Q: It looks like I have carpenter ants in trees (pine tree, ash, etc.) What should I do?
A: Use an insecticide to control this. Go to a garden center for recommendation on a chemical to use. Do not seal a tree wound if there is one.
Q: My magnolia tree didn’t bloom this spring. It’s just leafing out now (June). Can I trim out any dead branches now?
A: No blooming might have been caused by a cold snap late in the spring. It should be OK but keep an eye on it. You can prune now.
Q: I have a powdery looking disease on my impatiens. What should I do?
A: That’s powdery mildew. You should pull out the affected plants. Look for a resistant variety to plant again.
Q: My hydrangea wilts in the heat but it rebounds when shaded. Is that normal?
A: Yes, it is normal. You can poke your finger into the soil to determine if water is needed. The soil should feel damp.
Q: I have a shady area and I’m not sure what to plant. Do you have suggestions?
A: Hosta do well in shade as do ostrich ferns and coral bells, which have a nice flower. Goatsbeard does well in shade, too.
Q: My rhubarb leaves are red (red spots, not the coloration of the total leaf). Is the plant diseased?
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A: It might be a fungus, perhaps brought on by the heavy rains latterly. Harvest the stalks with the affected leaves first. At the end of the season, put all the leaves in the garbage. Do not compost them!
Q: My tomato leaves are curling up (“rolling”). Why?
A: This is probably caused by too much water. If you have clay soil, that prevents water percolation, so that might trap too much water.
Q: This isn’t a plant question, but maybe you can help. We see a cardinal at our feeder that has lost the feathers on his head. Do you know why?
A: Cardinals and other birds apparently lose their feathers, usually after nesting. The feathers will grow back quickly.
Call the Master Gardeners with your questions at (319) 447-0647 or send your questions and photos to email@example.com