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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.

Other May Links

Transplanting Lilacs

I have one fairly large lilac tree and behind it 2 smaller ones. The smaller ones don't bloom. I'm assuming its because of not getting enough sunlight, therefore I would like to transplant these. When and how would be best?

They are easy to transplant, during the winter dormant season months of November, December, January or February. Lack of sufficient sunlight will keep Lilac's from flowering. Just dig and replant the lilacs, they can be transplanted, bare-root if it is done during the winter months as outlined above.

Hosta Damage

Something is eating on my Hosta & I have been putting Deadline around them for the Slugs ,but, something is still eating on the leaves. Do you think it could be Strawberry root weavil?

If they are eaten along the edge of the leaves it could be 'cutworms' or 'root weevils'. Take a leaf into a 'Certified Nursery-person' at your local independent garden center and have them make an on the spot diagnosis.

Severe Rhododendron Pruning

My Rhododendrons are getting way too big. How can I prune these so they will still bloom, but reduce the size of the shrub significantly? I was told that I could just cut them down drastically after them bloom started to fade. Is this true? If I cut them down to about 2-3 feet, all of the foliage will be lost. Will it resprout?

That's quite severe pruning. It is best to prune them moderately after bloom. It you need to reduce the size, by say 2 or 3 feet, prune back one third of the growth to 5 or 6 feet, then next year prune another one third and then the following year prune back the remaining part of the plant. By using this method, over a three-year period, you will get the plant down to the size you want but it should still have flowers each year. If you severely prune the plant it will not flower for at least a couple of years. If you severely prune them they usually will re-sprout, but who knows???.

Transplanting Iris Bulbs

When your Iris Bulbs stop blooming, and you want to replace them into another place how do you do this.

Depends upon the type of Iris. Rhizome (bearded type), simply dig, separate rhizomes, cut foliage 6 to 8 inches in teepee shape and replant so rhizomes are right at ground level, the same depth as before. English or Dutch type Iris , you allow the foliage to die-back then dig and replant. Mix compost, processed steer or other forms of organic humus with the new planting soil.

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