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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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Pampas Grass Rescue

Recently we moved to NC and found that a pampas grass on the property (the only one) is not well. The problem is the middle portion and front section of the grass is dead. It is brown and rotting. The rest of the plant is beautiful and green with 8 foot high plumes. The plant has probably been here for over 9 years and the portion that is living is a very large stately specimen. We desperately want to save the entire plant but do not know what to do. Can you provide us with any information to save the plant. We live in zone 7 and the plant gets full sun and faces the east.

This fall dig the plant, discard the old dead portion and replant the younger backside of the plant. You may find that you can separate part of the plant and make even more plants.


Transplanting Jasmine

I need to move my jasmine plant. It has been in the ground for about 6 months and is doing great but it doesn't have enough room and I want to put a trellis behind it. It there a certain time to transplant for best results. I live in Mobile, AL.

Yes, you can do it late in the autumn or in late winter, just before the new spring growth begins. Either time is OK.


Raccoon Damage

I have a serious problem with raccoon(s) tearing up my beautiful lawn in my back yard. Every morning my lawn looks like a new cluster bomb was exploded!! I believe they are going after grubs or larvae based on inspection of the lawn in a few areas where the roots of the lawn seem to be weaker than expected. I treated the lawn for grubs this week, but I am curious if there are any non-toxic sprays I can mix up and apply with my spayer to the lawn that would discourage the raccoons but not harm the lawn. For example, could a water/pepper mixture be sprayed on the grass? It's driving me crazy!! Any advice you have on this subject would be very helpful.

Yes, a water pepper spray will probably be helpful. You can also use a motion sensor sprinkler in the area. It will come on when they step into the sensor area and scare them. They are also affected by sound, so if you are in an area without neighbors, play a radio outdoors.  I've heard that a radio attached to a motion sensor can be especially effective and a less intrusive than one playing all the time.


Leaf Spot Disease

You were the first person I thought of when my Phlotinia started having problems. I'm getting lots of reddish leaves with black spots. I've been told it is some sort of disease but I don't know how to treat it. Do you know what I'm describing? How can I learn to treat this plant? It is my only means of privacy on my lot and I cannot afford to lose it!

The problem is leaf spot disease. Several folks have reported quite good success by using 'Funginex' on the new growth as it develops. I would also spray a little bit on the soil. Read and follow application directions on the package. Pick up and remove any diseased leaves that fall on the ground.

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