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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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Lilacs Not Blooming

I have owned my hybrid lilac bushes for approximately 9 years...and they don't bloom. I have also noticed that the leaves are brown at the top. What can I do?

Lilac's will not bloom if they are too shady, lacking in fertilizer or if the soil is too acid. The leaves as you describe them may be suffering from Lilac blight. Examine the plant, soil and location and see what needs to be done to correct the condition. Feeding? - Liming the soil? - Too much shade? You might want to take a leaf into a garden center and have them diagnose the condition on the leaf. If it is Lilac leaf blight, you can use a copper spray to helps bring it under control.

Pines Damaging Lawn

We have a fairly large yard with tall pine trees on each side. (just moved in last July) I have noticed that the grass is dying out away from them. It looks like it is dying in the shape of the tree branches. The trees are large pine trees and the lowest limbs are way above our heads. We keep the needles raked up. There are few needles where the grass is dying. Your website suggested lime and aeration along with reseeding. Is this all I really need to do? There is hardly any grass at all in these areas but the rest of the lawn is lush and green.

That will really help fill in the turf, but you will also have to watch the watering closely, because the pines are thirsty trees. Also feed the lawn , under the tree, with a liquid fertilizer, as it is then taken up thru the grass blades.

Woodpeckers Destroying Tomatoes

Do you have any suggestions for discouraging our resident woodpeckers from eating my ripening tomatoes? There are plenty of bugs for them to eat - last year we did not have a problem with them eating the tomatoes. This year they are identifying the ripening fruit and pecking it to pieces.

Cover the fruit with a light mesh or the entire tomato area with screen door cloth, so they cannot get to the plants.

Clover as a Lawn

My mom is interested in using clover for a lawn that would not need to be mowed. Are there different types and which one would be best for this use?

Yes, there are several types of clover. I recommended the white Dutch clover for the NW, but they may have a different variety that they recommend for her area of Indiana. Suggest she contact the Indiana Extension Service. It will be listed in the white pages of the telephone directory, under (her county) Cooperative Extension Service. Clover grows taller than cut grass, but does not need mowing unless one wants to keep it lower in growth.

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