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What’s killing the oak trees?

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

Red oak borers leave distinctive trails (galleries) in the wood of the tree. Photo Credit: E.P., DeMotte, Indiana Q. In 22 years I’ve had more than a dozen oaks die because of a grub or larvae. Symptoms: First the leaves die and turn brown at the top of the tree. It slowly spreads down the…

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Honeyvine – a native plant that can be both friend and foe.

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

Q: This vine has perennially volunteered in my garden for a few years now. I let it grow because it seemed to please the butterflies, and the small white flowers smelled nice. At present it has grown chartreuse seed pods. Can you tell me what this vine is? Is it something I should destroy? –…

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Mystery plant likely a flowering quince

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Q: Can you help me identify this shrub that flowered this spring? We’ve lived on this property for over 10 years but have never noticed it because it is on a part of the property that is not mowed. I only noticed it because of the bright red flowers. – T.G., Noble County A: This…

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Don’t let sap-sucking squash bugs get old

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

Q: We have been battling squash bugs for years. This year we went to preventive measures. Well, they are back. I now need to know what can we do to apply to kill them on contact. We are totally organic here. – T.H., Bremen, Indiana A: Squash bugs can be a persistent pest on all of…

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Her ‘Sensation’ lilac looks different this year. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Sensation lilac with odd pale flowering branch Photo Credit: Jay County gardener Sensation lilac on Purdue West Lafayette Campus showing genetic reversion to solid color flowers. Photo Credit: Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension Q: I have had a ‘Sensation’ lilac for several years. It has always produced lovely pinkish purple flowers edged in white. But this…

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Remove errant branches to save ‘weird’ tree

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Q: Please don’t think I’m totally crazy, but I couldn’t get anyone around here to answer this question and I thought someone at Purdue could. I have two trees in my backyard that are growing branches that are completely different from the rest of the trees. It is NOT another tree coming up under them,…

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Renewal pruning has immediate, delayed rewards

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

Q:  I have 2 Forsythias, 2 Spireas, a Ninebark and a variegated Dogwood that appear to be half dead. My thought is to cut them down now to regrow so they’ll have all summer to do this. What are your thoughts? Last year all of these bushes were lush and full. A: Although it could…

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Fern is healthier than it appears

Monday, May 6th, 2019

Spore-bearing cases on the underside of a fern frond. Ferns reproduce by spores rather than seed. Photo Credit: K.G. Fort Wayne, Indiana Q: I received a potted fern as a gift from a friend, and it has done well in my home for over a year. But now it has what looks like a fungus…

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Ornamental Pear Fallout

Monday, April 8th, 2019

Q: I’ve attached pictures of the only tree we have on our property. Because it is our only tree, I am deeply concerned with the possibilities of irreparable damage to it. As you can see, one of the branches broke off during a November windstorm. Unfortunately, that left a bare gap on the trunk. Please…

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Early spring pruning will tame this hydrangea

Friday, March 1st, 2019

Overgrown panicle hydrangea Photo Credit: T.B., Morgan County Q: I have a hydrangea that is overgrown. It’s falling over and is too tall and wide. I would like it not to block the window. But I don’t know how/when/how much to prune to a smaller size. — T.B., Morgan County A: Pruning time and technique depends…

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Timing of hydrangea pruning varies by species

Monday, February 4th, 2019

Q: Attached is a photo of our current hydrangea plant in front of our house. Should I cut it back now or leave it alone until spring? Or do you think it’s a lost plant? – R.G., Henry County, Indiana A: A number of hydrangea species are grown in Indiana. The proper time of pruning…

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Pretty ground cover? Probably a weed

Monday, January 7th, 2019

Q: I’m having an argument with my wife about a plant in our yard, and we hope you can help arbitrate. I’ve sent a photo of a plant that we found growing near some shrubs. Neither of us remember planting it. My wife thinks it’s pretty ground cover and that we should let it stay….

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High winds can be tough on trees

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Q. Can you tell me what kind of tree this is? They were planted near our community lake 25 years ago. K.M., Indianapolis A. This is a honey locust tree, known botanically as Gleditsia triacanthos. The species is native to the eastern US. It has large seed pods and trunks that are armed with wicked…

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Gardeners worn down; clearweed may be culprit

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Q: I have had a garden on our property for about 14 years. Naturally, we’ve always had to deal with weeds, but until last year they had been the usual crabgrass and other types that could be controlled if you kept ahead of them. But last year, some type of weed or ground cover has sprung…

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Pussy willow shrubs can thrive in well-drained soil

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Q: I am writing about a pussy willow tree I planted in my backyard in early August 2018. I have wanted one for some time and found one on sale at a discount department store. It didn’t have much info on what it takes to grow by ponds or lakes. So, if you could give…

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In the Grow Question and Answer – Blue spruce not a great choice for Hoosiers

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Q: We have 5.5 acres with several hundred white pines, 7 blue spruce, and 2 red pines. Several of the blue spruce are dying. Several years ago, two started dying from the bottom up. We put evergreen spikes around them, and after a year or so they came back to normal. Presently some of the…

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Gaping wounds likely a woodpecker’s work

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Q. I saw these holes in my tree and am wondering what they are from. This tree is the only one I have seen them on. – M.S., Chesterton A. The holes are likely from woodpecker injury, but the tree may have some other issues. Has the tree been in a state of decline for…

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In The Grow Question and Answer — Eastern Red Cedars Volunteer Way Too Often

Friday, July 6th, 2018

Q. I am wondering what you might know about the small “red cedar trees” that seem to be invading fencerows and highways, especially U.S. 31 north of Kokomo. I think a column from you would be worthwhile, since I can’t seem to get my neighbors to control the “pretty little trees,” which are much like Canadian…

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In The Grow Question and Answer — Common Winter Injury Symptoms We Saw this Spring

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

I have a yucca tree that is 5-6 years old. What was a small plant has become a mature tree. I transplanted my yucca to a larger pot last summer. There was a significant explosion in growth. If you look at the picture you can see the growth.

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Know When to Harvest Your Asparagus

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Q. I planted a new asparagus patch last year. I just have a few spears up so far. Do you think the cold weather injured the plants this winter? Is it OK to harvest these spears? Someone told me I shouldn’t harvest at all the first year. A. Asparagus is pretty cold hardy, so if the plants…

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