Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I bought garden mums last fall and they bloomed beautifully in October but this year they're blooming in July. How can I get them to bloom in the fall again?
A: Pinching your mums starting in May for every 2 weeks until July 4th will delay the flowering until fall. An added benefit is a more compact plant with many more blooms.

Q: Help, my trees are covered with bagworms! What can I do?
A: Unfortunately, the best was to get rid of bagworms is to handpick and destroy them. An over-wintering female bagworm can produce as many as 1000 babies which appear in early June. At this stage they are more vulnerable to insecticides and spraying can be done.

Q: Something is eating the leaves on my weeping cherry trees. What kind of spray can I use?
A: We recommend using an all-purpose insecticide called 'Seven'. It is very effective against chewing insects and is safe for the environment when used properly.

Q: Q: My holly bushes are getting too tall. When can I prune them?
A: Care should be taken when pruning hollies. Pruning too much too late will remove all the flower buds for next year and therefore the berries. Flower buds are formed by late-June on the current season's growth.

Q: We purchased a pink flowering almond bush. It had flowers on it when we purchased it and is now just green. When should we prune it and how much?
A: Flowering almond only blooms in the spring on the previous year's wood. Cut back hard immediately after blooming to maintain peak flowering performance.

Q: My Oakleaf hydrangeas were badly eaten by beetles this year. What can I do to prevent damage next year?
A: To protect your Hydrangeas from beetle damage spray them with Sevin in late June as soon as you notice beetle activity. You may need a second application of insecticide if additional beetle damage is noticed.

Q: My established holly bushes have leaves that are turning brown. What should I do?
A: Prune the brown leaves off. Fertilize with an acid fertilizer such as Holly-tone and make sure the Holly is kept well watered.

Q: My big-leaf hydrangea puts out beautiful new green foliage every year but never blooms. What's wrong?
A: Big-leaf or macrophylla hydrangeas bloom on second year wood. Protect the lower 2-3 buds on each stem by hilling or mulching the lower 12" of the plant in the fall. Remove mulch in the spring after danger of a freeze. If cold weather threatens, recover the stems.

Q: When can I prune my dwarf Korean lilacs?
A: Lilacs should be pruned immediately after they've bloomed in the spring. Dwarf Korean Lilacs require only a light pruning to maintain size and shape.

Q: I have a Red Sunset maple which I planted in May. Although it seemed fine for the first 3 months, the leaves now turning red like they would for the fall color change. Any suggestions?
A: Early fall coloration is a sign of plant stress which could be caused by several factors. These include transplant shock, over or under watering or girdling roots. Your tree should do fine with the proper care. Evaluate your watering habits. Make sure your tree gets at least 1" of water per week either from rain or irrigation. If you have a watering system, make sure it is not getting too wet. Fertilize in late fall after the tree has gone dormant. This will encourage root growth and give your tree a head start next spring.

Q: I have a maple tree in the front yard that has several branches growing from the bottom of the tree. Should I trim all of those branches off to help the tree grow taller?
A: I recommend limbing up (removing) branches to a height of 4-5'. This is done to create a more appealing appearance and keep limbs out of the way of lawnmowers. Removing the limbs does not actually force the tree to grow taller. For more pruning information, I highly recommend Purdue University's publication, HO 4: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Q: I have a Red Sunset maple. It appears to be doing pretty well with new growth, healthy coloration etc. The problem is about two feet up from the base of the trunk there is cracking, flaking bark. There is no sign of insect damage. Should I pull off the dead bark?
A: If the bark is loose, go ahead and pull it off. Since the tree is healthy, it should naturally callous over and take care of itself.

Q: What can I do to prevent moss from growing in my yard?
A: Moss generally grows in shady sites with an acidic soil level. If you have trees, I would recommend pruning to allow more light to reach the ground. Also apply lime where the moss is growing to neutralize the soil pH.

Q: Do I need to remove the spent bloom stems from my Stella D'Oro daylilies?
A: When all flowers are finished blooming on a stem, the entire stem should be cut back to the basal foliage. Repeat bloomers like Stella D'Oro and Happy Returns also appreciate a midsummer feeding of high-phosphorus fertilizer.

Q: I have perennial Salvia x superba and Coreopsis grandiflora that need to be deadheaded as their flowers are spent. Do I pinch back the whole purple stem on the salvia? Do I take off just the spent blossom of the coreopsis or remove the stem as well?
A: Pinch back the whole purple stem of the Salvia. For the Coreopsis also remove the stem with the blossom. If all the blooms are spent at the same time you can accomplish this easily with a hedge shears. Otherwise, remove spent blooms individually.

Q: What perennials bloom for a long period of time?
A: A short list of great bloomers include, Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue', Yarrow 'Anthea',
Daylily 'Stella D'Oro', Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue', Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm', Jupiter's Beard and Coreopsis 'Moonbeam'.

Q: My roses have beautiful foliage but the flower buds shrivel and turn black. What's wrong?
A: Your rose probably has been attacked by the rose midge, an almost invisible pest. The female lays her eggs in the rosebud and the emerging larvae feed on the tender new growth. Larvae then overwinter in the soil. Control is achieved by repeated sprayings of both the foliage with an insecticide and the soil with Diazinon.

Q: Can I prune to shape dwarf Fairy Rose bushes to make them more rounded in shape? They have long shoots here, there and everywhere, but not a nice shape to them.
A: You may shorten a few of the longest branches now, but I would not recommend extensive pruning in the heat of the summer when insects are active. Prune lightly in the fall and then do a more thorough spring pruning. Remove any dead wood, thin weak growth, interior crossing branches and about half of last year's growth. As summer progresses, trim back any lengthy wayward branches.


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