Category: Weeds

Gardeners worn down; clearweed may be culprit

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 up, and it’s infuriating!! There is absolutely no way to weed it out by hand because it comes up almost […]

Weed or flower? Sometimes it’s in the eye of the beholder

Q) This flower/weed came up in my flower garden this year. I know that I did not plant it and two other people said that they have it growing in their yards also. I took it to our local nursery. They did not know what it was and looked it up in their books but could not find it. They gave me a few suggestions but when I looked them up on the internet, they […]

Leaves of Three, Let It Be’ Should Be ‘Leaflets of Three

Most gardeners have heard of the wise advice “leaves of three, let it be” referring to the pest plant poison ivy. While not quite as catchy, the saying really should be “leaflets of three, let it be.” Poison ivy leaves are compound rather than simple – a single leaf is divided into three separate portions, called leaflets. Plants with three leaflets are often referred to as being trifoliate. Another key identifying characteristic is that one […]

Many possible reasons for early loss of white oak leaves / Marestail Control

Q. I have a white oak tree that lost about half of its leaves to a varmint. I’m guessing June bugs that were in a bunch about 15 feet away. The tree did not put out any new growth except late in the summer on the end of the tallest limb. Meantime, a new tree sprung up. I’ll include some pictures that will show the leaves and their color. I have no idea what flavor […]

Jury still out on use of rubber mulch

Q. Our HOA is considering using rubber mulch in a large area. In your experience, what is the up side or down side? I have read that as it deteriorates the chemical and all ingredients break down and go into the soil. Any thoughts?  – LK, Lafayette, IN A. This is a really great question that unfortunately does not yet have a clear answer. There are many questions remaining regarding the long-term safety of using recycled shredded or crumb […]

Question and Answer

Q. I lost every one of my rhubarb plants late last summer and fall. The plants started dying at one end of the row and just worked on down the row to the opposite end. Someone told me it was due to grubs; another told me that it was moles eating the grubs. Since this is a plant I intend to eat, whatever I use needs to be food safe. A. It is unlikely that […]

Q. For the last two years my Nandina has produced a lot of flowers that promised to berry, but the berries seem to drop off before fruition. It has berried beautifully in the past, and there has been no change in environment. A. Nandina is marginally hardy to southern Indiana, but it is considered to be an invasive, weedy species in the southeastern United States where it forms vigorous spreading colonies. Although commonly called heavenly […]

Q. Some years our potatoes and beets have a pitting or scabbing on the surface. It makes them very unappealing to want to eat them. I think they are OK on the inside. What causes this? A. While it is difficult to diagnose with certainty without seeing samples, there is a disease commonly called potato scab that affects both potatoes and beets. Other root crops, such as radish, rutabaga, turnip, carrot and parsnips, are also […]

Question and Answer

Q. I have been collecting red and orange Canna seeds this year from plants produced by bulbs at least 3 years old. Can these seeds be propagated? If so, what steps should I take? A. Canna is more typically propagated by dividing the rhizomes (thick, underground stems) so that each new section has at least one healthy bud that will become the new shoot. They can be propagated by seed, but keep in mind that […]

We continue to receive numerous inquiries about bagworms on landscape plants, especially evergreens. Since we’ve addressed this issue several times over the last few years, I won’t take the time to repeat the information here, but you can find the answers to most of your questions from the Purdue Extension entomology specialists online at and Q. I have learned about this dreadful stuff called artillery or shotgun fungus the hard way — namely by having it […]

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