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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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Liming Lilacs

I heard you say something about liming the soil around Lilac's. How much lime should I use and when should it be done?

The best time to lime Lilac's is during the cooler spring or fall months. I would wait now until about October to apply the lime. Use about one cup of Dolomite lime per standard size Lilac tree. Spread at the drip line, on the soil surface.

Pruning Heather

The dead flowers on our winter flowering heather look terrible. Can I cut them off?

Yes, by all means cut them back as soon as they get finished flowering. Heather will really benefit from shearing right after their normal flowering period. The shearing encourages branching, a much bushier plant and more flowers the following year. Plus, it gets rid of those ugly dead, brown flowers.

Dead Roses?

Earlier this spring you said 'don't dig up the frozen rose bushes until you're sure they're dead'. Well, I had 15 beautiful healthy bushes. Now they look very dead except there are canes coming up from below the bud. I hate to chalk them off as a total loss. Any advice?

Many of the new roses are grown on their own roots, so if your bushes are rather new they may be OK. If they are old bushes, they are probably budded and that new growth will be from a root stock that would produce flowers of little or no value. There are a couple of ways you can determine whether they are worth keeping. If the growth is exceptionally robust, or if the leaves are different than last years growth, chances are the growth is from a root stock that is not worth keeping. But, if the leaf growth is the same as last year, and the rate of growth the same, 'wait it out', your bushes may be OK. I have a two in my garden that I thought were from below the bud, but now they are blooming and are just fine.

Alternate Ground Cover

I am inquiring as to where I can purchase the 'Lazy Man's' (ground cover, moss) lawn seed?

I think you are referring to a plant called 'Sagina Moss'. There are two varieties the 'Irish Moss' which is green and the 'Scotch Moss' which is golden. These are usually purchased as plants, then cut into 2 inch squares and set about 6 to 9 inches apart. The true Sagina moss is 'Sagina subulata'.

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