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Weekly Lawn & Garden Tips

5/22/17 I had been in the enjoyment of our delicious Spring. Thomas Jefferson

Question:
How can I get rid of poison ivy that is climbing up on my Oak tree? Francis, Norwich, CT
Mort's Answer:
Poison ivy entangles other plants and cannot be sprayed without damage to the other plants. It is best to wait until winter when the ivy is dormant. At that time you can pull the plants out by the roots. Since the sap might still be present, you should cover your skin completely. Dried vines do not have the tensile strength of green plants and are more easily extricated from the yews and yours. Vine-X is a paste that is applied with a brush at the end of a squeeze bottle. It should be applied carefully with kid gloves. It is systemic and will travel down to the root of your problem.

Question:
We have an Abutilon that we have just planted. Can I keep that outdoors through the winter? Marie, Brunswich, GA
Mort's Answer:
Flowering Maple is hardy from zone 8 south. Since it gets rather breezy on the isles, I would recommend covering the plant with burlap in the winter. There are several good Abutilon with pinkish purple, yellow or white trumpet flowers. A. hybridum varieties include Boule DeNeige and Golden Fleece. A..pictum has a yellow or orange flower with red veins. A. theophrasti is basically an annual weed. I have seen some Flowering Maples in zone 6 that have been protected by other plants in the winter that have survived, but it is risky.

Question:
What is a better house plant, wax or tuberous begonia? Nate, Verdun,IL
Mort's Answer:
I like both. Tuberous are more elegant and larger in bloom and leaves. Rex tuberous begonia has spectacular leaves and flowers. Rieger tuberous are also stunning with rose-like flowers. Wax begonia will bloom continuously all winter with a much smaller flower. Charm Glow wax begonia has a white margined leaf and a pink flower. Both types need temps above 65. Some folks feel that the debris from fallen wax flowers are a nuisance. I am willing to pay the price for constant blooms.

Question:
What is the best way to get rid of Japanese Bamboo? Ann, Skoharry, NY
Mort's Answer:
Japanese Bamboo or Mexican Bamboo is not really bamboo. This reed- like plant is the most invasive and persistent weed on the East coast. Many target sprays only knock them down. I have found that I need to be as persistent as the weed itself. Cultivating the area every week will discourage them but not kill them. You have to dig out all the roots. If you cut off one little hair root, the plant will come back to haunt you like Dracula from the grave. Before the leaves unfurl they look like little red asparagus spears. When the spears pop up is the best time to attack them and dig out all the root. This means loosening all the soil around them and gently pulling out the root. If it does not come easily, then you have probably broken the root and will have to dig deeper into the bowels of the earth to get all the root. Polygonum cuspidatum can be very handsome with its greenish white flowers if you are easily seduced by beauty and let it get started.

Question:
How can I get your book? "A Face Made for Radio"
Mort's Answer:
You can purchase my book, "A Face Made for Radio".
This autobiography is 11.95 per copy including S&H. It chronicles my first 25 years and the history of radio. Just mail check or money order to:

Whitehouse Productions
484 Wellington Ave.
Cranston, RI 02910.

Allow two weeks for delivery.

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