Q: Is Major Wheeler honeysuckle considered an invader? How does it spread? I was curious about the hummingbird. Do you have any suggestions for covering a wire fence for privacy? I want something that grows fast and is always green.
A Major Wheeler is a Lonisera Semperver, our native honeysuckle choice, so it is not as invasive as Japan’s Hanissuckle. It is a very beautiful red-flower shape. I think it would be a great option.
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Q: In a recent column, he suggested cutting back on cannabis leaves after frost. Successfully winter the plants in the ground in Zone 7 on the north side [of a building]?
A Most winter cannabis bulbs reach South Arkansas south. I have suffered very little damage since last winter, but snow is a good defense. Once you have hardened ice, cut the leaf and add more banana peel, but let it cool first.
Q: No In my backyard, I have a garden of trees planted by neighbors 50 years ago. They are very big, and I wanted them to go because they are invaders. Finally, I killed the trees by cutting rings around them and treating wounds with a brush. My question is, how do I kill the root? They send rhizomes all over the compound. I sprayed them, and they just sent it with its roots. If I continue to spray again next summer, will they eventually die because they have no leaves to feed?
A The Tree of Paradise or Alantus is hard to destroy once or twice. They have a broad root system that can spread beyond the area where the first tree was planted. Keep cutting and destroying when you see it. After two or three years, it should be completely eradicated. But do not ignore it, otherwise it will be as strong as ever.
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Q: I brought home my pot of hibiscus to enjoy the winter in the sunny window. It blooms and is beautiful, but now it has a Medleybog invasion. I have a neem oil concentrate container that I have had for many years. Is mixing with water and spraying the plant still safe and effective? Or do you have any other comments? I used cotton swabs and alcohol, but it is becoming more and more unhealthy.
A I don’t think Nim is posted for indoor use, unless you have an indoor plant system. You can spray some syringe oil with soap and water. Only one teaspoon per gallon of water. Spray the balls where they are, but keep an eye on them, as they may not see the trailers. There are also some indoor plant droplets that contain systemic insecticides that you can find in hardware stores.
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Q: My large leaf Hydrangeas is very tall. Unfortunately, I was confused about the exact time to trim. Please advise me when I can prune the plants.
A I guess you have a large leaf pink or blue hydrangea macrophila. These plants have large flower buds for next summer. The time to prune them was just as the flowers were dying in the summer. If they are too tall, in the spring, you can remove a few very long reeds, leaving enough stems for the flowers. White-flowered paniculata and soft hydrangeas thrive on new growth, and can be cut in March before new growth begins.
Janet Carson, who retired from the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service after 38 years, is one of Arkansas’s leading horticultural professionals. Her blog is Arkansasonline.com/planitjanet. In the mail at 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203, or email her [email protected]