UACES Facebook Reference Desk

Garden Reference Desk

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

 

August 12, 2017

Question

This plant was bought at the Bella Vista plant sale 3 years ago; no one could tell me about it then as the person who contributed the plant was not there at the time.  It has taken over both sides of our deck ramp even though it was only planted on one side; it's about 3-4 feet tall and did not bloom till last year.  Any clues as to what we have here?

 

Picture of a Clerodendrum bungei

Answer

The plant is commonly called Mexican hydrangea or Cashmere bouquet – Clerodendrum bungei.  The flowers are showy and fragrant, but watch out—this plant spreads like gangbusters. 


Question

I have an out of control "shrub" that is made from runners off a tall crape myrtle. Cutting it back only seems to exacerbate the problem. How can I get it under control?

  
Answer

It sounds like you have root suckers coming up.  If possible cut the sprouts right below the ground line.  Some varieties sucker more than others, but typically it is just at the base of the tree—it sounds like yours are moving a bit further away.  Herbicides would damage the mother tree as well as the sprouts, so avoid those  


Question

Please see the attached picture.  It shows part of the front yard of a rental property I own.  There is a lovely tulip poplar tree on the north side of the property, but all of the grass under it has died.  I've tried Bermuda and St. Augustine, but with no luck. What can survive under the shade of the tree?  I'd prefer grass, even if it doesn't match the rest of the grass in the yard, but I'll even settle for some type of ground cover if necessary.  Do you have any good suggestions?

 

Answer

Grass and shade do not mix.  To add insult to injury, your tulip poplar tree is going to grow taller and taller and provide even more shade.  If you want it to look like grass, plant the groundcover Mondo grass (ophiopogon) or a little bit taller monkey grass (Liriope).  There are other groundcovers as well, but these would be the most grass-like. 


Question

I bet many folks are wondering this...how much longer before these pests are gone for the season? And another point of interest is the low number of hummers, bees, butterflies this year even with all their favorites planted.

 

Answer

Japanese beetles are a huge pest problem in NW Arkansas, and they are definitely here to stay. For adults their normal feeding time is June through mid-August.   I just want them to stay out of central Arkansas!  I assume you are in NW Arkansas, but I have talked with agents up there and they are seeing no decline in butterflies, bees or hummingbirds. In Little Rock, I have had more butterflies and hummingbirds than last year by far.  There may be less at your feeders since many areas have had a mild growing season and almost ample rainfall, so our native flowers are blooming quite nicely and they have more choices to feed on.


 

Question

My wife and I live in Chenal and very much enjoy eating the wild blueberries that grow so abundantly on the rocky hillsides where we live. If we wanted to gift a small sprig of this bush to a friend to transplant in another part of the State, how would we do that? Should we try to grow a sprig from the berries or cut out one of the many roots that grow just below the surface of the ground

 

Answer

Transplant a small plant this fall when the weather cools off and it should do well.  Transplanting now would be tough on you and the plant. 


 

 All links to external sites open in a new window. You may return to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture web site by closing this window when you are finished. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the information, or the accessibility for people with disabilities listed at any external site.

Links to commercial sites are provided for information and convenience only. Inclusion of sites does not imply University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture's approval of their product or service to the exclusion of others that may be similar, nor does it guarantee or warrant the standard of the products or service offered.

The mention of any commercial product in this web site does not imply its endorsement by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture over other products not named, nor does the omission imply that they are not satisfactory.