By Walter Reeves, For the AJC
Troy Warren for CNT
Q: Please advise how to take cuttings from an old pomegranate bush to plant at our new house. Suzanne Kelley, email
A: Take several 6-inch cuttings from your plant. There should be three to five leaves on one end. Dip the end of each cutting into powdered rooting hormone. Stick each cutting into a 4-inch pot filled with moist potting soil designed for growing cactus. Envelop each pot and cutting in a zip-seal plastic bag and put them in a spot outdoors that gets bright shade but never full sun. They should root in eight weeks. Fertilize with half-strength houseplant fertilizer and remove the plastic bags. Keep an eye on them for at least a week to be sure the leaves do not wilt.
Q: Our community garden has been flooded twice from a creek we think has toxic material in it. Where can we send a soil sample to test toxicity? Carol Bartlett, Decatur
A: Testing for “toxicity” is an inexact and frustrating process. You have to specify what to test for in order to get a positive or negative result. There could be dozens of bad things in floodwater besides E. coli and heavy metals. I found a great resource for gardening in flood-prone areas at bit.ly/GAflooded.
Q: I have a zoysia lawn that I established from seed four years ago. This year I noticed there were many zoysia seed heads. What should be my schedule of mowing to allow the lawn to reseed itself? Kip Duchon, email
A: I hate to dampen your idea, but it is almost impossible to collect enough zoysia seed to make it worth your while. Zoysia grass produces many sterile seed. Collecting viable seed depends on closely monitoring air temperature, soil temperature, seed head moisture content, and the parent plant’s health. It’s not likely you could do that successfully. Buy zoysia seed that has been tested for germination percentage and weed seed content and plant that instead.
Q: I want to buy a Kombi shovel but I have come to find they are no longer being made. Ken Gregg, DeKalb County
A: At one time, Kombi shovels were produced by hand and sold by local garden clubs and small nurseries. The shovel’s sawtooth blade was said to be great for digging in hard clay. Instead, look locally and online for shovels with names like Root Slayer, Root Assassin, and Sawtooth Shovel. These tools allow you to cut through roots and make digging easier.
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