Readers should seek help to identify the plants in preparation for the winter cold

Fresh pepper infusion can prevent the theft of squash

Q: Last week, I noticed that there is a continuing damage to this cabbage. [The reader sent a photo.] I was accustomed to squash burying nuts in a pot, but I have never tasted cabbage. Suggestions?

A: Place a few hot peppercorns in a small water spray bottle and spray on the plant. See if that prevents them. There are other sprays you can buy to keep animals away but they smell bad, and they may not want to go home.

Reader Winter plant preparation begins late

Q: I am behind my work in the fall camp. Too late to divide peonies and irises? Should I try to cut out the Persian shield next year? Will Lemongrass and Citronella Return on Their Own?

A: You can still divide the peony, but I will not divide Iris later. Iris rhizomes should be planted shallow, and I am afraid they will not grow out of the freezing and thawing soil this winter. Cut off the Persian shields and citronella, as none of them will return the following year. Lemongrass can come back in the cold winter or later. You have a lot of lemongrass, and it is near the house, so it may be more secure. Not 100% guaranteed but keep your fingers crossed. This will do more good if you dig a small plant and put it in your garage or in a pot under the slide of your house.

Amur honeysuckle invader and aggressive

Q: Did you recognize this shrub that came up on my fence? [The reader sent a photo.] I left because I thought the birds were enjoying the berries.

A: The plant in question is Amur honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii. In northwestern Arkansas, this plant can be very invasive. It has beautiful, fragrant white flowers in summer, and then these berries in the fall. Birds eat the fruit, then drop the seeds everywhere. The plant is propagated by the root system and its seeds, so be careful.

Crosandra attracts the attention of the reader

Q: We had a great weekend at Eureka Springs and there we visited the Quill Palace, which I took [photo]. (Such a wonderful place – you may not be there.

A: The plant in question is Crosandra, a beautiful annual. The flowers come in a variety of orange and yellow colors.

Wait for the Japanese maps to be cut until spring

Q: Is this Sumak? We lived in northern Arkansas, and it was a very tall tree with leaves on the tree. And when do you cut Japanese maps?

A: No, this is a small tree (Alantus altisima). It has composite leaves such as Sumak, but this plant is native to China and is widely grown. It produces a white flower with a white flower that transforms into a bunch of grapes. The flowers have a foul odor, so other common names include fragrant sumat (because it is similar to sumaak) and varnish. To prune the Japanese maps, I prefer to do it in the spring before the trees fall asleep. Occasionally we get winter damage on Japanese maps, so leaving them undamaged can give them the necessary protection. The best circumcision is the chosen thinness and shape, not cutting or enlarging.

Janet Carson, who retired from the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service after 38 years, is one of Arkansas’s leading horticultural professionals. Her blog is at In the mail at 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203, or email her [email protected]

Citronella dies in the winter, but can become infected if left untreated. (Special for Democrat-Newspaper)


Although there are attractive berries, Amur honeysuckle is an undesirable plant. (Special for Democrat-Newspaper)


Crosandra is an annual flower in various shades of orange and yellow. (Special for Democrat-Newspaper)


It is often confused with Sumac, a small tree that is hostile to the sky, and is called smak. (Special for Democrat-Newspaper)

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