

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I have a peony plant that is heavily damaged with what I think is Botrytis. My other peonies have only a few spots and damaged buds that can be removed. First the heavily damaged plant, will it survive if I cut it back to the ground, or should I just pull it out? It is being crowded out by indigo and I had planned to transplant it in the fall. It has failed to bloom even though it it is 3 or 4 years old.

I’d start treating the less=affected peonies ASAP with a fungicide.  It is possible for the worst one to survive but I’s rip it out and remove it from the area as a precaution.  Bag it and get it off the property.  It has been a damp spring and the fact that it was getting crowded by other plants was the perfect set up for botrytis to take hold.  Peonies need space, and full sun, and good air movement to thrive disease free.  Obviously keep mulch away from their stems and avoid spray watering from sprinkling systems.  Here are some links you should find helpful:

http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/factsheets/botrytisblightpeony.pdf

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/diseases/fungal-spots/botrytis-blight-of-peony.aspx

https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/host-disease/peony-paeonia-spp-botrytis-blight

 

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My lilac tree was recently run over by a lawn mower it is now a 2 inch stem will it survive if I still water it or is there no hope for this little lilac bush or tree

The roots are intact and it is early in the season so there is reason to believe that the lilac can make a comeback.  You can help it along by pouring a watering can of soluble plant food over it every couple of weeks or so.  I’ll bet you’ll see a new shoot forming within a month or less.

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Hello Peter, My circular flower bed is over run with Horsetails! I am reluctant now to touch anything in there for fear of spreading them even further. What can I do?The bed is wildflowers, irises, and daffodils, but the are struggling to survive.If you would please email your response, I would appreciate it. Thank you!

This is a difficult situation and will require a constant effort to remedy. The only product we sell that lists horsetails as something it controls id Hi-Yield Nutsedge and Horsetail control.  Repeated applications will be necessary.  Horsetail like low nutrient soil so adding compost and nutrients will discourage it as well.

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Do you have a hibiscus plants that will survive our winters and do you guarantee them?Thank you for your help

We sell Althea aka Rose of Sharon which is a woody shrub that is a winter hardy cousin of the tropical hibiscus and it is covered by our nursery guarantee.

 

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how do i keep cats out of my flower garden Thank You!

The best way is with regular applications of a cat repellent.

It is organic and harmless but they really don’t like the smell.

Just read and follow the directions on the label.

Here’s a link to the product you need:

https://www.bonide.com/products/repellents/view/870/go-away-rabbit-dog-and-cat-repellent-granules

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both my aquilegia plants have no leaves at all and very few flowers. i have been reading about sawfly which I suspect is responsible but have not found any grubs,larvae etc. having said that I didn’t look for any before today. should I dig the plants up and throw them away and buy new ones or can they recover. They are only small plants. Thank you

This is fairly common. I’ve lived through this problem.  Don’t rip them out, they will bounce back.  You could spray them with insecticidal soap (not dish soap but actual insecticidal soap) to kill any leftover bugs and then feed them with some Jack’s Blossom Booster or Miracle Gro (Jack’s is the superior option) to help them along.  The insects go through a quick cycle and then are gone for the year so, once the columbine bounce back, they should be fine for the rest of the season.

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purchased Hibiscus Syriacus red Althea is this a perennial ?

It is a woody shrub hardy to USDA zone 5. It does leaf out very late in spring though.  Don’t expect to see leaves until around the time the lilacs are blooming.  They flower in late summer.

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My friend has a pretty decent void space on the side of her house, which faces a busy road. I would like to plant a few things to fill in the space, but I want it to look great. I am a novice at this. I want to suprise her with an early Birthday gift from me. I have a picture of the space mentioned above. I could use some suggestions on how to make it look amazing for her.

You can send me a picture at peterb@hewitts.com and I can give it a shot.  Choosing the right plant for a location depends on understanding how much light the area gets and what the exposure is.  Does it face north, south, east or west.  I might be more productive to bring the picture and any information you have regarding the planting location to the garden center and have the manager or assistant manager show you the options in person

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Can you cut of the rotted end of a wax begonia and repot it in good soil?

Possibly.  Make the cutting well above the rotted section and let it scab over (dry out) for a half hour or so before reinserting into soil.

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What flowers are best for planting at a grave site ?

Probably geraniums…use peat moss when planting to hold some moisture in the soil.  A visit every couple of weeks or so to water and remove spent flowers  would be a good idea.

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will summer bulbs planted this late still flower a little this Year

It depends on the bulb. Gladiolus easily will but a begonia won’t have time.  Cannas and Dahlias might but would flower very late in the season…mid August or later.

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Help, my side yard has been taken over my the plant spiderwort…have dug some of it out but the roots are deep and spreading.Is there anything you can spray on it ,I have so much of it.Thank you

Tough one. The best tactic would be to cove the area with a thick tarp and weight that down with boards or rocks and leave it that way for at least a couple of months.

 

Here’s a link to a blog post by someone who faced the same situation: https://bluestoneriver.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/getting-rid-of-spiderworts/

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I would like to have a continuous perinneal flower garden by my front yard fence & would like to know what plants I can put out there. It is an 8×8 corner fence close to road so it tends to get more snow/salt dumped on it in the winter.

What you can plant in the area now is determined by 2 things…how much sun or shade the area gets and what is available at the garden center.  Time to start reading the tags on the plants at the garden center.  Taller plants in the back of the bed, shorter ones in front just like the class photo.  Bear in mind that what is available at the garden center are spring/summer flowering perennials and late summer/fall blooming plants will be available at the end of the season.  Spring flowering perennial bulbs like daffodils, tulips and others are planted in fall so don’t forget them.  Consider this more of a hobby for a couple of years rather than a project that needs to be done in a hurry and you’ll enjoy it more an have better results.  Road salt will be a problem…plants can’t tolerate much of that.  Snow on them isn’t a problem though.

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I am using soaker hoses for my vegetable & flower gardens this year & I also use mulch. My question is…should mulch go down first or over the soaker hose?

If you’re using the black tubular rubber soaker hoses, they can go under the mulch and even be left out over the winter.  If you plan on removing them and storing them inside for the winter then thay can go on top…maybe hide them with a bit of the mulch so they aren’t unsightly.

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I UST LOOKED AT MY TOMATOES AND THEIR IS A BUNCH OF LITTLE ORANGE BALLS ON THE SOIL. WHEN YOU SQUASH THEM , IT LOOKS LIKE ORANGE PAINT COMES OUT. NEVER SAW ANYTHING LIKE IT. WILL IT HURT MY PLANTS AND IS THEIR A WAY TO GET RID OF IT? THANK YOU

Colorado potato beetle lay orange eggs but you’d find then on the underside of the leaves of the tomato.  To control them, you’ll want this spray:  https://www.bonide.com/products/garden-naturals/view/252/captain-jacks-dead-bug-brew-conc

Since it is on the ground though I suspect it may be a mold that mimics insect eggs during part of its life cycle.  More on that HERE:  https://curbstonevalley.com/blog/?p=1179

Let the surface of the soil in that area dry out and the mold won’t be a problem.

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what small animal will chew through plastic neting and eat the tops off of flowers, small trees and vegetable plants. and leave no traqce of what he chewed off, which is usually quit a bit. .

Likey chipmunks or squirrels.  A repellent like THIS will stop this.   When you go to the garden center make sure you mention that it will be used on edible crops.

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When is the best time to plant Mums? Do you have them in stock? Also, none of my Hydrangas I planted last summer made it through the winter, why?

Mums can be planted any time all summer but aren’t generally available until August.  The hydrangeas might have been planted too deep, or were mulched to high on the bark or didn’t get enough watering and weren’t well enough established to make it through their first winter.

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I have a hibiscus and I would like to know what type of soil I should use for it? It’s indoors during the winter. I will be transplanting it soon into a bigger pot. Thanks!

Any good premium potting soil will be fine. Pro-Mix, Fox Farm, Espoma Organic…there are others.  Just be sure it is “potting soil” not “garden soil”.  When you transplant, add soil around and under the plant but not on top.  You never want to bury the stem deeper in the soil than it is now.

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We just recently purchased several fully grown garden flowers (denver daisy and 2 very bushy and full of blooms foxglove.) The denver daisy stopped producing in the first week, and the flower buds turned brown and never bloomed (opened up). I took the plant back and got a refund. Then two weeks later, the two foxglove I purchased seem to have crown or root rot, the roots looking similar to the denver daisy purchased by the same company. Since I had already planted all three potentially infected plants in my very large years in planting garden, is my overall garden now at stake??

The plants may have failed for many reasons.  Transplant shock or perhaps they were planted too deep with the crown buried beneath the surface of the soil.  Perhaps they got too much water or they were sprayed with cold water instead of the water being directed at the soil…spraying the plants with cold water from a hose shocks them…and can be fatal to a plant already under stress.  Also, plant diseases, if there were any, are often specific to that plant family so there is no reason to believe that the rest of the plants are in any jeopardy.

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My hydrangea leaves on some of the stems are starting to curl up tight and looks like the stems are going to die. Do you have any idea what disease it is and how to treat it. Thanks.

It could be as simple of  problem as not enough water…hydrangeas like consistently moist soil.  Also check that you haven’t piled mulch in a volcano style up around the base of the plant.  This can cause all kinds of problems.   Never spray water your plants,,,just wet the soil,  Spray-watering promotes diseases.

It is possible that, due to getting sprayed with water or our damp, cool spring, your hydrangea has developed a fungal disease.   HERE’s a link   http://www.tnstate.edu/extension/documents/Foliar%20diseases%20of%20Hydrangea%20FBG%20022916%20G1.pdf to more on hydrangea diseases. Botrytis is another disease that could be the problem…more on that HERE. http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/php/management/botrytis/

It is also possible that a weed killer that was used nearby could be adversely affecting your hydrangea and there are leaf rolling insects that could cause the symptoms you describe.

Since there are so many possibilities, I’d suggest bringing a sample of the damage to Hewitt’s or, if you are not in our area, a local garden center to let them take a look at it to determine what the problem is and how to treat it.

 

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We have a hosta bed thatis in the shade , also there is a tubular weed that has invaded the hostas , that we cannot control, anything that we can do to get rid of this weed ?

It is hard to say from your description but it sounds like you may have a knotweed problem.  More on that HERE:  https://www.thespruce.com/eradication-of-japanese-knotweed-plants-2131201

It could also be horsetail.  More on that HERE:  https://homeguides.sfgate.com/controlling-horsetail-plants-28748.html

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I have holes on my coleus in my garden, now they are on my coneflower next to it. What is this pest and treatment for it. I am in 9a Florida thanks

I’d suspect slugs or snails since they would do the damage at night then hide in the day so you wouldn’t see them.  here in NY we use an organic slug killer made from Iron Phosphate.  Here’s a link to the product we sell.  I’m sure you can find it or something equivalent in FL  https://www.bonide.com/products/garden-naturals/view/903/slug-magic

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Is it worthwhile to fertilize a garden now as walk as in the spring. The soil is getting ‘old”.m

If you’re doing your garden organically, then adding organic matter and a high-quality food like Espoma Bio-Tone in early fall is a great idea to jump start the health of the soil so it will provide more for the plants in spring.

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The hibiscus just started blooming. I bought the plant locally so I assumed it could stay outside for the winter if covered etc. please advise.

Assuming it is a tropical hibiscus, bring it inside to the sunniest location you have inside.  It will lose leaves so it will need  WAY less water than it has outside.  Nurse it along with just enough water and no food until you see new growth showing…probably in late February.  Start giving it a bit more water an a light feeding (1/4 strength) of soluble plant food like Jack’s Blossom booster. About every 3 weeks.  As the days get longer, water more as needed.   In mid-May once it can go outside to a shady location.  Gradually move it to less shady location until, by mid June when it can go into full sun and get full strength feeding for the summer.

 

If it is a winter hardy hibiscus like Althea (Rose of Sharon) or Mallow hibiscus, it should be planted in the ground now.

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