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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 November Links

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Controlling Scale

I would like to know how to rid hollyhocks and orchid cactus of scale. Thank you for any information you have on the subject.

Scale is a a tough insect to control because the shell (scale) over them is nature's protection for the insect. Check the insects with a magnifying glass, and when the small, almost transparent in appearance insects start to crawl out from under the covering (scale) spray them with refined oil, such as 'Ultra-Fine' oil.

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Pruning Roses in Warm Climates

I just read your instructions on pruning roses and am confused about the time of the year..I am in Gulf Shores, Alabama..we are having a cool spell about 85 day 50 night temps..but expect several weeks of 90+ temps yet...when should I prune?

In warm climates rose pruning does not take place until late winter or early spring. Part pruning can be done anytime rose canes get too leggy or become too weak, and then only if needed.

See Also:  Pruning Roses   How to Prune Roses   Dead Roses?   Fall Rose Care   1996 Trend Roses

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Fall Gladiolas Care

How do I cut back my gladiolus? What are the large pods that are growing where the flower once was? Do I do anything with that?

The seedpods are probably not worth bothering with. Separate the corms (bulbs) in the soil instead. When the stocks are ripe (dry) they will simply pull away from the bulb in the soil. Or if you want you can cut-off the leaves right at ground level, at this time of year.

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Unused Seed Packets

I have several seed packets which did not get used this year. They are labeled "packed for 2000." Will they be usable next year? If so, what is the best way to store them?

All of our seeds are from the current crop and should be good for more than one season (seeds like peas, cucumbers and pumpkins hold up well for 6 or 7 years). However, some seeds like onions, delphiniums and impatiens lose their vitality very quickly and have a tendency to poor germination in the second year. Your seeds will lose some percentage of germination, how much varies by species.

Keep them in a cool (not cold) dry place.

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