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  • Frequently Asked Questions
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    Trees and Shrubs

  • Will it hurt a tree to build up the ground around the base of the tree in order to plant flowers?
  • Flowering Shrubs

  • Where should I plant my hydrangea?
  • How do I change the color of blooms on a hydrangea?
  • When should I trim my azaleas and rhododendron?
  • When should I cut back my butterfly bush?
  • Perennials

  • How long will perennials flower?
  • What perennials can I plant to add fragrance to my yard?
  • What perennials will grow well in the shade?
  • Should hosta leaves be cut down in the fall?
  • Why should I cut back bulbs after blooming?
  • Ornamemtal Grasses

  • How and when should I trim ornamental grasses?
  • Roses

  • How do I keep my roses insect and disease free?
  • How much sun do roses need?
  • Annuals

  • What is the difference between annuals and perennials?
  • When is the best time to water my plants?
  • How do I protect my tender annuals and vegetables from frost?
  • When does frost usually occur?
  • What does “deadheading” mean?
  • What annuals will grow well in the shade?
  • Vegetables

  • What vegetables can I plant in the early spring?
  • How do I protect my tender annuals and vegetables from frost?
  • Pest Control

  • What can I do to get rid of aphids?
  • How do I treat for Japanese Beetles?
  • Miscellaneous

  • What are the reasons for pruning?
  • Does bagged fertilizer expire?
  • What is the difference between garden mulch and compost?
  • What does “variegated” mean?
  • What are some plants that are pet friendly and safe?
  • How can I get white and other discolored areas off of my clay pots?
  • How much area will a 3cu. ft. bag of mulch cover?
  • How many hours of sunlight a day constitute full sun, part shade, and full shade?









  • Will it hurt a tree to build up the ground around the base of the tree in order to plant flowers?

    You never want to build up the soil around the base of a tree. This is an important area for gas exchange for the tree and is probably the number one reason for tree death. You can build up if you leave a 5 foot diameter circle around the trunk and then only about 3” high for the build up area. You can always plant flowers in the area around a tree with a 2-3” layer of mulch without building up the area and have good success.

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    Where should I plant my hydrangea?

    All will bloom and grow well in morning sun and afternoon shade. NO hydrangea will do well in heavy shade.

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    How do I change the color of blooms on a hydrangea?

    To make the blossoms pink, you need to sweeten the soil or increase the pH level of the soil.  This can be done by applying lime to the soil. To make the blossoms blue, you need to lower the pH level of the soil.  This can be done by applying aluminum sulfate to the soil.

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    When should I trim my azaleas and rhododendron?

    Trim after they are done flowering. Buds for next years flowers begin to set by mid to late August. If you trim this late in the season, you will be cutting off next years flowers.

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    When should I cut back my butterfly bush?

    Late winter/early spring is the correct time to cut back the stems to 6-12” from the ground. Flowers will produce on new growth.

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    How long will perennials flower?

    Most perennials have a main blooming period of 3-4 weeks. You may get some stray blooms up to 6-8 weeks.

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    What perennials can I plant to add fragrance to my yard?

    Lilies, creeping phlox, hosta, dianthus, peonies, forget-me-nots, bee balm, and lupine are some fragrant perennials. Annuals that are fragrant: stock, English primrose, alyssum, and pansies.

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    What perennials will grow well in the shade?

    Some known to grow well in the shade are: Lily-of-the-Valley, Dicentra (Bleeding Heart), Helleborus (Hellebore), Hosta, Lamium, Myosotis (Forget-me-not), Astilbe, Tiarella (Foam Flower), and Viola (Violet).

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    Should hosta leaves be cut down in the fall?

    As long as the leaves are green, they are still feeding the roots. The leaves should only be removed after they have yellowed and can be easily removed from the plant. Generally, the first hard frost will kill the leaves and they can be cut down at this time.

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    Why should I cut back bulbs after blooming?

    Since bulbs get energy from the nutrients produced in the leaves, you should wait until the foliage turns brown before cutting them back.

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    How and when should I trim ornamental grasses?

    It is necessary to trim them in late winter to remove old blades and seed heads before the next growing season. A pair of hand shears can be used to clip the foliage down to around 6 inches, taking care not to clip into any new shoots that may be starting to grow from the base.

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    How do I keep my roses insect and disease free?

    Most roses are highly susceptible to insects and fungus so a routine spraying program of Orthenex should be done every 7-10 days. Spray in the early morning hours when it is still cool.

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    How much sun do roses need?

    Roses prefer a full day of sun. Give roses at least 6 hours of direct sun a day. Morning sun is especially important because it dries the leaves which help prevent disease.

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    What is the difference between annuals and perennials?

    An annual plant is one that sprouts, grows, and flowers continuously until the early fall season. Annuals last for one season.
    A perennial will return each season, but will have a specific flowering period.

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    When is the best time to water my plants?

    The best time for watering is early morning or evening. In the heat of the day-10:00 am to 6:00 pm—sun and wind tend to quickly evaporate a significant quantity of water.

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    How do I protect my tender annuals and vegetables from frost?

    If you are unable to move the planter to a protected location, the plant(s) should be covered with newspaper, sheets, or cardboard boxes. DO NOT USE PLASTIC. Frost will form on the underside of plastic, therefore harming the plant(s).

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    When does frost usually occur?

    Frost occurs when the sky is clear, the wind is calm, and the temperature drops into the 30’s. Frost will not occur if it is cloudy, rainy, or windy. Frost comes straight down, so if you have plants protected by an overhang they will not be harmed.

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    What does “deadheading” mean?

    Deadheading is the act of removing spent or fading flowers. Removing these types of flowers promotes new flower buds and prevents the plant from spending energy on developing seeds.

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    What annuals will grow well in the shade?

    Coleus, begonias, impatiens, and lobelia.

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    What vegetables can I plant in the early spring?

    The following can be planted 4-6 weeks before the frost-free date in your area: Artichokes, Snap Beans, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Peppers, Radish, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Cabbage, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Spinach, Turnips, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Collards, Kohlrabi, Escarole, Strawberries, and Kale.

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    What can I do to get rid of aphids?

    Aphids are a “sucking” insect that is usually green, but can also be red or black. When your plant has aphids you will need to start a spray program using an insecticide such as Isotox, which is sold here at Dering’s. Also, hummingbirds love aphids, so placing a vase of red or orange trumpet-shaped cut flowers near infested plants will often enlist their help.

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    How do I treat for Japanese Beetles?

    You can simply use a combination of spraying and beetle traps to keep them away from your plants and shrubs.

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    What are the reasons for pruning?

    1. Training the plant - Pruning at the time of planting may be necessary to shape your tree or shrub. Broken or crossing branches should be removed, but avoid excessive pruning at transplanting because it tends to retard plant growth and inhibit survival.

    2. Maintaining plant health - Pruning is vital for removing dead, dying, or diseased wood. Any dying branch or stub can be an entry point or build-up chamber for insects or diseases which can readily spread to other parts of plant.

    3. Improving plant quality - Properly timed pruning will increase the production of wood that will help flowers, improving the quality of fruit, and foliage, and stems as well.

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    Does bagged fertilizer expire?

    Fertilizer can be used for many years without risk of expiring provided it has been stored dry. Sealing the bags in the fall with a good quality tape will help them last throughout the winter. Storage should be in a dry garage or basement. While temperatures have no direct affect on fertilizer during storage, try to avoid storing fertilizers where they are exposed to temperature extremes (especially heavy freezing).

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    What is the difference between garden mulch and compost?

    Compost should be worked into the soil to make it more fertile. On the other hand, mulch is spread a top the soil, both to protect the soil and to suppress weeds.

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    What does “variegated” mean?

    Different colors on the same leaf or flower.

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    What are some plants that are pet friendly and safe?

    Bamboo, snapdragon, myrtle, marigold, and laurel.

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    How can I get white and other discolored areas off of my clay pots?

    Use a wire brush and scrub the pots in a dilute bleach solution. Be sure to rinse the pot thoroughly to get rid of the bleach.

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    How much area will a 3cu. ft. bag of mulch cover?

    To calculate the total number of 3 cu. ft. bags of mulch needed to apply 2in. of material to an area, divide the total square footage of the planting bed by 18sq. ft.

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    How many hours of sunlight a day constitute full sun, part shade, and full shade?

  • 6 hours or more of direct sun = Full Sun / Part Sun
  • 4-6 hours of direct sun = Part Shade
  • Less than 4 hours = Full Shade
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