Q: Is it safe to use 2,4-D to kill the weeds in my vegetagle garden?

A: Only a trace of that herbicide is needed to damage tomatoes, melons, sweet potatoes and beans. It can be carried by air currents and cause injury a block away from the sprayed area.

Q: Does it pay to buy lady beetles for the vegetables garden so won't have to spray?

A: Winter-collected lady beetles when released in the spring are likely to disperse quickly and widely, particularly when temperatures stay above 65 degrees F.

Q: Does the type of soil have anything to do with the color of the flowers of a mimosa tree?

A: This is usually a genetic problem. Most mimosa trees are grown from seed, and the young tree may be different from its mother, and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Q: Can cuttings from petunias be rooted?

A: Petunia cuttings root easily. Take cuttings four to six inches long, cut just beneath a leaf joint, root in coarse sand or a mixture of one-half coarse sand and one-half finely ground peat moss.

Q: We have a small vegetable garden and lots of seeds are left over each year. Can they be saved and used nest year?

A: They should be perfectly good next year if stored properly. Put them in a container that will keep them dry and store in a cool place. A mason jar with a new lid is a good container for them.

Q: Wild strawberry plants are taking over my lawn. How can I get rid of them?

A: Common cinquefoil, Potentilla simplex, is often called wild strawberry; however, wild strawberries have white flowers while those of common cinquefoil are yellow. Dicamba or 2,4-D can be used during May and June to control common cinquefoil. These chemicals will not harm the grass, but keep them off other plants, which can be seriously damaged.

Q: I bought lady beetles for my vegetables garden and cannot see any results. Are they worthwhile?

A: Winter-collected beetles, when released in the spring, are likely to disperse quickly and widely, especially when the temperatures reaches 65 degrees F. and above. This means those beetles cannot be relied on to control growing aphid populations in a given area.

Q: Are the tops of rutabagas edible?

A: They're flavorful and nutritious if you get them while they're young, but become tough and too strong when they get old.

Q: I planted tulip bulbs last October. Should they be dug and stored during the summer?

A: Most gardeners dig their tupip bulbs every two or three years, separate and store them, and replant them in October. In naturalized plantings, where the bulbs are planted eight to 10 inches deep, they can be left undisturbed for many years before they stop blooming. The flowers may be smaller after three or four years, but still quite attractive. For exhibition quality, they should be dug every year and only the largest bulbs replanted. The time to dig is after the foliage turns yellow but before it dries up and drops off.