Experts ready to answer gardening questions
From soil health to plant selection, the questions are pouring in as summer continues. Get answers from Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer tool from Oregon State University’s Extension Service. OSU Extension faculty and Master Gardeners reply to queries within two business days, usually less. To ask a question, simply go to the OSU Extension website and type in a question and the county where you live. Here are some questions asked by other gardeners. What’s yours?
A fix for a fig tree?
Q: We planted a small fig tree in our yard in Springfield at the end of May of this year. After we planted the tree, we filled the hole with compost. It is in full sun. It seemed to be doing OK at first, though growing slowly, but in the last few weeks some of its leaves have turned yellow and brown and fallen off. We had been watering it daily, but then read that we should only water it once a week, so switched to doing that. It has not seemed to help, though, as a small number of leaves continue to turn yellow and brown and fall off. We inspected the leaves and didn’t see any bugs. Do you have any suggestions about what we could try to make our fig tree healthy again?
– Lane County
What’s the best way to protect hanging baskets from heat?
Q: I have spent a lot of money on flowers that are mostly petunias and hanging baskets. I always seem to lose them in August. Not sure if I am overwatering or under. I think over is the case. They are the direct sun type. Can you please tell me with the extreme heat should I bring them indoors? Should I water twice a day? Will the direct hot sun hurt them? Please share how I save them this next month.
– Marion County
Pruning, watering and more watering
A: The goal of annual plants like petunias is to produce leaves, flowers and seeds during one growing season, and then die. They have chemicals in them that signal that they’ve done their job – produced seeds – and so they can abandon the effort. Part of keeping them looking reasonably good is to trick them into believing their work is not done. So, you need to prune them back regularly, especially the flowers. Taking them indoors and depriving them of sunlight won’t help, nor will changing your watering habits, except that they need to be watered as often as twice a day once the temperature gets over 80 degrees.
Check out this great article about caring for hanging baskets.
– K.A. LaMar, OSU Extension Master Gardener