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Trouble Areas

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"Ain't No Ticks On Me?" You Hope!
Ticks are parasitic vertebrates that infest every class of terrestrial vertebrate, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. A tick is not an insect. They are members of the class Arachnida, which includes spiders, scorpions, and mites.

“Sickly” soil can be saved!
When you have serious soil problems, it can be almost impossible to grow anything successfully. But when you nurse your sick soil back to health, you’ll be amazed at the exciting variety of plants that thrive in your formerly barren wasteland!

Pat Hope wrote in about wasps:
In a recent column I discussed controlling pesky wasps. I received the following e-mail from reader Pat Pope who said:

300 Live oaks and a problem with Boles.
QUESTION: "We have about 300 live oak trees on our property, and almost all are covered with what I term "boles" on the leaves. Not just a few; but literally many...

A Concerned Instructor In Washington.
Great job again, Steve, I am setting up courses exactly for this purpose, Name Your Neighbors. Kids spend so much time indoors, these days, that I'm afraid they wouldn't know a dandelion from salsify. I've seen kids walk right into a...

A dose of Epsom salts can help lilac bush to flower
Time for more questions and comments from readers.

A Special Lawn Cocktail.
Steve, Per an excerpt from your article: "Help your lawn breathe during the dog days. I recently read about a retired Detroit police officer who claims that his lush, green lawn comes from treating his grass to a...

Advice for growing healthy plants
Dear Steve: Do you have any advice for growing the Oregon grape holly or mahonia? Our Sunset garden guide says that it is a great plant and easy to grow, but the ones we have just seem to shrink, and the leaves get all discolored.

Allergic to pollen? Some plant ideas to ease your misery!
"Bless you!" If you've been hearing that a lot from your family and co-workers recently, maybe you're one of the millions who begin to suffer from allergies around this time every year.

An all-natural snake repellent? This one has many benefits!
In a recent "Plant Man" column, a reader asked for suggestions to rid his landscape of snakes without having to kill them. One reader responded with a fascinating (and non-toxic) idea that you'll find in this week's column, below.

Analyzing Your Soil
Testing Your Soil for Nutrient and Fertilizing Information.

Are your trees on thieves' "most wanted" list?
Tree theft – also known as timberjacking – is getting to be a hot topic. A few weeks ago in this column, I discussed how many landowners return home to find bare stumps where their valuable trees used to stand. It can be a very distressing...

Attack weeds early... and replace with elegant backdrops
Weeds! If you already see them poking their nasty little heads above the surface of your flowerbeds, now is the time for action, if you’d prefer NOT to break your back (and do a lot of cursing) throughout the spring and summer!

Bark is peeling off my young bradford pear.
I have a young bradford pear tree that looks as if the bark, at the base of the trunk, is peeling away. I can see...

Beware of vines that could damage your house!
I need a very fast growing vine, shrub, or ivy to cover the outside wall of our house. It looks bad and it stands about 10-15 feet tall. Any suggestions?

Blue Spruce & Varmins
I have several Blue Spruces who are at least 20 to 30 feet tall. Every year at about this time, they get a parasite, that looks like soft cones, brown which hang down from their small branches.

Bradford Pear Tree problem
I have a 5 year old Bradford Pear Tree that is not looking to healthy. It has been growing very full and at a good pace. This spring my tree has dwindled in size and

Bridget from Ohio. Problems with bad soil.
steve like many other columbus, OH residents, i have a problem: a postage-stamp sized garden plot behind my apartment with crappy, gooey clay soil

Brown spots in my lawn.
Dave in St. Louis Hello; When is the best time to treat a blue grass lawn for areas of brown spot? Dig it up & start over or treat with?

Burning bush are dropping their leaves.
I have several bushes, we call them burning bushes, the top half of the bushes have dropped all their leaves. The bush look like they have been dusted with white face powder. they have been

Christmas tree raises issues!
What do you do with a throw away Christmas tree with a cut trunk after the season is over.

Cicadas and Ivy: can they damage your landscape?
Plants that some folks call weeds, and insects that are sometimes called "locusts." Working on your landscape and garden can get pretty darn confusing! Later in this column, I'll address a concern that Ivy and Wisteria are no more than...

Controlling landscape pests – without chemicals
When it comes to landscaping there's one word that seems to evoke strong feelings from opposite sides of the subject: pesticides. It seems that there are very few people who are neutral about pesticides. Generally, you're...

Critter-proof your shrubs before they’re just stumps!
With the Holidays behind us and spring on its way, I’ve been receiving a number of e-mails from readers who are already working on ideas for the planting season just ahead.

Damp soil? Here are seven plants with wet feet!
So you have soggy soil and everything you plant seems to sink in the mud or drown?

Deer munching on plants.
This hint won't work for hundreds of trees and shrubs but if your readers are having trouble with deer munching on tens of trees and shrubs, we have finally found a totally deer-proof solution, at least...

Do your daisies need a doctor?
Are you looking for a doctor to diagnose your daisies? Perhaps you are wondering if your cucumber needs a cure for the crud?

Dogwoods dying? Here's what you should do
Dogwoods are dying. It's a sad fact but a lot of Dogwood trees in America are getting sick and in many cases dying from Dogwood Anthracnose, a disease that mainly infects...

Don Himber has a question about ladybugs
Iwas reading your suggestion to keep wasp away, and I was wondering if you have any for lady bugs. Yes I know lady bugs are a good thing but you know what they say about too much of a good thing.

Doomed area?
There is an area in our yard where we have planted (on two separate occasions) 2 birch trees. The trees live for approximately one year and then die at the end of summer. Is it a doomed area...

Dry soil? Six plants that will brighten your landscape
For farmers, there are only two kinds of rainfall: too much and not enough. Those of us who are into gardening and landscaping can sympathize with that! However, unlike farmers, most of us don’t have thousands of acres to worry about.

Dry your own herbs to enjoy all year.
Have you ever sat in a traffic jam and seen a billboard beside a new development that reads "If you lived here you'd be home by now"? Earlier in the spring, I wrote three columns about planting and enjoying container herb gardens. So now...

Erosion Problem
I am writing now for a suggestion from you as to how to best control an erosion problem.

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