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Welcome to the "Ask Janet Carson" portion of our website. Here you will find Janet Carson's current "In the Garden" Questions and Answers found weekly in "The Arkansas Democrat/Gazette" Saturday edition. Have fun reading these pages and check back with us weekly. This page is constantly updated and new questions are added on Monday following their appearance in the paper. So stay tuned...

All of the Questions & Answers that Janet writes for all publications are archived.

In the Garden with Janet B. Carson


March 17, 2018


There is an old someplace on my property in Beebe AR that contains hundreds of daffodils.  I have a dear friend who wants some.  Can they be moved now or do I have to mark them and wait till November. 


You have several options. One is to dig up the bulbs after they finish blooming and replant immediately in the new location allowing the foliage to die down naturally.  Sometimes the shock of transplant causes the leaves to die down too quickly and they don't get the requisite 6-8 weeks of green growth following bloom that is needed to set good flowers for the next season.  This would result in fewer flowers next spring, but by the following year they should be back to peak bloom.  The second option is to allow them to grow for 6-8 weeks after bloom, then dig them up and move them.  You can immediately replant if you know where you want them, or cut off the foliage, dry the bulbs and wait to replant next fall.  I would not wait until November to move them, since they will be dormant still and you won't know exactly where they are, and could damage the bulbs digging them up.


I have two beautiful loquat trees that were very badly freeze burned. They are normally lush and green throughout the winter, but this season just couldn't handle the single digit temps. When should I prune back the damaged foliage? 


Unfortunately this is a common refrain this year.  We have winter damaged foliage across the state.  Loquats only overwinter well in south Arkansas, but even south Arkansas had bitter cold this winter.  Start cutting back gradually.  Some of the damage I have seen is mild and it is just foliage that is burned and there are viable buds beneath the leaves that are beginning to leaf out.  Prune until you come to green wood and then let them rebound.


 About 8 years ago I bought a 4’ tall banana plant. The plant was simply labeled “Banana Plant” so I don’t know the variety.  I planted it in a large pot and it lives in a protected corner of our deck.  It’s never had any fruit or flowers. Each November, we haul it into the garage (I assumed freezing temps weren’t good for the plant) and then haul it back out at the end of February. This year when we wrangled it into the garage, we had to bend some of the leaves since the plant was scraping the 12’ ceiling!  I’ve read online you can cut potted banana plants down to 12 inches before spring but I’m hesitant to take a knife to it.  When and how should I trim this lush beauty to get it down to a more manageable size?



There are numerous ways to store banana plants.  Some of them have actually been overwintering outdoors with a little extra protection, but not sure how they fared this winter.  The options you have include what you have been doing but you ca also cut it down before moving it in the garage. Others take them out of the ground and wrap them in an old bed sheet and store them in the crawl space of the house or in the garage. If you aren't concerned about flowering or setting fruit, it doesn't matter if they are cut back or not. I would cut back in the fall not the spring. You have already suffered through all winter with all the leaves. Next year cut it back when you move it.


I planted 6 Pindo palms poolside in 2012. The landscaper said they would survive south Arkansas winters just fine, and they did, until the single digit temps of this winter that we had even here in Camden.  Now most of the fronds have turned brown or gray, although there are still a few that are somewhat green. Are they dead? Cutting off the dead branches would sure give them a butchered look. Should I just cut my losses? Not sure how I can get them dug up other than with a backhoe!

AnswerYou are not the only one with this question.  The only answer I can give is I am not sure.  I have looked at some and there is still green in some of the trunk.  If the center most frond on your palm is still green and doesn't pull out easily, then chances are good the palm is still alive.  It is not going to be a gorgeous plant any time soon.  Palms will not begin putting on new foliage until the weather warms up considerably.  If it does begin to put out new fronds, don't be alarmed if they are somewhat deformed at first, but with time they should fill out.  Cut off all the brown fronds and keep your fingers crossed that they will leaf out. 


The slug/snail question from a week ago generated quite a bit of responses.  Many responded that they had tried a variety of methods. One I failed to mention that does work is shallow trays of beer.  From a reader: Get three or more mayonnaise lids (others said cat food can) and dig a hole to put in lid so that the open end is level with ground. (It can also just be sitting on the ground) Fill the lids with beer (snails are not picky so it does not matter what brand of beer).  The next morning go look and you will be amazed at all the dead snails/slugs. Repeat three or four days until clear. Just keep check and in a week or two you may have to repeat. 
As a bonus you get about 3/4 a can of beer to drink each night!!  Another slightly more unusual approach:  You should have told the person with the snail and slug problem to buy a duck.  I knew some people once who had a duck and they would walk around and lift up the low limbs on shrubs and the duck would gobble up the snails.  

**Several people have written in trying to register for the Azalea 101 workshop scheduled for April 5 at the State Extension Office that I wrote about a few weeks ago.   Depending on the search engine you use, the shorter link may not have worked.  If you would like to register try this link: 

This program has a registration fee of $45 which includes all course material, excellent educational programs and lunch.  If you need more information, let me know.


Tip:  If you know of a graduating high school senior who plans to major in horticulture or related field, applications are now being accepted for $1000 scholarships from the Master Gardener Advisory Board County 76 for the Janet B. Carson College Scholarship.  The deadline to apply is March 10.  Applications and more information is available at:





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