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

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Trees and Shrubs

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When is the time to prune hygerangea bushes? Should it be done in the fall or spring? Thanks

Thanks for your question Dave, Different types iof hydrangeas get pruned at different times. The best I can do issteer you to this great site. It will help you determine what type of hydrangea you vae and how to prune it. http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/pruning.html

Mark as helpful. 14

I’ve bought and planted a hydrangea about 3 years agon. It has never bloomed. I moved and replanted it at the end of last summer to a sunnier spot b/c I thought that was the problem. Still hasn’t bloomed. Any suggestions?

Hydrangeas and other woody plants take some time to get established. Now that you’ve moved it, I’d leave it where it is for a few more years. I always suggest adding bone meal to the planting hole to provide a slowly available source of phosphorus that lasts for several years. Phosphorus stimulates root growth to get you hydrangea established and also enhance its ability to flower. In addition I’d feed it with Espoma Flower-tone as soon as the ground can be worked in spring and again about 8 weeks later. This agressive (but gentle) feeding will hasten establishment of a good root system and shorten the time until the plant can spare the energy for a flowering cycle.

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What is happening to the rhodendrons this year? All the leaves are turning brown and falling off.

This last winter was colder, windier and longer than normal.  This was rough on broadleaf evergreens like holly and rhododendron.  At this point all you can do is cut off all the dead leaves.  Bend the small branches and, if they are brittle and snap easily cut them back to where you find living tissue.  You should feed them with Holly-Tone in the soil below (this should be done every year).  To stimulate some quick leaf growth you can use some Mir-Acid soluble evergreen food.  Mix with water in a watering can as the package directs.  Sprinkle this food all over the stems and remaining leaves.  This food can be absorbed directly into the plant without having to come up through the root system.  It is an emergency method of feeding and, if they is any life left to the plant, this will stimulate quick leaf growth.  Do this every week and a half until mid-June.  Also make sure you haven’t piled mulch up against the base of the tree.  This smothers the bark and slowly kills it.  Mulch is good but not against the bark of the plants, any plants.

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Hi there. I bought my lilac tree from Hewitt’s in 2007 (I think. I’m still looking for the receipt.) It was blooming when I bought/planted it, but it has not bloomed again. It’s growing, and is full of lush green leaves, but no blooms. What am I doing wrong?? Help! THanks.

A lilac may not flower while it is establishing a roots system. Once that is done it can expend the extra energy on flowering. A lack of sun and phosphorus can slow down this process. Feed your lilac each spring with Flower-Tone by pounding holes out away from the trunk and pour the Flower-tone into those holes. Do this in several place around the lilac so more roots can find and use the food. If you have been pruning your lilac in summer you have been cutting off the buds for the next season’s flowers. Lilacs form the buds for next spring’s flowers this summer. Always prune your lilac in spring right after flowering so the buds form on new growth. If it is planted in shade then it may never flower.

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I’m looking for a non flowering green shrub for in front of my house to replace an arborvitae that has gotten to large. It should be about 2 ft wide and would like it to stay under 4 ft in height. Any suggestions? I’ve seen these twisty looking things with tiny leaves but can’t seem to find out what they are. Thanks for your input. Paula

You are probably thinking of corylus contorta.  It can get larger than you want but isn’t particularly fast growing in out region.  You can control the size with annual pruning.  Another option would be the weeping varieties of Japanese Maples which stay small and isn’t fast growing at all.  We have both in our nursery…come check them out and you may find others that fulfill your requirements.

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We bought a house a few years ago and never paid any attention to the perennials and shrubs until now. We have 4 HUGE rhododendron bushes that do well every year, despite no care given. Since I’d like to attempt gardening, was wondering ab out some basic care: when is it ok to prune them? What type of mulch is the best to put around them? If they need fertilizer, what type? Thanks!

Thanks for your question Jen. It’s great that your rhododenrons are doing well on their own. That tells us that they are planted in a location that suits them and that’s half the battle right there. You should prune them right after they flower in spring. Rhododendron, azaleas and other broadleaf evergreens form their flowers buds during the summer and fall. Those buds must winter over and then open in spring. If you prune them late in the season, you’ll be removing the flowers you wish to enjoy. As always follow the pruning rules of 1/3. Never prune off more than 1/3 of the branch structure. Usually that isn’t necessary but if it is, prune it partway back then wait a year to do more. It is also a good idea to snip off the remnants of the flowers in spring. If you remove the seed pods then the energy the rhodos would have put into those seeds will go instead into more flowers the following spring. I like cedar mulch but and good bark mulch will be fine. You can mulch 4″ deep but make sure that you don’t pile mulch up against the trunk. That can smother the bark and cause more harm than good. I really like Espoma Holly-tone. It is a granular food that you should apply as early in the spring as you can. I like to pound hole with a small length of pipe down about 8″ and then pour the Holly-tone down the holes. That gets the food to the roots that can absorb it. You’ll need several holes and they should be made out away from the trunk of the Rhodo about as far as the outermost branch tips. Scattering the food on the mulch is wasteful since the nutrients have a hard time making it through the mulch into the soil where the roots are.

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Can you tell me if lilac bushes have to be pruned? They didn’t bloom this year on the same branches that they did last year. If i cut off the old dead flowers will it kill them or make them bloom there next yr. It was there when I bought my house 4 yrs. ago. It is about 7ft. tall. & just as wide. I would say it is pretty old.

No, pruning off the old, dead flowers (that have become seed pods by now) won’t hurt the lilac. A better time to do this would be right after the flowers finish up in spring. This prevents the lilac from putting any energy into producing seeds and that energy will then be put into growth and more flowers the following season. Since we know that you have an old large, well-established lilac, it may be time to rejuvenate it with some heavy pruning. You’re going to need a pruning saw for this. You probably have some very large, older trunks coming out of the middle of the lilac that are not producing many flowers. These older trunks may be 10 or 20 years old and no longer have the vitality to produce flowers the way they used to. Get in there and cut them off as close to the base as possible. Make sure that you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the total branch structure to avoid shocking the plant. Remove all these older trunks and the energy that they were using will now go into younger shoots that will produce the most flowers. Ideally you should have done this in spring right after the lilac bloomed. Lilacs form buds in the summer after flowering. Those latent buds winter over and produce flowers in spring. If you had pruned the lilac this spring, you’d have lots of new growth with buds ready to go. There’s nothing wrong with cutting your lilac back now but you won’t get the big benefit until the spring after next. People are often shy about pruning heavily but, as in this case, it is the best way to get the most out of your lilac. Once you remove the old, unproductive trunks, it will be several year before you need to do anything more than light pruning.

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what is needed to plant a cherry tree?

Click here for a blog post that will give you step-by-step planting instructions for your cherry tree or any other tree or shrub for that matter.

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Can 5 year old hydrangea bushes be safley transplanted to a new location?

Yes it can but do it as soon as possible. Transplanting is best done when the plant is dormant. Lucky for you the weather is still quite cool and your hydrangea is still dormant. To reduce transplant shock have the hole where it is to go dug and ready. Dig up the hydrangea with as large a root ball as possible to keep as many of the fine root hairs intact. Make sure to use some bone meal in the planting hole. Water in thououghly and keep well watered this entire season.

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It appears that my PJM rhodies got some winter burn – the tips of some of the leaves turned brown but are still pliable (not brittle). What can I do about this if anything? Could it be something else? Also, how do I get them to fill in better? This will be the third season they are in the ground and haven’t grown or filled in very much. They normally flower rather well though.

Winter burn is pretty common on rhodos…especially after a windy winter like the one we just had. Those leaves are nipped forever but will be masked by new growth this spring. Any that are totally brown can be removed any time. A burlap barrier on the north west side over winter can help prevent this in the future. It takes a while for shrubs to get established and yours has only been in the ground for 2 seasons so it is still getting settled in. You should feed your rhodos (indeed all your landscape plants) as soon in spring as the ground can be worked (right now). For the rhodos use Espoma Holly-Tone. Pound holes out away from the trunk as far as the outermost branch tips and pour a small handful of food into the hole and poke it shut. Do this in several places around the shrub. Throwing food down on the surface is easier but mostly benefits weeds. Get the food down to the roots and it will work better. Deadheading will also help the PJM fill out and flower more. After the flowers have finished, pinch off the seed pods that begin to develop after the petals fall off. The rhodo will put a great deal of energy into these seeds. By removing the seeds, you are redirecting that energy into leaf growth and flower buds for the next season’s show. You can also do any light pruning right after flowering. If you haven’t been feeding and deadheading try that first. It should be enough to get them to start filling. Try that for a season before you resort to pruning.

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Hello, We recently moved into a house that has had bamboo growing for about 30 years. Last spring we dug up the stalks that took up a 10′ x 20′ area. As the summer came around we continued to pluck what ever bamboo came up. And it still continues to come up. It’s very frustrating. My husband did some investigating and found that it takes a very long time to get rid of bamboo and the only way to do it is to keep cutting the stems as the come up because it will exhaust the roots. Is this true? Do you have any advise for us? Thanks, Kristin

I’ll assume that you’re dealing with ‘false bamboo’ aka Japanese Knotweed. This is a former ornamental that will eventually take over the world. I also moved into a house that had the bed one whole side of the house filled with that stuff. We cut it back for a couple of years hoping that that would kill it but it didn’t. What finally did work was covering the area with a plastic tarp 4 layers thick. I actually used an old pool cover that I found by the side of the road. We made sure that the area was covered right up to the house and out about a foot beyond where the knotweed was growing. We then covered the tarp with a thick layer of cedar mulch so we wouldn’t have to look at the tarp. We left it all summer and the next spring I peeked under only to find weak shoots still trying to grow. We left it covered for another summer. Finally, after two years it seems to be dead. We removed the tarps and dug around. We found a few weak roots that we removed and planted the bed with perennials. Every once in a while a shoot would pop up but we’d dig it out rather than just snapping it off….gotta get those roots. Now, several years later, we seem to have finally won our battle. There are weed killers that will kill it and sterilize the soil for two years but we were afraid that it would get into the roots of some nearby shrubs and kill them too so we went the tarp and mulch route. Be diligent and patient and you get it gone.

Mark as helpful. 4

I have a few rose plants, which we planted on the east side of my home, that are approximately 20 years old.They started out small and manageable and we put a trellis behind them, up close to the house for them to grow on…I didn’t think they were climbing roses but, the branches & canes now somewhat resemble a climbing rose plant…From a second story window frame, several years ago, I attached fishing line down to the longer canes to help support them because they were bending over, due to their weight, beyond the trellis.They always produce lots of roses when the first bloom occurs.The canes, have never been taken care of or pruned properly, because I was afraid to damage or kill the rose plants…we just let the canes grow and as a result, when the roses bloom, they seem to have more beautiful flowering every year. However, the canes are now extremely long and out of control…some, are approximately 10 to 12 feet long and have outgrown the trellis……(Also, usually every year, sometime after the middle of the summer, a good portion of the leaves seem to yellow and fall off….but, that, might be another issue…) I’ve been told that the best time to prune roses, is in the spring, before they start to grow and flower.I’m looking for some expert advice on how to prune my roses so they continue to be/or become healthy/healthier…I’m concerned that because the canes are so long, if I prune too much off, they will die…Can you offer any advice?Thank you.

Yikes…those are some large roses.  They are probably getting leggy since they get mostly morning sun but not a lot of the stronger afternoon sun.  I’d get out there now and do some aggressive pruning…like about 1/3 of the total branch structure…to get them back under control.  That way the new growth will be lower and branch sideways.  you can also do pruning in season to keep it under control.  Roses respond well to pruning.  Get to your initial pruning soon so the new growth goes where you want and it will set buds for flowering on the new growth…expect more flowers due to the pruning you’re about to do.

Mark as helpful. 4

What kind of tree would you recommend for tall, fast growing, privacy in zone 3-4? I’ve searched online and found a Willow Hybrid but didn’t know if any local nurseries carried this.

A great tree for this purpose would be the Canadian Hemlock. As an evergreen hemlocks will provide privacy year round and can handle the cold of zone 3. Naturally they’ll follow their instinct and try to grow into a tree but pruning the top will force it to branch out and go wide instead of tall. Gradually let it get to the height you want and then trim the top every other year or so to keep it low and bushy. Hemlocks are widely available.

Mark as helpful. 3

our endless summer hydrangea stopped blooming in the third year. what can we do to get them to bloom?

Thanks for your question Charles. There are a couple of things that can prevent ES hydrangeas from blooming. Lack of enough direct sun. In our area (Albany NY) you’d want to get at least 7 hours of direct sun per day during summer. Even more is better. It is claimed that they will do well in ‘partial shade’. That may be true in the southern US but, up here in the north, they will flower better with more sun. If your hydrangea grew lush, large leaves but no flowers then it probably isn’t getting enough sun. Not getting fed. Hyrdrangeas don’t need a lot of food but, especially in sandy soils, they do need some. Espoma Flower-Tone would be a nice, gentle option. Don’t feed it now but as early in the spring as the soil can be worked. Without knowing the conditions your hydrangea is planted in I can only offer those possibilities. Here’s a great site that might help your sort out what has gone wrong. http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/

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I would like to purchase a Rose of Sharon. When will this item be available at the Western Ave. location? Also with regard to lawn: What seed would be most appropriate for the mostly shade north side of our home

The althea (Rose of Sharon) should be available in a month or so and more arrive in late summer as well. Hewitt’s Super Shady is the grass blend you want…it can grow in the shade of a building with no direct sun at all.

Mark as helpful. 3

how long does a rose of Sharon live

They should live for 25-40 years.

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I had a landscaper plant 14 balled & burlapped Emerald Green Arbor Vitaes about 6-7 weeks ago. Now, half seem dead (needles brown, falling off, no green under bark when scraped). I was told to water once a week, which I did until I noticed them starting to turn brown, at which time I watered about twice a week with a soaker hose. Now, I am inspecting them and am wondering if they were planted correctly. The burlap surrounding the rootballs was never pulled away from the trunk, nor was it pulled down/slit to expose the roots at all. Could this have contributed to their early demise? Thanks for any info you might have.

For an arborvitae to go from green to brown in 6-7 weeks it would take more than just the burlap and twine not being undone. Unless the twine and burlap is made of plastic then, over the course of a few years, the arb might grow and get strangled by the plastic twine. If the twine is jute (like baling twine) then it will disintigrate long before it could become a problem. Often, it isbest to just leave jute burlap and twine in place when planting. Trying to unbundle the root ball might cause the root ballto fall apart. This breaks off all the tiny root hairs that absorb moisture from the soil. . . . It sounds as though you’ve been watering them enough so I think there are three possible reason why some of your arbs failed. . . . First, make sure that they have not been planted too deep. The original soil lineon the trunk where the bark meets the root bark should be at soil level, not below. If they are planted too deep with the bark buried, the flow of moisture up the trunk is greatly impaired. . . Second, make sure that mulch hasn’t been piled up against the trunk. Mulch as heavily as you want away from the trunk butnever pilemulch against the exposed bark of the tree. It has the same effect as burying the truk too deep in the soil. . . . If you check and they seem to have been planted and mulched properly then the only conclusion is that they experienced a period of severe dryness at some point in spring before they arrived at your home. In that case I hope for your sake that they have some sort of guarantee and will be replaced.

Mark as helpful. 2

When should the last fertilizer application be of rodies, arborvities and other plants?

The best time to feed these and other woody shrubs is as soon as the ground thaws and can be worked in spring. If you use Espoma’s Holly-tone or Flower-tone youe could feed againg 8 to 10 weeks later. Feeding is pretty much done for the season by early summer except for annuals that can be fed as long as the weather is warm. Other than on the lawn, I don’t suggest fall feeding. Shrubs, trees and perennials need to wind down with the season and late feeding can stimulate fresh growth that is more easily damaged by frost. Your last feeding for the woody shrubs you mention should be no later than the end of June.

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Its time for me to cut down my Hydrangea bushes,how far do I cut them down,I have not had flowers either on them in 2 years..Any suggestions? Thank you

There are different types of hydrangeas. Some flower on second year growth and some on new growth. You’ll need to determine what type you have. If you have been cutting back your hydrangea every fall then you might have been cutting off the shoots that will flower the following summer. Heree’s a wonderful site that will help you identify which type of hydrangea you have and when it should be pruned. http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/pruning.html

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I received a azalia bush last year. I was told to plant it at end of season. It looks like alot of it has died. Will it come back ?

Let it leaf out and then cut away all the dead stems. Since it was planted at the end of the season, it probably had a tough time over winter. Hardy plants should get planted as early in the season as possible to get a root system established before winter. Water it with Mir-Acid plant food every two weeks until the end of June (don’t feed it in the heat of summer). It should spring back to life and fill back in.

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What are some good types of shrubs to purchase for creating nice hedges about 3-5 ft high for a natural border or fence. I don’t want to go with the arborvitae because they grow too tall and tend to get brown in the middle. I have heard boxwoods are good. Are they the ones that can be trimmed nicely and literally look like a green wall? (That’s what I’m looking for) What size shrub should I start with so I don’t have to wait 5 years for it to be at least 3ft high and how far apart do I plant them? Thank you again for all your help.

Your boxwood idea is a good one but they are slow growing. Buy the largest you can. There is also Little Princess Spirea which gets 3′ tal and 6′ wide. Low maintenance with little pruning needed. If it is a very sunny location then miniature roses are another option. Miniature roses aren’t grafted and are very winter hardy so no special care is needed (wrapping & mulching) to get them through winter, There are also som low growing cotoneasters that might work for you as well.

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I have a lot of surface water in my backyard . What shrub can I get to suck up the water ?

The best choices for this will be willows.  Pussywillows, dappled willows and, if there is room. a weeping willow tree can grow in wet areas and help dry them out.

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Peter; Saw the clip on CBS6 about putting card board under mulch. But in the fall can you blow the leaves out from the box wood hedge with out blowing the mulch all over?? Help!!!! Otto

Putting cardboard down won’t have any effect on whether you leaf blower blows mulch out of the bed.  By the time fall arrives, the cardboard will have smothered the weeds and will be becoming part of the soil.

 

If you are having trouble with the leaf blower in the beds I’d suggest a small leaf rake to get the leaves out of the landscape beds.

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Hi Peter, We have a series of four arborvitae that are planted on our fence line and facing north. They were planted 2 years ago. We have clay soil. Two of the arbs are doing very well. The other two have died and need to be replaced. The only difference that we can tell between the dead ones and the thriving ones is the amount of moisture in the soil. And when I say moisture I mean REALLY wet. We know that there is a drainage problem along that section of the planting bed however I would like to replace them and hopefully rectify the soil issue at the same time. How would you recommend that we amend the soil for these two replacement shrubs to give them the best chance? Thank you, Natalie.

The best way to overcome this problem is to “mound plant”.  Dig a shallow hole about 1/4 the depth of the ball of the tree you’re going to plant and add you Bio-Tone starter food to the bottom of that hole.  Then and place the tree into that shallow hole.  The n cover the rest of the exposed ball with soil making a mound (it will be fairly wide) to cover the rest of the root ball up to the crown of the plant.  This will elevate most of the root ball above the wet soil so it won’t drown.  When it does dry out during the heat of summer, you may need to water these plants a little extra for the first few years until they are established.

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how to plant a rose bush

http://www.springvalleyroses.com/inthegarden/planting.html

 

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LOOKING FOR A TREE THAT ONLY GROWS TO ABOUT 10-15 FEET

REDBUID, FLOWERING CRABAPPLE, WEEPING JAPANESE MAPLE, WEEPING CHERRY, AMUR MAPLE, WEEPING CRABALPPLE ARE SEVERAL THAT SPRING TO MIND.

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HI, I HAVE PLANTED MY HIBISCUS PLANTS OUTDOORS FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS PRUNING THEM IN THE FALL. LAST YEAR THEY GOT SHOOTS AND GREW TO BE BEAUTIFUL. THIS YEAR I HAVE NO SHOOTS. IS IT TO EARLY. THANKS

I assume you are talking about althea, Rose of Sharon.  They bud up and leaf out very late and this year even later than normal.  You should see some signs of life this week or next.

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What can I use to stop some criter from eating the branches on my Japanese maple? Thanks!Chuck

There is a lot of deer and rabbit damage this year.  You’ll need to start spraying with a repellent right away.  I use Bonide Repels All.  Here’s more on that:  http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/with-the-warm-up-comes-the-deer/6090/

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My maple tree looks stressed. It never fully blossomed and there are still some seeds or helicopters on the tree. It just looks a little scrawny compared to past years. Thanks. Jim

It could be “maple decline” more on that HERE.  As you can see from the article, it could be related to the last 2 very harsh winters.  If that is all it is, it should bounce back.  You should also check to make sure that you haven’t been piling mulch up against the bark of the tree.  While this seems like a nice thing to do, it is just the opposite.  Bark, dirt or other material piled against the trunk slowly cuts off the flow of moisture and nutrients from the roots to the branches and leaves above.  It will cause the symptoms you describe and will eventually kill even a full-sized tree.   Brush any mulch away from the trunk until you find the original soil and leave it that way.  Mulch is good around the tree, but not piled up against it.

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i would like to know how difficult it would be to grow a magnolia tree in upstate ny. we are looking to plant a flowering in may tree for a colleague we just lost suddenly. please help us.

Magnolias grow very well here in NY.  They need a sunny location (7+ hours per day).  We still have some in stock including a less-common yellow magnolia.

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My rose of Sharon bush did poorly this year. Only a few buds and mostly bear branches. It looks healthy and has always had beautiful buds and lasted for months. What could have caused this?

We’ve been having a wet summer (until now that is) and, if you have soil that holds water well (normally a good thing) then the plants may under stress from that and bud drop is a response to that. Both the types of hibiscus you have have deep root systems so rarely need extra watering except in the driest of years. Stop watering. It has also been humid so it is possible that your hibiscus have a fungal disease called botrytis. Earlier spraying with a fungicide might have prevented this but probably won’t help much now that it has taken hold. There are also thrips, a very small insect that may go undetected due to their small size and light color. Take a close looks at the flower buds to see if there are an small white kind insects on them If so, a spray if insecticidal soap once a week for three weeks should knock them out. Thrips are sucking insects so there are no holes or obvious damage but the damage they cause can cause the buds to fall before opening.

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Peter. Help!! In February I moved a 14″ diameter potted hibiscus closer to a west facing window in anticipation of moving it into the garage in April, then outside mid May. I live in southern Warren County. To keep my cat from using the soil, I put plastic bags on top of the soil. She has stayed away. During the winter there were some leaves that turned yellow. I sprayed the plant weekly for 4 weeks with Neem Oil. It helped. A few days ago I was going to water the plant. I moved the plastic bags and saw the top of the soil had clumps of white stuff with a hint of yellow. Under a very strong magnifying glass (60-100x) they seem to look like tiny cotton balls. First I thought of mealy bugs, but these were on the soil; not on the leaves. Could these white “things” be mealy bug eggs? If not, what might they be and how might I get rid of them? The hibiscus has been somewhat stressed all winter; practically no leaves on the bottom 1/3 of the plant.

It is pretty normal for a tropical hibiscus to lose leaves over the winter.  Unless you have a greenhouse, it is pretty hard to do more than keep it alive over winter.  It will bounce back quickly as the days get longer and, especially, warmer.  The leaves often turn yellow before they fall off so that probably isn’t due to insects.  I suspect the white stuff is just mold growing on the surface of the soil from being covered with plastic.  Scrape it off and discard it…probably will have no adverse effect on the plant.  You can start 1/4 strength feedings once every three weeks now to stimulate it into new growth for the season.

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When should I plant a tree?

You can plant any time the soil isn’t frozen although spring is the best time  and late summer/early fall is the second best.  Summer is OK but you’ll need to pay attention to watering during hot days.

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I bought 3-Hydrangea Mac Harlequins at Hewitts. It says color: pink/red. They told me these would be mult-colored but after doing a search, I was unable to find anything using the name on the tag. Can you confirm the color and also explain how to prune them. There are different techniques depending on the type you have so I would appreciate it if you could let me know how to prune this particular type. Thanks:) Suzanne

Your Harlequin Hydrangeas have a bicolored flower…here’s the link to an image: . . . http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/images/harlequin1.jpg . . . Harlequin is a ‘Mophead Hydrangea’ and only require that you prune of stems after they die having been replaced by new stems or cabes. Here’s a link to a great site that will fill you in on everything you need to know about mophead hydrangeas. Other areas of the site cover all the other hydrangeas as well…it is a great resource! . . . http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/mopheads.html

 

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We planted some pine trees last year (about 2 ft. tall) and since then, a few have been hit by the lawn mower. The bark is missing, and we’re worried they won’t survive. Is there anything we can do to help repair the damage?

I’d say you have reason to be concerned Sherry. All the growth action takes place in the bark of the tree. The wood inside is supporting the tree but the wood is kind of like our fingernails. The transfer of sap containing moisture and nutrients flows up through the outer layer, the bark. If the bark is removed all the way around the trunk then that flow stops and the tree will die rather quickly. Obviously you want to stop mowing so close to the trees so you’ll stop damaging the bark. Perhaps removing the grass and mulching around the trees would be a good idea so you won’t have to mow right up to the trunks. Since you don’t mention any od the trees turning brown or dying I’ll assume that the damage you’ve done so far isn’t fatal. Take a close look at the bark to see if you’d scraped the bark off all the way around the trunk. Chances are you’ve damaged one side but there is still bark on the other. The remaining bark has takenm up the task of sending nutrients and moisture up to the branches above. The damaged area will gradually recover and grow bark all around the trunk. You could get some Tree Wrap, a papery material that comes on a roll that you wind up the trunk. This will help protect the bark as it recovers and help prevent any future nicks from happening.

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My rhododendrons have buds on them. When is the correct time to prune them?

Thanks for your question Barb, That’s great that you have buds now…those are the buds that will flower in spring. Right after those flowers finish up in spring is the correct time to do any pruning. That way the new flower buds that form will form on the new shoots that grow after you prune.

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I have 6 shrubs that we purchased late in the season, and were unable to plant them. What can we do to keep them till Spring.??? They are now starting to dry, and I was going to put them into the cellar, in the furnace room till spring. Thanks

Often the plants I get during fall sales don’t look like much with the leaves falling off as they go into dormancy, but as long as the roots and stems are in good shape, I’m willing to take a chance. Sometimes the bargains are so good that I buy plants that I have no plan for but the price is so good that I can’t pass them up. These plants will often have to spend the winter in their pots while I come up with a plan for them. I’m not afraid to winter-over perennials in pots or balled-in-burlap shrubs or trees. It’s all a question of knowing how to bring them through the harsh winter ahead. First, scout out a sheltered location. We know that our prevailing wind comes from the west and north. The east facing wall of a garage, shed or even the house is a great spot. The building will block the cold, dry air that can dehydrate our wintering plants. I’ve got a 4′ high retaining wall on the western side of my vegetable garden that works well for this purpose. Parallel to the wall, I’ll dig a trench deep enough to set my potted and balled bargains into. If I happen to have a tree that is so tall that it sticks out above the wall, I’ll tip it on its side so the branches are below the top of the wall, protected from the wind. Then I’ll fill around the pots or root balls with loose soil and tamp it down well. Until winter sends my treasures into complete dormancy, I’ll keep an eye out that they don’t dry out, but with rain such a regular feature this time of year, that’s not of much concern. As early as I can in spring, I’ll find places in my landscape for my fall bargains and plant them (adding bone meal, of course).

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My lilac bush has scale and I tried to treat it several times last summer. I had some results but there still is a problem and I want to rid the bush totally before it blooms this season. What is the best way to totally eradicate the scale????

Scale is tough to get rid of. I had it on a weeping beech so I understand your frustration. There a way though. You’ll need to use a soil drench of Bonide’s Annual Tree & Shrub Insect Control. Follow the directions on the package carefull but you’ll dilute the liquid with water and soak the soil at the base of the tree using as much as the directions indicate. The lilacs will absorb the insecticide and it moves throughout the plant killing the scale as well as their offspring that hatch later. It worked great for me…one application did the trick but it does take some time to start working so be patient.

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can you please advise on type of fertilizer for (1)arborvitae (2) boxwoods (3) flowering plum tree and frequency

For the arvorvitae and the box wood I’d go with Espoma’s Tree-Tone. This is a granular food that you’ll place into holes pounded onto the ground (an old broom handle or pipe works well for making the holes) and then fill the holes 3/4 full of the food. The holes should be out away from the trunk or stem about as far as the outermost branch tip (this is called the ‘dripline’). For the flowering plum I’d use Flower-Tone using the same method above. Feed right away and every spring as soon as the soil thaws. This way the plant is getting the food as new growth is forming in spring. Once a year is enough…never feed in the fall.

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I have what I think is a Purple Plum Tree out in front of my house, it has pretty pale pink flowers all over now, my quest. is , it is leaning toward one side, and I like to know what to do so it doesn’t do that, the weight is all on one side, it is beautiful , and I don’t want anything to happen to it, could you give me some advice on this. Thank You Pete Appreciate it…

If the tree is small enough, you could use a tree staking kit to bend it back so it is straight. After a couple of years of staking the tree will conform to it’s new position. If it is older and too large to bend then your only option is to trim some of the branches off the ‘heavier side to force the tree into more growth on the other side to balance it out. Never remove more than 1/3 of the total branch structure per year. This may take a few years to accomplish so be patient.

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I have leaf spot on my Rhododendron. Help! What can I do to save it.

First, prune away and discard ant affected leaves and clear any fallen leaves and plant part form below the plants.  Feed them right away with Espoma Holly-tone organic food.  Make sure any sprinkler systems are NOT spraying the plants with water.  Start a preventative spraying program with a sulfur or copper fungicide.  Nutrition and hygiene can go a long way to preventing leaf spot in the future but the fungicide spray may be need to get it under control.

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Hello Peter, I have a second question regarding tiny black bugs on my burning bushes that are causing the leaves to curl under. I have tried an organic detergent spray but they ( I think they are aphids?) are persistent. What would you recommend using in order to cure this infestation? Thank you again, Natalie

When you are using a contact killer like insecticidal soap, you’re killing the adult insects.  The eggs are not killed.  You need to commit to spraying VERY THOROUGLY once a week for three weeks.  This will generally kill the you adults that hatch before they mature enough to lay more eggs.  If you wait too long before the follow-up sprayings, you’ll never break down the reproductive cycle of the insects.  If you use a systemic insecticide  that you dilute and pour into the soil at the base of the tree, it will be taken up into the plant and any insect that chews on or sucks nutrients from the plant (like aphids do) will be killed.  This insecticide remains in the plant long enough to kill the original population and successive generations that hatch from the egg.  This effectively breaks the reproductive cycle.

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I’ve had pretty severe deer damage to a large stand of rhododendrons. What will bring back foliage and flowers more effectively, pruning the dined upon branches or simply letting them be?

As long as the branches bend without breaking then they might make it back.  If they are brittle cut it back until you reach supple living branches.  Feed the roots with Holly-Tone, a granular long term feeding.  More importantly, get some Mir-Acid soluble food.  Dilute as directed and sprinkle it from a watering can all over he branches leaves and stems.  This type of food can be absorbed directly into the cells of the bark.  It will quickly stimulate bud and leaf growth.  It is an emergency method of getting nutrients into the plant quickly.  Do this every week and a half until mid June when it starts to get hot..  By then you should see a little new growth.

 

You can use Repels-All animal repellent spray to keep the deer from doing further damage.  Apply it in fall and winter one a month on days that are above freezing.

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This was a hard winter on our rhodos ,many dead branches & wilted leaves. Should they be cut back close to the ground? We also experienced the same problem on azealas, parts of the bushes died. Should they be cut back?

This last winter was colder, windier and longer than normal.  This was rough on broadleaf evergreens like azaleas, holly and rhododendron.  At this point all you can do is cut off all the dead leaves.  Bend the small branches and, if they are brittle and snap easily cut them back to where you find living tissue.  You should feed them with Holly-Tone in the soil below (this should be done every year).  To stimulate some quick leaf growth you can use some Mir-Acid soluble evergreen food.  Mix with water in a watering can as the package directs.  Sprinkle this food all over the stems and remaining leaves.  This food can be absorbed directly into the plant without having to come up through the root system.  It is an emergency method of feeding and, if they is any life left to the plant, this will stimulate quick leaf growth.  Do this every week and a half until mid-June.  Also make sure you haven’t piled mulch up against the base of the tree.  This smothers the bark and slowly kills it.  Mulch is good but not against the bark of the plants, any plants.

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I’m one of those people that stupidity bought a few Majesty Palms. I’ve researched their needs and wow, seems like they may be impossible to care for. Now, i really, really wanna prove the internet wrong! What do these poor things need from me? Any suggestions would be awesome. Thanks and love you Peter!

Keep the soil just lightly moist all the time and feed it lightly once a month except in winter…don’t feed at all from Nov. through Feb.  The biggest problem for them inside is light.  Unless you have a greenhouse or sunroom then it will struggle.  Once summer arrives, you can give it some relieve by bringing it outside.  Place it in a sheltered location at first and gradually move into brighter location to avoid sun scald.

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how do i plant and take care of a bloomerang lilac bush

Plant it in full sun.  Feed it with Espoma Flower-tone every spring as soon as the ground can be worked.  Prune away spent flowers as soon as the petals fall off to encourage reblooming.

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I bought 2 River Birches (in large containers) from Hewitt’s last summer. I was going to plant them they looked so nice on my patio I left them in the containers and cut them back to stop them from growing too tall. I over wintered them in the house and fertilized this spring and they’re still doing great but definitely not as full as when I first bought them.My question is, if I decided to plant them when would be the best time? Can they be over wintered again without repotting?

These are northern plants and moving them inside for the winter is actually very bad for them…they need and require a cold dormant period.  It would be best to plant them in the ground right away and keep them nice and moist…but not soggy wet.  A little Bio-tone in the planting hole would be nice for them too.  Set them free!

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We want to put in some evergreen barrier in Speculator, NY that will not be eaten by deer. Is Arborvitae a good choice or do you have other suggestions?Thanks,Connie

Dark American and Emerald Green Arborvitae, the most commonly sold and used arbs for privacy barriers are NOT deer resistantGreen Giant Arborvitae are the only one that is resistant to deer damage.  In addition, as their name implies, green giants are large and grow quickly once established.  It would make a great privacy barrier and windbreak.

If the area is part sun to shade, another option would be Canadian Hemlock.  They are extremely winter hardy and are the best option for an evergreen barrier in less-than-sunny locations.

We sell both these plants at Hewitts but you might want to call ahead to make sure they have them in stock before you head down.  We do transfer merchandise from location to location as need be in case you need more than one of our stores has in stock.

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Last fall I transplanted 10 rose of Sharon trees. They were all about 2 years old. It appears they survived the winter. Some appear to be alive but are not yet putting out green leaves while others are just starting to sprout. How long should they take to come back? Should we cut the branches that appear to have no growth since most new growth is at the bottomNg

I’d wait a little longer.  Althea leaf out very late and even later this year with the cold spring we’ve been having.  In a couple of weeks, cut them back to where you see new growth.  You can expect them to have some dieback from the shock of transplanting.  Poke some holes 8″ deep in the ground where you cut into the soil to dig the holes when you planted them.  Fill the holes about 2/3 of the way with Espoma Flower-Tone to feed them if you haven’t already.

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We just planted rhododendroms last week and now they look like they are wilting? We put them in with top soil and peat moss and made sure we dug the hole twice the size of the plant and put it in no deeper than the top of soil and also put some mulch on it…..what have we done wrong? How can I get my shrubs to look healthy again? Thanks

If you have not buried soil or mulch up against the stem (bark) of the plants then I suspect that you are watering too much and drowning them….especially if you have heavier soil and you’ve added peat moss which retains 20 times its weight of water.  Newly planted shrubs and trees need to be kept moist but not soggy wet all the time.  About the only thing that can cause such a quick reaction is drowning.  We’ve had plenty of rain lately so let the dry out a bit so the roots can breath.  If things get hot and dry later in summer, you’ll need to water.  You can always check before watering.  Poke your finger into the soil as deep as you can and if it feels cool and moist, don’t water and check again in a few days.

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Last week I purchased a Japanese Maple Tree at the Hewitts on Troy Road in East Greenbush. The tree looked very healthy when we purchased it and we planted it within a few days being careful not to plant it too deep or too shallow. We also added a few handfuls of Biotone to the hole before planting. In the past few days most of the top leaves have turned brown and have dried out. the bottom of the tree still appears red in color and the leaves seem healthy. Is there something we should do to help it along. I know that sometimes transplanting causes a tree to go into temporary shock. Any advice you can offer will be appreciated.

Transplanting is the act of digging up and moving a plant so it wouldn’t be transplant shock.  If the root ball fell apart when you were placing the tree into the hole, that would rip the tiny root hairs away and that would cause some of the foliage to die as you’ve described.

 

The only other possibility is that you are watering it too much and it is drowning…that can also cause the leave to turn brown as the root system drowns.  Keep it moist but not soggy wet all the time.

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MY LANDSCAPER PLANTED MY 6 FOOT MOONGLOW JUNIPER ABOVE THE GROUND ABOUT 5-6 INCHES. iS THAT CORRECT? THE TREE IS YELLOWING AND LOSING LOTS OF ITS NEEDLES

No, not correct.  The part of the trunk where the bark enters the soil when the plant was in the pot or ball should be flush with the soil More on that HERE.  Also, check to make sure that bark mulch hasn’t been piled up, mound like, around the trunk of the tree.  Wet mulch against the bark of the tree has the same deadly effect as burying the plant too deep.  Brush any mulch or dirt away from the trunk until you fine the spot where the trunk enters the soil.

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We have had a rose of Sharon bush blooming beautifully for four years. This year it died. What happened?

We just experienced one of the coldest winters in about 30 years. I suspect you RoS is in an area that is exposed to wind from the north and west where all the coldest, driest wind all winter. If you bought it at Hewitt’s bring it back with your receipt and our Lifetime Nursery Guarantee will allow a replacement,

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My rose of sharron tree has a pale green coating all over the branches,what is it?

Probably an algae, moss or lichen…not a problem for the plant.

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I am looking for a tree that will stay 5 ft or under for my front yard. I am in East greenbush Ny. Maybe something that will flower also

That is pretty small for a tree.  Weeping Japanese Maples can be kept that low.  Henry Lauders Walking Stick (corylis contorta) is an interesting twisty form that can be kept low.  Most of the flowering trees (redbud, flowering crabapples, dogwood) get much taller.

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Have a lot of wild grape vine taking over our arborvitae. I saw your column in Moneysaver regarding using Stump and Vine Killer and purchased it from Hewitts. It is now April 15 and would like to know if product can be applied now or when? How effective is it ? Thank you very much.

It needs to be applied when the vine is rapidly growing so it is a little early still.  On a vive, you’ll need to watch for new shoots popping up nearby and then treat them as well…eventually you will get it all.

 

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I noticed my boxwood have clumps of yellow leaves after this past winter. What is it and what should I do about it? Thank you so much.

It was a rough winter…especially if you boxwood is in a breezy location.  Poke some holes aroud the base of the plant away from the trunk and pour in some Holly-tone plant food.  Whatever doesn’t green up inm the next couple of weeks, prune off to make room for this season’s new growth.  Consider spraying the boxwood with Wilt-Stop next fall to help the plants conserve moisture over winter.

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I have two problems that I need advice on. I have a beautiful pink weeping cherry in the front of my house. I noticed It attracts a lot of Japanese beetles. I spray the tree 2-3 times a spring/summer. For the last three years my front lawn has been destroyed by grubs. I have treated the lawn fall and spring for three years. No neighbors have this problem. Should I take the weeping cherry down? or just prune it

You don’t say what you are spraying with but I’d suggest Eight…it remains on the leaves after you spray for a couple of weeks or until rain washes it off..so you’ll need to reapply after rain.  Start spraying as soon as you see the first beetle…no need to spray before then.  Reapply as necessary until the Jap Beetles subside in mid to late August.  Cherry and other fruit trees are quite attractive to Japanese Beetles.  Treating your lawn doesn’t mean you won’t get the beetle on your shrubs and other plants since they can travel great distances on the wind as adult beetles.

 

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I planted a lilac this spring, but how can I care for it during the winter snows. I live in central herkimer county. My bush has two main stems about a foot long.

The snow and cold won’t be a problem for your lilac but the deer will.  Pound 3 stakes in the ground that are taller than the lilac.  Then staple deer netting around and over the lilac to keep the deer from being able to nibble on the plant.  You’ll need to do this every fall until the lilac is tall enough for the flower buds to be out of reach of the deer.

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We have a load of rabbits in our neighborhood that love our backyard and our plants. I realize they need to eat too but they’ve been eating on our plants and pooping all over our backyard. Will our bushes they’ve been eating on come back from their feasting?

If the bark has been stripped off all the way around the stem or trunk, the plants should come back.  The rabbits and deer do like to eat the nutritious flowerbuds so you may not get as many (or any) flowers on early flowering shrubs like rhododendron or lilacs.  This damage will continue as long as it is cold so you may want to get a tanks sprayer and start applying repellent…here’s a link to more on that.

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I have a dwarf crab apple tree .That with all the snow this year had gotten attacked by bunnies eating the bark.Now most of the bottom branches are bare.What can i do to preserve this tree ?

Any branches that have been stripped of bark all the way around are dead and should be pruned off.  If the trunk has been stripped of bark all the way around, then the tree above that is dead.  It will need to re-grow a new trunk from below the damage…a long process.

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Do you sell blue spruce Christmas trees in a pot so they can be replanted?

Some of the stores do.  Clifton Park,, Latham, Guilderland, E. Greenbush show them in inventory but I’d suggest calling them to make sure they haven’t been sold since our last update (yesterday).

 

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Is there a new hydrangea that hosts two colors on the one plant?

There are several varieties that we sell that have flowers that change colors as the age so new flowers will have a different color than the ones that opened a few days before.  Come in and look at our “Everlasting” varieties of hydrangeas.

 

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Is it too late in the season to plant Arborvitae?

At this point, I’d wait until spring.  That way they will have a chance to grow a strong root system before the following winter.

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I want to propagate and **old** lilac bush…it is at my grandmothers home, which is being sold end of March. Normally, I would dig up some shoots from the ground, but its so early in the season, there are none. I have rooting hormone- can I root it?? If so, from where do I make a cutting: do I need tender new suckery shoots or a part of a main branch? This thing is super woody & 60 years old so finding a small branch is tough. Thanks! pls email me at mardeka@aol.com as I have no way of finding your reply on this page.

The best and easiest way is going to be capturing a “sucker” that pops form the ground below the mother plant.  The sucker will have the start of a root system already if you dig deep and carefully enough.  You can root a cutting but you have to wait until it starts to grow and produces new growth in early summer.  The new growth will root much more readily than anything on the plant now.  HERE’S a link to an article that will walk you through the rooting process.

 

 

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How will i be notified when an answer to my question is posted?

You won’t be notified.  It will appear with the other answered questions  The best thing to do is include an email so I can send you the answer.

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The arborvitae I planted a year ago are very brown right now. The inner branches are very green but the outer branches are brown/rust colored. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

Probably desiccation from winter.  Make sure to water in fall if we have another dry fall like we did last year.  Once they are better established, they will winter better.  Get some Tree-tone food into the soil asap and they should bounce back over the summer.

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After several years my arborvitae have turned brown after this past winter. Will they come back or should I trim them or is it too late. Thanks

The late warmth in fall was rough on the arbs.  They need extra water when that happens to store moisture for the dormant period….most folks don’t think of watering in Oct. or Nov.  If they are totally brown then there is little hope.  If they are partially green, then pound some holes around them away from the trunks under the outer-most branch tips and fill the holes with Espoma, Tree-tone food.  If we have a dry summer, water extra.  If there is life to them, they will bounce back.

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I have a dogwood tree that I purchased from Hewitt’s and planted in May. It has done well, but just in the past week the leaves have started to brown from the bottom up, about 1/4 of the leaf. I have made sure to give it lots of water as it starts. There doesn’t appear to be any bugs, none of the leaves have holes/been eaten. Help! What have I done wrong?

There are a several of possibilities.  If you have been watering a lot and the soil is constantly wet…you may be drowning it.  On the other hand, if it has gotten bone dry, it may be suffering from that.  Soak it well once a week and let it dry in between.  Soak the soil but don’t spray the leaves.  It is also possible that, when you planted it, you dug the hole too deep and not there is dirt piled against the bark which hinders the ability of the bark to pass nutrients and water up to the stems and leaves above More on that HERE.  Bark mulch piled against the bark is just as bad as burying it too deep.  Brush any dirt or mulch away from the trunk until you find the original soil the plant came in and keep it that way.  Dirt or mulch against the bark id the #1 cause of shrub/tree death.

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I’m looking for a small (in the sense of weight so that we will be able to carry it into & out of our home) Christmas tree in a pot so that we can plant it after the hoildays. Do you have these available now?

We have some live 4′ Blue Spruce in 10 Gallon pots for $105 but they really only want to spend a couple of days indoors. It would be best to get it into the ground right after Christmas but, with the ground frozen, thay will be difficult if no impossible. Bringing a hardy tree out of dormancy by bringing it inside then back out into the bitter cold greatly reduces the chance of survival.

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I have a weeping cherry tree in my yard that was trouble free for a few years then last year I noticed it had about three spots very near the base of the tree oozing sap which dries like tar. I don’t believe the tree has had any damage from mowers, deer etc. Is there something I should be doing with this or just let it be?

It could be that there are borers (insects) that have punctured the bark and the trees is bleeding sap which then turns black due to mold.  In this case you could treat it with a systemic insecticide (Bonide annual tree and shrub insect control) when it leafs out later.  I’d postpone the treatment until after the flowers finish to make sure you aren’t harming the bees.  One application is enough.

Another possibility is that it has picked up a disease called “canker” or “black knot” and, if this is the case, there isn’t much that can be done.

 

HERE’s a link to a page that you might find helpful in determining what exactly the problem is.  If you can take some pictures of the problem and show them to the folks at the garden center, they may have a better chance at an accurate diagnosis.

 

 

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Please help! My fatsia japonica didn’t winter too well, all of the lower leaves have dropped off. How can I bring it back healthy? If I cut off the upper portion will it grow new leaves? Is that the best thing to do? Its in a large container on my patio. Thank you.

I’d be careful keeping it out on the patio until temps at night are above 50°.  I’d start feeding it with a soluble plant food like Jack’s General Purpose Plant food every three weeks.  When you see signs of new growth you could snip off the very tip of it to force side growth lower dawn.

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I have a fastia japonica in a container, over the winter it lost all of the lower leaves. Wondering if I cut off the stems leaving it leafless will new shoots/ leaves grow? Is this the best way to fix my fatsia?I did submit a question regarding this issue about 3-4 days ago, but haven’t seen an answer yet, so sorry if this is a repeat question. So glad I found your site, lots of great information! Thank you for your help, Maggie

Here it is again…

I’d be careful keeping it out on the patio until temps at night are above 50°.  I’d start feeding it with a soluble plant food like Jack’s General Purpose Plant food every three weeks.  When you see signs of new growth you could snip off the very tip of it to force side growth lower dawn.

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We have a purple sand cherry tree that has grown out of control. My question is can I divide this tree into 2 or 3 trees to try and get a handle on it? We will be relocating this tree as it is too close to the foundation of our house. Any suggestions?

It can’t be divided since it is from 1 root system.  Cut it back about 1/3 a few days before you dig it up.  Moved while it is leafed out will probably shock it and possible kill it.  The best time to move it would be while it is in dormancy either late in fall or very early in spring as soon as the soil thaws out and before it leafs out.

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We have an African Sumac in our backyard that had grown out of control. The landscaper we hired to trim the branches went a little aggressive for my taste, but assured me that the tree was strong enough to come back quickly. Well, two weeks later, the tree looks dead: all the leaves are completely dry. What are the chances of saving this tree? (In other words, how strong is the root system — can it overpower the lack of leaves?) We are in Las Vegas, NV.

Ugh.  Generally pruning off up to 1/3 of the foliage away at one time is fine although doing that at the peak of summer heat is a bad idea.  Taking more than that will (and it sounds like it has) send the tree into shock.  The best you can do now is to keep it watered and hope for the best.  It may actually die but may also send up new growth from the roots as the weather cools off in the fall.  Give it some time (and water) and then cut it back to where the new growth appear.  It is also possible that they are dead completely from shock from being pruned too hard at the wrong time of year.

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I had a small evergreen (I put on Christmas tree lights) and spider mite took it completelyover and now has to be replaced Is there an evergreen that I could plant that would not be prone to spider mite?

There aren’t any evergreens that are particularly resistant to spider mites.  The good news is that they is an organic control that works well….Neem Oil.  If you replant in the same area, watch for them and, if they show up just apply the Neem Oil according to the directions on the product.  http://www.bonide.com/products/insect-and-disease-control/view/024/neem-oil-conc

 

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I have 2 flowering crabapple trees that are 5 years old. The have grown well and flowered. Last year we started to get red spots on the leaves. This year they are much worse, and the leaves are falling off. Now I find that the 3 maples that I planted, which are of different ages and have also done well, are starting to get the same spots on the leaves. A cleveland pear, too. Can you help with this? Thanks, Gary

It sounds like Entomosporium Leaf Spot but, without seeing it is just an educated guess. Here’s a link that might help you make a better diagnosis

Assuming that that it is Entomosporium Leaf Spot, you’ll want to spray with a copper based fungicide (we stock it at Hewitt’s) preventatively in spring. A thorough clean up oand removal of the leaves as they fall and at the end of the season can slow the spread of the disease as well.

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I have a Harry Lauder Walking Stick and it has a fungus on it. I tried Neem Oil and it stopped it for a while, but now it is spreading to other areas including the trunk. The leaves are dying off also. Is there anything else I can try to kill and stop the fungus?

It is hard to know without actually seeing the plant but I can tell you that there is a blight that shown up that attacks filberts including Harry Lauder Walking Stick.  If that is what it is then there really aren,y great options.  HERE’S MORE on that disorder.

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I have 3 Apple trees. Each year the leaves and then the fruit get covered with brown spots. What is it, and what can I do to prevent it? I get lots of apples but I have to through them away because of this problem. Thank you

There are a couple of fungal disorders that can cause this.  There is now need to throw the apples out though since it is a cosmetic issue, not something that makes the apples inedible or unusable in any way.  If you want perfect apple though, you’ll have to spray them regularly starting in spring with a fruit tree spray that contains a fungicide.  If you drop by the garden center in April, we’ll set you up with what you’ll need.

Here’s an article you might find helpful:  https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/faq/there-are-black-spots-surface-my-apples-can-i-eat-skins

 

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Hello Peter!RE: Japanese Maple leaves suddenly shriveling /wilting…(Latham, NY)I have a Japanese Maple, and it’s leaves are suddenly shriveling /wilting…everywhere, on all branches.Can you please tell me what the most likely cause would be as well as what I can do to try to save this tree?The tree has been established for many years, maybe 20 years or so, and has always done great.It was looking great about 3 week ago but, now, it looks almost dead because the leaves are all shriveling/wilting/drying up.It sits next to another Japanese Maple that about 3 weeks ago, looked pretty bad also. This other tree appeared to have dead branches with what appeared to be very tiny just budding leaves that had also shriveled and were all dried up, at the same time that the tree I am asking you about now, looked very healthy. On this other tree, I cut off all of the dead looking branches, really butchering the shape of the tree and leaving any growth that didn’t look to have dead branches/leaves. This other tree, seems to be doing very good, now…I thought about doing the same thing to the tree I am asking you about, (cutting off the dead looking branches/leaves), but, I’m afraid if I do that, the entire tree will be gone because all of the leaves appear to be dying/wilted.Is there anything I could do to try to save the tree?Thank you.Frank

If you have mulched around the tree, check to make sure that no mulch has been piled up against the bark of the tree.  Smothering bark with “volcano” mulching causes a multitude of problems for trees and could cause the symptoms you describe.  Also, if lawn weeds killer or any weed killer has been used near the tree, overspray or even just the vapors given off by weed killer can cause problems for Jap. Maples.  If you have sandy soil, lack of deep watering could be an issue in spite of all the rain we’ve had.  I’d suggest feeding them with a gentle organic like Espoma Tree-tone scratched into the soil.  Jap Maples can suffer from borers (insects) so look for any pinhole size holes in the bark.  If you find that symptom, treat them with Bonide annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control  .  There are also disease that can harm Jap. Maples so there is the outside chance that is a problem.  Here’s a link to more on that...and another link.  Give the stems some time to re-leaf…you can always cut them off later if they don’t.

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yellow green bush are turning brown

I’m not psychic.  I need more info than that.

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Our cherry tree, planted last year, has buds on the upper branches but the lower branches do not have buds. I would say 1/3 to 1/2 the tree is without buds. Should we dig it out and not waste any more time on it or should we prune off the branches that appear to be dead and hope the rest take over ?

I wouldn’t dig it out.  It is normal for a young tree to skip flower and fruit production for a couple of years while it is getting a root system established.  Check the base of the tree to make sure you haven’t buried the trunk too deep or piled mulch up against the bark of the tree…this is a common mistake and will eventually kill the tree.  Here’s a link to a blog post about that.

Also, fruit tree are attractive to a wide variety of pest so you should start a spraying program to insure it stays healthy and insect and disease free.  Bonide Complete Fruit Tree Spray is great for this.  Poking holes in the ground around the tree and pouring in some Espoma Tree Tone would ne a good idea right away as well…breakfast is the most important meal of the year for our plants as they wake up in spring.  Here’s a link to a blog post all about spring feeding.  The strong Fruit tree spikes are too strong for your young tree…use the granular Tree-Tone.

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I have 4 Colorado spruces that are dying from the bottom up, they are about 12 years old – 20 ft. I have read extensively about cytospora and needlecast, and know that if it is cytopspora there is nothing you can do but trim dead branches and fertilize. Someone told me that I should spray fungicide for needlecast as well on the top branches. This seems doubtful for the trees to have both. No one seems to be able to determine if it is cytospora. I don’t want to lose the trees, is there an expert to diagnose? Thank you.

I would include some links about needlecast and cytospora but it seems that you’ve already done your research.  A certified arborist would be able to diagnose this for you.  Here’s a website that will help you locate one depending on where you live.  Fred Breglia (region 4) is know to me and is very knowledgeable.  Also Jack Magai in Rensselaer County has been suggested.  magaijack@gmail.com

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Seen a Jacaranda tree in Fl, Do they grow around our area I would love on. Thanks

Sadly, the Jacaranda tree doesn’t grow this far north. It is hardy only in USDA zone 9 and higher…we are zone 5. Jacaranda trees can never survive a hard frost let alone our long, cold winters.

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Deer are prevalent in my yard. What is the best method to “protect” them and when is the best time to wrap them? Does burlap work best?

Burlap will certainly keep he deer from damaging you shribs but a better option would be deer netting. Deer netting is a black plastic mes that comes in large sizes for wrapping shrubs and small trees that deer love to munch on. You don’t really notice the netting on the shrubs where burlap would be much more obvious. You should put you deer netting on in mid to late October after the leaves have fallen from the trees.

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Do you carry an Eastern Red Bud tree?

Yes, we carry both Eastern Redbuds and Forest Pansy Redbuds. You should call your local Hewitt’s to check availability since they are both quite popular and might run out of stock as the summer progresses.

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My 4year old Apple tree has a section of bark missing ,about 4inches wide around the circumference of the tree about half way up th trunk the stem under the missing bark looks dry and cracked . What has happened to it , it has been producing Apple’s for the last 2 years

It is likely that a rabbit (on top of the deep snow earlier) or a deer has eaten the bark off the tree.  If it is removed all the way around the trunk, it will not grow above that.  You can cut it at the top of the remaining bark and retrain a new trunk from shoots that start below that…this is quite a setback.  This is why young fruit and other trees should have their trunks wrapped in the fall for the winter to protect them…more on that HERE.  Once they’re older and have the rough bark of a mature tree they won’t need to be wrapped but this is 10+ years in the future.

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I have two tree rose of sharons. All of a sudden, the leaves started get nodules on them and they are crinkly like they are dry. Any suggestions?

This sounds like one of two things…or possibly both.  First is overwatering.  Once an Althea is established, little watering is necessary.  If you feel the need, set a slow running hose at the base of it for an hour or two and then don’t water again for a month.  NEVER spray the leaves with water as this promotes diseases.  Also check the base of the altheas to make sure that you haven’t buried the stem too deep or piled mulch up against the bark of the althea.  This is a very unhealthy situation…it is like slowly strangling the althea (or any woody shrub or tree.  It is a VERY common mistake.  When you plant or mulch, the last step is to check the stem where it enters the soil and brush back dirt or mulch until you can see the original spot on the trunk where it enter the soil.  I might also be good to feed the altheas right away with some Espoma Flower-Tone  to help them along.

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Do you have hydrangas that do well in this climate and how much do they run?

Hydrangeas have become quite popular lately so naturally we have plenty of interesting varieties in stock. A quick visit to the nursery here at the Hewitt’s location in Glenville turned up these varieties. Twist & Shout, Lemon Wave, Aplen Glow, Nikko Blue, Domotoi, Harlequin, Teller, Emile Molliere, and Snow Queen. I might have missed a couple. They range in price from $16.99 to $49.99 with most for $25. Mkae sure you keep an eye on our ad in the Times Union every Thursday or you can check the adout here at hewitts.com. New ad appear every Thursday as well.

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Hi Pete, I have a camp in the Adirondacks with a set of dead arborvitae bushes around a sunny part of the driveway. I was told by a local person that the dear eat the arborvitae and its difficult to keep them away from anything green–especially in the cold months. I would like to replace these with a hardy shrub (similar to the arborvitae) to provide some privacy, but I am unsure as to what might be the best option in this setting. Any recommendation? Thanks for your time. Jim

Thanks for your question Jim, . . The local person is right…deer are a big problem for evergreens in the Adirondacks. There is one arborvitae that is deer resistant, the Green Giant Arborvitae. It is hardy to USDA zone 5 meaning it can tolerate temperatures as low as -25°F. Green Giants are also fast growing and can get quite tall…up to 40′ or so in 25 to 30 years. There are a couple of junipers that are also deer resistant. There’s an upright form called Moonglow Juniper. Moonglow doesn’t grow as fast as Green Giant but is a nice silvery color and will reach 20′ eventually. There’s alos a wide spreading juniper that is deer resistant called Sea Green Juniper. Sea Green gets about 6′ tall and 8′ wide. If you want some color, weigelas come in may leaf andflower colors and many will get 6′ to 8′ tall and wide. Being deciduous, they won’t provide privacy in the winter but will do a great job in the summer. It might still be wise to cover them for the first few years with deer netting in the fall to protect them over the winter. Deer netting is a black plastic mesh that you won’t notice but the deer can’t get their mouths through. You could check our Queensbury store for availability 792-3638. Ask for Charlie or Tom and they can tell you what is available there or at other Hewitt’s locations.

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This spring I planted a peony tuber. It has brown leaves on it, yet the one next to it, planted several years ago is very healthy and has a lot of blooms in late spring. What is wrong with it?

Peonies take a while to get established. The older plant clearly is established but your young plant with a very shallow root system is likely struggling as a result of our hot and dry summer. Keep the younger plant watered and feed it in spring as soon as the ground thaws and can be worked. I’d suggest Espoma Flower-tone as the food. It can take 3 years or more for a peony to become well enough established that it has the energy to spare on a flowering cycle. Also peonies, once established, don’t like to be moved. Simply moving and established peony to a new location can cause it not to flower for a couple of years.

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How much sun does an arborvitae need, does the sun need to be on them directly?

Thanks for your question Don. Arborvitae will perform best in full sun. Full sun means that it the sun should shine directly on the plant for at least 6 hours. More is even better. You can add up all the sun that it gets to get the total. For example it might get 2 hours in the morning and 5 more in the afternoon for a total of 7 hour of direct sun. You should make these estimations during the growing season in June or July for instance. How much sun it gets in early spring, late fall or winter when the plant is dormant has no relevance.

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I am interested in purchasing a tree that blooms in the north each with dark orange blossoms. I don’t know what kind of tree this is, can you help?

Lesley and I exchanged email so I could get more clues. It turns out that the tree seems to flower in fall. Since there aren’t any trees that have showy orange flowers in fall I surmised that she was actually seeing the berry clusters of an American Mountain Ash

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We recently planted 6 arborviate which were around 3ft tall. We planted them in a mix of peat moss and native soil(sandy). They don’t seem to be doing well, leaves are turning brownish. What can we do to help them ?

It sounds like you did a good job planting your arbs. I suspect that the culprit is the hot, dry summer and fall we’re having. Newly planted shrubs need to be kept constantly moist during the growing season. In your sandy soil, this would have meant a thorough soaking every other day. To help them at this point, you shuld try pouring Mir-Acid (a food you dilute in water) from a watering can over the foliage. Mir-Acid can be absorbed directly through the foliage to feed the plant instantly. If you don’t have Mir-Acid then regular Miracle-Gro will also work. Also soak the soil by placing a slow running hose at the base of each plant for an hour or so to give the water a chance to get deep into the soils and the arborvitae’s roots. There’s rain coming that will help but deep soaking will take more than an inch or two of natural rain. This watering is especially important late in the growing season as plants (especially evergreens) are trying to store the moisture and nutrients they need to make it through the winter ahead.

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I’m looking for a shrub, evergreen, to put in my planter in front of my house. I would like to add some height to my landscape. The planter comes out away from the house approximately 30″. What would you suggest? Thanks

Thanks for your question Paul. Before I answer your question could you tell more about the planter. Is it free standing with a bottom (like a windowbox or pot) or more like a small retaining wall where there is no bottom and the plant can grow into the soil below? PeterB Peter, It is a small retaining wall planter without a bottom and ties back into the house. This planter is not in full sun but goes get quite a bit ob sun. It also runs between my house and the driveway. Thanks for clarifying Paul, Hardy perennials, shrubs and evergreens can be difficult to maintain in raised planters. This is because the planter will thaw and freeze repeatedly during late winter and early spring. Plants in the ground will stay frozen and dormant until the ground thaws in spring. Since a planter is raised up from the soil it will often thaw out during early warm spells in February or March. When this happens, it can lure the plants in the planter out of dormancy too early. The plants will start to grow roots and buds swell up with the first flush of growth. Of course normal, sub freezing weather returns and refreezes the planter. When this happens the new growth is killed and the shock of all this can kill the entire plant. It is for this reason you don’t often see hardy perennials or shrubs in raised planter…they have a hard time surviving. Having said that, I HAVE seen hardy plants in planter surviving and thriving. Those planters are usually in a location where there isn’t a lot of afternoon sun so the planter manages not to warm up enough during “false spring” weather and so the plants remain dormant. Perhaps your planter is in such a location and has enough mass to stay frozen in late winter. My suggestion for you would be to give Dwarf Alberta Spruce a try. They are slow growing and very hardy. If it is protected from the west and north wind, you could also try smaller rhododendron, azaleas and holly. Let me know how you make out. Peter B

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I have a flowering plum tree that was place in a retaining wall by a lanscaper two years ago. I did some online research on tree disease because I noticed a some issues with the tree. It looks like it could be Black knot and or Bacterial canker. What do I do?

I have a flowering plum tree that was place in a retaining wall by a lanscaper two years ago. I did some online research on tree disease because I noticed a some issues with the tree. It looks like it could be Black knot and or Bacterial canker. What do I do? Thanks for you question Laura, This is bad news…both these disorders are common to plums and both are dificult to control. Here’s some information from Cornell on Black Knot http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/factsheets/treefruit/diseases/bk/bk.asp and on Bacterial Canker http://www.ehow.com/how_5786749_treat-canker-plum-trees.html The bottom line is that you’ll need to prune away the infected growth and spray during the growing season with a copper-based fungicide. We sell one from Bonide and you can see it here. It is available in a spray or dust (that can also be mixed with water for spraying). Repeat sprayings will be needed and even then either of these diseases will be hard to control completely but you might keep them under control.

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I have a beautiful zebra grass. I was wondering if I should trim it in the fall or wait until the spring. Thanks!

Honestly, it makes no difference to the plant whether you trim it now or in spring or at all for that matter. If you don’t like the way it looks now (straggly) then trim it back now. I would probably leave it until spring so the dead foliage will catch some leaves ans later snow to help insulated it over winter but Zebra Grass is so hardy that the choice is yours. Peter Bowden

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I’ve heard of a product called SuperRepellent to use on dormant trees and shrubs to prevent deer from browsing on them in the winter. Do you carry it?

Hewitt’s doesn’t carry SuperRepellent…the closest I can come is Liquid Fence Deer Repellent which uses putrescent egg solids, garlic, sodium lauryl sulphite and potassium sorbate to repel deer. It should be applied in fall and again during any thaw periods (above freezing) during winter…especially toward spring. PeterB

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I have a twin pine tree that has been dropping pieces since the fall and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. My deck and lawn area is covered. The pieces are about 4 inch long small branches with green needles, no sign of brown needles. Any idea why the tree is dropping like this?? Never done this before. Thanks, Andy

I’ve been noticing the same thing. Don’t worry about it, the pines will be fine. We’ve had a very cold winter and we’ve had icing that has coated the pines for days on end. With the ice and extended cold spells the needles and small branches get very brittle so, when the high wind pounds them they snap off. They can even snap off from the weight of snow when the wind hits them as well. As the snow melts you’ll see even more broken needles on the surface. Rest assured, the pines will come through fine and will look great this spring with lots of new growth to replace what winter stripped away. This winter has been particularly cold, and icy. There is usually some damage like this in winter but this one has just been a little worse than the last few. Peter Bowden

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We have 4 globe arborvitaes along our front porch that have grown full and about 4 ft. tall over the past 20 years. We have pruned them annually, but the inner leaves/branches are brown and only the outer exposed leaves are green. We would like to cut these back about a foot, but are concerned that this will kill them or we won’t get green leaves back this season. I think they are worth saving, but my husband thinks they won’t recover well. Can you advise us how to prune these to give them the best chance of greening up this season or should be just replace them for something smaller? Thanks for your help!

I have to agree with your husband on this one. Cutting off a foot all around you globe arbs will remove pretty much all of the foliage. That will shock the plant so severely that it isn’t likely to survive. The general rule of thumb for pruning is :”Never remove more than 1/3 of the foliage per year.” I’d suggest replacing them with something slower growing so this doesn’t happen again. Dwarf Alberta Spruce would be an appropriate option. Peter Bowden

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Hello! A friend was given a mini azalea (assuming from what i was told, its really little) and it looked great. Some time passed and she forgot to water it causing it to dry up to near complete death. Its still alive after a dousing but most of it seems dead. She gave it to me figuring id pay better attention to it. I want to re-pot it into a bigger pot and because I cant put it outside in the ground. I know they like acidic soil and was told there was soil made just for them. Do you carry any? Ive been keeping the soil its in moist and it seems to be doing OK. Also what are these little pepper looking specks all over the underside of my spider plant? I its causing it to turn yellow and die.

Hello! A friend was given a mini azalea (assuming from what i was told, its really little) and it looked great. Some time passed and she forgot to water it causing it to dry up to near complete death. Its still alive after a dousing but most of it seems dead. She gave it to me figuring id pay better attention to it. I want to re-pot it into a bigger pot and because I cant put it outside in the ground. I know they like acidic soil and was told there was soil made just for them. Do you carry any? Regular potting soil will be fine but I’d wait until it recovers before repotting which will only add to the stress on the plant. Feed it with half strength Mir-Acid plant food every three weeks or so and keep it in partial sun until it recovers. It will be a few months before it is ready for repotting. I’ve been keeping the soil its in moist and it seems to be doing OK. Also what are these little pepper looking specks all over the underside of my spider plant? I its causing it to turn yellow and die. This sounds like spider mites. Spray weekly with insecticidal soap sprayfor 4 weeks. Make sure to spray thoroughly on top and bottom of the leaves.

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I asked a question about why my evergreen trees are turning brown and dying? you responded by wanting to know what type of tree they are and how old. they are blue spruce and five years old. I have not given them any food or fertilizer. I need your help thank you.

I asked a question about why my evergreen trees are turning brown and dying? you responded by wanting to know what type of tree they are and how old. they are blue spruce and five years old. I have not given them any food or fertilizer. I need your help thank you. Skip, Since your spruce tree are recently planted I’d like you to check to make sure that the twine that was on the ball is not still around the trunk. Most jute twines will rot away but plastic twine won’t. As the tree grows the twine strangles it. Next check to make sure that soil or mulch hasn’t been piled up against the bark of the tree. Sometimes, if the hole is dug too deeply the crown (where the trunk enters the soil) gets buried. Even mulch piled up against the trunk of the spruce is a problem. The bark needs to be exposed to the air for the bark on the trunk to pass nutrients from the soil below to the branches above. We find that buried stems and trunks and mulch piled against the bark are the leading cause for dead plants getting returned to us. Dig away around the trunk until you find the original soil that was at the top of the original dirt ball that the plant came in. Naturally you’ll get more growth and a healthier trees and shrubs if you feed then each spring…in the case of the spruces you’d feed them with Holly-Tone. http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/spring-feeding-pt-2-shrubs-trees-and-perennials/650/

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Four years ago we planted two beautiful profusion crab apple trees on either side of a bradford pear tree. Both trees have done really well with plentiful blossoms and beautiful green leaves. This year they both blossomed with their pink flowers, but only one has a full compliment of dense green leaves. The other although it did have blossoms, now has only a scarce leaves and mostly bare branches. I can not see any signs of pests or fungi though it does look as though some branches were damaged by the harsh winter. Is it possible the leaves will arrive later in the spring or summer? Or am I better off looking at replacing it now so it has a chance to establish itself he fore next winter? Thanks so much!

Check around the base of the trees for mouse or rabbit damage. If the bark has been partially stripped off by them eating it over winter then it can cause some of the problems you’ve been describing. If the bark has been stripped of all the way around the trunk then it is fatal. Also check to make sure that you haven’t piled soil or mulch up against the bark of the tree. Scrape away and bark or soil until you see the original soil that the tree came in. Burying the crown of the tree (where the trunk enters the soil) also slows or stops the flow of moisture and nutrients from the roots to the branches. The fact that they flowered and have some leaves is hopeful. Winter was indeed harsh so they are under some stress. I’d give them a chance to recover before ripping them out.

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What are the best shrubs to grow in shade?

Azaleas do well in shade as do holly, japanese andromeda and holly. Yews also don’t need lots of sun. Endless Summer hydrangeas and many other hydrangeas like some shade. Euonymus likes shade too. Many varieties of viburnum thrive in shade as well. There are more as well…maybe come to the garden center to see.

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I have several groups of white birch trees we planted 5 years ago. They’ve been beautiful, until this year. Three groups have almost no leaves on them. They’re in different locations, only 2 groups are close to each other. I never saw signs of leafminers or anything affecting the trees or leaves last year. What could cause this?

There is a birch tree blight that can cause this. It is a leaf disease so it isn’t likely that it will kill the tree. This sometimes happens when we have an excessively damp spring. I might feed them a little Tree-Tone plant food by pounding holes into the soil under the drip line (outermost branch tips). Make sure to rake up and remove any leaves that fall and remove them from the yard…especially the leaves that fall this autumn. Another thing to check is the base of the tree where the trunk enters the soil. Make sure you haven’t buried the trunk with soil of mulch. Brush back the mulch or soil until you find the original soil line where the trunk enters the soil. If the trunk is buried with mulch or soil or slows the flow of moisture and nutrients up the trunk weakening the tree and making it more likely to die from diseases and stress. Peter Bowden

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Hello! We have three Princess Beatrix Hydrangea plants. They are now approx. 4 years old. Last year we did not have any flowers 🙁 We thought it best to just leave the plants alone (did not prune at all) At this time, we have green leaves growing from the bottom up. What are our chances of seeing flowers this year? Most importantly, what is the VERY BEST way and time of year to prune them? Thanks so much! Beverley

I’d say your chances of seeing flowers are pretty good since you did not prune off last year’s growth. Princess Beatrix is a macrophylla hydrangea so it produces flowers from buds on stems that grew last year. Other hydrangeas can produce flowers on new growth. There is a lot of confusion about this and the best site for clearing up the confusion is this: http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/pruning.html#Know For you hydrangea you’ll want to follow ‘Pruning: Method One’

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I have two mature Boulevard Cypress shrubs in front of my home and one more than the other has many brown branches on it. I tried using Jobe spikes but see no results. Could it be damage due to the severe winter or a blight? Also should I cut those brown branches off. Thank you.

This was a particularly rough winter so i expect that is the problem. It is normal for some of the interior foliage to turn brown and fall off as the plant matures but this winter may have nipped them more than normal. The food spike were a good idea and they will help as they dissolve into the soil. Any branches that are totall brown and brittle should be removed. Another thing to check is the base of the tree where the trunk enters the soil. Make sure you haven’t buried the trunk with soil of mulch. Brush back the mulch or soil until you find the original soil line where the trunk enters the soil. If the trunk is buried with mulch or soil or slows the flow of moisture and nutrients up the trunk weakening the tree and making it more likely to die from diseases and stress. Peter Bowden

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Hi Peter,I have a unhealthy cherry blossom tree and it has very few leaves on it, branches seem a little frail and it has no flowers. Can it be saved? Just one more thing, it is a very old tree. Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Fruit trees, including ornamental cherry trees have a lifespan and, if yours is 30 or 40 years old, it may be reaching the end of it’s time. Having said that, I’m hearing of similar problems from others. There are some things you can do. The most obvious is to make sure that you haven’t piled mulch up against the bark of the tree. Next make sure to remove any suckers that sprout from the base of the tree. Suckers will rob moisture and nutrients from the upper branches and leaves. Naturally feeding it with some fruit tree spikes pounded into the soil underneath the outermost branch tips will help as well. If the tree hasn’t been pruned in many years there are probably many interior sucker-like branches that should also be cut off to encourage growth on the main stems. If it has been let go then this pruning needs to take place over a few years to avoid shocking the tree. Without seeing the tree or a picture, it is hard for me to be too specific but here’s a website that does a nice job describing the process. http://www.ehow.com/how_7333120_restore-old-fruit-tree.html

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I have 2 apple trees in my backyards and would like to spray them organically (no chemicals) to control worms, can you recommend anything?

This is a pretty involved question so I think it best to send you the link to this very comprehensive page from Michigan State University. Michigan’s climate is the same as ours so the information given is appropriate here as well. http://web3.canr.msu.edu/vanburen/organasp.htm

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The best product to treat “needle cast disease” in everygreens? Zone 5, northen Saratoga County. Lower branches in tough shape. Have been told to use “both” ground based fungicide application and to spray the complete tree. ? Have over 25 evergreens, Blue Spruce trees are over 15′ tall but looking rather down. Can they be saved? Thank you.

Needle cast can be caused by a number of fungi. Once the needle is infected, nothing can be done.  The fungicide we sell that can be effective (depending on which of the diseases is causing the problem) id Fungonil.  You also want to rake up and remove all the needles from below the infected trees.  It would not be a bad idea to spray that area as well.  Make sure you haven’t piled mulch or dirt up against the base of the trees.  Here are a couple of links you may find helpful:

 

Bonide Fungicides

 

ehow facts on needlecast

 

Another useful site

 

 

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Can I still safely plant shrubs

This is a question that comes up every year as soon as the weather warms up.  Short answer is: yes, you can plant shrubs, trees and perennials all summer long…otherwise landscapers would go out of business.  HERE’S a link to a blog post that explains where the confusion comes from.

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We just moved into a new home in Latham. The soil is clay-like and we are looking for suggestions on a deer resistant hedge for privacy. Arbor vitaes in the neighborhood do not do well with the deer and perhaps the soil.Thanks.

If you have room for them, Green Giant Arborvitae make a great evergreen barrier and deer don’t like them.  There’s also hemlock although they don’t prefer locations with all day, full sun.  Otherwise there are nice choices of flowering, deciduous shrubs like lilacs, weigela, spirea and others.

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We planted 3 mountain fire plants and a Green mountain boxwood. We are need to know How and what we should use to fertilize them.

The best food for them would be Espoma Holly-tone, a granular, organic food.  You probably use a couple of cups per plant.  You can pound several holes  in the soil in a ring around the plants about as far from the trunk as the outermost branch tips and pour the food into these holes.  Here’s a blog post that covers the “how to” of spring feeding our landscape plants.

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We put an antidesicant our holly’s every year, but this year they are totally brown. We were in Florida all winter and understand that it was a rough one. What do we do now to bring them back. there is a little green in some areas.

You just asked “the question of the year” as we’re now calling it.  HERE’S a link to my blog post all about what happened while you were away and what you can do to bring your holly back.

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The school I work for wants to plant a Dwarf tree in memory of a staff member that just passed away,we want to put it on the side of the building,where there is some sun light but not all day long,what size do you carry and price range.Thank you.Marlene

This is one of those questions that is difficult to answer since there is little clue about the amount of daylight the areas is actually getting.  Is “some sun” one hour or 6 hours.  There is a wide range of possible amounts between “some sun” and all day sun.  The best I can suggest is a Weeping Japanese Maple.  They are $150.    With 7 hours of sun, weeping cherries and snowfountain crabapples would be possible to grow in that location as well.  They run about $100-$150.

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We have a weeping cherry tree that looks out of control. Can it be trimmed now or is there a better time to do it?Also, the ornamental grasses that we have are showing very little if any green on them – any chance they could still come around ??

Now, just after the flowering period, is the best time to trim your weeping cherry.  They form the buds for next spring’s flowers over this summer.  If you prune later in the season, you’ll be pruning away the buds and won’t have as many flowers next spring.  Weeping cherries are grafted (with two grafts).  Prune away any suckers at the base of the tree whenever you see them sprouting since they are robbing energy from the upper part of the plant.  The top, weeping part of the tree is also grafted to the main trunk so look for any branches that are trying to grow from the trunk below that upper graft and remove them whenever you see those.  They won’t weep and, if you let them go, they will grow faster than the weeping upper part and take over.  In other words. prune away any shoots are branches that are growing anywhere below that upper graft.  Never prune away more that 1/3 of the desirable weeping branches each year to avoid shocking the tree.

 

If your grass hasn’t shown any signs of life by now, I’d assume it is dead.

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What is a great deer resistant perennial?

Just one?…Iris.  Here’s a great site if you want to learn more perennials or other landscape plants that are deer resistant.  Bear in mind that this site is for NJ so check the results to make sure the plants it suggests are hardy in this area.

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My holly bushes seem dead. The friut was exceptional this fall/winter. Help. are they dead?Have just put holly tone around all 20 of them.thank you in advance.

Check the bark at the base of the plants.  If mice have stripped the bark off all the away around then they are probably gone.  Also check that you haven’t buried the stem with mulch.  Brush back the mulch until you find the original soil that the plant came in…hopefully you didn’t plant them too deep…a common mistake and always fatal although it may take a couple of years for the shrub to die.  Bend the smaller branches and, if they are brittle and snap easily then the branches are dead.  If there seems to be any life left to them at all, get some Mir-Acid  plant food and dilute it in water as directed, (no stronger) an wash it down over the stems and trunk of the plants.  This type of food can be absorbed directly into the cells of the bark…like an emergency intravenous feeding.  if there is any life left at all, this will help the plant grow leaves as quickly as possible.  Do this once a week.  If no signs of life appear after a month or so, then they are done in.  Holly and other broadleaf evergreen shouldn’t be planted in very windy locations exposed to the dry, cold north and west wind.  Perhaps that is part of the problem.

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what kind of water should I give my indoor Kentia Palm?

If you have city water, let the water stand in the watering can overnight to let the chlorine escape overnight before using.  If you have well water, this won be necessary.  Avoid using water that has been processed by a water softener.

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Hi, I attended the seminar at the Wilton store on Saturday and afterward showed you photos of a group of 5 douglas fir trees in my yard, 2 of which are not doing well. I purchased the Holly Tone and Miracid as you suggested, but would like some more specific information on how and when to apply these products. Should I apply the Holly Tone in the soil around the tree trunks first? How many days/weeks should I then wait to apply the Miracid? And is the Miracid also applied in the soil around the tree trunks? How frequently should I apply the Miracid, and is there a point at which I should stop applying it? Thank you in advance for your help!

Get the Holly-Tone into the soil right away since it takes some time to dissolve and start working.  In the meantime start using the Miracid right away.  Dilute as directed on the package and wash it down over the stems, twigs and what is left of the foliage.  The idea id to get nutrients directly into the bark to stimulate some quick growth…Miracid can do this.   No need to soak the soil with the Miracid…the Holly-tone will feed through the roots. Apply the Miracid to the plant about once every 2 week until early June when it starts getting hot…finish the applications by the end of the first week of June.

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We have two hydrangeas from Hewitt’s. One Nikko Blue and one Forever Summer type. They are winter killed down to base…2 or 3 leaves at ground level? Do I cut back all the dead branches?? They are 4 feet tall. Help!! Sarah at tsridge@gmail.com

Yes, you can cut them back although the Nikko Blue won’t flower on new growth.  NB forms buds the season before for this year’s flowers.  Those latent buds rarely make it through winters in zone 5…probably not worth growing in our area (assuming you’re from Upstate NY).  I’d wait on the Endless Summer hydrangea and see where it starts to grow from and prune it back to just above that spot on the stem…don’t prune it all the way back to the ground.  Here’s a great link to all things hydrangea.

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My azaela shrubs were accidentally sprayed in the front with weed & feed and now the lesves are leaning down and slowly changing color. Please help!

Wash the plant off thoroughly with water to get the weed killer off.  If it hasn’t absorbed too much of the weed killer, then perhaps you’ll only lose the leaves and it will grow new ones to replace what is lost.  if the weed killer was in contact with the leaves too long before it got washed off then you might lose branches and stems and, possibly the entire plant.  Water, water, water…especially to wash the weed killer off the leaves and stems.

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Two years ago, I built a new porch between two very healthy holly bushes. I used sonotubes and portland cement to anchor the posts.This spring, both bushes have suddenly gone brown and seem gone.Any speculation on why?

It is possible that you damaged the roots of the hollies when you dug the holes.  Also the very alkaline nature of the concrete leaching into the soil could also harm acid-loving hollies.  Follow up all that stress with one of the coldest, windiest winters in recent memory and it was probably more than the hollies could take…especially if they face toward the west or north.  Broadleaf evergreens like holly and rhododendron really too a beating over this last winter.

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Sprayed fruitless mulberry tree with week killer

Wash it off the leaves by spraying it with water and soak the soil.

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do plum trees interfere with apple trees

Not as long as they are planted far enough apart so each has plenty of room to grow.  No other issues with them being near each other though.

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all my holly bushes have brown leaves will they green up ? i never had this problem in previous years

This last winter was colder, windier and longer than normal.  This was rough on broadleaf evergreens like holly and rhododendron.  At this point all you can do is cut off all the dead leaves.  Bend the small branches and, if they are brittle and snap easily cut them back to where you find living tissue.  You should feed them with Holly-Tone in the soil below (this should be done every year).  To stimulate some quick leaf growth you can use some Mir-Acid soluble evergreen food.  Mix with water in a watering can as the package directs.  Sprinkle this food all over the stems and remaining leaves.  This food can be absorbed directly into the plant without having to come up through the root system.  It is an emergency method of feeding and, if they is any life left to the plant, this will stimulate quick leaf growth.  Do this every week and a half until mid-June.  Also make sure you haven’t piled mulch up against the base of the tree.  This smothers the bark and slowly kills it.  Mulch is good but not against the bark of the plants, any plants.

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When is the best time to prune an azalea bush?

Right after the flowering period.  That way the new growth will form buds for next springs flowers.  If you prune later, there will be no buds so no flowers next spring.

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I have a Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan”) tree that my deceased son gave me seven years ago for Mother’s day. It has flowered every year since he gave it to me except last year and now it looks like this year it is not going to have flowers either. I have not done anything different to it over the years. It did seem to have a growth spurt last year and I thought that was why it didn’t flower. We always remove the suckers when they start and we do not have mulch around it. Any advise you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

The long cold winter just past may have caused the buds to fail.  If you have been pruning late in the year, after the end of May you are removing the buds for the next years flowers.  If it isn’t getting at least 7 hours of direct sun a day then it won’t have the energy to flower.  If all of the above is not the issue, then it probably needs some food to give it the energy it needs to flower.  Espoma Flower-Tone food should be placed into holes in the ground around the tree.  This should be done right away and every spring as soon as the ground can be worked.  Plants won’t flower until the have the extra energy to do so.  Here’s more on spring feeding.

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I bought a Magnolia from you last year and it has done well.What is your advice on fertilizing my little girl Jane?And pruning?

You should feed it right away.  Pound some holes around the base of it and pour in some Espoma Flower-tone.  The tree spikes are too strong for your recently planted Jane.  Here’s a blog post all about spring feeding.  Pruning should be done right after the flowering is finished.  Magnolias grow their bud for next spring’s flowers over the rest of this season.  If you prune later, you’ll be cutting off the latent buds that will be next spring’s flowers.  If you prune when it has just finished flowering, the new growth will have a chance to produce buds.

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Hi Peter,I have a large Maple tree (taller than my 2-story house), with roots that have popped out of the ground. Would I be able to put a thin layer of mulch down around the tree to cover up the roots? Thank you.

This is normal for maples.  You can cover the roots with a thin layer of much but don’t pile it up against the trunk of the tree.  Mulch on the ground is good…mulch against the trunks and stems of plants is very bad.

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I purchased a white flowering dogwood tree May 20, 2008 and it has never flowered. Can you tell me why? Thank you.

There are a couple of possible reasons.  If the tree is growing in too much
shade, then it probably won’t flower.  While dogwoods don’t prefer all day
sun, they do need to get 7-9 hours daily to flower as we expect.  Another
issue could be lack of nutrition.  Do you feed your tree.  I’d suggest
pounding some holes in the ground about 1′ deep with a pipe around the tree
out away from the trunk of the tree about as far as the outermost branch
tips.  Fill those holes about 3/4 full with Espoma Bio-tone starter food.
This will provide nutrients but, even more important, a dose of beneficial
microbes and fungi that will enhance the tree ability to absorb phosphorus
from the soil.  Here’s a link to more on that.

http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/sorry-bone-meal-ive-met-someone-new/6303/

Then, feed it with Espoma Tree-tone in the same manner every spring as soon
as the ground thaws.

Finally, check to make sure that you haven’t been piling mulch up against
the trunk of the tree.  Mulch is good on the soil but not against the bark
of the tree.  The mulch prevents the easy flow of nutrients up through the
bark and is slowly strangling the tree.  Brush any mulch away from the trunk
of the tree until you expose the original soil level.

Peter Bowden

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I am looking for a colorful tree that only grows 5-6 tall, any recommendationsThank you,Jim Connors

The only things that spring to my mind that is that short and is a tree is a weeping Laceleaf Japanese Maple or perhaps a Weeping Cherry

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i am looking for a small three to four feet flowering shrub which may change color in the fall

Green Mound Spirea would be a great choice. Clethra is another that will give a golden fall color.  Although a bit larger that your requirement, many hydrangeas also have a nice show of fall color.

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I have a ash tree that is diseased, Ihave removed the tree but it keeps putting on sprouts, Can I kill these roots before my other trees are diseased,Can someone tell me how to kill the roots. my email address is crjsinden@att.net, thanks if someone can help.

When you cut the suckers, paint the bark at the cut with Bonide Stump and Vine Killer.  This will get transmitted to the roots and kill them.  This would have been ore effective had it been done when you cut down the parent tree.  It may continue to send up shoots after your initial application but, if you keep cutting and painting the bark with the herbicide, the tree and its roots will eventually die off.  Always read and  follow the direction on the package.

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Hi Peter! A lot of our yews & junipers have large brown dead areas this year, we’ve live here for over 20 years, and have never seen this happen. And some of the other trees & shrubs are having a rough time, two of our Althea trees don’t look like they are going to make it. Is this a result of the winter we had, or could it be something else? We live right in Glenville. Thanks in advance! Gary & Barb

It was one of the roughest winters in about 20 years.  You are not alone…there’s been lots of damage to evergreens this year.  Trim away the damaged areas and it will fill back in eventually.  If you haven’t seen any signs of growth on your altheas by now, you can assume they didn’t make it.

 

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Have 2 burning bush 6-8′ tall. Both are leafless. However, branches still bendable. How far should I prune it back?

If they are total leafless then look at the base of the plants where the stems enter the soil.  It isn’t unheard of to have mice or rabbits strip the bark off burning bush to eat over winter…especially this last harsher than normal winter.  If you see that the bark is all stripped off then you might as well cut the burning bush right to the ground.  The roots are still fine and the plants will grow back very quickly.  You may even see shoots already emerging from the root system below.  Don’t cut them off since they are the start of the regrowing process.

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facing northwest, late afternoon sun, looking at ornamental grass first or a flowering shrub, What would you recommend?

It is difficult to suggest plants without knowing how many hours of “late afternoon sun” the area is actually getting.  If it is getting at least 6 hours of sun then you could grow many flowering shrubs.  Lilacs, spirea, weigela and others would be good choices.  Naturally there is a wide variety of sizes in these groups of flowering shrubs.  With less light than that, the ornamental grasses might be a better choice.  Perhaps have some observations to determine how many hours of sun the area is getting and take some pictures to bring to the garden center so we can fine tune our recommendations.

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Do Hawthorne Trees grow well in this area? Do you carry the Winter King variety?

We are right at the edge of Hawthorn’s hardiness range which is why you don’t often see then other than in warmer city settings.  We don’t stock them.

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is there a paint to repair my fruit trees where the rabbits ate the bark off

There is pruning paint but there is some debate  whether is is beneficial to the healing process.  If the bark has been stripped off all the way around the tree, there is no way to save the tree other than bridge grafting.  In the future, you’ll want to wrap the trunks of the tree in fall to prevent this type of damage.

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I had some small apple trees girdled by a rodent is there any way to save them?

If the bark has bee stripped all the way around the trunk then the tree is gone.  If there is any bark remaining then it may eventually grow back.  In the future, wrap the trunk with tree wrap in the fall to prevent this type of damage.  Once the trees are olde and have formed rough, mature bark, the mice and voles will leave it alone but, while they are young with smooth bark, rodents will always be a threat.

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My maple tree didn’t drop propellers this Year (1st time in 25 years). I had a pool put in 7-8 years ago and I know they cut some roots. Also I had a few branches trimmed off at the same time, And I noticed a squirrel entering the tree at that point. I has plenty of leaves, but, I was wondering if it’s dying? Any Ideas? My neighbor has the same tree about 50′ from mine and propellers galore. Thank You Deb

Ugh, none of this sounds too good.  The most telling is the squirrel entering the interior of the tree through a hole.  This indicates that the tree is rotting on the inside.  The bark is still alive but the wood that makes up the strong interior of the trunk is compromised.  I would have to suggest that you have a certified arborist come and look at the tree it determine if it is safe and if anything can be done for it.  If it is near your house, it may be a hazard that is best removed before it causes damage or injury if it comes down in a high wind event.  HERE’S a link that can help you find the help you need.

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I bought one of the larger blossoming cherry trees at a Hewitts a few years ago. It seems to be doing well but has never had one blossom that I can recall. Is this delay normal? I got it as a centerpiece so I’m getting bummed.

There are a coupleof reasons a flowering tree won’t flower.

 

Until they are well established and have energy to spare for flowering, they will forgo flowering.  To help your tree become well established more quickly, feed it.  Pound 10 or 12 holes with a pipe about 10″ deep around the tree out from the trunk about as far as the outermost branch tips (this is called the drip line of the tree).   Fill the holes with Bio-Tone starter food.  This will help the root system expand  and mature.  This will provide the tree with the extra energy it needs for flowering.

 

Also, if the tree isn’t getting enough sun, it will not have the energy for flowering.  It would require 6-7 hours of direct sun per day minimum (more is even better…all day full sun would be best) to be able to flower.  If it is in shade most of the day, then it will have trouble ever flowering.  It will survive and grow lots of leaves in the shade but may not flower.

 

 

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Three years ago I purchased two Hydranga bushes. As of now they still do not flower. Am I doing something wrong. I have tried to cut baack in the fall and the next year I didn’t cut them back but still no flowers.

How you prune a hydrangea to get blooms depends on what kind of Hydrangea it is.  HERE’S A GREAT SITE that can help you figure out what you have and how to prune it.

 

Also, if it is Nikko Blue Hydrangea, it blooms on second year growth.  In or USDA zone, the branches or canes die over the winter on Nikko Blue.  The roots live so new canes grow each year but won’t produce flower.  Bottom line, Nikko Blue can survive here in Zone 5 but will never flower.

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We purchased Arborvitaes, how often must these plants be watered?

Just enough to keep them moist.  Feel the soil and if it is cool and damp wait a couple of days and check again.  It is best to water them heavily once a week with a long soak (leave a hose trickling at the base of each one for a half hour or so).

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I just planted hydrangeas this weekend. We had a heavy rainstorm last night and the flowers are now flopped over and droopy. Any suggestions on how to put more life into the flowers and keep this from happening again?

That WAS some heavy rain.  This is a common problem with hydrangeas and peonies.  There’s not much that can be done other that providing support for the branches with the metal stakes with rings at the top to hold the stem upright.  You should feed it every spring with Espoma Flower-Tone and that can make it as sturdy as possible but, when we get a pounding 3″ of rain in a couple of hours, your hydrangeas are going to flop until they dry out.

 

 

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I am looking for a fast growing tree ,that grows to a height of 20 ft and will live in wet soil ,to plant next to a fence

Within your height requirement Magnolia, and ornamental (like Bradford) pears are good choices.

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I am looking for shrubs that would be installed in the front of my house and get little or no sun. Mostly morning sun. I like sky pencil hollies would they do well? Also I like weeping redbud which I could plant where it would get mostly morning sun. Would that be enough?

The holly will do fine but the redbud will need more sun.  Other broadleaf evergreens will also like that exposure, azaleas, rhododendron, Andromeda.  Look for plants that are labeled “shade to part sun”

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I have a 4 year-old weeping willow that has been (apparently) completely healthy and growing very rapidly and fully until about a week ago. At that time I noticed that the leaves on the left side of the tree off of one main-trunk branch had gone brown, while the leaves on the right side were showing normal signs of late-mid summer yellowing. This morning I did an inspection of the tree up close and found that the trunk bark from the ground up to about 3 feet off the ground had largely separated and peeled away from the wood and that there was a very large “clump”? of what looked like hair attached to the underside of the peeled bark and to the wood. On further examination, it looked very much like tiny parasitic veins that had attached themselves to the trunk. I had to work very hard to pull this clump off. I also noticed several light yellow “pods” about an inch long that looked like medicine capsules attached to the trunk as well. Are they related problems? I peeled all the “infected” and separated bark off and got as much of the “veins” off as well. Is this a fungal infection? I can’t seem to see anything online that looks like this problem. Most importantly: Can this be cured? Do I need to wrap that naked section of trunk now? Any help would be appreciated!

In suspicious that your willow has picked up some type of borer that is hollowing out the layer under the bark.  If the bark has come off all the way around the trunk, then it won’t recover.  If there is still bark adhered to the trunk then there is hope for recovery if the borers are killed.  Borers are difficult to control by spraying so a systemic will be the way to go.  I’d suggest Bonide Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control.  This is mixed with some water and then soaked gently into the soil at the base of the tree.  Dosage and use instructions are on the jug.   Read and follow the directions and do it soon while the tree is actively growing.

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Every year my Cherries on my trees have had spots on them. Is there a way to prevent them?

Fruit trees, and especially cherries, are prone to as wide variety of pest and fungal diseases which is probably what is causing the spots.  Regular spraying is required.  We have an organic orchard spray that can help if you start a spraying schedule right away…prevention is the way to go.  Drop by the shop and tell them to show you the organic orchard spray.

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Hi Pete I have Rhododendron bushes that have some age on them they bloom nice , but the foliage is mostly on the top and very woody below what do I need to do

You can get them to fill in below by pruning them back a bit.  That stops upward growth and encourages side branching below.  Just snip some of the taller tips back to the next leaf intersection back along the stem.  Unfortunately the time to do this is right after it flowers in spring.  If you do it now in late summer, you’ll be pruning off the flower buds for next spring’s show.  There isn’t enough of the growing season left at this point for them to respond to pruning.  I’d wait intil after they flower in spring and do your pruning just as soon as the spent flowers fall to the ground.  Also feeding them in spring, every spring, with Holly-Tone will also give them a boost and help them fill in faster.

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Hi, I am looking for a relatively tall (3-6 feet) ficus religiosa tree (also called sacred fig or simply Bodhi tree in Buddhism). I’m wondering whether you have it, and whether it can survive in an office without natural light. Thanks!

We don’t have them and I’ve never seen them available.  Here’s a link to a possible mail order source.  It could be tricky in an office since it needs a lot of light.  If there is a window with full southern exposure if MIGHT be possible but I suspect  some supplemental light would be needed.

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I have a Hemlock tree that appears to be suffering from Woolly Adelgid virus. What is the best way to help the tree recover ?

Woolly Adelgid is an insect not a virus.  These are easily controlled with an application of Bonide Annual Tree & Shrub Insect Control.  This product will be diluted with water and poured around the base of the hemlock.  It will be taken up through the roots and enter every part of the plant.  When the adelgids suck sap from the hemlock, they get the insecticide too and are killed… they can’t escape.  Do this right away while the tree is actively growing.  How much you use depends on the size of the tree so read and follow the direction to the letter.

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I’m an looking to put in shrubs in the front of my home. What are the longest lasting flowering shrubs? What would be the best to plant in sandy soil and full sun?

If you mean shrubs that flower for the longest period then the champion would be roses…check out the Knockout roses…very low maintenance.   Most other flowering shrubs flower for a week or two sometime during the growing season. Lilacs, wegelias, spireas are great and come in a variety of forms and sizes.  HERE’S a link to more possibilities.

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I am looking for a flowering shrub (not toxic to dogs) to hide an ugly picket fence. I live in upstate NY and the yard does get a lot of sun.

Lilac, spirea, and weigela would all work well for that.  Each family has many varieties to choose from.

 

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How do you get rid of Weevil? My 3 yr old Norway Spruce trees (3 out of 5) head leaders turned into a Shepards hook. Ive read that its a Weevil. Another Colorado Blue Spruce that I bought from you Latham store 8 yrs ago has had this same hook. We have cut it off and burned it every year but it comes back. Now my beautiful Spruce trees have it they are 15 ft tall.Help!

The best way to eliminate the weevils will be with a systemic insecticide.  I’ve used Bonide Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control with great results.   You dilute the product and pour it at the base of the tree.  The tree takes the insecticide up through the roots and it permeates the entire tree so anything that chews on or sucks on any part of the tree dies.  It takes a while to works but is can’t miss like a spray.  Read and follow the directions on the label to the letter.  I’d treat again next spring and then monitor the trees in years to come and reapply only if you see evidence of a re-infestation.

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Any recommendations for a 6 to 8 tree or shrub for someone on a budget

We have Rose of Sharon and Lilacs on sale right now (7-17-14) for $29.99 and they are within your size requirement.  Some of the weigela and spirea are also in that size range.  Call ahead to the store you’re going to visit to confirm availability.

 

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I have a white fungus on our lilac tree. What can I use to treat it?

Assuming it is powdery mildew, a common fungal disease of lilacs, the best way to control it is with preventative spraying 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.  I you had it this year, spray preventatively next year.

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Is it possible to lay a find netting under oak trees to make it easier to gather up and move and if so do nurseries carry such a netting?

I’m not sure what you want to move…if it is the  acorns the burlap would work for that,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Peter! This is a wonderful service that you’re providing to our community – thank you for this :). I have 2 questions for you. I purchased male and female holly bushes last fall (from Hewitt’s of course). They wintered well, but I notice that there are some leaves around the tops that are discolored – tanish-brown. I’m concerned they got burnt. My question if they should dry up and fall off, will new leaves grow back in their place (sounds ignorant I know – but I’ve seen some pretty sparse hollies around!) Also, we are redoing our front landscaping and I’d like to see some kind of evergreens positioned in front of our very large picture window. Can you recommend something that wont grow too tall? I’m not talented in pruning and shaping.

It is pretty common for hollies to suffer a little wind burn over winter…especially one as had as we just finished.  Wait and see what grows in the next couple of weeks then trim off any dead leaves and stems…it will put out new growth as the weather warms…this would be a good time to scratch some Holly-Tone food into the soil to give it some breakfast after the long, abusive winter.

As far as your planting there are low growing azalaeas and junipers that won’t block the windows.  Bring a picture with you to the nursery and they can show you the possibilities.

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Why is my pyramidal yew dead on one sid3

It is probably only getting sun on one side.  This is common on yews grown against the side of a building.

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Hi Pete, I have knockout roses that haven’t bloomed this year, they are two years old. I bought four more from your garden center this year, they bloomed initially in June then nothing. I fertilized when I planted them, then used Miracle Gro two weeks ago. Advice? Thanks!

Feed them in the spring with Flower-tone or Rose-tone as soon as the ground thaws.  Once it warms up and they start to grow, feed them every two weeks with Jack’s Blossom Booster.  Roses are heavy feeders.  Miracle is too high in nitrogen and will promoted leaf growth at the expense of flowering.  Miracle-Gro ain’t what it used to be before Scott’s took over.  Blossom Booster has more phosphorus for more flowers.  Never spray roses with water or food…water the soil below the plant to feed the roots while keeping the leaves and flowers dry, warm and growing as quickly as possible.  Cut away spent flowers as soon as they finish…energy spent growing seeds will then be re-directed into growing more flowers.  Stop feeding in mid September to let the rose wind down and go dormant without excess stimulation.

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Peter I have very green lush hydrangea Bush’s that do not produce blooms. I have added holly tone to soil, two years ago cut them back in august, added the color additive, got two blooms this year. Plants get morning sun . what can I do?

I’d switch from Holly-tone to Flower-tone to get the plant more phosphorus.  Also deer can nibble the flower buds off over winter…on older varieties, the buds form on second year growth so, if you cut them back in the fall or deer nibble the buds off, you won’t get flowers the following summer.  There two types of hydrangeas that need different pruning techniques.  HERE’S A LINK to a great website that can help you figure out which you gave and how to care for it.

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when is a good time to prune boxwood bushes that are really overgrown??

In spring and early summer when they are putting on new growth.  Then the new growth promoted will have a chance to harden off before winter.

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I have poisoned my magnolia tree with chlorine from pool waste water,what should I do?

The best you can do is water heavily to dilute and wash any chlorine away.

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Best time to plant lilacs? 12186

Spring is probably the best but really anytime is fine.  The longer they have to get established before winter, the better.  Having said that, lilacs are very hardy here so they do fine even when planted in September or October.  Make sure to use some Bio-Tone starter food in the planting holes.

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I would like to grow a purple lilac tree (not the bush) from seed. I am looking for a reliable place to buy the seeds from. do you have any idea where I could do this? its very important that it is the tree and not the bush. I am having trouble determining the scientific name of the tree vs the bush in my google searches.

You won’t be finding any seed for a purple lilac tree since it is a grafted plant.  In other words, it is a regular lilac bush grafted to a long “trunk” to elevate it and give it a tree-like appearance.  There a lilac that is a tree, the Japanese Tree Lilac  but the flowers are white.

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I’m thinking of using burning bushes along my chain link fence for privacy and was wondering if it was a good choice. If yes how many would I need for a 20′ section

Burning Bush are commonly used for this.  They are fast growing and get quite large so, once they are established, be prepared to prune them at least once during the growing season to keep them the size you want.

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Is there a substance to apply to a tree when you cut off a limb to the bare spot ??

There is a pruning paint but current thinking is that the bark will heal faster and grow over the cut more quickly if it is left unpainted.

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I am interested in purchasing tree saplings in bulk as a party favor for August 12. I checked with Arbor and they said not until November. Any recommendations on where to get them or what NOT to plant at this time?Many thanks.

I checked with the Saratoga Tree Farm and the same problem.  This is the absolute worst time of year for little seedlings to be dug out which is why you can’t find them.   It is fine to plant them during summer bit not dig them from the ground.  Perhaps some small potted houseplants, mums or even seed packets would be a better options.

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what type of spruce trees grow best in area for property line for privacy and sound

Norway or Blue Spruce work fine but better choices would be Green Giant Arborvitae (for sun) or Hemlock (for shade).

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is it alright if my new Chinese souse dogwood tree grows at an angle

It won’t hurt the tree but, you can straighten it by staking it to pull it gradually upright.

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Recently purchased a Japanese maple. Transferred it according to directions and after only 10 days looks like it s dying?What can I do

Make sure to keep it moist (but not soggy wet) and make sure that you didn’t plant it too deep.  Dirt or mulch will slowly strangle the plant.  Brush any mulch or dirt away from the trunk until you find the original soil that it came in and keep it exposed to that level.

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crimson maple has leaves that are dried up most are supple and are not falling what’s wrong

if the tree is in a location that stays wet for long periods after rain, it may struggle and have the symptoms you describe when we have a wet year like this.  It can also be caused by piling mulch up against the trunk.  Brush any mulch back away from the trunk until you find the original soil level.  Mulch or dirt piled against the bark of the tree slowly strangles the and will eventually kill it.  it seems to be the most common reason shrubs and trees die.

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I planted some PJM shrubs in early Spring. Out of four, two don’t look good. Have curling leaves and some are turning brown and dropping. I checked the shrub and it is still bendable like it is not dead. Should I remove the two shrubs or just wait and see?

I’d wait and see.  While your waiting, check around the base of the plant to make sure you haven’t buried the trunk too deep when planting or that you’ve piled mulch up against the trunk.  Doing either of these things slowly strangles the plant, causing the symptom you’ve described and will eventually kill it.  Brush any mulch and dirt away from the stem until you find the original soil that the plant came in.  Let the bark breathe!!! 

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My weeping cherry tree is 8 years old now Its leaves just turned brown We have gotten lots of rain but all my other trees and flowers are wellMary Ann NY I do buy most my plants from you including spruce trees which are doing very goodfrechettem@bellsouth.net

Cherries are much more prone to fungal diseases than your other landscape plants like the spruce.  This wet summer has given those diseases a real boost.  You can bring in a sample and we can set you up with a fungicide but chances are that it won’t affect the tree’s future.

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How much bio tone starter should I put on a 12′ rose of Sharon bush?

Here’s a link to the label and rates of application.  It sounds like this is a plant that is already in the ground.  In that case, I’d pound 8-9 holes into the ground around the Althea (Rose of Sharon).  These holes should be out, away from the trunk about the same distance as the outermost branch tip (also known as the drip line of the plant).  Divide 6 cups or so of the Bio-Tone between the holes.  Pour the Bio-Tone into the holes filling them about 2/3 full and poke the holes shut.  Scattering Bio-Tone on the surface doesn’t work well since the microbes and beneficial fngi die left on the surface and the weeds get most of the nutrients.  Get the Bio-Tone into the soil where the roots of the Althea are.

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I need a juniper ground cover that grows 12″- 15″ tall. What would you recommend. When should I plant it? Do you sell it? Which location would be the best to go to get what I am looking for? I would be coming from Bennington, VT

The store with the best selection at this late point in the season would be our store On Rt. 20 in Westmere.  This is a mile or so past the Rt 20 entrance to Crossgates Mall.  They have, at this moment, 10 Bar Harbor Junipers which get 10″ tall.  14 Blue Star junipers butthey might be larger than you want.   They also have 11 Green Mound Junipers which makes an excellent groundcover but is only about 8″ tall.

Planting now is fine but the selection is much better in early May.  Spring planting gives the plants all summer to establish a root system before the next winter.

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how do i plant my new maple tree

HERE’S  A LINK to all you need to know about planting trees and shrubs.

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Just lost a mature maple tree to two storms. Wondering what sizes and prices would be available to replace with a maple that’s well beyond infancy.Thanks,Sal

We have a selection of maples and other large shade trees in 20 gallon pot (about 2″ caliper trunk size) for $150.  Call ahead to the location you’re going to visit to see what is still available in that size…selection varies by location at this point.

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I have a weeping cherry tree that bloomed great in the spring. It has been losing its leaves for about a month and seems to have a lot of dead branches. The dwarf upright cherry next to it is now doing the same thing.

Cherry trees, both ornamental and fruiting, are prone to fungal diseases.  Since it has been a hot and then damp spring, I suspect this is what is happening.  Go get the Bonide Fruit Tree Spray and sart spraying according to the schedule on the package.  Next spring start in again with the spraying schedule.  These disease are easier to prevent than cure.  Check the base to make sure that you haven’t been piling mulch up against the bark.  Piling mulch or dirt against the bark of the tree will slowly but surely kill the tree.  Brush the mulch away from the trunk until you see the original soil level.  Also watch for “suckers” of new shoots that will try to grow from the soil at the base of the tree.  These are grafted trees and the root stock will always try to send up its own shoots.  If you allow this, it robs energy from the upper part of the tree.  Eventually the suckers take over and the “good” tree dies.  Suckers may also form below the upper graft on the weeping cherry below the weeping part.  This is the stem (yes, weeping cherries have 2 grafts…the root to the stem and the stem to the upper “weeping” part.  These upper suckers must also be removed or the “weeping” branches will be cut off from nutrients and die.

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Can I plant a tri color beech tree 7 feet from house? Can you prune them to keep them on the smaller side?

That is too close to the house IMO.  This is You can keep it lower and fuller through pruning but this will be a constant battle since it wants to be a tree of 40′ +.  I would also worry about such a large root system so close to the foundation. Tri-Color Beeches make a great shade tree out in the open.

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how do you get rid of bamboo bushes?

I’ll assume that you have Japanese Knotweed which is pretty common around here.  It spreads by underground shoots so dig out as much as possible getting every little bit of root you can see.  Then, cover the area with three or four layers of cardboard and cover the cardboard with some mulch like cedar mulch.  Leave it that way for a year.  Watch for any shoots that emerge and spray them with Round-up or a mixture of vinegar, Epsom salt and dishwashing soap.  Remember,…roundup or the vinegar solution will kill ANY AND ALL PLANTS so don’t get any on any plants you don’t want to kill.  You’ll probably see it popping up for years so this will be a long process…tough stuff to eradicate completely.

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do you sell american arboruitae

Yes, we sell Dark American Arborvitae.  Call ahead to the Hewitts location you plan on visiting tt verify that they are still available…selection may vary by location.

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Looking for a shrub that will be showy in the spring

Forsythia, azalea, rhododendron, magnolia, lilac…there are tons.

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We have a covered porch that faces south. I would like to get a large planter for the space. Would I potentially grow a apple tree out of such a planter and keep it pruned back to fit under the porch?

It would be possible but difficult.  The problem is that apple trees need a dormant period over winter.  It will need to freeze and stay cold.  In a pot above the soil and especially on a porch, the pot will freeze and then thaw, freeze and then thaw repeatedly over winter.  All this won’t allow the plant to enter the dormancy it needs over the winter and this will kill it.  If you want to attempt this then you need to, in the fall (like late October), take the entire planter and sink it up to the rim in the ground for the winter…preferably in a sheltered location out of the north and west wind.  This will keep the soil frozen and let the tree follow its natural growth cycle.  It should be left there until late March/Early April when it can be moved back to the porch for the summer.  In addition to being large enough for the tree, the planter you choose will have to be made of a material that won’t shatter from the cold over winter…high quality ceramic most likely.

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Good Morning,Our corporation will be planting Arborvitae on a 4′ tall x 130′ long berm. As tall as possible.Any suggestions on planting and getting a good root establishment?

Green Giant Arborvitae are not only large but grow quickly once established and deer don’t eat them as they do Emerald Green and Dark American arbs.  Adding Espoma Bio-Tone starter food to the planting hole will give them a great start.  Make sure that you don’t bury the stems too deep and don’t pile mulch up against the bark of the trunk either.  HERE’S a link on proper planting….not of an arborvitae but the same method applies all shrubs and trees.

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We planted 3arbor vitae trees in August. Now they a ‘re turning yellow brown inside out. Not sure what w e did wrong? If they are definitely are definitely a d do we need to wait for spring to replace them?

First check to make sure that you haven’t buried them too deeply or piled mulch up against the bark….this is a common mistake and slowly smothers the plant.  Brush away any bark and soil away from the trunks until you find the original soil that the plant was growing in and let the bark breathe…more on that HERE.  Also make sure your keeping them moist…it is very dry out there and extra watering is in order even though it is cool out.  Some yellowing on the interior is normal as the arborvitae grows so I wouldn’t give up on them just yet.

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Many of the smaller evergreen (3′-10′ Norwegian fir, Blue Spruce, etc.) trees are brown to mostly brown. Is the explanation similar to the one posted for the broadleaf evergreen ones? On some of the trees I do see green “new growth” sprouting at the ends, but concerned about the rest of the tree. Seems like the more established trees seemed to fair better and don’t show signs of browning.

Yes, our warm fall and that quick freeze for 3 nights played havoc with a lot of plants, particularly.  They needed extra watering right up until Christmas but that didn’t happen.  If we have another warm fall, keep the hoses available late in the season to trickle water the evergreens.

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Can we had pumice rock around the base of the tree kill it?

Adding pumice rock as a mulch around the base of your tree won’t kill the tree but don’t pile the rock right up against the bark of the tree.

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last summer the tips in an area of my boulevard cypress turned brown and an 12 inch area was totally brown. could it be red spider?

It is possible…bring a sample of the effected area to the garden center and we can figure it out.  Also make sure that the trunk isn’t buried in mulch.  Brush the mulch back until you find the original soil and let the bark breathe…mulch or dirt piled against the trunk of landscape plants is the #1 cause of death of plants.

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How long does rose of sharon live

Althea or Rose of Sharon isn’t a long lived plant…generally 15-25 years but sometimes less.

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Peter,My Japanese Maple didn’t drop leaves till December last year but this year they are gone already. Do you think it is OK or should I wrap it?

If it is in a very windy location then it wouldn’t hurt to wrap it.  last year’s performance was an anomaly I think.  You might consider wrapping the trunk with tree wrap to protect it from mouse damage.  More on all that HERE

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Hi Peter – I have a snowball bush which I guess is actually a hydrangea? and the problem every year is something eats the leaves and it never flowers. Today I just noticed tiny worms in the rolled up leaves. and we’re behind by about 2 wks from everyone else in this area, so I’m surprised to see this problem so early. Any suggestions for me? Thank you so much. I watch your segment on channel 6 always, and I was fortunate to attend a seminar you did at the East Greenbush Hewitts. I wish you would do more at that location.

It sounds like leaf rollers.  The best method of control now will be picking off the rolled leaves and discarding them after squashing the caterpillar inside it.  You should feed your hydrangea some Flower-tone each spring.  It also flowers on old wood so don’t cut it back in fall or prune late in the season after June or so.  Doing so removes the buds that have formed this year for next year’s flowers.

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When is the best time of year to trim a white birch tree?

Actually right now (late winter/early spring) is the best time to prune your birch trees.

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I have a row of aborvarti about 24 in the.middle of them 2 have turned brown and died for the 2nd time what would cause this some also are taking a very long time to grow about 4-5 ft where as others are 15ft tall the shorter ones were planted first. Thanks mary

We’ve had a couple of rough winters so losing a couple isn’t surprising.  I’d start feeding them (especially the slower growing ones.  Espoma Tree-Tone every spring to give them some extra vigor.  Also, make sure you haven’t been piling mulch up against the trunks…this slowly kills them.  Brush back any mulch away from the trunks to let the bark breathe.

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I have thinning arborvitae about 20 feet tall? What cam I do to increase growth and thickness?

Feed them with Espoma Tree-Tone food.  Pound holes or dig holes in the ground around the base of the plant of throughout the hedge and pour the food into the holes.  Do this every spring as soon as the ground thaws.  Also trimming the top will force side growth lower on the plants.

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MY DRAWF ALBERTA SPRUCES TREES ARE LOOKING SAD THIS SPRING THEY HAVE RED NEEDLES IN SOME AREAS GIVING THE TREE A BLOTCHLY LOOK A LITTLE RESEARCH ON THE WEB SAYS MAYBE SPIDER MITES WHAT DO YOU THINK AND IF SO HOW DO I TREAT HTME THEY DO HAVE NEW GROW RIGHT NOW

Chances are that it is windburn from the harsh couple of winters we’ve the last two years.  The best thing to help them recover would be to feed them by poking holes in the soil below them and pouring Holly-Tone food into the holes.  You can also give them a boost with foliar feed by diluting Mir-Acid evergreen food per the directions and pouring it over the plant from a watering can.  This foo goes right into the plants needles and stems…like emergency food.  Do this once a week until the weather gets hot.

 

Bring a sample in to the store if so we can determine if it is mites and, if that turns out to be the case, you can spray them with Neem oil to control them.

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HI There I Live In Albany, Can I Grow a Japanese Cherry Blossom tree Here ?

Yes you can…there are many flowering cherry varieties that can be grown here including weeping cherry trees.  Stop by and check them out.

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will jingle bells clematis harm my apple tree

I assume you mean that the clematis is growing on the apple tree.  Probably not a good idea.  The clematis will eventually shade out the apple tree and, robbed of light, it will no longer produce apples.  The vines may also wrap around the branches of the tree and, basically, strangle them.  If it is simply growing nearby and not on the tree then there is no problem.

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should I cut the woody stems off the hydrangea bush

That depends on what type of hydrangea it is.  If it is of the type that blooms on 2 year old wood then it shouldn’t be pruned since that will remove this years flowering potential.  If it is a type that blooms on new growth then it could be pruned away without ruining the flowering cycle.  If you are in doubt, leave it to see if it flowers.  HERE’S A LINK that can help you figure out what you have and how to prune it.

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Our 17 year old white birch tree developed birch bore and we had to remove the tree. We would like to replace it with another birch in the same place. Will the new tree subsequently develop it also?

Chances are yes.  Birch are prone to insects.  If you decide to give it a try, keep an eye on it and dose it with Bonide Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control.  It is a liquid you dilute and pour at the base of the tree.  The tree takes the insecticide up and it is transmitted to every but of the tree killing any borers and it lasts long enough to kill any that hatch out later.  This breaks the reproductive cycle and eliminates the problem with one application.  If applied to your previous birch early enough, it would have saved it.

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Hi Peter. We have a Pinkster plant in our yard and I’m told they are endangered. It has developed what looks to me like a lichen in pale green along the trunk/branches. My husband wants to prune it back, but I’m not sure that will help the real problem, or if it’s even legal. How can I best help this plant and is it really endangered? If so, what r the restrictions?Thanks, Amie

Amie, Pinksters are indeed a protected plant that can’t be dug or destroyed on public land.  The lichen or moss on the stems will not harm it…it is a totally natural and harmless situation.  If you want to do a little pruning, do it right after it flowers in spring.  If you want to feed it, poke some holes in the soil around the base of the plant in spring and pours a cup or so of Espoma organic Bio0Tone food into the holes.  Nothing else needs to be done but enjoy it.

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I have a limon tree and a lime tree that I brought in for winter and noticed they are covered in spider mites. What should I do?

This is not uncommon.  In the future, start spraying the tree outside during late August and early September with Neem oil.  Spray weekly for at least 4 weeks.  I’d not suggest Neem Oil inside though.  Now you best option will be Insecticidal soap spray.  You’ll need to spray the plant weekly and very thoroughly paying attention to coating the entire surface of the plant with the spray.  Concentrate on the undersides of the leaves.  You’ll need to spray once a week for  four or five weeks to get them under control and even then, they may crop back up from any that you missed during your spraying.  The difficulty spraying indoors is a good reason to do outdoor sprayings outside a month or so before it comes inside whether you see insects on the plant or not.  Once they come inside, the insect population explodes as you are now realizing.

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when is best time to plant pine bushes

They can be planted anytime anytime but the best times are spring and now in early fall.

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I have a tree in my yard that was cut down a few years ago, it is a stump left there. I know see beetles and something is boring holes around the trunk and digging up my flowers. What should I do to prevent this?

It sounds like chipmunks have set up shop in the ground below the stump.  Mole-Max Repellent applied to the area and to your flowerbeds will keep them away.

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Had a large maple (dead) tree removed from yard. Would like to put somethingsmall in the area but not sure what. Would something like a pine tree be goodit is an area near the garage where always sat.

Not sure what you mean by “always sat”.  If you mean saturated then a pine won’t like it…a dappled willow can handle wet soil and will get about the size of a lilac bush.

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What causes brown foliage on Arborvite shrubs

Usually wind burn from drying winter wind which we had plenty of this year.  Also if the stem was buried too deep at planting time or if much has been piled up against the stem.  Dirt or mulch against the bark slowly strangles the plants which may contribute to the browning and can eventually kill the tree.

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The rabbits have stripped the bark off my holly trees &burning bush from the ground to tops should they be pruned back to gerund level?

We’re hearing a lot of stories like this this year after the deep snow and bitter cold we had last winter.  Yes, you best hope will be to cut them back and let them re-grow.  The roots systems are intact and will want to put on some new growth as quickly as possible. The Burning Bush will come back pretty quickly…the holly will take longer.

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Hello, my magnolia tree is not blossoming as it normally does – I now have sporatic flowers (a few) but no budds – seeking advise. thank you.

Magnolia not blooming could be due to our harsh winter. Magnolias form buds over summer for the next spring’s flower cycle.  The cold, dry wind over winter can dry out those buds during a rough winter and then there are no flowers.  Is your magnolia exposed to a lot of wind?  It was a rough winter and I’m hearing about this quite a bit this spring.

A lack of nutrients can also rob the plants of the energy they need to flower.  Feed them right away with some Flower-Tone HERE’S A LINK on spring feeding.  This won’t help it flower this year but may for next year’s flowers.

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Where can I find Lemon trees in a pot in the capital region to purchase?

All the Hewitts just got some in but only a few so I’d call ahead to make sure they still have one for you.

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How much does a newly planted shrub have to be watered?

Just enough to keep the soil moist…not soggy wet, but not bone dry either.  Feel the soil…if it cool and moist, you don’t need to water.  If it is dry a couple of inches deep…give it a good soak.  Don’t spray it with water…set a trickling hose at the base of the plant and let it soak in slowly.  Water sprayed on the leaves doesn’t help the roots.

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my forsythia bushes get lots of green leaves, but very few blossoms. The bushes are about 40 years old. They get plenty of sun, what do I need to do so they will bloom?

Forsythias not blooming could be due to our harsh winter.  Forsythia from buds over summer for the next spring’s flower cycle.  The cold, dry wind over winter can dry out those buds during a rough winter and then there are no flowers.  Is your forsythia exposed to a lot of wind?  If so, protecting them from wind with burlap windbreaks can help.

A lack of nutrients can also rob the plants of the energy they need to flower.  Feed them right away with some Flower-Tone HERE’S A LINK on spring feeding.  This won’t help it flower this year but may for next year’s flowers.

 

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Have a new home, with new topsoil on top of sand, want to put inshrubs, have a lot of afternoon sun in the summer, want suggestionsas to what to put in, would like green and maybe flowering.

As long as you add plenty of compost or peat moss as well as Bio-tone starter food to the planting holes…everything will grow fine in the sand.  There are too many options for sun to list here…lilac, spirea, weigela, junipers etc., etc.  The best idea is to come to the garden center with a drawing of the area so we can have an idea of the space and then we can make some suggestions and you can decide what you like.

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do you sell urban apple for small space ? thanks, april

We sell semi-dwarf fruit tree maximum height 25′ or so

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In our area we had a beautiful pinkster bush for the longest time but it didn’t come back this year…is there any way to get replacements for it? Thank you for your help!!

The last 2 winters were rough on the azaleas like the pinkster.  Look for signs of life from the soil.  The roots may have survived the winter and will be trying to send up new growth.  If it does, it will regrow from the roots.  Otherwise, you’ll need to search the internet for a replacement.  We have never seen it available from any of the nurseries who supply us,   Pinkster are a cousin of the Exbury Azaleas which we do stock so that may be a possible replacement.

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I have a 6′ high peramid hew which the dear have taken off the foligae in the front of the tree about 3′ up from the base of the tree. Is there anyway to bring those branches back they still have some foliage or do I have to replace the whole tree. If I have to replace it, what could I plant inplace of it, It is right next to other hews. I am 80 years old and if I replce it it would take to long to grow for the rest of my life span. Thank You Charlie

You can encourage the yew to re-grow the foliage by mixing Mir-Acid evergreen food up in a watering can and wash it over the stems and needles of the plant.  It is absorbed right through the bark and will jump start foliage on those stems.  Do this once a week except with the temperature goes above 85°.   Make sure to wrap the yew in deer netting to keep them from continuing to eat the yew every winter.

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The deer have eaten the bark off parts of the limbs of my apple tree. I will have to actually cut about 3-4 bottom limbs off. Is there something I need to put on the cut that will protect the rest of the tree? Thanks for any info you can give me.

No, just make a nice clean cut.  Current thinking is that painting the cut with pruning paint provides no benefit and may cause the wound to heal more slowly than it would untreated.

 

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Hi: I bought 2 white azaleas last May 2014 (Rte. 50 store), and this week, when I took away the slotted covered “A’s”, I see that 9/10’s of the tree is brown and the branches are dead. The bottom 1/10 is green and seems very alive. What should I do? I feel bad that I lost the year’s growth. Thanks very much.

It was a really cold winter this year.  You can try and save your azaleas by washing some Mir-Acid soluble evergreen food over the stems for an emergency feeding.   If they don’t make it back, I’d return them.  Azaleas don’t like the winter wind on the west or north side of the house (east is the best for them) so another, more durable evergreen like a juniper might be a better option.

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I’m looking for a flowering shrub that doesn’t grow taller than around 5 ft.

Little Princess Spirea, Dwarf Barberry, Carpet roses, winterberry, Cotoneaster and Miss Kim dwarf lilac are a few that spring to mind.

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Hello and Happy SpringWhen is the earliest I can plant arborvitaes?ThanksMatt

You can plant them as soon as the ground thaw enough to dig in it and as soon as they arrive at the garden center and are for sale.

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What is the best type of soil for rhododendron to be planted inin the northeast ?Thank you!

Rhododendron prefer a well drained soil but aren’t too particular as long as the soil doesn’t stay wet for long periods.  If you have clay soil, be sure to aments it with plenty of organic matter like composr and also sand to improve drainage.  They also prefer a slightly acidic soil so clay soil might need a little aluminum sulfate…a pH test will help you determine if this is necessary.  Equally important is the location…Rhodos don’t like a spot that exposed to the drying north and west winds so the east, southeast side of the house will be best.

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how far back can I trim a Hydrangea tree?

That depends on what type of hydrangea it is.  There a couple of types and they require different care.  HERE’S a great site that can help you figure out what type you have and how to prune it.

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How do I get my hydrangeas ready for winter?

They don’t need much.  If you have deer in your area then pound stakes that are taller than the shrub.   Then attach deer netting to the stakes to cover the sides and top to prevent deer from nibbling off the stem tips and flower buds for next year’s flowers.

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I have a smoke tree royal purple the leaves on one side didnt come out. what can be wrong? and does it need to be trim every year thank you.

Something has likely damaged the bark somewhere below the part that didn’t leaf out.  Look at the stem down below the unleafed area to see if voles or mice have chewed away the bark…probably over last winter.  If it hasn’t leafed out bu now, those branches never will and should be cut away.  There is no need to prune it every year but you can cut it back no more than 1/3 of the total branch structure to keep it fuller…your option.

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Hi- I have 15 Aborvitaes planted, 10 were just planted this past April, the other 5 were planted a year ago. The 5 older ones don’t seem to be coming back so great after the dry winter we had- There is a lot of brown, one in particular almost looks like it is a lost cause however when I look at it up close there is some new little spots of green growth- I have made sure there is no mulch up against the trunk and they are not planted too deep. I initially stopped in the CP store and was told to get some tree tone down- I did that around them all but did not bury it into the ground- should I have done this and if so should I do it now? How often do I need to be watering… as you know we have had a very hot spring/early summer with little rain- I want to make sure the 10 new ones get the water they need and the same for the 5 1 year old ones. I am watering about every other day- have clay soil but mixed tree tone and peat moss when planted. Lastly- should I be trimming off the brown foliage? Some of it is just falling off if I brush my hand along the branch…Thank you!kguay11@gmail.com

There is a lot of this happening,  They can recover pretty quickly since the root system is undamaged.   As for watering…in clay soil, you need to be careful not to overwater when it is wet out since the clay holds the moisture so well.  You don’t want the arbs to drown.  Then clay gets rock hard when it is dry so more frequent watering is necessary.  A deep soak once a week should be enough even in the hot part of summer.  If the soil is cool and just lightly moist…that is enough.  If you can squeeze water from the soil with your hand, it is likely too wet.  The Tree-tone should be put into the soil.  You can pound holes among the arbs and pour the food into them…that works fine.  To stimulate some quick leaf growth you should use some Miracid soluble evergreen food. Mix with water in a watering can as the package directs. Wash this food all over the stems and remaining leaves. This food can be absorbed directly into the plant without having to come up through the root system. It is an emergency method of feeding and, if there is any life left to the plant, this will stimulate quick leaf growth. Do this every week and a half until mid-June.   It is always good to remove the dead foliage since that will allow sunlight to penetrate and help along new growth to help them fill back in.

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I purchased a hibiscus tree early 2014, it has survived the winter, how can I get it back into cycle and looking good

Start giving it light feeding with a good soluble plants food like Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster.  Mix it at 1/2 strength and feed it every couple of weeks.  It should start to grow leaves quivckly as the days grow longer.  Around the end of May, it can go outside for the summer but give it a shady spot at first and gradually move to a sunnier place over a couple of weeks.  At that point you can start feeding it every 2 weeks at the normal dilution rate of the food.

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Will Hewitt’s have Northwind Switchgrass? If so, what size are they? I want to plant 10-12 of them.

We have never had it but we will watch for it and get some if it becomes available fro any of our growers.

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do you have Harlequin Hydrangeas?

No, It is borderline hardy in Zone 5.   We will have a huge selection of hydrangeas that do perform well in our area though.

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What are some tree varieties good for planting next to an in-ground pool that will grow medium size, with non-evasive roots that won’t damage underground plumbing, concrete pool deck, & liner, & provide privacy?

Crabapples, and Redbuds (Eastern or Forest Pansy) would be great choices.  There are also weeping cherry trees that would be great for this application.

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What ornamental grass feature needs little sun? and what shrub or flowering/ bush tolerates full sun and wind?

HERE’S a link to a great list of shade tolerant grasses.   As far as sun and wind tolerant shrubs:  lilac, weigela, spirea, rosa rugosa, forsythia…just about any deciduous flowering shrubs really.  Avoid hydrangea, rhiododendron, azaleas and roses other than rosa rugosa.  Most roses CAN tolerate the wind as long as they are wrapped up before winter.

 

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We bought two crimson king last year in may in queensbury,ny it”s been very dry we noticed the leaves started wilting but have stayed attached to tree,we’ve started watering it regularly and was wondering if the leaves would come back,the limbs are still alive because they bend not break. thank you Julie

With all the rain we’ve had, moisture should no longer be a problem.  Check to make sure that you didn’t bury the stem too deep when you planted it and that you HAVEN’T piled mulch up against the bark.  Brush back any mulch and dirt away  from the trunk until you find the original soil that the tree came in.  Dirt or mulch piled against the trunk slowly strangles the tree.  It may take a few years, but it WILL kill the tree.  If the problem continues, bring some of the leaves to Tom, the manager of the Q’bury store and have him take a look.

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how far back can I trim a large hydrangea tree?

You can prune up to 1/3 of the total branch structure without shocking the plant.  It is best to do that right after it finishes flowering.

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What is the best time of the year to trim a forsthia bush

Right after it finishes flowering.  Forsythia, like other spring flowering shrubs, set their buds during the summer after the flowering period.  Those latent buds (you don’t really notice them) winter over on the plant so they are ready to going spring.  pruning in late summer won’t hurt the forsythia but you’ll be removing the buds for then next spring’s show of flowers.

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This past winter rabbits chewed all the bark off a three year old burningbush. It looks horrible, is it dead or will it come back? What can we do?

Burning bush is virtually indestructible.  Wait to see where it grows from and then cut all the dead branches away.  Even if all the stems are dead, it will come roaring back with new growth from the undamaged root system.

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when is the right time to transplant a rhodium bush?

Rhododendron are best transplanted when they are dormant…late in fall before the ground freezes for the winter.  Otherwise early spring as soon as the ground thaws but before the plant wakes up and starts to grow.

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I purchased a pot of little princess spirea in November. What do I do with it until spring? It is a little pot. The foliage is green.

It would be best to plant it in the ground.  If you want to plant it in spring, bury the pot into the ground up to the rim of the pot in a sheltered location outside.

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I have a very wet area on the bottom of a hillside and would like to plant a showy tree. What are my choices? Thank you.Ingrid Greenfield

Some good choices that come to mind are Dappled Willow (large shrub) Fringetree, Birch, Ash, Hornbeam, Tulip tree and one of my favorite, Shadblow (amalanchier).  There are other to consider…here’s a link to a more extensive list.  http://www.weekendgardener.net/tree-information/wetsoil-090809.htm

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Hi Peter, we have arvorvitae trees that are 6 – 7 feet tall; is there anything we should do to protect the trees during the winter? We’ve seen people put burlap or other materials around the trees, is this a good idea?I have a garden that didn’t do much this year; is there anything I should be doing right now to help prepare the soil for next year?Thanks, Sharon

The big threat to Arbs is deer.  Surrounding or wrapping them in deer netting will prevent deer from eating them.  Burlap will protect them from drying wind so that might be wise if they are in a very windy location.  Adding a couple of inches of compost to your garden is a good idea too.  Start a compost bin to recycle all that kitchen waste into the soil.  http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/remember-what-happened-to-my-rhododendronhollyazalea/6511/

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I have 2 Hydrangea bushes that are large, but only have 3 flowers bloom on each one of them. What can I do to get more flowers next year?Thank you.Janetbrock5000@aol.com

Most hydrangeas don’t like full sun but they do need some.  You should also feed them each spring…I like Espoma Flower-tone.  Depending on what type they are, they may benefit from some pruning but there are different pruning methods for different hydrangeas.  HERE’S a link to a great website that will help you figure out which type of hydrangea you have and the proper pruning method.

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I am in need of deer resistant, quick growing shrubs or small-ish trees to create a privacy screen along the corner on my property. We have a small creek in the yard so wildlife is all over–and LOTS of DEER!

Spirea is a nice flowering shrub that comes in a variety of sizes and is deer resistant as are viburnum, oak leaf hydrangea, Andromeda, juniper and there are others.  It will also depend on what kind of light you have available.  In shade clethera is a good option.

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I have a problem with my junipers dying. Do you guys have a tree/bush doctor that can come to the house and give us an evaluation of that we can do?Jason Deere 615-474-5581709 Thomas Glen CircleFranklin, TN 37069

I think you have the wrong Hewitt’s…we’re in Upstate NY and not related to the one in your area.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/hewitt-garden-and-design-center-brentwood-2

 

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the tree in my yard is oozing a clear jello like substance? Never did it before..There is a lot by the base & more coming out of the bark? I think it is an old cherry tree.

It is sap coagulating into the gel due to some kind of wound or disease that has damaged the bark of the tree.  More here:  http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/diseases/cankers/gummosis-of-fruit-trees.aspx

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Backed my trailer hitch into a young tree, ripped off a piece of bark the size of a hand. Please advise what care can be taken.

Clean up the ragged edge of the damage with a clean, razor sharp knife.  Wrap the tree with paper tree wrap until spring.

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covering hollys with burlap

http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/wrapping-things-up-for-the-season/6712/

 

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hydrangeas.. they have not bloomed for 2 seasons now..Lots of greenery but no flowers? how should I cut them back? when? What do I need to do?

The question of the year “Why doesn’t my hydrangea bloom?” This is a tough one to answer since there is more than one type of hydrangea and there are multiple reasons it might not be flower ranging from deer nibbling the buds off (but leaving the stems) over winter to dryness during summer. There are even hydrangeas that have a hardy root system but the stems are not so, even though they grow every summer the buds for flowers are lost every winter. Here’s a link to an article that addresses these issues. There is no single answer that will apply to every hydrangea in every situation.

http://gardeningsimplified.tumblr.com/understandinghydrangeas

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I sprayed clover killer on my trees by mistake and now my trees are dying what do I do to save my trees?

Wash it off and keep them well watered.  Chances are the damage will be temporary or limited depending on the size of the tree.

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We need a nice tree for our front yard. Is it too late in the year to plant one?

If you find one you want you could plant it now but, I’d wait until spring.  A better selection and it will have all summer to get a root system established before the next winter.  Spring is always the best time to plant.

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We have boxwood bushes surrounding our flagpole that need serious pruning. When should this be done – spring or fall and how much pruning can they handle?

It is best to prune boxwood in spring so the new growth will fill in and be mature before winter.  Pruning late in the season won’t give the new growth time to “harden off” before freezing so it (the new growth, not the entire plant) will likely turn brown over winter.  Never remove more than 1/3 of the total foliage at any one pruning.  Light, frequent pruning is best for boxwood.

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Should I plant scrubs before a heavy rainstorm?

You can plant anytime.  You’ll need to water them ion heavily after planting either way.  A Rainstorm is rarely enough water for a newly planted shrub or tree.  More on proper planting HERE.

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is it to late to trim schrubs

The best time to prune flowering shrubs is right after they finish flowering so it is late for that.   Pruning, even on evergreens is best done earlier in the season so new growth will have time to mature and “harden off’ before winter.  Pruned this late in the growing season, any new growth that occurs will likely be killed over winter.  It is best to wrap up pruning by the end of August.

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My dwarf Ruby red cherry tree has lost all its leaves,they all burned up,and the buds are burnt,what should I do,its in a container?

I’m not familiar with this cherry variety since it isn’t hardy here in zone 5…it is only hardy to zone 6.  From what little info available on this, I assume you mail ordered it.  It sounds like you either drowned it by over watering it or it contracted a fungal disease which cherries are prone to.  You’ll need to find a place for it to spend the winter where temperatures are below 50° for the winter.  When it shows signs of life in the spring (which it hopefully will do) you’ll need to start a regular spraying schedule with a good fruit tree spray following the directions on the label of course.

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Do you carry bush & shrub covers for winter

Yes, we sell wooden a-frame shrub covers in sizes to 7′ as well as burlap for windbreaks and deer netting for deer protection.

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Hi. I just transplanted a sugar maple I believe it is, yesterday. It rode for a little over an hour to its new home. The tree was 4-5 years established where it was and had some of the burlap still covering the root ball plus some nice long roots growing out. I didn’t put anything but water on it when we planted it. Quite a few of the leaves are curling and/or wilting. It looks like some leaves on the very top have fallen off even. I put some mulch around the tree being careful not to cover the trunk base in about a 4’x4′ box. It is a big tree already as it stands probably 15 foot tall. I read after the fact about things like root grower and tree spikes. What would be your opinion to help our young tree along? Thank you for any advice.

Digging up and moving a large tree that has already leaved out on one of the hottest days of the year so far is pretty much a death sentence.   It would have been good to have some Bio-tone starter food blended into the soil where it went.  About all you can do now is prune away about 1/3 of the branches and soak the soil with a high phosphorus soluble plant food like Jack’s Blossom Booster or another soluble food with a high middle number (the phosphorus).  Pound some holes several inches deep with a pipe and pour some of the Bio-tone as well for a longer feed.  Keep it moist and hope.

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is it nesessary to wrap knockout tree rose for winter

Unless it is in a very windy location then no.  In windy spots, wrapping some burlap around it is all that is needed.

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we recently moved….we brought with is a spruce seedling that was given to us by our grandson this arbor day. I dug it up roots and dirt intact and put it in a planter till spring, should I do anything else to it?

It would be best planted outside in the ground now.  You can sink the pot into the ground for the winter if you are undecided about the permanent location and plant it in spring

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My tree is budding now!! Does that mean its in trouble come the spring?

If it is a flowering tree and the buds are too far advanced, you may lose the flowers but the tree will survive just fine.

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Care of a live balled blue spruce Christmas tree

Dig the hole for the tree now before the ground freezes.  Keep the root ball of the tree moist and keep the tree outside until the week before Christmas.  Bring it in and decorate but make sure to still keep the root ball moist.  As soon as Christmas is over plant the tree in the pre-dug hole.

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Are the roots of my meyer lemon tree wet, and if so, can I remediate?Purchased the tree in May, kept it primarily indoors, save for a few summer days, for short periods of the day. South east exposure indoors with filtered sun, thoroughly watered once a week. It bloomed at least three times over the summer, and produced 9 lemons, getting larger by the day. The tree’s been indoors exclusively since September. Current problem: still watering once a week, but by the end of the week, the leaves appear to be shriveling. Once I water, they seem to revive and straighten, but each week more and more leaves are turning yellow and falling off. The soil is dark and cool when I stick my finger down near the main stem, but not soggy and wet. I remove any standing water from the bottom of the planter. What can I do? I am so close to having yellow lemons! I have pictures that I can share, let me know where to send them if it would help your assessment .

It sounds like your lemon tree is getting too much water.  The days are so short that it won’t need nearly as much as in the summer with the long days.  Give it a rest.  Perhaps water either at a longer interval or with way less water at the same interval you are using now…once a week.  Don’t feed it until late February and then dilute the food to 1/4 strength.  You can gradually increase to watering as the days get longer as spring evolves into summer.  Don’t expect much in the way of new growth during these short winter days.  You are just maintaining the lemon through this rest period until the sun it needs to thrive returns.

 

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We are looking for a tree that can begin indoors and then transplanted outdoors. Do you have any suggestions?

I’m not quite sure I understand the question, but if you’re interested in starting trees from seed indoors then HERE’S A LINK that might help. I’d spend the extra and buy a tree in spring that that already has a few years of growth under its belt.

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Do you know where I can purchase a dappled willow tree on a grafted standard?

We have had them…check with us in April.  Update…I checked with our nursery buyer and we have them ordered for this spring.

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Arbor bushes down from snowstorm will they come back up

As long as they aren’t uprooted or broken and you clean the snow off them, they will be fine.

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I have Tulip Tree and it has a bunch of off shoots does this mean the tree is dying?

Suckers around the base of a Tulip Tree doesn’t mean the tree is dying.  You should trim them away though or they will try to become more tulip trees.

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Which of the moon glow junipers are not allergy free? Will they hog the water? How far from other trees should they be planted?

Junipers flower and produce pollen in spring (May here) and can aggravate allergies and asthma.  The rest of the year they should not be a problem.  They are not “water hogs” but should be watered during dry spells for the first few years as the get established.  Moonglow junipers prefer full sun so they should be far enough from other, taller plants to insure that they get 7 or more hours of direct sun per day during summer.

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I’m moving from my house and want to take my Pine Tree and Aspen Trees with me and I won’t have a place for six months. Is there a way I can put them in pots and then transfer them?

If they are small enough (1″ trunk diameter or less)  and you can dig them up without damaging the root system much, then you could pot them up in very large pots and keep them over s the summer in them an replant them in fall.  They should be dug and potting as soon as the ground thaws while they are still dormant.  Once they leaf out, it is too late to dig them without killing them.   If they are larger, digging them out will probably kill them.

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How much can I prune back an overgrown evergreen shru

Prune it back gradually removing no more than 1/3 at any one pruning…it may take a couple of years to get it under control.

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Was thinking of planting some arborvitae’s in my backyard this spring for privacy. I’m wondering if they are dog safe? I have a very curios puppy who may try to chew them. And if they aren’t safe what is another easily maintained and low cost tree for privacy?

Arborvitae would be a good choice.  If the dogs eats some, the worst you can expect would be vomiting or diarrhea.  You could spray some dog repellent on the bottom of the arbs until the puppy loses interest.

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I have several hibiscus plants outdoors that look scrawny with few leaves, while others are doing well. How do I revive the scrawny ones

Light feedings with a 1/4 strength plant food like Jack’s Blossom Booster should start about now.  Make sure they are never standing in a saucer of water or they drown.  Move them to the brightest spot you have in the house.

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last year I bought a butterfly bush that grew to about 3 feet tall.Do I have to trim it back in the spring?If so,how much should I cut it back?

Wait until you see new growth and cut it back to just above where the new shoots are forming.  Depending on the variety and the severity of the winter, it may die back right to the ground or only partway.  I like to wait and see and then prune.

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Hello Peter – I am hoping you can provide a solution to why my Niko Blue Hydrangea bush is not flowering. I has healthy leaves all season and a few “buds” but they do not develop into mature blooms. It is planted on the south side of our stone front home and gets shade in the early morning have used Miracle Grow but have not had any blooms for two years now. I do not trim it back or take off any seemingly dead branches. Thank you for any assistance you may offer.

Nikko Blue Hydrangea’s root system is hardy in this area but the stems above soil are not.  Nikko Blue produces buds and blooms on stems that are two years old but they never survive winter.  They grow new stems each spring and summer but they never survive the winter to flower during the second season.  Bottom line…Nikko Blue can survive here but will rarely, if ever flower.  I’d replace it with something else.

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What are the best boarder shrubs in shady area under tall pine trees

Hemlock makes a nice, dense evergreen barrier and can tolerate shade.  Shearing every year to keep iy low and dense will be necessary once it is established.

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Three twenty foot forsethias bushes planted in three plastic pots on deck where very windy. How do I save them in winter?

Not sure what you mean…I’ve never seen a forsythia 20′ tall but, if that’s what you have then you’ll want to sink the pots up to the rim in the ground outside in the fall in a spot that is sheltered from the north wind.

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I have plant a hedge of green giant arbs at a job ,had them wrapped in burlap all winter took burlap off a month ago and they looked great. Went back about week later notice some browning on them and now just about all brown. Been watering them and gave them fertilizer. What do u think is wrong with them y did they look great now look horrible

If they were wrapped early in fall and then we had a warm winter, they could have put on new growth.  March was very warm as well so new growth that occurred underneath the burlap in the shade of the burlap would be stretched and very tender.  Then it got uncovered just before (I assume) the very cold snap where it got down to 15° or less.  That tender growth wouldn’t be able to handle that after all that time under the burlap.   Burlap is used to protect them from the dry winter wind. That wind comes from the north and west all winter.  This means that there is no need to wrap the arbs all the way around.  All that is needed is a windbreak on the north and west side.  This can be stakes with the burlap attached to them but not actually wrapped all the way around the entire arb.  Feeding is good and snip out the dead foliage and they will bounce back quickly over this growing season.

 

 

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I have two large What I think are fruitless plum trees they are seeming to be dead ..no leaves this year at all.. Is there a way or what do we need to revive them?

Flowering plums are prone to diseases the worst of which is Cytospora canker.  If you see the symptoms described HERE, it will be best to cut down and remove the trees…do not burn them but take them to the landfill.  If they don’t leaf out this spring, they are done…nothing can revive a dead tree.

 

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I bought a pear tree that is supposed to have 5 different kinds of pears. It has been out three years and is doing good except it has never bloomed. It also has long thorns on it. It is a dwarf tree but is probably 7-8 ft tall. Why no blooms?

Fruit trees will forgo flowering while it gets a root system established.  Once it has extra energy to spare, it will start flowering.  To help it get established quicker. pound some holes a foot or so deep out around the tree away from the trunk about as far as the outermost branch tips and fill the holes 3/4 full with Espoma Bio-tone food.   If the tree is getting less than 8 hours of direct sun per day, it will struggle to thrive, flower and produce fruit.  The more full sun, the better.

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Looking for a fairly fast growing bushes to plant as a good windbreaker amongst a few large maple trees which will be partly shaded approximately 100 plus ft span.

There aren’t too many options for shaded areas.  One would be Canadian Hemlock.  Hemlock can handle the shade but aren’t particularly fast growing.  If there is enough light, Green Giant Arborvitae may be an option for you and they are quicker growers than hemlock.

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Need a shrub idea for the front of my home that is 80% in the shade??

It sounds like the perfect location for Clethra aka Summersweet.  We will have them arriving within the next 3 weeks.  Call ahead to make sure.

 

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Hello,Our magnolia tree’s bark has turned black, top to bottom. There are some spring buds but I’m thinking it has a fungus or some kind of sooty mold. Is there something we should treat it with?

It could be a sooty mold which grows in the sweet sap that oozes out of the bark due to small wound from insects attacking the bark.  Spraying for the insects will stops the wounding and stop the mold.  Insecticidal soap may work if this is the case.  Spray thoroughly once a week for three weeks.

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Is there any problem with planting shrubs (Fatsia) in containers of 100% Miracle-Gro or Sta-Green Tree & Shrub garden soil with fertilizer? The instructions call for mixing it with surrounding soil in a landscape, but nothing regarding plants in pots.

“Garden Soil” is just dirt.  “Potting soil”, on the other hand,  is sterilized by heat to kill any seeds and diseases and is usually made from peat moss and other additives like vermiculite and perlite to lighten and improve it.  The two are NOT the same thing.  Given a choice, I’ll always choose “Potting Soil”, for containers and use “Garden Dirt’ as an additive for in-ground gardens if I use it at all.

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I’m wondering if you could help me. My Yoshino Cherry tree sapling was about 4′ tall, and the leader got cut. Will it be ok, or should I try to get a new one?Jean

If it was cut above the graft that is down near the base of the tree, it can regrow a new top.  Make sure to constantly remove any suckers or growth that appears down around the base of the tree.  That is the root stock and it will try to grow its own branches instead of sending the growth up through the graft to the upper, part of the tree you want.

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Peter, we have spruce trees and this year one of the blue spruce has a verticle line of dead branches. I am not sure what to do or if it will expand. Also, we have another 3 spruces in a row and the branches are drooping and the bottom branches have died 1/4 way up the tree. We feed them every year so I am not sure what we need to do. We have pictures but we’re unable to attach them to this email. Thanks.

It is normal for the lower branches of spruce trees to die off as it grows.  The upper branches shade them out.  As far as the vertical line of dead branches…if it is on the north side it could be winter kill.  If not, then it could be insects like a borer that gets under the bark.  This can be treated with Bonide Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control, a liquid that will be taken up by the free and kill any insects that are in or feeding on the tree.

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We have 2 upright yews and we have had them for years. When things got warmer we noticed our yews were all brown. They were fine this past winter. Can you tell us what might have happened it them? Do you think they may come back? Sincerely,Karen Beaudreaukbeaudreau@hotmail.com

They looked fine but weren’t.  We had a fall that was dry and warm late…right up until Christmas.  This is when evergreens are trying to take up and store moisture to survive winter.  Most people don’t think of watering extra that late but that’s just what they needed.  So, they went into dormancy without enough moisture stored.  As soon as they thawed out, the problem became apparent.  Another possibility is that mice or voles stripped the bark off all the way around the base of the plant which stops the flow of moisture and nutrients up through the bark.  You’ll be able to see this damage.

Here’s a link to a blog post about this from a couple of years ago which should help you try and resuscitate them.

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Hello, is there a way to identify a baby sycamore tree by streamsThank you for any clues that you may have. Sherry

When they get older their distinctive bark is a giveaway.  As a sapling, you’ll have to ID it by the leaf.  This can be tricky since it resembles a maple leaf although it is larger than a maple leaf.  Perhaps the is a mature sycamore nearby that you can pluck a leaf from to match up to the sapling in question.    Here’s a couple of links that may help you:

https://oplin.org/tree/fact%20pages/sycamore/sycamore.html

https://www.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/iowa_trees/trees/sycamore.html

 

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want to plant trees for privacy. what tress and shrubs give you privacy

Arborvitae, hemlock, lilacs, forsythia, weigela, spireas, spruce trees, althea and many more.

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I have a large apple tree that produces smaller sized apples very early , usually early August. They are sweet to eat but I have a hard time finding good ones with out knots . Depending on the year it produces many or only half the tree . How can I identify what type of apple this is?Any help , thanks

Here’s a site that may help you:  http://www.applename.com/varieties

apples need to be sprayed regularly if you want more fruit and more perfect fruit.

Check out Bonide “Complete Fruit Tree Spray”. the spraying schedule is right on the package.

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can you use scotts tree and shrub food for an elm tree

We don’t sell that product so I’m not sure.  Perhaps the package will tell you.  This would be a good question for the folks at the place where you purchased the product.  We sell Espoma Tree-Tone which would be fine to use for feeding an elm the…plus, it is organic.

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Hi, I would like to plant 2 Maple Trees this year but keep reading the best time to plant is Fall. Do I but them now and wait to plant? How do I maintain them all Summer?Thanks!

Ahh…the myth of summer planting.  This is a common misconception.  If this were true, landscapers would be out of business.  Plant them as soon as possible…the longer they have to get a root system established, the better off they’ll be able to get through their first winter. It is better to plant in June than July and better July than August.   Keep them well watered over the summer.   HERE’S a link to more on the myth of summer planting.

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The arborvitae I planted a year ago are very brown right now. The inner branches are very green but the outer branches are brown/rust colored. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

Get under there an check that you didn’t bury the trunk too deeply into the soil.  Where the trunk entered the soil of the ball or pot that you bought it in wants to still be visible after planting.  Likewise you don’t want mulch piled up against the trunk either.  Brush back any mulch or soil away from the stem until you find the original soil and keep it that way.  Mulch or dirt piled against the stem prevents the easy flow of water and nutrients from the roots to the foliage above.  It is a common mistake and the #1 reason we have to replace plants under our lifetime guarantee…stems buried too deep or mulch piled against the bark.  More on that here:  http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/planting-101/6841/

 

Keep snipping off any brown foliage.

Feeding them would also be a good idea…Tree-tone would be the best.   Get that into the soil right away to help it get some nutrients to start filling back in.

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Last year our Maple tree had thousands of helicopters. So far this year, I see none. I do not want to put mulch out until I know for sure they are not falling. Can you tell me why one year there are thousands and the next none (so far).

I depends on the weather.  Last was a good one for them.  This last winter was tough on them and we also has three nights of hard freezes in early April which may have frozen the flower buds which would eliminate the possibility of flowers this year.

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I have a cherry tree (looks like an umbrella) – we just trimmed it and noticed on the top (new growth) that we had some type of aphid bug – it seemed to be only at the top – should I get rid of the tree – is this a bug that is very bad for trees, etc. Thank you

Aphids are pretty easy to control so don’t get rid of the tree.  Spray thoroughly once a week for 3 weeks with Bonide Bon-Neem organic spray.  Another option would be to use a systemic like Bonide Annual Tree & Shrub Insect Control…a liquid you’ll dilute with water and pour at the base of the tree,  The tree takes it up and it kills any insect on or in the tree for the entire growing season.

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what would be a nice shade tree in front of my house

October Glory Maple would be great…quick growing and vibrant fall color.  Red Oak is slower growing but is also a great option.

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I have 2 flowering crab apple trees that have been planted for about 6 years and they have hardly grown. They do bloom and produce crab apples. Now it appears there is a mold on the tree trunk. I just don’t know what to do with them, whether I should dig them up and re plant them or give them another good boost of fertilizer. I usually just use a time release granule or shrub spikes in the ground. .

There are a couple things that will cause them not to flower.  Not enough sun is one thing…they need 7+ hours of direct sun a day…more is even better.   A lack of phosphorus is another.  If you are using spikes, use the formula for fruit trees and do that in early spring.

Lack of growth is a concern though.  Check the base of the tree to make sure you haven’t been piling mulch up against the trunk of the tree.  Brush the mulch away from the bark until you find the root flare…the original level of the soil where the trunk emerged from the soil in the pot or ball that it came in.  Bark mulch or dirt piled against the bark of the tree prevents the flow of nutrients and moisture from the roots to the branches and leaves above.  This “volcano mulching” is a very bad trend lately and I see trees suffering and dying from it every day.  This weakens the tree and makes it susceptible to a host of insects and fungal diseases.  Bring some pictures of the “mold” you see on the trunk to us or a local garden center to determine whether it is a fungal disease that needs attention ot simply harmless lichen.  Crabapples are susceptible to all the same problems as other fruit trees sop perhaps a spraying schedule is in order.

 

Digging them up is likely to do way more harm than good and shouldn’t be attempted until late in the fall when the tree has entered dormancy.

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I have a mature Rose of Sharon bush. It appeared dead & I was about to cut it down. Suddenly last week it started to sprout leaves. In August???????? It gets plenty of sun. Can you tell me what’s wrong with it? Thanks.

Yikes!!!  That is odd.  Hopefully it will finish leafing out so it can store up enough energy to survive winter.  There are some pests and disease that attack althea so I’d look the bark over closely for any tiny holes that might indicate borers or other bark pests.  Also check the base of the althea to make sure you haven’t buried mulch or dirt up against the bark.  Brush any mulch or dirt away from the trunk until you find the original soil level where the trunk emerged from the soil in the pot or ball that it came in and keep it that way.  Mulch or dirt piled against the bark slowly strangles the plant hindering and cutting off the flow of nutrients and moisture from the roots below to the stems and leaves above.  This “volcano mulching” is an unfortunately popular and deadly trend lately.  I see shrubs and trees suffering and dying from “volcano mulching” every day and it could cause symptoms such as this very late leaf out.

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Bedding area between walkway and house is 4′ wide by 18′ long. Westward exposure means what is there bakes in the summer sun. Currently I have two dwarf Alberta spruce but one is about 1/3 dead on the north side. They also are a bit big and need trimming twice a year which exposes more dead. Are there any dwarf shrubs you recommend for this tight spot? Should I give up on bushes here and just do rocks with annuals?

That exposure id rough on Albertas…the wind in the winter being the main culprit.  There’s aren’t too many shrubs that are that spall…you might check out Little Princess Spirea.  Perhaps sum loving perennials would be a way to go…plenty of them to choose from.  To me though, the area sounds perfect for roses….they love to bake in the sun and heat and there are lots of beautiful choices for you.

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I have a blue hydrangeas would like to transplant when is best tim to do this

In early spring while they are dormant…so get to it right away.  Once they leaf out the shock will kill them.  Keep them well watered after they are moved.

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shrubs for morning sun only

Clethra, azaleas, rhododendron, Japanese Maples, Japanese Andromeda…Look for tags that say “part sun”.

 

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A couple of my front bushes keep dying in same spot. The others next to them seem fine. I sprayed fungicides and even sprinkled ammonia to keep cats away but it keeps happening. As I said the others along the row seem ok.. Any suggestions?

There isn’t enough info to really suggest a solution although I can say that sprinkling ammonia around isn’t a good idea.  Get a dog and cat repellent.  Bring photos and sample of the plant to the garden center for them to take a look.  Piling mulch up around the stems and trunks of shrubs and trees is the most common reason for shrub death.  Get under your shrubs and brush back the mulch until you see to original soil that the plant came in and keep it at the level.

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can you please tell me the price of hosta plants

In #1 pots (approx. 1 Gal.) $8.99 each or 3/25.  keep an eye on our ads…they often are on sale.  HERE’s A link to this week’s ad…new ads appear every Thursday.

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I have 23 green giant arbavita that I purchased from you 3 years ago. They have all turned a rust color orange and I am afraid they are in trouble.They are all about 10 ft tall at this point. What do I need to do? They did this the previous year as well but not as bad.

We’ve had a really rough last couple of winters since you’ve planted them.  If we get another warm fall/early winter make sure to water them extra…not something people usually think of.  Also, get under them and make sure that dirt or mulch hasn’t been piled up around the trunk.  Brush any soil or mulch back until you find the original soil they came in and keep it that way.  Mulch or dirt piled against the bark of the trunk slowly strangles the plants.  To help them recover now, pound some holes in the ground several inches deep with a pipe out away from the trunk as far as the outermost branch tips and pour in some organic Tree-tone into them..4-5 holes per plant.  They should recover and the food will help that along.

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what effect can crimson barberry have on surrounding plants?

It is considered an invasive species and no longer available in New York State

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Can you recommend an easy to apply product to kill moss on patio bricks?

We sell “Wet and Forget” moss and mold killer for this.  Only our Glenmont store does not stock it.

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I have had 3 arborvitae trees growing in different parts of the yard for 6 years now. For some reason, this year they all turned brown and are looking dead. I’ve notice others in the East Greenbush having similar issues. What could be causing this and is there anything I can do to save them?

Lots of this going on.  The problem was the warm fall we had.  It was very warm and dry right up until Christmas.   The evergreens are normally taking up moisture to store in their foliage, stems and trunks to make it through their dormant phase in winter.  With fall as warm and dry as it was, they had little moisture available unless the homeowner was wise enough to provide lots of extra water in the form of a slow soaking of the soil with a trickling garden hose.  Naturally, with the hoses already in storage for the winter, no one actually did this.  The evergreens then, finally, entered dormancy in January without enough moisture within them.  Then came our snowless winter which continued to dry out the evergreens.  In their dormant phase, they won’t take up moisture.  Eventually our warm, dry winter dried them to the point of no return.  Of course, being evergreens, none of the symptoms show until it warms up in spring.  With too much moisture lost, the foliage just dries out in spring since the cells have dried beyond redemption.  If you want to try and save them then follow the advice I gave HERE.

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can I take cuttings from old Lilac bushes and how?

HERE’S a link on how to root lilac cuttings.  You may have more success if you van cut a sucker (small shoot) that is growing near the base of the lilacs…these will have a small root system already started.  More on that HERE.

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I bought an older home that has an old overgrown azalea near the foundation…how can I soften or weaken the roots so I can remove it

No way really.  If you cut it off at the base, the roots will gradually decay but there is no quick method.  Watering the soil heavily will soften the soil making it easier to dig out.

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Hi. I need the recommendations for trees along tall privacy fence.I want to block the view from neighbor. Back yard is narrow, 15 feet from deck to fence and I do not want ever green. I am living in Schenectady in ny. Thanks

In a narrow space, you’ll want something like privet.  Once established, ti can be pruned to a tall, narrow shape so it won’t take up too much of your yard.  More on privet HERE.

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why are my 10 year old arborvitae trees turning brown?

Lots of this going on.  The problem was the warm fall we had.  It was very warm and dry right up until Christmas.   The evergreens are normally taking up moisture to store in their foliage, stems and trunks to make it through their dormant phase in winter.  With fall as warm and dry as it was, they had little moisture available unless the homeowner was wise enough to provide lots of extra water in the form of a slow soaking of the soil with a trickling garden hose.  Naturally, with the hoses already in storage for the winter, no one actually did this.  The evergreens then, finally, entered dormancy in January without enough moisture within them.  Then came our snowless winter which continued to dry out the evergreens.  In their dormant phase, they won’t take up moisture.  Eventually our warm, dry winter dried them to the point of no return.  Of course, being evergreens, none of the symptoms show until it warms up in spring.  With too much moisture lost, the foliage just dries out in spring since the cells have dried beyond redemption.  If you want to try and save them then follow the advice I gave HERE.

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Looking for a privacy shrub. Junipers? Do you have any 5 ftrs?

We have some upright junipers, Blue Point, Moonglow and Robusta but most folks prefer Arborbvitae since they are less expensive and faster growing.  The most popular is Emerald Green Arborvitae.  Green Giant Arbs are another that gets very large and deer don’t like them.  They are often on sale so keep an eye on our ads HERE.

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In early May I had Arborvitae trees planted. How often should they be watered?

Poke you finger into the soil and, if it feels cool and a bit moist, wait and check again the next day.  When it seems dry, let a hose trickle at the base of each one for an hour or so.  That should keep it moist for at least 2-3 days depending on how hot and dry it is.  They want to be moist but not soggy wet nor bone dry.

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Last year I stopped in your Glenmont store looking for some shrubs for the front of my house that love shade,as I have 2 huge maple trees in front.. I also have heavy clayey soil. The young man I spoke to looked perplexed, then consulted his smartphone, and recommended crimson pygmy barberry. While they are still alive, it is just barely. Rhododendrons are no good, because I have a big deer problem. What would you recommend?

Shrubs for shade are tough…clethra is one that can do that.  Oak Leaf Hydrangea is another as is Sambucus (elderberry).  Ninebark can also tolerate a god bit of shade. Other than that, you’ll need to rely on perennials for shade.  Some of the hosta varieties get as large as a small shrub so I suggest them as an alternative.

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i bought 3 trees 2 are ornimental will only get 6-7 ft tall and another that will get up to 30 ft tall the are all a type of willow tree anyway i bought some miracle gro quick start for a root stimulate because the tree card said to use a root stimulate but the quick start bottle doesnt say how much of it to mix with water this is my first time growing rees and dont want them to die on me

Here’s a link to the product where it says

Mix 1/2 capful in 1 gallon of water.

Pour diluted solution around new plantings to settle soil and feed roots. Flowers and vegetables require approximately 1 cup of prepared solution. Larger plants require several quarts of prepared solution.

Repeat application in 7 days

Begin regular feedings with Miracle-Gro® Plant Food 7-14 days later”

Mostly you want to keep the soil constantly moist…not soggy wet but never bone dry all summer.

 

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thuja green giant arborvitae are brown please helpWe planted 23 of these 3 years ago (6-10 feet tall now)and at the end of each Winter into Spring the trees are turning brown. This year is the worst year so far. The trees are alive and show new growth but there is a lot of damage. What do I need to do to keep them green all year?My email is ronvf@yahoo.comThank you

There is a lot of this happening due to the warm winter followed by the freak freeze in April.  They can recover pretty quickly since the root system is undamaged.   Tree-tone granular plant food should be put into the soil.  You can pound holes among the arbs and pour the food into them…that works fine.  It is always good to remove the dead foliage since that will allow sunlight to penetrate and help along new growth to help them fill back in.

 

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Hi Peter, My back garden used to be a sunny spot, but now it’s shady almost all day. Perhaps some dappled sun right now in the morning, but shaded until 2:30 or 3:30 and mostly sunny through the evening. I was thinking of replacing the two rose bushes (alive, but with one green branch each!) with hydrangeas. Are hydrangeas a good option? Do you have a different suggestion? Thanks!

Most hydrangeas will do fine in that exposure.  Ninebark is another option…the best thing to do is drop by, read some of the plant tags to see what you like that matches the conditions.  There are also large hosta varieties and other perennials that can be used in the area.

 

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I live on a lake and the soil around the house tends to be soggy. The yard is surrounded by cattails… I would like to plant some trees for privacy. Can white pine grow in soggy soil? I had them in another house and was impressed by how quickly they grew. If white pine will not grow in wet soil can you suggest an evergreen or tree that will?

Pines won’t do well at all in such a damp area.  None of the evergreens will.  Naturall any of the willows will including the popular dappled willow which will grow into the size of a lilac.  Here’s a list of other options including trees, shrubs and perennials.  http://www.tlehcs.com/Pdf%20files/wet%20soil%20plants.pdf

 

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when is the best time to cut back on lilacs?

The best time is right after they finish flowering.  Lilacs set the buds for next year’s flowers during this summer and those “latent buds” spend the winter in the lilac and open in spring.  Pruned right after flowering promotes branching out and filling in sparse areas and the new growth will have time to set buds before winter.  If you really need to prune later, it will not harm the lilac but you won’t get the flowering you’d expect since there won’t be time for flower buds to form.

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We bought a two foot tall Japanese Maple from you last month. Now I notice the ends of the leaves for about 3/8 of an inch are turning brown and appear to be dead. What could be wrong or is this normal?

I could be a couple of things…make sure you haven’t buried the stem too deep.  Get under there and brush the soil back away from the trunk until you find the original soil that the plant can in and keep it at that level.  Burying the trunk and piling mulch against the bark of the plant will slowly strangle the plants.  More on that HERE.  It could also be getting drowned through overwatering or suffering from dryness.

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Trying to find a deer and drought resistant plaint

Here are some links that may help you…from Ohio but they share the same climate:

http://www.myohiolandscape.com/deer-resistant-plants.cfm

http://www.myohiolandscape.com/drought-tolerant-plants.cfm

 

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I have 3 rose bushes in a garden. Something is digging small holes just a little larger than a moth ball and I do n’t know what it is or how to stop it. Please help.

It is likely voles…apply and water in Mole-Max repellent around your roses…it works against all rodents, not just moles.

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Why is my Magnolia blooming now(8/25/16)?

Sometimes magnolia will produce flowers on new growth out of season in late summer or early fall.  It may be due to the odd warm winter  we just had.  Most magnolias in the area had their flower buds nipped by frost this spring and so never flowered.  This left the magnolias with a lot of extra energy which it may be using for this out of synch flowering effort.  Hopefully we will have a normal winter this year and it will get our plants back on their typical cycle.

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What is the most cost effective type and size of tree for back yard privacy along a 75-100 ft stretch . Is it Arborvitae and whatsize is best for immediate privacy. Are they on sale now.

Green Giant Arborvitae are the best option IMO.  HERE’S a link to more about them.  Right now we have 5 gallon size is on sale for $29.99…they were $50.   They can be spaced 6′-8′ apart…the closer the quicker the barrier is grown.   You should call the Hewitt’s location nearest you to check availability  HERE’S a link the store locations.

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We bought three rhododendrons this spring/early summer and planted them a few feet apart from each other on the edge of a shaded area at the bottom of a slope. Based on some brief research, the middle one is showing a lot of symptoms of root rot. Is that possible or likely in this area? The soil seems to drain well enough. The leaves are completely wilted and rolled, some have turned brown (or have large brown spots on them) and no amount of water is bringing it back (mur-acid did nothing to help either). I haven’t checked the bark at the base yet. The two plants on either side of it a few feet away appear to be OK. Should I remove the middle one entirely and start over? This has been a hot summer and I may not have been as conscientious as I should have about watering them, but the other two seem to be fine, so I’m not convinced this is drought- related. Thanks!

Root rot can happen in our area.  The possibilities are that the rhodo was planted too deep and dirt was piled up against the bark that was previously exposed or that bark mulch was piled up around the bark.  Either soil or mulch piled against the bark of a woody plant will basically slowly strangle the plant.  It was a hot summer and very dry at times…especially the last month so it is also possible that it is dying from dryness.  If it is all curled up and brown then it is probably done in and could be removed.  Check the other two and brush back the soil or mulch until you find the original soil that the plant came in and keep it that way.  Watering would also be a good Idea…a good slow soaking once a week or so would be perfect.

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Are Aspen trees a good choice to plant here in Albany?If so, when is a good time to plant?Thanks

Aspen or Poplar aren’t considered a desirable tree.  The are fast growing but soft and break easily . they can be invasive as well since they spread with underground shoots as well as with seeds…those clouds of white fuzz in spring.  I’m not sure that that I’ve even seen one for sale recently.  Here’s a link to more on them.

 

 

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QWhat is the best time of year to plant trees in Queensbury 12804?

Mid May if I had to pick one “best” time.  The earlier in the season the better.  The longer they have to establish a root system before winter, the better.  So, May is better than June, June is better than July, July is better than August, August is better than September, September is better than October…you get the idea.  When planting in mid summer, extra care must be taken to keep the new trees watered.

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I have some seriously overgrown (juniper or cedar, not sure) shrubs near my front walk that will be deformed and in the way if we actually get heavy snow this winter. Will it harm them to cut them back at this time of year? Should I just tie them? I had a tough health year and couldn’t trim shrubs and trees during the long run of good weather we had.

It would be safe to prune away up to 1/3 of the foliage now.  If they are upright and the snow is damaging them, you could also bundle the stems together to prevent that.  Just be sure to cut them open again in spring as soon as the danger of heavy snow has passed.

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I have a row of about 50 arbor vitaes all right next to each other and they seem to be dying. People have asked if they are near the road due to salt issues and they aren’t. I’ve tried spraying them with stuff for mites and applied it twice over 3 weeks and it doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Help!?

The most common cause of death of shrubs and trees is people piling mulch up against the bark of the plant smothering the bark and strangling the tree.  Get under there and push any mulch or soil away from the trunks until you find the root flare or original level of the soil and keep it that way.  Mulch is a good thing away from the trunk but deadly if piled against the bark.  Likewise, if they were planted too deep and soil was backfilled against the bark.  Keep them well watered in the fall as well to help reduce winter damage.

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I have a contorted mulberry tree and I would like to plant one on top of my sptic… Would that be ok? If not, what can i plant there because I get too much light into my dining area so Im trying to find something to plant there or near it….any suggestions?

There is no good solution for this other than curtains.  It is a bad idea to plant trees or shrubs in the area of your septic system since the roots can get into it and cause very expensive damage.

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Hi. I planted a Hinoki chamiecyparis in early June that I bought from you. It’s taken beautifully until I just noticed some of the branches are turning yellow. Omg. It looks like it is dying. But I notice other conifers also turn brown and shed. Is this what’s happening to my tree? Will new growth appear in spring? Please let me know I am so worried I’ve lost this sweet little tree. Thank you.

I is normal for them to lose some inner foliage as they age but it could also be suffering from dryness.  It is very dry out there but most folks aren’t aware of it since it is fall.  I’d suggest some deep watering under it and any other evergreens you have in your landscape.  Let a hose trickle under it for  few hours a couple time a week.  If these plants go into winter dehydrated, the chances that they’ll survive until spring is greatly reduced.  Fall watering isn’t something people are used to but, these days, it seems to be an important step…especially for the first few years after planting.

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My 4yr old sky pencils have started dying in the past 3 months any suggestions.

Ii has been a VERY DRY summer and fall so they are probably suffering from drought.  Leave a hose trickling at the base of each one for a couple of hors a couple of time a week or winter will finish them off.  Also make sure that mulch hasn’t been piled up against the bark.  Brush any soil mulch back from the trunk until you find the original soil level and keep it that way.  Mulch or dirt piled against the bark of the plant slowly strangles it.

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What size planter/container is needed for a small evergreen tree to survive outside here in Middle Tennessee? Thanks!

There is no size that can guarantee the survival of an size evergreen there or anywhere that will have repeated freeze/thaw cycles.  If it is an easy winter maybe but rarely….this is why you don’t see it done.

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my citrus tree has produced, I think, a number of fast-growing and unwanted shoots known as water shoots. The centre trunk above these has now died. Is there anything to be done?

Like many fruit trees, your citrus tree is probably grafted…the stem or trunk is grafted to the root stock of another type of citrus.  The water shoots are probably from the root stock and will not resemble or produced the fruit that the now-dead trunk.  If you can determine that one of the shoots is growing from above the graft, prune the other shoots away and promote that one to replace the dead trunk.  If they are all growing from below the graft, there is nothing that can be done.  Water shoots should be trimmed away as soon as they appear so the roots continue to push nutrients and water through the graft rather than to have it diverted to the “suckers” or “water shoots”.

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Looking for high density slow maintenance tree/ bush to block noise from neighbors. Prefer a growth of under 12 ft to not block the view beyond neighbors house.

Arborvitae is commonly used for this…as long as the area is sunny.  In shade, hemlock can do the job but will need to be trimmed regularly to keep it low and dense.

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I have 2-3 YO knockout roses in my yard in Myrtle Beach SC. They have been cut down to 6-8 inches for the winter. Will that hurt the plant?

They will bounce back but they needn’t be cut back so hard.  I’d leave them be in the fall and cut them back in spring to remove an shoots that didn’t make it through winter.

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What advice can you give me about planting willow trees. It is well known that they grow fast and have pretty invasive and destructive root systems. 1. I’ve also read they are tend to blow down in high winds, or branches break and are very messy and drop a lot of twigs is this true? 2. How far should 4-6 ft high starter trees be planted away from each other? 3. How far should willow trees be planted away from Fences, underground power lines, underground cable and telephone and plumbing lines so roots do not to cause any problems a few years down the road?4. How long will a starter tree 4-6 ft high with a trunk of a half inch to an inch wide take to (the thickness of your thumb) take to produce enough cover for a privacy wall? 5.How tall will the willow grow, how large will the canopy grow and how far out will the root system grow from the base of the tree? 6. would you suggest a better tree or shrub like a 5-7 ft high aborvitea that would offer more cover and privacy right from the start and be less of a problem than the willow tree? Thanks

1. I’ve also read they are tend to blow down in high winds, or branches break and are very messy and drop a lot of twigs is this true?

Yes they can be messy but no messier than a maple tree for instance.

2. How far should 4-6 ft high starter trees be planted away from each other?

25′ or more

3. How far should willow trees be planted away from Fences, underground power lines, underground cable and telephone and plumbing lines so roots do not to cause any problems a few years down the road?

60′ or more…especially from water and sewer lines or leach fields

4. How long will a starter tree 4-6 ft high with a trunk of a half inch to an inch wide take to (the thickness of your thumb)  take to produce enough cover for a privacy wall?

This is not a good use for willows since they need to be planted so far apart.  An established weeping willow can grow several feet a year.

5.How tall will the willow grow, how large will the canopy grow and how far out will the root system grow from the base of the tree?

They grow to 40′ tall with a 35′ spread…at least

6. would you suggest a better tree or shrub like a 5-7 ft high aborvitea that would offer more cover and privacy right from the start and be less of a problem than the willow tree?

Large Green Giant Arborvitae will be a better option.  More on them HERE

 

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I would like to plant a row of tall evergreens in my back yard for privacy. What would be the tallest evergreen you can suggest and what time of year can they be planted?

As long as the area gets at least 4 hours of sun per day, Green Giant Arborvitae would be the best choice.  They can be planted anytime the ground can be dug but spring is the best time so they have a chance to establish a root system before winter.  More on them HERE.

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Hi,I have 3 Canadian Hemlocks that I planted about 9 years ago. They are now at about 20 feet tall. For complicated reasons to do with a neighbor I need to “top” them at about 12-14 feet.Can you give any advice about the proper way to do this; i.e., how much to take, angled cut, covering the open cut for protection, time of year?Thanks,Frank in Schoharie County

Early spring would be the best time for this so you’ll want to tackle this soon.  You don’t want to cut it back more than 1/3 so you could get them down to 14 without shocking them.  Make you cuts just above a branch intersection, no need to paint the cut after.  Here’s  link that you might find helpful.  http://www.gardensalive.com/product/bringing-a-line-of-hemlocks-down-to-size/you_bet_your_garden

 

Also, here’s a good post on pruning basics including the “angled cut” you’ll use.

https://www.lowes.com/projects/gardening-and-outdoor/prune-trees-and-shrubs/project

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Hello ~ Looking for 8-ft to 10-ft Green Giant Thuja. Is this a tree you have? and what is the price? Thank you.

The largest we’ll have this year will be 10 gallon potted and they are usually about 7′.  They will be selling for $100 each

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I have several evergreen shrubs (?yews?) in my landscaping that have been there for 20 years. This spring I noticed that many of the needles have gone brown and/or fallen off, but there is new growth on the tips of almost all branches. Can these be saved, and what can I do to make them more attractive? Will a good pruning take care of it? Thank you!

A lot of the symptoms evergreens are showing this spring are a result of the very dry and mostly snowless winter we had.  To help them fill in you can use the method described HERE.  Consider building burlap windbreak for them this fall to protect them in case we have another dry winter.  Water them extra in the fall as well if things are dry by then.

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Peter, What are the best type shrubs that should be planted in full sunlight, and do not grow higher than four feet max?

Look into the smaller varieties of Spirea.  Also Potentilla and there are also miniature rose varieties that would love a full sun location.

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Peter,With all the rain and snow melt, the ground around my eight year old six foot high Norway Spruce pine tree has soften. The tree is planted in a wetland that is dry 90 percent of the year except for this time of year. I noticed that as the tree is getting taller it’s catching the winds and the wind is tipping over the tree. The tree has surface roots that aren’t holding it upright. I’m thinking of digging it up and transplanting the pine tree.But, I don’t want to kill the pine tree. If I don’t move it, it’s eventually going to tip over. Do you think now is a good time to dig it up and transplant it on drier ground or will that definitely kill it? Any help is greatly appreciated. Maureen Flanagan

FWIW,  a  spruce is not a pine.  If you are going to move it, get to it right away before it comes out of dormancy.  Get the new hole where you are going to plant it all ready so the tree spends the minimum time out of the ground.   Add some Bio-Tone starter food to the planting hole.   Take as large of a root ball as you can.  For a 6′ tree, the root ball you want to take will be about 4′-5′ wide and 3′ deep…yes, big.  If you let the dirt all fall away, that will shred the small root hairs off and the tree will not be likely to survive.  Once planted, make sure to water in thoroughly and keep it moist all season…especially during the heat of summer.

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What is the best feeder for arborvitae?

Arborvitae are an evergreen but an odd one that doesn’t prefer acid soil.  Espoma Plant-Tone would be the best choice for them

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It is mentioned it is more difficult to overwinter climbing roses, Could you give some tips. I have to succeed I have mowed down my wife roses one time too often! f

The long stems or canes of climbing roses need to be removed from their trellis and laid on the ground and mulched to make it through winter in this climate .  Here’s a link that you should find helpful.

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We are from the East Greenbush area and wondering if there are any Crepe Myrtles thatwould be ok to plant in this area.

Sorry, crepe myrtle isn’t hardy enough to survive winter here in USDA hardiness zone 5.

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Hello sir, I live in a trailer park and am not allowed to plant trees on the propertymy question is can I plant some spruce or evergreen in large pots? Will they survive outside in the winters, how about a birch tree?Thanks

Hardy plants cannot survive winter in pots unless the pots are sunk into the ground right up to the top of the pot.  You’d be better off with annual flowers in containers for the summer

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How big are you weeping Japanese maples in you 5 gallon pots? Can I pick them up in a car? Or do I need a truck?

They are 2.5′ to 4′ tall.  A truck would be best to avoid breaking any of the branches.  We’ll help you load it of course.

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I need a low maintenance,small, hardy shrub. Can you help me.. thank you.

Honestly, you have so many options that you’d be better off dropping by the nursery and talking to one of the salespeople there. Make sure you know how much sun the area gets so they can make realistic suggestions.

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I have a very scraggly miss Kim lilac. It was in too much shade. We just removed the tree causing the state. The lilac is about 4ft tall with just some leaves and buds on top. Should I cut it back?

I’d feed it with some Bio-Tone food and give it some time.  Now that it is getting more light, it may fill in on it’s own.  You could trim it lightly after the flowering period if you wish.

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HelloDoes Hewitts carry lilac trees?

We have a lovely selection of lilac bushes and we have Japanese Tree Lilacs coming in later this week.  Call Friday to verify that they have arrived.

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Do you carry Weeping Cherry trees? And if so, how much are they?

Yes we do.  We have some right now in approx. 10 Gallon Pots for $115 and some 5′-6′ arriving this week that will be $100

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My Wife like lilacs, my yard is heavily loaded with Clay soil you can dig over 4 feet anywhere and still hit solid clay. I thought that might be causing premature root rot. Any suggestion on planting a lilac in this type of soil or are we just not going to be able to plant one? Previously I have dug a large hole much bigger than the plant I am planting, added crushed stone to the bottom, then filled it in with good topsoil mixture and then planted the lilac.

First make sure that the area gets a MINIMUM of 8 hours of direct sun per day…more is even better. The dig your hole wide like you have been but not so deep.  Dig it only deep enough that, when you place the root ball into the hole, about 1/3 of the root ball is ABOVE grade.  This will allow the root system to breath even if the lower part of it is sitting in soggy clay soil below.  Don’t add gravel or any other amendments to the soil other than Espoma Bio-Tone Starter Food.   Gravel will not help in this situation.  Naturally you’ll need to watch or dry weather and keep it moist during dry spells.  After a few years, it should be self-sufficient. Lilacs can and do grow in clay soils.

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Do you sell Eastern Redbud trees?

Yes, we sell Eastern Redbud trees starting at $30 for a 6’-7’ size

 

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I purchased a dozen 5-6′ emerald arborvitae from your store two weeks ago today, and planted them two days later as per the instructions. They have been watered at the base everyday except for rainy days, of which there has been several. Today I noticed a small section across a few branches on one of the trees that had turned black. Any idea what this could be and how to correct it?

It has been a very wet spring…water them enough to keep the soil cool and moist but not soggy wet.  Also make sure that you didn’t bury them too deep when you planted them or piled mulch up against the bark.  get under there and brush away any bark mulch or soil until you see original soil that the plant came in and keep it that way.  Piling soil or mulch against the bark slowly strangles the plant.  More on that HERE.  Trim away any of the discolored foliage.

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Are there any wisteria varieties that would be suitable for Guilderland, NY?If not, could you suggest alternative vines? We already have clematis. TIA

Yes, and we do stock them but I’d call before you go to verify that they are still in stock.  The phone # at our Guilderland store is 456-7954.  If they have sold out, they can tell you which store has them still.

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Hi, I would like to buy 4 foot abroviritty (spell) shubs for a privacy fence so to speak.. my question is the location is in a shady area with tow pine trees. Is this a area wharer they wont thrive with the lack of sun? Also it is recommended to space them 3 feet apart.. how do u get good coverage privacy-wise in doing so? Thank you in advance! Regards,Annemarie

Arborvitae wouldn’t be a good choice for a shady area…they prefer full sun and will get leggy and thin.  A better choice would be hemlock which thrive in shade.  Space them about 8′ apart and trim the tops as soon as they get to the height you want and they will fill in the space between with side growth.

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I bought a Dogwood on 4/28. and planted immediately. A month later and it still has not flowered or leafed out.There are some flower buds on it but they appear to be dead. Likewise with the last inch of so of most branches. The leaf buds don’t show any sign of being ready to open. What’s up?

It doesn’t look good.  Give it another week or two and if nothing happens bring it back with the receipt for an exchange.   Check the base to make sure you didn’t bury it too doop or that mulch isn’t piled up against the bark of the trunk.  The original spot on the trunk whet it entered the soil want to still be visible at all times.  More on that HERE.

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Could the flowers that fall from a jacaranda tree into the pool be eating up the chlorine in the pool?

Yes, your tree flowers or any other leaves or plant material will add nitrogen to the water causing a loss of chlorine.

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Hi I recently moved to Clifton park and I’m looking for a fast growing bush/shrub to grow along my chain link fence for privacy. I like the looks of a spiera bush but not sure if it’s fast growing or right for the high drainage soil. Can you make a recommendation?

Spirea come in many varieties…some are tall so stop by and read some tags. Weigela is also another good choice. For something larger consider lilacs too. Many people like evergreen Arborvitae for privacy hedges and we have lots of size options.

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can a weeping cherry tree and morning glorys live in harmony?

They can unless the morning glory is bindweed…more on controlling that HERE.

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Looking for a fast growing colorful bush as a border to my chain link fence for privacy. Great if it flowers!

The large varieties of Spirea would work, Weigela and Forsythia atre other good option…all three are flowering varieties.  Even larger would be a hedge of lilacs.

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Hi! My wife and I are looking for privacy trees that range around10 to 12 foot. What would be our best option?Thank you!Dan

Emerald Green Arborvitae are a great evergreen privacy hedge reaching 8′-9′.  Lilacs could also be used but are bare in winter.

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Need a privacy bush or tree for a corner spot mostly shade (sun from 3:00 on). 6 foot fence is there, but need something to grow quick above fence, so 10 ft tall or so and full and bushy. Was thinking about Rose of Sharon? Thoughts??

That’s not enough sun for an althea (Rose of Sharon) to perform well…it will get leggy and not flower much.  Better choices would be a Green Giant arborvitae or Hemlock,,,both evergreens that can tolerate shade to a degree.

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My neighbor sprayed for weeds along there fence. Now my Annabelle Hydrangeas are all reacting – weird looking leaves – wilting and deformed. What should I do? My instincts are to cut them back to about 10″ and feed and water them.. Help – we have a wedding here in July

It sounds like it might be weed killer overspray.   You can cut them back as you mentioned.  Wash them off with lots of water to get any residual herbicide off the.  Naturally, there will be no flowers on them this year.

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I planted a tulip poplar tree about 9 years ago i front of my house. I hasn’t bloomed yet, but I understand that it will be years before it does. About 12′ away I planted a Kousa Dogwood tree which is doing very well. This year, I notice that the bottom 4 or 5 branches are producing NO leaves!! It is dying? What should I do? I’ve taken a few pictures of it, but cannot email them but if necessary I can bring them to you to show you. Please help! Thanks. Joan

If it is just a few small branches at the bottom but the majority of the tree is healthy, I wouldn’t be too concerned.  As a tree grows, it shades out it lower branches and they may die off.  If this is the case just prune them off.  If the branches represent a large portion of the foliage then look for any small bumps on the branches which may be scale.  Also, make sure that you haven’t piled any mulch up against the trunk of the tree…this will strangle the tree and gradually kill it.  Brush any mulch away from the bark until you find the original soil level and keep it that way.  You can send pictures of the problem to me at peterb@hewitts.com

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I read your article describing using cardboard under mulch. Does the cardboard hinder the absorption of water before it starts to breakdown?Thank you for all your helpful hints

No, there are seams that allow water to get through.  The cardboard and mulch on to of it help preserve moisture preventing moisture loss from evaporation.  This method wouldn’t be a good idea in a dry climate since the cardboard wouldn’t break down quickly.  Here in the damp northeastern US, the cardboard or paper breaks down quickly enough that it poses no problems.

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We are looking for several rhododendrons of any color other than purple. We would prefer red, orange or pink. Unable to find them locally. We would be glad to travel a ways to find the colors we want. Does Hewitt’s carry any color other than purple?

We have pink and some white ones.  I would be best to call the store you plan on visiting to confirm which they currently have in stock since the selection varies daily this time of year.  HERE’s a link to our store locations and phone numbers.

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when is it a good time to cut down the hight on hews

Yews are best trimmed in late winter or early spring up until mid June.

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Hi I have about 10 ash trees in my hedge row about 3 foot high , can I keep cutting them with my hedge or will I have to remove them thankyou

It would be best to cut them to the ground and keep removing any foliage until they die.  Eventually they will overwhelm the hedge.

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How do I get rid of the grubs on my Vibernum without hurting my cats…are there any sprays that are non toxic? I hear that pyrethrum is fatal to cats of which I have 3.

A long as you don’t actually spray the cats with Pyrethrin, it won’t kill them.  Keep them inside while your spraying and until the shrubs dry and all will be well.  You also use insecticidal soap but your shouldn’t spray the cats with that either.  Read and follow the directions on the label.

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Can I cut a 10 yar old weiglia to the ground and have it regrow or pull it out and start new?

It would be best to do this after frost in fall or in early spring before it leafs out.  Doing it now, at the peak of the growing season will likely kill it.  I’m not sure why you want to do this though.  You could get it to fill in by cutting it back about 1/3 after it finishes flowering.

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I got a weeping cherry tree about a month ago. It is in a planter (planted into it by the garden center here in NY where I bought it). Within the last two weeks it has begun shedding its leaves at an alarming rate. Some branches are seemingly dying – with the leaves turning brown, though remaining on the branches, while green leaves fall off. A few leaves have also turned yellow and fallen off. The tree is in its planter on my patio on the 5th floor in full sun – what on earth is wrong and what (if anything) can I do to save this tree, that I love?? I should mention I know nothing about gardening.

It sounds like it is drowning to me.  Either the planter has no hole in the bottom for water to escape or the planter is sitting in a saucer that is being kept full of water.  Make sure that there is a hole in the bottom of the planter or make sure that it doesn’t sit in a saucer of water for more than a few minutes.  Plants drown quickly just as we do.  It has been very rainy this spring so attention needs to be paid to emptying the saucers below potted plants to prevent drowning.  The soil should be kept just moist but not soggy wet.  Saucers under plants are there to prevent damage to floors and carpeting.  When you water, any water in the saucer that doesn’t soak back up into the soil within a few minutes should be dumped out.

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Peter – my sand cherry appears to have contracted honey fungus or Armillaria. What’s the best way to treat this and can I get something at Hewitts?

Sadly there is no treatment for honey fungus…removal of the plant and roots is suggested since it will spread.  HERE A LINK to more about honey fungus.  There is anecdotal evidence that introducing mycorrhizae  fungi may also have some benefit.  That is available at Hewitt’s in the form of Bio-tone plant food.  There’s no guarantee that it will cure the sand cherry but might be worth a try.

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Dear Peter, About 6 years ago, I planted 18 Cornus kousa (Chinese dogwood) shrubs in a sunny spot. They have grown well (4 to 8 + feet), have lots of leaves, are bushy, look healthy…..but have never bloomed. Is this species really slow to bloom, or is there perhaps something I could add to the soil? Thanks for considering my question!

It may be that they aren’t well established enough to flower yet.  You can try feeding them with a high phosphorus food like Espoma Flower Tone by pounding holes in the soil out away from the trunks as far as the outermost branch tips in several places (see the package for how much to use).  However, there are several other factors to consider  HERE’s a link to a good article that covers all the bases.

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I have a flowering crab apple tree. A couple of years ago the ice broke it. We left it alone and now it has grown into two different trees? One is a regular Apple tree which has apples on it this year and the other half is the flowering crab apple? What happened? I can send a picture of it?

Apple trees are grafted.  Probably the root stock is sending up its own growth which will not match the flowers or fruit of the crabapple variety that was grafted to it.  You could send me a picture…  peterb@hewitts.com

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Hi, We bought a snow fountain weeping cherry tree last year and I just noticed recently that it has started to look a little sick and today I noticed the leaves are turning brown. I was wondering if this was maybe a fungal infection from the ridiculous amount of rain this year? If so, how do I save it?

It could be…fruit tree are highly susceptible to fungal diseases and the wet, humid summer we’re having just makes it worse.  You might want to bring a sample in to the garden center so they can see it and suggest one of the several fungicides we stock.

Another thing to check is if there is mulch piled up against the bark of the tree at the base.   This strangles the tree and slowly kills it…which can result in browning leaves.  It also weakens the tree making it easier for pests and diseases to take hold.  Get down there and brush the mulch away from the trunk of the tree until you find the original soil and keep it that way.  If the bark can’t “breathe”, the tree struggles badly.  It seems to be a recent trend to pile mulch in piles against the trunks of trees and it is a deadly trend.

 

 

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We recently had a tree down in front of our house and are looking to replace it with something that will provide shade and possibly fruit. We were looking at the Lapin Cherry tree but can’t seem to find any around here and wanted to make sure that it was possible to have in the yard and that it would survive. Any help would be appreciated

With a mature height of only 15′ Lapins wouldn’t be much of a shade tree.  Most fruit tree sold now are either dwarf or semi-dwarf so not much useable shade there either.  I guess you’ll need t decide which is more important…shade or fruit.

For an attractive not-too-tall shade tree you could consider the Redbud.  The eastern redbud grows to a height of 20–30′ and a spread of 25–35′ at maturity.  It also has lovely flowers in spring.

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My “Rhodie” has been uprooted due to construction, it is healed in temporarily with a dirt covering what can i do to preent it from dying

If the soil has fallen away from the root system as opposed to being carefully dug and balled, the chances of it surviving are slim.  Even if it was carefully dug and balled while it was actively growing in mid-summer, the shock would probably kill it.  The best you can do is keep it in the shade and keep it moist.  You could also spray it with Wilt-Stop, a substance that prevents some moisture loss through the leaves.   Good luck.

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We planted a maple tree approximately 6 years ago that n our yard. My husband accidentally hit and injured the trunk tearing apart part of it. The tree has continued to grow normally with the exception of the trunk. It has the large gash growing as well which has developed a cavern. What should I do to ensure the tree will grow to be healthy. I was told by a friend to let nature heal it and it’ll be fine. Please advise on your thoughts. Thank you very much.

The bark may regrow but, if the “cavern” is the inside of the tree rotting away then that is the larger issue. It will likely never recover and it will become a hazard to anything nearby since it will be structurally unsound and a strong wind will bring it down.  You should consult with a licensed arborist to see what your options are.

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Many of my knockout rose bushes are being devoured by aphids and I fear they will never recover. I found a couple knockout bushes on summer clearance. Would I be able to dig up some of the near dead bushes(aphid infested) and plant new ones in their place or might they run the risk of infestation as well?

If there are aphids in the area, the new roses will need to be treated or they aphids will attack them as well.  Roses are prone to pests so you’ll need to resign yourself to regular spraying.  Neem oil is an organic spray that will get rid of the aphids as well as other insect pests.  To protect bees, avoid spraying any flowers that are open and spray early in the day before the bees are active.  HERE’S a link to the product…read and follow the directions on the label.

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I am looking to plant a mature Tree in my front yard. I would like to know the approximate cost of transporting and planting a Japanese maple or cherry blossom tree. Thank you.

We don’t sell or plant mature trees.  For a quote on something that large you’ll want to contact Bob’s Trees in Galway NY.

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Hi Peter! I am hoping that you can help me in diagnosing a problem with a 25 year old Japanese Cherry tree. The leaves have begun to turn yellow and drop. Our soil is primarily clay and shale, but the tree was planted in a prepared garden. It is situated about ten feet from a road, so I am wondering if winter salt could be an issue. Any help that yo can provide would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Laurie Jacobson llkj@nycap.rr.com

There are several reasons this can happen.  Chances are that it is a fungal disorder due to the very damp summer we’ve had.  Here’s a link that my help you determine what it is:  https://ask.extension.org/questions/207426

I doubt that it is salt damage…that would have shown up earlier in the season.

Cherries, like other fruit trees are susceptible to a host of insects and diseases so starting a spraying program in spring before symptoms show up is the best approach.  Also make sure that you haven’t planted it too deep or piled mulch up against the bark.  You should always be able to see the original  “crown” or spot on the stem where the original soil level was.

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my rose of Sharon was planted and looked amazing for 4 weeks. Big flowers and lots of them, dark lush green leaves. Recently, the leaves have started to turn yellow and dry up and there are only a few flowers left. What should I do?

Check to make sure that it wasn’t buried too deep.  Get down and brush any mulch or soil away from the trunk until you find the original soil level where the trunk entered the soil in the pot or ball that the shrub came in.  Bark or soil piled against the bark of trees and shrubs slowly strangles the plant.  Keep it watered through fall until it goes dormant after a couple of frosts.  Althea also leaf out VERY late in spring so be patient then…the first leaves won’t show up until the lilacs in your area are starting to bloom.

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what is the best plant for a low hedge that is intended to be trimmed to a box shape. Will be on the north side of the house. Picking plants for our new home from the Saratoga store.

The usual answer for this would be Boxwood.  However, you mention that this is the north side of the house.  If it is to be right next to the house, there will be no direct sun so there really isn’t anything that will fill that bill.  If it is away from the house several feet there is the possibility that Boxwood would work but only if the area is sheltered for harsh winter winds from the north.   It is a tough location.  Low growing junipers are another possibility but only if there’s enough light…they can handle the wind much better than boxwood.

I’d suggest taking some pictures of the area and an accurate idea of how “north” it actually is and have a chat with Chris or Ed at our Wilton store.   A little shift to “northeast” will add wind protection and some morning sun to the mix.  “Northwest” adds more wind and pushes you toward junipers.  North facing walls are always the most limiting.

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Hi !Can you transplant lilac trees in the fall? If so, what are some good tips for transplanting. Thank you

You’ll want to wait until the lilacs have gone dormant in fall after a couple of frosts and after the leaves have fallen off. Get the hole ready where you want to move them to so they spend  a minimum  amount of time out of the ground.  Amend the hole with Bio-tome starter food.  Take as large of a root ball as you can manage when you dig up the lilac being carful that the soil doesn’t fall away.  This will rip off the fine root hairs the lilac needs to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil.  Place it into the waiting hole and fill in the soil around it.  Make sure it isn’t sunk down any deeper than it was previously.  The soil level on the trunk should be exactly the level that it was previously.  Dirt or mulch piled against the bark slowly strangles the plant.  Tamp down the soil and water it in thoroughly to  remove any air pockets from the soil and keep it moist until cold weather arrives.

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I just received, as a gift, a large lavender Rose Topiary. Is it safe to plant now (Sept 11) and if not, how do I care for it through the winter months? I live in Fort Plain NY. Thank You Robert Hoffman

Tree roses need to be trenched to make it through winter HERE’S A LINK that describes the procedure.  You should sink the potted rose into the soil up to the top of the pot now so it can gradually go dormant with the season so it will be ready for the trenching later in October before the ground freezes.  In spring you can remove it from the pot and plant it but it will need to be trenched before winter every year.

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My burning bush is being stripped of a third of its leaves and I found another one that has lots all leaves on a couple branches. The lost leaves go from bottom to top.

Burning bushes are quite robust to the point that they are considered invasive.  It is possible that, with out wet summer, they have picked up a fungal disease.  If that ids the case, they will bounce right back next spring.  Another possibility is that bark mulch has bee piled up against the bark of the bush…this slowly strangles the plant.  Get down there and brush the mulch away from the trunk of the bush until you find the original soil level and keep it that way.

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I have three 80′ Norway spruce trees in my yard. Despite them dropping about a million pinecones, only three babies have taken root. Of course all three are between sidewalk cracks or next to the air conditioner pad. I’d love to save all three, but they won’t survive where they are. Can I put them in a pot (or three) for the winter and plant outside in the spring? Thank you! Samantha

You should wait until cold weather sends them into dormancy to dig the spruce seedlings up. You can pot the up and winter them over outside in the pots but it would be better to just plant them into the ground before winter.  This will give them the cold, dormant period they need and eliminate the worry that they might dry up in the pots.

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Two years ago, we planted 6 beautiful knockout rose bushes. They boom beautifully in June, then stop. We have tried everything: different fertilizers, no fertilizers, pruning, not pruning. However, we cannot get them to continually bloom. What are we doing wrong?

Roses need regular feeding with a high phosphorus food like Jack’s Blossom Booster.  Regular removal of spent flowers is also required.  It sounds like you’re doing all this.  The only other thing that can prevent re-blooming is insufficient direct sun…there is no compromise.  They need a MINIMUM of 8-9 hours of direct sun during summer and more is better…they can’t get too much sun.  The fact that the bloom well early leads me to believe that they are getting too much shade one the leave emerge on the trees.  You’ll need to find and even sunnier place for them or remove whatever is shading them.

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Can I still plant perennials now?

Absolutely!  This is a great time to plant perennials…just keep them well watered since it has been so dry.  This is also the time to dig and divide overgrown perennials or move them to new locations if need be.

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If you have pine trees taken down, and the tree company chips them up, can you use those pine chips around flowers, shrubs or will they draw termites? I live in the south east.

I don’t think that they will draw termites but it may acidify the soil and rob some nutrients from the soil as it breaks down.  It would be better used under shrubs and trees than among flowers and vegetables.

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We purchased a red bud tree from Hewitts this past summer. It had a great summer and now its leaves have fallen. Question. Should we protect it wit burlap or other ways for this coming winter? Please advise.

You shouldn’t need windbreak but you might want to wrap the trunk with some tree wrap to protect the bark from mice, voles and rabbits.  I describe this toward the bottom of this blog  post:  http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/the-fall-cover-up/7236/

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Upon a recent walk around our yard we found that a newly planted “pussy willow” was severely girdled presumably by rabbits living nearby. All four of the stems are completely bare from just above the base up to approximately 5-6 inches of the 4 foot tall plant. Can anything be done to save the pussy willow? Pruning spray or any type of bandage?Thank you

The bad news is that if the bark has been stripped off al the way around the stems than those stems cannot be brought back. The good news is that pussywillows are quite robust and new shoots will appear in spring and grow quickly to replace those you’ve lost.  Once the new growth appears in spring, cut away the ones the rabbits destroyed.   To prevent this next year you’ll want to take measures to keep this from happening again by surrounding the plant with deer netting anchored to the ground so that it will also prevent rabbits from getting at the plant.  More on that here:  http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/the-fall-cover-up/7236/

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If you have a small 3″ green giant arborvitae and you want to protect it from snow falling on it, can you wrap it with burlap without it being affected without direct light or will the tree turn brown like the inside? email address:

Snow falling from the sky on your arborvitae isn’t a problem Snow sliding off a roof and crashing down on it is.  If they are located where this will happen, then a wooden shrub cover will be needed to protect it.  If it is in a location where deer can find it then surrounding it with deer netting will be necessary.  Wrapping it with burlap for the winter will protct it from wind if it is in a very windy location and also prevent deer damage.  Wrapping in burlap for the dormant season has nothing to do with the interior turning brown.  More on winter protection here:  http://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/the-fall-cover-up/7236/

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How do I winterize a weeping cherry tree? Should I cover it? It’s about 4 feet tall.

The biggest threat to a weeping cherry is critters…mice and voles can eat the bark off the trunk and deer can nibble the branch tip; eating off the buds for springs flowers.  You can wrap the trunk with tree wrap to stop the mice and voles and surround the tree with deer netting if there are deer in your area,  More on winter protection HERE.

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Should I cover my boxwood for the winter?

The biggest threat to boxwood is drying winter wind.  Building a burlap windbreak will prevent this.  The burlap shouldn’t cover the top of the boxwood so that snow and cover it a help protect it and replenish any moisture loss.  More on winter protection HERE.

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I bought a property this summer on which there is a gorgeous and very healthy Japanese Maple (I’m almost positive it’s an Emperor 1), standing about 7′-8′ tall. As of today, 12/2, it has yet to lose its leaves. They are dried and shriveling but even with the very windy conditions we’ve had of late, the leaves are still strongly attached to the tree. I want to do everything I can to ensure it survives the winter and continues to thrive. I am concerned that it still has foliage. A friend of mine put mulch around the trunk to shield it from eventual frozen ground, but I am rethinking that, unsure if it will help or hurt. Additionally, should I wrap the trunk? (Approx. 5″ diameter)Any thoughts or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you!

The first thing to do is get out there and BRUSH THAT MULCH AWAY FROM THE TRUNK.  Mulch piled against the bark of the tree is very unhealthy and, if left, it will slowly cut of the flow of moisture and nutrients through the bark and slowly strangle and kill the tree.  The ground is going to freeze and no amount of mulch is going to stop that from happening.   Jap Maple need that cold period and don’t need protection from it.  The most I’d suggest is wrapping the trunk for the winter with some paper tree wrap to prevent mice, voles, rabbits and deer from nibbling on the bark.

Don’t worry one bit about the old leaves staying on the tree.  They will fall off at just the right time…your tree knows what it is doing.  Here’s a link to more on winter protection tactics.

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I have 3 azalea plants why does 2 of them have green leavez and 1 has purpleish colored leaves now that is heading into winter. Whats the difference?

Assuming they are all the same variety, the difference is due to the different amounts of sun they got during the growing season.  If they are different varieties then that would be the reason.  Be aware that some azaleas will even lose some or even all their leave over winter.

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is it possible to root winterberry from a cutting

Here’s a link to an article that does a great job describing how to root winterberry cuttings: 

 

 

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I would like to purchase a tree to give to a friend in memory of his son and was thinking about an Oak tree, because of strength. Any thoughts and suggestions

An oak tree would be a wonderful tree to give.  They live a very long time and don’t need a lot of care since they aren’t prone to too many disease or insect problems.

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do you sell nellie stevens holly trees

Since they are hardy only to USDA hardiness zone 6 and we are in zone 5, we do not sell them.  They will not survive our winters.

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when do you start selling lilac trees?

Lilac bushes will all be here by mid to late April.  Our Japanese Tree lilacs will be here by May 1st.

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Do you test dirt if I bring it in to the store? My shrubs are dying.

We sell soil test kits but we don’t test soil. If you want to have a soil test done, I’d suggest UMassAmherst.  Here’s a link to their soil testing service.  https://ag.umass.edu/services/soil-plant-nutrient-testing-laboratory

 

Before you blame the soil I’d check to make sure you haven’t piled mulch up against the bark of the trunks and stems of your shrubs.  This “volcano mulching” is sadly popular lately and slowly chokes off and kills shrubs and trees.

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I have an Elliot pecan tree it is small it lost its leaves during transport this spring will it die or reproduce next year?

It depends on why the leaves came off. If they were simply stripped off but wind then the tree will grow a new set of leaves to replace what was lost.  It is a setback for the tree but shouldn’t cause permanent damage.  Without knowing more that’s about all I can say.

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I purchased a small white pine tree on sale at the end of the season last year. I planted it as instructed with pine mulch underneath the roots and used the Holly tone shrub fertilizer as discussed. I planted it mid November. This spring 95% of the needles on the tree are brown with only a few green needles. Does this mean the tree is dead? Since there are a few green needles should I apply the Holly tone again this spring with the hope of reviving the tree?

That is a tough time for planting.  That there are some green needles is encouraging.  You could add a little more Holly-Tone but what you’ll really need is patience.  Check to makes sure that you didn’t plant it too deep or pile much up against the bark  (more on that HERE) and then be patient.  If there is life left to it, it will start sprouting new growth.  If it gets very dry, water it but mainly be patient.

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Hello,May I ask if you have Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart and White Bleeding Heart for sale? Please let me know. Thank you.

We generally have both types of bleeding heart but aren’t usually available until late April or early May.

 

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Hello,I am looking for 2 trees to buy for a tree ceremony for a wedding at the end of July. I was thinking wisteria or Juniper……but is there any kind of tree that blooms in late summer that would look beautiful with blossoms?Please email me your response, Thanks,Cheryl

Sadly by July all the flowering trees have finished their flowering cycle and are well into producing seed. You might get away with wisteria though.  Another option might be a tree with showy leave like the Tri-color Beech…one of my favorites.  More on them here:  https://www.thespruce.com/tri-color-beech-fagus-sylvatica-3269350

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When do I need to start fertilizing my arborvitae with miracid this spring? Do I need to continue using the spray on miracid all summer like I have in the past or is there another fertilizer I can use? The spray on miracid works very well and my plants always look great as a result and have grown substantially over the last couple of years but it is a lot of work to fertilize regularly with the spray on miracid

Now that your arbs are established, it is time to stop the foliar feeding.  When the ground thaws you can poke some holes in the ground maybe a foot deep and pour in a good, slow release food.  I’d suggest Espoma Tree-Tone or Plant-tone for this.  They are organic and safe.  It will be tempting to use and evergreen food like Holly-Tone but, while arborvitae are evergreens, they don’t prefer acidic soil like most other evergreen so Holly-Tone isn’t the best choice.  You could also feed them again in mid-September if you wish.  Here a link to more on spring feeding

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I planted a Vanderwolf pine last year from you- anything special for fertilizing this spring? Kguay11@gmail.com

When the ground thaws you can poke some holes in the ground maybe a foot deep and pour in a good, slow release food.  I’d suggest Espoma Holly-Tone for this.  It is organic and safe.  You could also feed it again in mid-September  More on spring feeding HERE

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THE FRONT of our house stays in the shade all day- maybe only a couple of hours of sun later in the afternoon and that is it- this is the area along he Foundation- it is very sandy due to the dirt used to backfill around the foundation- had pjms and none survived after the builders put them in- replaced all 6 and all 6 died again- looking for some type of evergreen shrub that we can put in this location that will grow and do well in well drained sandy soil that doesn’t get much sun… help!

he problem with your location is not only that it is shady but that it faces north so plants there are exposed to the harsh, drying winds that blow from the north all winter long. This dies them out so it is no wonder that the PJMs failed there.  The bad news is that there are very few options for that location and none are evergreens.  You might try Clethra, a flowering shrub that likes shade.  It loses its leaves in fall so it won’t have a problem with the wind.  Another option might be the large Hostas like Sieboldiana which gets as large as many shrubs.  As a perennial, it will die to the ground for winter but would de very well in that location.  More on them HERE

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Peter, what is the heartiest low lying perennial ground cover for full morning sun, that will bloom all summer? Thank you!

Lamium is the only one I know of that will flower all summer long.  I comes in a variety of leaf and flower types and colors.  We sell lamium every year among the perennials.  More on them HERE.  

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Why does my peony tree bought as a white flower turn to a lovely cerise flower every 2 years or so? I have had it for about 9years email challamitch@gmail.com

Since tree peonies are grafted plants, there is always the chance that the root stock may send up stems that will produce flowers of a different color.

 

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It is mid April and I live outside San Antonio, Texas and had to replace my roof. I had a need to trim a few small limbs and painted over them minutes afterward on my 150 year old live oak tree. Unfortunately, I just found out from a neighbor on my street that they had to remove two trees due to oak wilt. What are the possibilities of my losing my precious tree?

I’m in Upstate NY and we don’t have Live oaks so you may want to contact an arborist in your area for a more definitive answer. Having said that, I don’t think your minimal pruning and cut sealing would increase the chances of your tree contracting the wilt.  The exposure was brief and the risk minimal IMO.

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It appears that many alberta spruce shrubs have brown areas on them this spring. Is there a solution or will they die?

This is windburn and is pretty common on Albertas, especially after a winter as rough and long as this one.  The needles dry out over the winter and turn brown since the plants are dormant and can’t replenish what moisture has been lost.  Usually they recover and grow new needles but, if the dessication is severe enough sections may not recover and sometimes the entire plant is lost.  Time will tell as spring warms up and they come out of dormancy.  Here’s a link on how to help evergreens recover from winter damage.

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My blue spruce Christmas tree I have had for 2 years doesn’t look very good this year looks brown and dry what can I do to revive it ?

The first thing to do is to get down and inspect where the trunk enters to soil. Make sure that bark or other mulch hasn’t been piled up against the bark of the tree or that the tree hasn’t been planted too deeply.  Brush back any mulch and soil away from the trunk until you fin the original soil that the tree came in and keep it that way.  Depending on how brown the tree is you may be able to save it with an emergency feeding.  More on that here:  https://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/what-happened-to-my-rhododendronhollyazalea/6277/

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We bought and planted a hydrangea tree a few years ago. It did not grow straight and is leaning over to one side. Is there any way to correct this at this point? Can it be dug up and re-planted or would it straighten out using wood stakes and rope?Please email your response to Debra

Straightening it by staking would be the best approach.  . Any solution is may be temporary if the hydrangea is leaning because it is reaching toward the light.  This can often be the case of it is planted against the house.  The plant will lean out as it tries to grow branches out away from the house to grab more sunlight.

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i just bought a wine & rose weigela and was wondering how i should plant it for the first time. what i need to do to it for the planting are need to buy something else for it.and can i used little stones around the shrub Email – mickeymouse.serina25@gmail.com

You can use stone mulch around your shrub as long as they aren’t piled up against the trunk or stems of the plant.  Planting is pretty simple. The main thing is to not bury it too deeply into the soil.  More on that here:  https://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/planting-getting-it-right/7109/

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With the weather finally starting to warm up, when is a good time to take the covers of my rhododendrons? There are still deer prowling in the woods as of yesterday. Last year the shrubs made in through the entire winter only to be devoured by the deer in late March. Hence the covers this past winter. I want to time it so the plants bloom and grow, but don’t want to take them off only to have them become deer fodder. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

On the next nice day, I’d uncover your rhodos so they can start getting some light.  I’d spray them (and the other plants around them) with a good repellent like Bonide Repels-All.  It also come in a hose end sprayer and concentrate if you have your own sprayer  That way can enjoy the plants while training the deer that there is nothing edible in the area and they will stay away.  Spray one more time a month later and you should be good for the summer.

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We are considering planing several arborvitae (or similar types of privacy vegetation). Before we commit to clearing space, buying and planting, how do we know we have the right soil and sunlight for this endeavor? Are these shipped all together and is there planting assistance? Thanks!

Arborvitae require full sun and well drained soil.   We are a cash and carry garden center so don’t ship or plant.  You can ask the manager at the garden center about delivery since it can often be arranged if an employee has a truck.

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We have a beautiful Rhodo that needs to be drastically cut back or removed. How do I cut it back without killing it? Is it possible to propagate new plants from cuttings? How would I do that?

Rather than spending the next while typing, I’m going to provide you with a couple of links to information provided by the American Rhododendron Society.

First, here’s their page on pruning Rhododendron.

Here’s their link on rooting cuttings. Good luck with that 😉

 

 

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Hi Peter we believe are Blue Spruce Pine Trees have a type of needle cast disease. They seem to be dying from the bottom up and from the trunk out. We are looking to have an Arborist come out and treat if possible. Please let us know your thoughts. Paul and Lisa from Broadalbin, NY. My email is . Thank you for any input.

Here’s a link to more on needle cast:

 

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

 

Calling an arborist would be a good idea. One thing to check first is where the trunk meets the soil.  Make sure that, when the tree wasn’t planted too deeply or that dirt wasn’t piled up against the trunk.  Likewise check that mulch hasn’t been piled up against the bark of the trunk.  Both these situations slowly “strangle” the tree and may cause symptoms similar the needle cast.  Brush back the mulch and soil until you find the original soil the plant came in or the root flare and make sure to keep it that way.

 

Here’s a link to a great video that explains this very well.

 

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-properly-mulch-around-tree

 

If the tree was planted properly and the mulch was applied properly then you want to call the arborist to deal with the needle cast

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why does my rhodudendra bush look dead

Broadleaf evergreens like rhododendron ban get pretty beat up by winter especially if it is planted where it is exposed to a lot of wind.  HERE’S A LINK to a blog post all about this problem and what you can do to help the plant recover

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My wisteria has what looks like some kind of worm (tiny) is crawling on the leaves, killing the leaves..I am in Zone 9 of florida.

There are certainly sprays that can control them.  Since I am in Upstate NY and unfamiliar with pesticides that are legal to apply in Florida, I’d suggest that you take a sample of the worm and the damage it is causing sealed in a baggie to a local garden center and have them help you choose the appropriate solution.

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Am interested in hostas. Empress wu king size or any large leaf ones

I don’t think we have empress Wu but there are some large ones in the selection.  The names are on the pots so you’ll have to “google” them on your phone for a description.  The company that grows them sadly does not include an tag with information…just the name on the side of the pot.

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I would like perhaps four small evergreens to plant in front of a 3 x 8 picket fence. It is a full sun area, well drained soils and it is also windy and exposed.Thanks

That would be a great spot for Junipers which come in a variety of forms from upright to low, and spreading.  Hinoki Cypress would also be a good choice.  If it is a windy exposed location, you’ll want to avoid broadleaf evergreens like rhododendron, holly and boxwood.

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Poke weed growing by porch; if the wind blows on it can a poison pollen infect you? The smell nauseates me

Pokeweed is both edible and poisonous depending the part of the plant.  It is not surprising that the pollen might be irritating but it isn’t likely to poison you from the smell.  To be safe, avoid all contact with the plants and stay away from it while it is in flower since you are having a reaction to the smell.  Here are a couple of links you might find helpful:

http://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/poison/pokeweed-poisoning

Pokeweed: My Backyard Poison

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/pokeweed.htm

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Hello, what is the best kind of evergreen tree for privacy, 6-8 feet tall. Shaded area. Thanks

Probably the best bet would be upright yews although they will struggle in deep shade.  Hemlock will do the job but regular pruning will be required to keep it them low.  There aren’t great options for evergreen that can tolerate shade.

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Best Flowering trees that don’t get too large

Redbud, and there are some crabapple varieties that stay smaller. Kousa Dogwood can be kept on the smaller side with pruning.

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I live on clay soil. I have tried growing magnolia trees, Rose of Sharon’s, and other flowering shrubs. They last 1-3 years, dying more every year until they are dead. They get white and yellow fungus or mold on them which increases by the year. I dont know if that is what’s killing them or if it’s the poor quality of soil. When I do plant them I alway buy the recommended soil and fill the hole at least 5xs the size of the plant so it’s not planted in clay. I’ve been trying for 15years and I’m giving up. I have spent hundreds of dollars on them just to have them die. I know you have the guarantee however I know it wasn’t a poor plant so I don’t take advantage of your replacement guarantee. The only thing I have succeeded at is lilac bushes. My question is, are there any other hardy flowering trees, shrubs or bushes that are as hardy as the lilacs? I’ve tried googling it but I haven’t found a clear answer. Thank you very much for your time!

It isn’t what you’re planting but how you’re planting it. When you dig that giant hole in the clay, you are creating a giant bucket that will fill with water and keep the soil that you’re adding soggy longer that it should be…the plants are drowning in that giant bucket.  In heavy clay soil you’ll actually want to dig a shallower hole so the crown of the plant is slightly above the surrounding grade.  The only amendment you should add at the bottom of the hole would be Bio-Tone starter food.  Save your compost or better soil to fill in the top of the planting hole and to create the mound above grade that the plant will grow its initial roots.. When you fill in around the plant, make sure you don’t pile dirt up against the bark of the trunk of the tree or shrub.  Likewise, keep all mulch away from the trunk or stems.  Soil or mulch piled against the bark of these plants cut off the flow of moisture and nutrients up through the bark slowly strangling the plant.  Here are a link you might find helpful:

 

https://www.gertens.com/learn/Shrubs-Vines/planting-in-clay-sand.htm

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what type of shade tree do you recommend for clay soil

There are lots of choices but maple and Oak are classic shade trees.  You’ll plant a little differently in clay soil though,  Here’s a link that describes how to plant in clay soil and a list of trees that will do well in it:    https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/trees-and-shrubs-for-clay-soil/

 

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Hello. I am redoing the landscaping in my front yard. I want to put in some interesting evergreens but low maintenance in heights of 1 to 3 feet max. I really like euonymus because of the multi colored leaves. I live in southern Saratoga. What suggestions do you have.

You’ll need to investigate the low growing junipers,  Hinoki cypress and other Cypress like gold thread often have colorful foliage.  There are also dwarf varieties of rhododendron that are interesting but will not appreciate very windy locations.

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Last year I bought some food that I was told was specific for Arborvites – I did not save the bag, but this year the clerk gave me an organic for fruit and shade trees – instructions do neot mention the arborvite tree.

You’d think that Holly-Tone, the evergreen food, would be the correct choice for arborvitae. However, Arborvitae are an evergreen that, unlike most other evergreens, does NOT prefer acidic soil.  Holly-Tone contains sulfur, a soil acidifier, so it is inappropriate for Arborvitae.  The correct choice is Tree-Tone, which has no sulfur added.   You are correct though, no mention of Arborvitae is made on the Tree-Tone bag even though it is the correct food them.

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Which variety of peach trees that you sell will produce the sweetest fruit? Thanks

We sell Belle of Georgia, Elberta and Red Haven peach trees.  All are considered sweet…perhaps Belle of Georgia being the sweetest.  They are $30

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My mature magnolia tree is not flowering and loosing lots of leaves that seem dead help

The first thing to do is make sure that bark mulch hasn’t been piled up agains the trunk of the tree.  This is a disturbing trend lately.  Brush any mulch or soil away from the trunk at the base until you find the original soil level and keep it that way.  Beyond that, there are several pests and diseases that can attack magnolias.  HERE’S A LINK you will find helpful.

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Hi! I wanted to plant a sky pencil holly in a large square container. Is it ok to put small to medium size river rocks on the bottom before adding the soil? I don’t want the planter to have a hole on the bottom because it’ll stain the concrete on my porch when watered. Please advice. Thank you in advance! Hope

This won’t work out well.  As carefully as you might water, rain will likely saturate the soil and the plant will drown.  Even if it somehow survives the summer it will die over winter.  Repeated freezing and thawing won’t allow the plant to enter dormancy like it would if planted in the ground.  That repeated freezing and thawing will kill the plant and will also likely crack or shatter the container.

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I recently purchased a red plum tree and it has started losing leaves rapidly and little branches falling off. I planted exactly as you advise. Could over watering be causing this. The leaves also have some small holes on them.

Overwatering (drowning) a plant will indeed cause rapid leaf loss. You want to make sure it doesn’t get too dry but keeping it constantly wet drowns the roots and it will then lose leaves.  Also check to make sure you didn’t bury the stem any deeper than it was in the pot or ball it came in and also that you haven’t piled mulch up around the trunk.  Get down there and brush back any mulch or soil until you find the original soil that the plant came in and keep it that way.  Piling mulch or dirt against the bark of the stem will also cause the tree to lose leaves.  The tiny holes are probably from insects which fruit trees and ornamental fruit trees are attractive to.

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lilac leafs brown patches then dying off back of leaf very thin white worm type pest

The browning of the leaves sounds like Bacterial Blight and can be treated with a copper based fungicide spray.  In future years, treat before it show up to prevent it.     The tiny worms a can be killer with a spray of an insecticide like EIGHT but is likely a minor pest and not causing the brown patches.  Here are a couple of links you should find helpful:

Treating Common Lilac Problems: What To Do For Pests And Diseases Of Lilac

http://www.bonide.com/trusted-brands/eight/

 

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We have 3 pink double knockout rose bushes that we’ve had for 7-8 years. Have always been the highlight of our yard. This year, no blooms; but plenty of healthy looking leaves. They’ve been fertilized with Rosetone and treated with Seven due to something eating the leaves early in the season. What causes no buds or blooms? Thank you!Linda A.

The usual cause for this is not enough sun (8+ hours) but yours have been doing fine so it probably isn’t that. The other most common reason for lack of flowering is that they need more phosphorus.  I’d suggest using the water soluble plant food Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster.  Mix it up in a watering can and soak the soil at the base of the rose once every 10 days.  The formula of the Blossom Booster is 10-30-20 so that will jump start them!

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Last year I bought a Strawberry smoothie Althea . It’s potted in a patio planter. There is no growth on it this year, but below seems to be a lot of small plants. The shrub it self the branches are rubbery not dried out .Is it possible I lost the shrub but it dropped seedling?

Hardy plants like your althea can’t survive the winter in containers.   It is a hardy plant in our area but only if it is in the ground where, once it goes dormant, it stays that way all winter. The repeated freezing and thawing of the pot over the winter. doesn’t allow the plants to properly go dormant to survive winter.  I think it is dead.  They do produce lots of seeds though and the chance are good that that is what is growing below.  If you want them to grow, you should transplant them into the ground somewhere.

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We have a very small back yard which is up a small hill from another home in our development. To provide privacy, economically, would you recommend lilac bushes for a 53′ long span to provide privacy so we cannot look directly down into their home. Do you have any better recommendation. Cost is a factor.

Lilacs would work.  You could also create an evergreen hedge using arborvitae.  For a very tall hedge, you could plant Green Giant Arborvitae Here’s more information on them.

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=b443

Besides being large, they are also not attractive to deer.

 

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2 years ago I purchased a Rose of Sharon Bush. It bloomed beautiful.. At the end of the fall and early winter the deer munch on it. This Spring and Summer it did not produce leaves or buds, but the branches were bendable and plyabe . I did purchase the recemmended fertilizer and follow the instructions. I do have new shoots coming up from what appears to be the root area. But no action on that original tree itself. What can I do? email is

The deer munching on it may have done enough damage to have killed the upper part of the plant. At this point, since it is showing no signs of life, the old stems can be cut off and you can encourage the new shoots to grow and new bush.  Naturally you should start surrounding the plant with deer netting for the winter to prevent the deer from eating it once again.

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A storm caused several limbs of my heavily laden crepe myrtle to droop like a weeping willow and a few of them broke off or split. How do I repair it?

The weight of the water on the foliage and thick flowers are weighting the branches down.  When the water evaporates they should get some relief.  Broken branches should be pruned to make a nice cut that will heal cleanly and as quickly as possible.  Splits are more problematic.  If there are extensive cracks, I’d consult a qualified arborist in your area to discuss your options.

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We have an area in our yard that is always wet. Should we plant a weeping Willow or birch tree to suck up the water?

A Weeping Willow would be the best choice.  A mature Weeping Willow will pull up to 400 gallons PER HOUR of moisture from the soil.  Just make sure there are no water pipes or septic lines in the area…a willow tree will destroy them.

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Something is feasting on my beloved, decades old Harry Lauder Walking Stick! I believe it is over half dead already and I don’t know how to stop the carnage! Is there any way to save what is left? There are holes that look like Chipmunk holes spaced around the base. Help!

It is a little hard to answer from what you’ve asked, is the bark being eaten or just the leaves?  Assuming it is the leaves, I’d suggest spraying it as need when damage is seen wit Bon-Neem which is an organic pray that will kill insects on contact with pyrethrin and the the neem oil in the spray will disrupt any larvae that hatch so they can’t feed and just die.  Neem also will repel insects to a degree.  The rodents burrowing around the root system are also a problem for the tree.  I’d apply an effective rodent repellent like Mole-Max   on the soil around the base of the tree in a circular area about 5′ out from the trunk and water that in heavily.  Any rodents that are burrowing in that area will leave and leave quickly…within a few days.  Re-apply the Mole-Max if there are any signs of rodent activity in the future.   I’d also feed the tree with some organic Tree-Tone food (follow the directions on the label) right away and every spring from now on to help it recover and thrive.

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Hi I want to buy a few Teddy Bear Magnolia saplings. I couldn’t see those at Hewitt’s. Any suggestion when it will be available or where can I get them? Thanks

You’ll never find them at Hewitts since they are only hardy to USDA hardiness zone 7…we are in zone 5. They will not survive our winters.  Mail order them but they can’t get planted outside here.

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My Rose of sharon is very full and looks beautiful, however it is bent over. It has never happened before. I staked it up but I have never seen one do that before.

Right now, your Althea is weighted down with buds and flowers.  Heavy rain adds even more weight to the branches and they flop.  Some pruning can help create a sturdier structure and the time to prune will right after the current bloom cycle ends in a few weeks.  Here’s a link that includes pruning tips for your Althea.

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Hello! My wife and I are looking to plant flowering trees along our driveway. Our soil is mostly clay with semi-poor drainage. What type of flowering tree would you suggest? If possible we would like a tree that flowers 2 times a year. Thank you!

There really aren’t any trees that will bloom multiple times during the same growing season in our area. Some trees that I can suggest for clay soil assuming it is a sunny area are Redbud, Kousa Dogwood, Fringe Tree, Star Magnolia, Saucer Magnolia and Japanese Tree Lilac.

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How long after transplanting a small tree should it be fertilized?

I would have suggested adding some gentle, organic Bio-Tone starter food into the hole at planting time.  I’d poke some holes around the edge of where the hole was when you planted it and put some Bio-Tone into the holes now so the tree can use it to get some roots better established before winter,

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Hello, I have 3-hydrangea’s, 1- bleeding heart bush that I planted to close to the house now that they are growing too big I and I should move them. When is the best time and the best way to do this. I also have a really large, gorgeous Rosa-Sharon tree that got blown over on it’s side but still in the ground by high winds. I want to move it as well but not sure how to do it or when. Can you please give me some direction. Thank you so very much. Sincerely,Joyce

The best time to transplant shrubs is when they are dormant so mid to late October after the leaves have fallen off or as soon as the ground thaws out a warms up a bit in spring before the leaves come out. Transplanting during the growing season usually shocks the plant to death.  Prune away about ¼ of the upper branch structure to help minimize shock at transplanting time. Get the hole dug in the new locations so they spend as little time out of the soil as possible.  Add some Bio-Tone starter food to the new planting holes.  Dig up as large of a root ball as you can handle and wrap in burlap if possible so the dirt doesn’t fall away.  If the dirt falls away, it rips off all the tiny root hairs that take up moisture and nutrients the plant needs.  Replant and water in well.  Here’s a link that you might find helpful as well:  https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-transplant-trees-and-shrubs-2131175

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what shrubs/evergreens will take up water around your foundation, thanks ck11856@aol.com

All shrubs take up water but there are none that can make enough of a difference to solve a drainage problem

 

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Do you have someone in the Clifton Park area that can prune a very overgrown weeping cherry so it’s back to the umbrella shape next Spring or so?

This isn’t really a service that we provide. I’d suggest contacting Tim Brennan.  If he can’t do I, he can probably suggest someone who can.

 

https://brennanlandscapinginc.com/contact-us/

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I am going to replant the landscaping after the 15th of September, because I will be away before that time period. Can I plant with some confidence that the shrubs will survive the winter or am I better off to wait until spring. I have removed all the existing plants and will certainly prepare the site. I see that a lot of your material is on sale, but is not guaranteed, but I am will to take a chance if they could survive. ThanksDuane Miller

Shrubs and trees planted in spring have a much longer time to get established before winter. Different plants have different abilities to handle fall planting but the save bet is to wait until spring.  That way you’ll have a better selection as well as the assurance of our Lifetime Nursery Guarantee.  So sorry but the email you provided didn’t work.

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I have a new, small Twisty Baby shrub/tree on my patio and I am wondering if this should be protected from the months of rain we get between October and June here in the Pacific NW?

You Twisty Baby Locust is hardy to USDA Zone 4 (-30°F) so it can easily handle your winter.  If it is in a pot, the pots should be sunk at least half way into the ground for the winter.  More on your plant here:

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I bought a small Molten Gold Rhododendron in Spring of this year and although it looks healthy enough it hasn’t grown at all. I’ve planted it at the top of a slight incline by a north facing wall

It isn’t surprising that it hasn’t grown this season.  Woody plants often grow slowly until they have their root system established.  Of greater concern is the north-facing exposure.  Broadleaf evergreens like rhododendron often suffer from desiccation (leaves dehydrating beyond redemption) when exposed to the cold, dry, prevailing north winter wind.  A small burlap windbreak to block the winter wind would help mitigate the damage.  There are also anti-desiccant sprays available at the garden center that can be applied as well.  More on that HERE.

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I have a variegated hydrangea that had small white flowers when purchased 10 years ago. It is near our endless summer hydrangea which blooms beautifully every year. We are in SE North Carolina. The variegated one doesn’t get as much sunlight but the leaves are beautiful, although extremely overgrown. I’ve contemplated cutting it all the way back because there has been minimal pruning. HELP!

Generally variegated plants need more sun so it may be a shortage of sunlight that is preventing flowering.  How and when you prune can also prevent flowering.  There are a couple of pruning methods for hydrangeas depending on what type it is.  Here’s a link that will help you determine what type it is and the pruning method required:  https://www.finegardening.com/article/pruning-hydrangeas

 

 

 

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Help! Overnight, “dog vomit mold” has appeared on three trees, the mulch pile and a spot on the lawn. As I am severely allergic to mold, I would like to get rid of it fast. Is there a product you can recommend?

Scooping up the clumps of mold with a shovel and bagging it would be the best way to get rid of it.

Scooping up the clumps of mold with a shovel and bagging it would be the best way to get rid of it. HERE’S A LINK you might find helpful.

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Would you be able to explain why my Golden Mophead Cypress have turned green even though they are in full sun in a SE exposure?

The bright green foliage tends to go green as it matures.  Spring growth will be the brightest yellow.   If it is getting less than 8 hours of direct sun per day in summer, it may not get as yellow as it was when it was purchased.

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Planted 6ft river birch in the spring. Flourish growing height up to about 7 1/2 ft. Transplanted to another site recently. Next day all leaves at top are dead. Watered well. Thanks John.

It sounds like transplant shock. The best time to transplant birch would be when they are dormant so very late fall or very early spring.  Hopefully, since it was only recently planted, the transplant shock won’t be enough to kill it.  Only time will tell.

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Will coffee grounds help Arborvitae and repel deer also?

Coffe egrounds are slightly acidic which would be good for most evergreens but arbs are the odd evergreen that doesn’t prefer acidic soil so the coffee grounds will not benefit your arbs.  While coffee ground are slightly repellent for deer, the effect is so brief that I’d not count on it being very effective.  Deer tend to nibble foliage and bark so some coffee grounds on the ground below won’t do much.  You’re better with a repellent spray like Bonide’s organic Repels-All spray.  http://www.bonide.com/trusted-brands/repels-all/

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I bought a bag of Espoma Organic Bio-Tone starter Plus plant food. The salesmen told me to spread this heavy around my newly planted evergreens to protect the roots from very cold winter and road salt.Is this true?Thank you?

No it is not.  Bio-tone is a starter food that needs to be mixed into the planting hole at planting time.  It will not protect plants from cold or road salt.

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I purchased 12 lemonthread false cypress but did not get them in the ground . Can they be safely overwintered in their pots? What do I need to do? I’m in Wilmington, DE which is in zone 7. Thank you for any advice.

Find a location out of the wind that blows from the west and north (the east side of a structure or fence is ideal) and sink the pots into the ground up to their rims. If that isn’t possible, set them on the ground out of the wind and pile mulch around them up to the top of the pots.  They should be fine if you do this.

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Do you sell real christmas trees?

I’m not sure what you mean by “real”.  We have fresh cut Fraser Firs 6′-9′ $56.99.  We also have some living (potted) Spruce trees that are about 5′ tall for $110.00

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I’m interested in planting a more mature tree in our front yard (we live in Delmar, NY) as kind of a statement tree. We are considering sugar maple, but I’m also interested in the black walnut. Is this a good climate for these trees? How easy are they to maintain? I’d be lying if I said walnut-chocolate chip cookies weren’t on my mind when making this decision. thanks!

I’d suggest going with a native maple like the Sugar Maple.  It will be faster growing and more readily available than a Black Walnut.  In addition, The Black Walnut releases a chemical from its roots that can cause problems for other plants nearby.  More on that here:  https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=934

 

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Hi Peter,Could you tell me what would be a flowering blue /yellow (these are the colors of wedding) tree or shrub that would be flowering in July to use as a centerpiece at tables for a wedding that could be taken home by guests to plant and have it bloom each year as a reminder of the happy couple?

A yellow or blue tree or shrub that blooms in July isn’t really feasible. An herbaceous perennial would be a better bet.  Black-eyed Susan would be a good choice for yellow and perhaps Platycodon grandiflorus or blue balloon flower for the blue.

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The rabbits ruined nearly all my shrubs this winter. They got the young burning bushes, holly, lower arborvitae, nearly all the lower shrubs. They chewed off the branches and the bark. They are in a fenced in yard so I know it wasn’t deer. Are there any ornamental shrubs or bushes that I can plant that the rabbits will not harm?

While I don’t doubt that rabbits, mice and voles were the culprits, it is possible deer also could have had a hand in the damage.  They can easily jump over an 8′ fence if need be.

Sadly, the only plants rarely damaged by rabbits are junipers, pines and spruce…not much of  selection.  Spraying the area with a good repellent late into the fall and on any above freezing days in winter with a good animal repellent like Repel-All can often prevent damage.  Your burning bushes will bounce back fairly quickly but the others not-so-much.

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Can I strip the leaves off the trunk of a Magnolia White Caviar to create a lollipop look?

As long as you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the total of the foliage during any single growing season, you may prune it as you see fit.  It may take more than a single growing season to achieve the look you desire.

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What type of shrub or bush can i plant that rabbits won’t chew off in the winter? They ruined all my new shrubs and some of the old. Respond to . It won’t help to use a spray or deterrent in the winter as I can’t get out in the snow to do it and I don’t believe liquids will work in the snow anyway.

Sadly, the only plants rarely damaged by rabbits are junipers, pines and spruce…not much of  selection.  Spraying the area with a good repellent late into the fall and on any above freezing days in winter with a good animal repellent like Repel-All can often prevent damage.  Your burning bushes will bounce back fairly quickly but the others not-so-much.  You can surround the shrubs with deer netting in the fall.  If you can anchor the netting to the ground the rabbit won’t be able to get through.

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Is April too early to plant perennial trees and shrubs

If the ground has thawed out enough to dig, you can start planting.

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Can deer damaged junipers be recovered and transplanted.

Depending on how large that are and ho bad , or not, the damage is it is possible that they could be moved and recover.  Take as large a root ball as possible, make sure to add Bio-Tone starter food to the new hole and keep it well watered for this entire growing season.  Move it ASAP before it gets any warmer (4/24)

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Interested in buying PINK OR RED flowering dogwood tree. Do you have any or do you know where I might get one?

We have Cherokee Chief and Cherokee Princess dogwoods.  If you are interested, I’d call ahead to the Hewitt’s you plan on visiting to verify that they are still in stock.  You can find the store locations and phone #s here http://www.hewitts.com/find-a-store/

 

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My Knockout Roses developed blackspot, apparently last summer, probably because my husband uses the lawn sprinkler all the time….(I know, I know). I have cut them down, leaving about 4-6″ of each bush, but the remaining canes do have blackspot. However, I do see new growth (leaves) coming out of the spotted canes, and I’ve already sprayed them once. Will they survive? Should I continue spraying them every so often?

It would be best if you can cut off the canes with the black spots.  Roses are so susceptible to insects and diseases that a regular spraying program should be followed whether you see a problem or not.  I’d start out using Bonide Rose Rx every couple of weeks..  The neem oil is a good insect control as well as a decent preventative fungicide.  If problems show up anyway, then something stronger may be in order.  If you can’t stop your husband from spraying them with water regularly then I think you can count on a worsening situation.

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Do you sell summersweet and ink berry?

We have no Inkberry (Ilex Gabra).  Our Clifton Park and Saratoga (Wilton) location are stocking Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)

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Hi — I have rows of boxwoods on each side of our entry sidewalk. Since we are in Michigan I put burlap around them for the winter. This year when I removed burlap I gave them a quick short haircut and now they are all brownish looking as though I have killed them or something. Can I kill boxwoods if I trim to early in season? From everything I read, you can trim boxwoods year-round. Thanks MG

Burlap shouldn’t be wrapped right around the plants but attached to stakes to create a windbreak while still allowing the plant to get light. Wrapped against the plant shades to foliage and, being light starved the tissue of the leave becomes soft. Once uncovered, it needs to readapt to sunlight and is more susceptible to damage. Pruning right away just added to the stress.

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I have a pear tree that produces fruit, but they only grow about 2″ and then become Very deformed. I tried thinning the fruit on branches so they could get more nutrients as they grow, but it didn’t help at all. Also have apple tree that does the same, but produces very few apples. both trees are about 20 years old so I am completely lost. I have lots of clay but when we planted them we put lots of fresh topsoil in the hole first hoping to give it a chance. Please, is there something I can do? Also, I would like to try growing grapes this year, knowing it’ll probably be a few years to get grapes. I am planning on putting them on a slightly inclined hill that has sun all day but again lots of clay. can you please tell me best way to plant them? I appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you.

If they aren’t getting full sun, (8 or more hours per day) then they will struggle to produce much fruit. Fruit trees are also susceptible to many insect pests and diseases so a regular spraying program every year is also necessary as is regular pruning.

Here’s a link to a fruit tree care calendar that you might find helpful…fruit trees are high maintenance. https://extension.psu.edu/home-orchard-calendar

Grapes will do well in clay soil once established. Full sun is good. Make sure to add some Bio-tone to the planting holes to get them off to a good start.

Bio-tone Starter Plus

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What is the difference between arborvitae and dwarf cypress trees and which grows better in our area. adirondackmomma Thank you.

There is a slight difference in the shape of the foliage. Arborvitae in general are more cold tolerant depending on the variety you chose. Both can grow in the Capital District just fine but, if you are in the Adirondacks, arborvitae would be a better choice. Deer can be a problem for either although Green Giant Arborvitae are considered “deer resistant” which means that deer might eat them if there is nothing else available.

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looking for some shrubs to make barrier and can last through winter

Yes, we have them.  You’ll need to decide what kind you want though.  There are evergreens like arborvitae and deciduous (leafy) shrubs like forsythia and others that can be used.  My best suggestion is to take note of how may hours of sun the area gets and how long you need the barrier to be and then head over to Hewitt’s to see what the options are.  It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take some pictures of the area if you can to show the folks at the garden center.  The more they can learn about the planting area, the better the recommendation they will be able to make.

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Can you grow a gardenia and a jasmine bush in the Clifton Park area upstate New York

Not planted outside in the ground.  They aren’t even close to being hardy enough to survive our winters.  They can be grown in containers but must be brought inside in the fall before frost.

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do you have flowering quince

We have some arriving but Friday of this week.  (5/17)

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We are looking for shrubs/plants to place along the foundation of our house. We live on Loon Lake in the Adirondacks. Area is well-drained and gets 3-4 hours of midday sun. What would you suggest?

Some options for your location would be rhododendron, azaleas, exbury azaleas, yews, Japanese andromeda, hydrangea, euonymus, holly, hemlock (though they can get large if not pruned frequently), boxwood and viburnumvarieties.

 

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What should I use on my cedar hedge as a fertilizer?

Cedar/arborvitae, unlike other evergreens don’t prefer acidic soil so a traditional evergreen food like Espoma Holly-Tone with sulfur isn’t appropriate for Arborvitae. Espoma Tree-Tone is what I’d suggest.  The food should be placed in the soil by poking hole in numerous locations along the hedge and the food placed in the holes.  If the food is simply scattered on the surface, very little of the nutrients make it to the roots.  Here’s a link to a blog post all about spring feeding:  https://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/breakfast-in-their-beds/7457/

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What can I plant near padmount transformer to hide it?

It depends on how much light the area gets.  Evergreens are a good choice like spreading junipers, yews and the various types of cypress.

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My eastern red bud was purchased 5/16/2017 bloomed last year but appears dead ends of branches are just snapping when I checked it. Have no idea why this tree died. Any ideas as to what could’ve happened? My email is cheechipookiss@yahoo.com

Redbud trees can have problems with pests and diseases but usually when a recently planted one dies the problem can often be traced to improper planting or mulching. When the tree is planted, care must be taken to insure that it isn’t buried too deep with dirt against the trunk.  Where the soil came to on the trunk of the tree when you purchased it need to be still visible after planting.  If the hole is dug too deep or soil is piled up too high on the trunk, it slowly smothers the tree .  Likewise piling mulch up against the bark of the tree prevents the flow of moisture and nutrients up the trunk to the branches slowly killing the tree.  “Volcano mulching” is very popular lately but will eventually kill even very large trees.  More on proper planting HEREhttps://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/plant-it-correctly-for-a-healthy-life/7444/

 

More on the evils of volcano mulching HERE: https://extension.psu.edu/mulch-volcanoes-are-erupting-everywhere

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After this winter I have lots of dead branches on my arborvitae, rhododendrons, magnolia, etc. What should I do? Thank you love your column! Vicki

Prune out all the dead areas and feed them…Tree-Tone for the arbs, Holly-Tone for the Rhododendron and Flower-Tone for the Magnolias.   Also check to make sure that mulch hasn’t been piled up against the trunks of the plants.  Get under there and brush the mulch away from the trunks or stems of the plants until you can see the original soil level and keep it exposed a few inches out away from the trunk.  Here’s a link describing how to feed using the Tone foods:   https://blog.timesunion.com/gardening/breakfast-in-their-beds/7457/

 

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Can you over water a new tree? I’ve been told you leave the hose running for hours to soak the ground and roots. That seems like too much water. Also should it be watered every day, it’s a Japanese red maple. My email is northr58@aol.com. Thanks.

Yes it is possible and it sounds like you are.  Letting a hose trickle at the base of the tree for an hour or so is a good way to deep water the tree but doing that every day is too much.  In heavier soil, the tree could actually drown.  Water heavily and frequently enough that the soil beneath the tree stays cool and moist…that is enough.

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A miss Kim lilac tree was staked and I never loosened the tie which caused a lump under the lower branches. What harm has it caused as I notice many dead branches.As it is one of pair (4 ft tall) I am concerned I can find one of a similar size. Live in bucks county Pa.Tony DiMinno adm@comcast.net

If the tie has bee removed and they is new growth above the pinch point, there is a good chance it will recover.  You can increase the chances of recovery but diluting some soluble food like Miracle-Gro in a watering can and washing it down over the leaves and stems of the lilac.  Soluble food can be absorbed directly into the plant as an emergence feeding.  Do this every week or so but stop when temperature starst getting above 75° F

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Fertilizer for Arborvitae?

Espoma Tree-Tone would be the best choice for Arborvitae.  While arbs are evergreens, they don’t prefer the slightly acidic soil that most evergreens do.  Espoma Holly-Tone evergreen food has sulfur added to acidify soil while Tree-Tone does not.   More on Tree-Tone HERE   https://www.espoma.com/product/tree-tone/#tab2

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DO YOU HAVE TWO WEEPING CHERRY TREES AVAILABLE?ADVERTISED FOR $75.00 EACH?BRENDA HUDSON FALLS, NY

Our Glens Falls is closest to you and they are showing them in their inventory  (5/30/19)but it would be best to call the store to double check since inventory can change daily.  Their number is (518) 792-3638

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We recently lost all of our creeping junipers (about 10). They turned brown in the crown and then down the branches. What varieties that creep fast (need to cover a north facing slope) are resistant to juniper disease?

Blue Rug Junipers are as good as any though not totally immune to all diseases.  It is also possible it was rodents that killed them…voles in particular are a know juniper killer.  I’d not consider any of the rug juniper particularly fast growers though

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What would make a tree bend over and almost touch the ground with it’s top of tree never moving it’s roots sort of bends over and droops

It sounds like a tree that isn’t getting enough light and is now leggy and top heavy.  You can send me a picture if you like peterb@hewitts.com

 

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Kudzu vine root killer?

Controlling kudzu is an involved process HERE’S A LINK that should offer you guidance.

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HiWe have a couple of burning bushes and I is really crowding a red maple. How do we cut the bush back to avoid contact with the maple?Thank you

Burning bushes are vigorous growers and can take hard pruning easily so feel free to cut as much of it away as you need to keep it away from the maple. It will bounce back quickly.  Pruning it back will be a regular necessity.

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How do I protect my ash tree from emerald ash borer? Are there any companies in the capitol region that provide this service?

If it is a smaller tree, you might be able to use a systemic insecticide to protect it.

 

https://www.bonide.com/products/insect-control/view/609/annual-tree-and-shrub-conc

 

You’d need to treat every spring. For a larger tree, you could contact a reputable tree service for injection treatments.

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How long can arborvitae be out of the ground? And is the sale if you buy 5 or more 5′ giants arborvitae they’re $59 each? Thank you.

Arbs cn spend a couple of weeks out of the ground waiting to be planted as long as they are kept constantly moist..

 

The 59.99 for 5 or more sale is only good until the end of business hours today (6/19).  The price will go to $65 tomorrow (6/20).

 

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In the state of CT, when is the best time to cut back New England Aster by half so they don’t get too leggy?

A pinch earlier in May would’ve been nice and another now (in late June).  I’d not pinch any more after the first week of July to insure that there is plenty of time for them to set bub and bloom.  The timing for asters is pretty much the same used on chrysanthemums.

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The Georgi has 65+ year old Hydrangea Trees. We’d like to harvest and sell Heritage Root balls in the Community but don’t know how to go about this?

Hydrangeas are propagated by taking cuttings and rooting them.

 

Here are a couple of links that describe the process:

 

https://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/yg/170913.html

 

https://www.thespruce.com/grow-hydrangeas-from-cuttings-4119022

 

You’ll want to start right away to have roots on them by late summer/fall.

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Hi Perer,My weeping cherry has yellow spots on a lot of the leavs.Not sure what to do.

This problem could be a simple as drowning if the plant as getting overwatered. Also check to be sure that there isn’t mulch piled up against the bark of the tree “volcano style”.  Both overwatering and volcano mulching can cause the symptom you describe.  Volcano Mulching will eventually kill the tree.  Get down and brush away any much until you find where the stem enters the soil and keep the mulch away from the bark a few inches.  It is also possible that it has a fungal disease.  I’d suggest bringing in some of the affected leaves to a local garden center or cooperative extension office to determine if that is the case

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I live in Ballston Spa and need a good pruner to prune an existing tree (weeping cherry maybe?). Looking for someone that will identify the tree and correctly prune it. Any suggestions?

The best would be a certified NYS Arborist and the best way to find one will be using this link:  https://nysarborists.com/for-everyone/find-an-arborist

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I have a Golden Locust Tree. This year I noticed the top of the tree leafed out, but the bottom half didn’t.. The tree is over 20 years old. I dont think bugs are to blame. I’m thinking too much water or the tree needs fertilizer. I live in New York and we’ve had a wet Spring. Can you please give me some ideas on this problem? Thank you.

It is normal on many trees for the lower branches to eventually get shaded out as the crown of the tree fills in above them but it sounds like this happened more abruptly on your tree. The first thing to check is to make sure that mulch hasn’t been piled up volcano-like up against the bark of the tree.  Piling mulch against the bark stifles the flow of moisture and nutrients up through the bark to the branches and leaves above.  It is like slowly strangling the tree to death. It may take years but volcano mulching is a tree killer.  Brush any mulch or dirt away from the trunk of the tree until you find the original soil level and keep it that way with the mulch pulled away from the bark a few inches so the bark can “breathe.”

 

It is also possible that the tree has a problem with borers…insects that “bore” through the bark and then eat away at the nutritious layer just underneath the outer bark layer. Look for the tiny pinhole-sized entry points on the bark.  If you find those, then you’ll need to treat the tree with a systemic insecticide that you’ll pour into the soil at the base of the tree.  The tree will take up the insecticide through the roots and pump it throughout the tree.  Any insects that are feeding under the bark or on any part of the tree will be killed.  The systemic insecticide lasts long enough that a single treatment is all that will be needed.  Always read and follow the directions on the label to the letter.  Here’s a link to more about that product:  https://www.bonide.com/products/insect-control/view/609/annual-tree-and-shrub-conc

 

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How can I get rid of the flies in my hydrangeas bush?Thank you,Michelle

The flies are attracted to the flowers even though there is no food for them there…flies aren’t real smart. A spray of Insecticidal soap or Neem Oil will kill them but will also kill and good bugs that are present when you spray.

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what is a good shrub to plant on the west side of our house? something that will not grow to high.or need a lot of trimming.thanks

Assuming it is getting sun from noon on, low growing junipers or yews would be good choices in an evergreen.  For deciduous plants, the smaller Spireas like little princess would be a good choice

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