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The Magic Garden
Feeling blue or in the pink?
Morton White

I have a blue hydrangea that has very few flowers. It is in a sunny location. Should I cut it back?
Dee, Westerly, RI


Hydrangea macrophylla hortensia grows best in the shade. If it is in the sun, wait until spring to clean it up and cut it back to 11 inches from the ground. You will find that if you transplant it in the spring into a shady area, it will give you more and larger flowers. Blue hydrangeas that are in the shade can be cut back in the fall to the same 11 inches from the ground. Bonemeal and a pinch of Epsom salts with help revive the blooms.

We have a 5 foot pink dogwood that isn't doing well this year. The leaves are all droopy. We have not use fertilizer. What could be the problem?
Jerry, Galesferry, CT


Anthracnose fungus has been wide spread this year. It only attacks the Cornus florida. Streptomycin injections have had some success in arresting the spread within a tree. You will find that it is less expensive to ditch the tree and purchase another specie. Cornus kousa has smaller leaves and lower growth. It has flowers that are more clustered with a pink berry. One variety, C. kousa chinensis, has longer flower bracts. C.mas has small yellow flowers in March or April. Cornelian cherry also has a red edible berry in the fall. It is pollutant resistant.

My lawn has circles of light brown dead grass. What is it and what can
I do?
Gale, Lincoln, RI


Dollar spot usually fungus appears in August and September. It generally follows a wet summer and excessive feeding of lawns. Benlate fungicide will arrest the fungus. Follow directions on the package. I would stop the fertilizer program until next spring. You will need to seed the area in the spring. You can add limestone to the area this fall.

I have two maples that are very seedy and are dropping their leaves. What could be the problem?
Audrey, Middletown, RI


I would first check for cuts in the bark. If this is so, you will need an arborist to clean them out. Two years ago oak trees experienced leave drop. This occurs when trees are holding too much moisture. The trees go into premature dormancy to protect themselves. If there is no sign of spots on the leaves and there are no earwigs, you can relax. If it is a sugar maple, you can tap into the cambium for a great supply of maple sugar to sweeten your situation.

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