Q: My petunias are supposed to bloom all summer. That's what the catalog says, but they don't do it. Now they are all long stems with only an occasional flower.
A: Petunias are annuals, which growing from seed, bloom produce seed and die within a year. To keep them blooming, you should remove faded flowers and thus prevent seed production. This may be impractical with those that provide a large number of blooms, but do your best.
Annuals can sometimes be rejuvenated by cutting them back drastically. This encourages new growth, which will produce flowers.
Q: I planted four double tuberous begonia bulbs and only one has bloomed. Last month the flower buds fell off two of them without blooming. The plants appear healthy, they have grown alot.
A: Tuberous begonias often drop their buds when daytime temperatures exceed 90 and night temperatures are in the 70s. Too much fertilizer and too much or to little water also cause bud drop.
The fact that your plants are healthy is a good sign and they may start blooming soon. Don't fertilize them: That would encourage growth but few flowers.
Q: A lot of the leaves on my dogwood are turning red and curling. What can be the problem and what should I do about it?
A: The dogwood is very susceptible to heat and drought injury. The leaves fold upwards at the midrib, curl downward at the tip and turn red or reddish-purple. Unless there is a great deal of it, it does no particular damage and the tree returns to normal when the weather turns cooler and adequate moisture is available. Mulching to conserve moisture and watering during dry weather should take care of it.
Q: When is the best time to plant lettuce seed for a fail crop?
A: Mid-to late August is a good time to plant lettuce seed for late summer and fall harvesting.
Q: We have three different kinds of mushrooms growing in our lawns; they sprang up overnight. Are they harmful, is there a possibility they are edible?
A: They mushrooms are the spore-bearing parts of fungi that grow in the ground. They live on decaying organic matter buried in the soil and appear when the soil is moist. It is difficult for someone who is inexperienced to distinguish the edible kinds from very similar toadstools that are poisonous.
These growths do not infect or cause disease on grass plants, and usually disappear in a short time. It is a good idea to pick those that show up and put them into the trash can where children cannot get at them.
Q: Can pansies be planted in the fall and survive outdoors the winter?
A: Despite their delicate appearance, pansies are surprisingly hardy. They will survive temperatures near zero if planted in a protected spot.