In The Grow

In The Grow


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Bees, butterflies like turtlehead flowers

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

Q: I have a question about a perennial in our garden. Can you identify the plant in the attached photos, taken just a few weeks ago? – R.S., Indianapolis A: The plant in your photos is the native perennial called turtlehead, known botanically as Chelone. There are a few different species in commerce, including C. lyonii and…

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Mugwort, wormwood – by either name, a real problem

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Q. I am curious if you have an idea about a weed that grows in our yard every year. It spreads very rapidly, seems invasive and grows to a pretty high level as summer goes along. We have asked many people, and they are quite stumped. My wife does not like it, and we pull…

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Tree care from freeze to slime

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Q: Our Japanese red maple tree was full of new leaves when the hard freeze hit. It is just now getting a few leaves again. Should I trim the tree back, or just wait and see what happens? I do not know how much is dead or how much will produce new growth. – A.K.,…

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Mock orange stumps knowledgeable pair

Monday, July 6th, 2020

Q: My mother taught me everything there is to know about plants and trees and how to take care of them properly. She is a walking encyclopedia of the outdoors. While visiting her yesterday I saw a flowering bush in her yard. Normally, if one of us doesn’t know what a flower is, the other…

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Trumpet creeper is no shrinking violet

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Q: I have a trumpet creeper that is more than 5 years old. It is planted at the front of our house which faces east. The vine grows rather hardy but never enormous, as the material I’ve read about this vine indicates. I am wondering whether to move it or just destroy it. Since I’ve…

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Wildflower Identification

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Q: We found a plant in our woods about a week ago, and I wondered if you could identify what it is? – R.B. via email A: That is one of my all-time favorite woodland wildflowers, the trillium. There are numerous species of Trillium. I believe yours is the prairie trillium, known botanically as Trillium…

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Friend supplied more than hosta

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Q: A friend gave me some starts of hosta last year, and where I planted them, this lovely surprise came up early this spring. I did not plant this so I’m guessing this came as a bonus with the hostas from my friend.  Can you identify?  – T.C., Tippecanoe County A: What a great bonus!…

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How to tame a slope

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Q: Behind my house I have about 3/4 acre that is on an incline of about 30 degrees and all sand. It is about 330 feet long and about 75 feet up the slope. I have had all the mulberry trees, bushes, vines, and poison ivy removed and would like to have some kind of…

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It’s For The Birds

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Red fruits of winterberry deciduous holly. Photo Credit: Purdue Arboretum Bluish black fruits of arrowwood viburnum. Photo Credit: Purdue Arboretum Q: I would like to plant bushes that will attract birds in fall and winter. I’m thinking of something that produces a berry they eat? – J.W., Winfield, Indiana A: Birds require not only food…

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Bulbs can overcome way-too-early sprouting

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Q: In December’s mild weather, I found several bulbs sprouting in my garden. Then it got really cold again. Will my bulbs bloom this spring? A: It’s not unusual for Indiana weather to have trouble deciding what season it is. Warm spells during the dormant period often lead to bulbs poking their foliage through the…

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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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