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Ed Hume Answers Your Gardening Questions

Ed Hume cannot answer all of the garden questions he receives, but questions of general interest will be answered here every month.  Email your questions to HumeSeeds@aol.com.  Please note: we do not accept attachments.

Before submitting a question, be sure to check the index of previous questions and answers or search our site using key words.  Many questions have already been answered here on the site.

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Other December Links

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Pruning Timing and More

When does one prune rosebushes, apple trees? When can one transplant wild blackberry bushes? Have attempted all of above and resulted in dead to dying plants. There has to be a simple rule of thumb.

 The best time to prune Roses is just as the new growth starts. (When the new growth buds begin to swell.) Prune Apples in January or February, at a time when it is not freezing. The time to transplant wild blackberries is in the fall. Mulch the plants with straw or leaves, if temperatures dip below 25 degrees.

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Dividing Glads

I planted glads and orchids in the spring, they came up and were beautifull. I dug them up last weekend, the glad bulbs quadrupled in size, alot of the bulbs have 3 or 4 bulbs attached along with babies. Do I divide them?

Yes, separate them, they are bulb-lets and will eventually flower for you. It usually takes two years before the bulb-lets get big enough to flower.

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Moving Peonies

I live in Montana and have heirloom peony plants from my great great grandmother. We will be moving to Alaska in June and want to take them with us. I would like to know if I can dig them now (October)? What should I do to store them until we move in June? Can they be potted and kept in a unheated greenhouse? It gets -25 here in winter.

 Yes, you can dig them, plant them in containers, then store them over-winter. The greenhouse may not be the best place to store them, due to rapid changes of temperatures during the winter. I would keep them in the garage or in the crawl-space under the house.

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Rhododendrons Dropping Leaves

 Iwould really appreciate any information on rhody disease. The leaves are curiling,turning yellow with black spots and then falling off. THIS SEEM TO BE ONLY THE LOWER ONES AS THE TOP ONES REMAIN HEALTHY. IS THIS A BUG OR A DISEASE AND WHAT DO I DO?

It sounds like a natural leaf drop. The inner leaves of Rhododendrons will turn yellow, red. orange or even brown, and eventually drop. This happens at different times of the year, depending upon varieties and care. As the new foliage develops it cuts off light to the inner growth and it cannot produce chlorophyll, due to the lack of light.

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