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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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Mushrooms in the Lawn

I have a major infestation of mushrooms in the lawn. What can I do about getting rid of them? I put lime down in the Spring. Should I do it again now?

Actually, mushrooms or toadstools in the lawn often indicates a nice healthy, organic rich turf. However, that's not always the case, it can simply mean that your soil has bark, sawdust or wood chips that the fungus is growing on in the process of decomposition. There's really nothing that you can put down to control mushrooms. As one researcher says, "Give them a swift kick, that does more for you than anything else you can do to get rid of them".

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Wintering Peonies

I live in southern Saskatchewan ,the buds of my peonies are now visible.  How should I protect them for the winter?

Mulch them with bark, sawdust or straw, then as soon as all danger of frost has passed, remove the covering. They are really hardy, but the fact that the new growth is showing, indicates the need for protection.

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Wintering Aquatic Plants

I need to know what to do with my 1st year potted pond plants, pull em out? leave em in? cut em back?

Different type of pond plants are treated differently. Hardy ones are generally left alone, tender ones are given winter protection. Van Ness Water Gardens should have some information for you. They offer an information sheet on wintering tropicals.

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Weeds Invading

We have an irregularly shaped yard with 5 different neighbors across the "back fence." One yard has a wild area at the back with weeds and a trash heap. Weeds invade our yard from over there. Another neighbor has ivy along the back of their yard, which comes through the fence and is impossible to keep out. A third neighbor has a couple of enormous fir trees that sap the water from whatever we plant along that part of the fence. He also has a shed with a bright blue tarp hanging on it that is quite visible from our yard.

How can we stop the weeds and ivy from invading and what can we plant that doesn't need much water to block our view of the tarp, without irritating anyone? Can we cut the roots of the fir on our side of the fence?

If the weeds and ivy are coming from below the fence, simply make a barrier with 32 mil plastic (the material used to line pools and landscape waterfalls). Dig a trench about 18 inches deep and stand-up the poly to slightly above ground level. The tree roots can be cut at the fence line, unless there is a chance of the tree falling. The poly can also be used to discourage future tree roots.

Leyland Cypress may be just the ticket to help hid the blue tarp. It grows 20 to 25 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide and is often used for screening.

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