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209 Total Found

Question: 215-5201
We have white cotton masses under the needles on our hemlocks. What can I use to get rid of them? Can I throw the pruned branches nearby? Bob, East Lyme, CT

Mort's Answer:
Do not throw the branches in the area. They are best carried away to the municipal dump. Adelgid woolly aphids are reaching epidemic proportions in New England. Spray with a combination of malathion and diazonin. Follow directions on the labels. The woolly aphid creates galls and can kill the trees eventually.

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Question: 824-2216
We have 4 window boxes in full sun for most of the day. We have planted impatiens, petunias and marigolds but unfortunately nothing lasts more than a couple of weeks. Do you have any suggestions as to what we should plant or what we could do differently? Jennifer, Narragansett, RI

Mort's Answer:
There are two excellent plants for window boxes in the sun that require less water. Geraniums come in pinks, reds and whites. Pelargonium also has ivy type plants and variegated flowers in the Lady Washington. P. domesticum are often referred to as show geraniums. They also have serrated leaves. Another good substitute is Million Bells. Calibrachoa comes in a variety of colors including "Hot Pink". Both plants should be planted after May 15. Water every day until plants root in good soil. Put an inch of sand at the bottom of the boxes for drainage. Both plants enjoy heavy feeding once established.

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Question: 1299-3715
I am a retired farmer and have never seen such fruit on the apples and pears in my garden. I suspect that we area going to have a very cold winter. Arthur, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
I agree within you. It is a phenomena of plants to produce a lot of flowers for seed as we have witnessed in southeastern New England this year. Plants need to extend their specie and seem to grasp this as do the squirrels that will soon be popping up in our gardens and roofs. You cannot fool Mother Nature even as we try.

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Question: 494-1816
We have been told to wait for the leaves on our trees to mature before spraying against winter moths. Will they come from the woods every year? Cele, Warwick, RI

Mort's Answer:
Unfortunately, they will revisit every year and you will have to apply each year. You should never apply any pesticide when the leaves are just sprouting. You could severely burn them. Oil sprays can be applied for larvae prior to bud swell at 65 degrees. That has to be timed. Chemicals like pyrethrins are effective. It is impossible to spray all the woods and get control of this constant hazard, so you need to brace for an annual event.

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Question: 252-5201
What is the best way to pull out Wisteria? Paul, Brunswich, GA

Mort's Answer:
Wait until the dead of winter, when they are defoliated. This will make it easier on you. Be sure to label the trunks, while they are still discernible from the other plants nearby. Cut the top of about 3 from the ground in the winter. Then, you can dig out each root. You have to get to the root of your problem, otherwise they will come back to haunt you. There is nothing worst than wisteria coming back and causing hysteria. We will be continually adding new questions. Please check back with us later.

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Question: 250-5201
Can I use wood ash in my garden? Sherry, Cumberland, RI

Mort's Answer:
You can use it in combination with other organic materials. Potash is an excellent source of potassium. Root vegetables require a replacement of potash. If it becomes unbalanced, your ph of your soil can change to alkaline. When used with manure and bonemeal, you have the perfect organic combination.

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Question: 251-5201
Is wood ash good for the soil? Mark, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Wood ash will provide potassium to the soil. Potassium is especially good for root vegetables. Most fertilizers contain some (K) potassium. Is the third element in the formulae. Be careful to sprinkle only a handful on top of the soil under the plant. It can burn the roots. Excess potassium can change the soil from slightly acidic to alkaline. Potassium is also beneficial for stems and flower production.

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Question: 1064-5113
Can I use wood ash in my garden? Sherry, Cumberland, RI

Mort's Answer:
You can use it in combination with other organic materials. Potash is an excellent source of potassium. Root vegetables require a replacement of potash. If it becomes unbalanced by adding too much, your ph of your soil can change to alkaline. When used with manure and bonemeal, you have the perfect organic combination.

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Question: 249-5201
Can we use wood ashes from the fireplace? Will it change the PH? Todd, Waterford, CT

Mort's Answer:
Ashes are an excellent source of potassium for plants. This is helpful in the root and flower production. Potash or potassium will lower the PH and create a more acidic soil. In soils that have sufficient potash or excess potash, it will make the soil more alkaline. I would add manure and bonemeal in equal amounts to maintain the ph that is natural for your area.

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Question: 910-1213
There is a person on the east side of the Rockies in Oregon that grows vegetables in a soil that is regularly mulched with wood. They have about 16 inches of rainfall each year, I am thinking of adding wood mulch to some of my soils. Our rainfall has been decreasing every year. We now are getting about 23 inches. Bill, Tulsa, OK

Mort's Answer:
Many of the red colored wood mulches are dyed with an iron oxide. This may be an additional benefit. I would test the soil for iron before buying. If you use your own wood, check for beetles. You will need to plow in at least two inches each year. In very dry areas of the country, some folks will grow veggies under six or eight inches of wood mulch. Mulch retains water and rots. As it rots, it will draw nitrogen from the soil beneath. When it is rotten enough, it will add nitrogen to the soil. Like soil enriched with compost, mulch can be good organic additive.

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Question: 1087-614
I understand that I need to have a bird house with wood shavings inside if I want woodpeckers to use it. Can you also tell me about bat houses. Karen, Townsend, MA

Mort's Answer:
Bat houses are best placed under eaves of barns and tool sheds. If placed on trees, they need to be at least ten feet off the ground. Shady locations are best but not necessary. Both housing situations are tricky. Hollowed holes in trees are beat for woodpeckers but not all types care for houses with or without wood sawdust or shavings. Woodpeckers love drilling for insect eggs and bats will pick up plenty of flying insects at night.

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