Species tulips have the best chance of coming back yearly

Credit: Walter Reeves

Credit: Walter Reeves

Q: I love tulips but have always had a hard time getting them to come back. I heard recently about wild type, or species, tulips and that they will perennialize in Georgia. Am I good to dig and drop? Bernie Atkinson, email

A: Species tulips have a tough nature. They like well-drained beds in semi-shade to full sun. Folks at the Atlanta Botanical Garden recommend three species tulips: Tulipa clusiana, Tulipa tarda, and Tulipa kaufmanniana (in particular ‘Red Riding Hood’). In their experience, these come back year after year and multiply if planted in the correct spot.

Q: The maple on my deck gets lots of filtered light. The stems are turning brown and the leaves are curling up. Any idea what’s going on? Durrett Evans, intown Atlanta

A: The leaf curling is likely caused by an interrupted water supply. I’m guessing that sometime recently the soil in the pot dried out. Either you didn’t water it for a couple of days or the roots in the pot got too hot to absorb water correctly. Tree root growth slows down when soil temperatures exceed 86 degrees. Roots die when soil temperatures rise above 96 degrees. When summer temperatures are regularly in the 90s, it’s easy for the soil in pots to exceed these temperatures. You can try to save this tree by checking the soil each day with your fingers. If it’s dry, be sure to soak it thoroughly. Another option is to move the tree to a larger container where the soil can hold more moisture and it is less likely to heat up.

Q: Is there a variety of okra that is fusarium wilt resistant? My Clemson spineless okra comes up, then the leaves turn yellow and fall off. About 80% die, and the rest grows a little and produces very little. I’m assuming it’s fusarium wilt and there’s no cure? Doug Elmore, email

A: It is always a good idea to get a diagnosis from the University of Georgia plant pathology lab before assuming it is fusarium wilt. (You can get contact details from your county Extension office.) But if it is, here are tips I’ve collected: The fungal spores can survive in the soil for up to seven years. Use certified clean seeds. Buy seeds treated with fungicide. Raise soil pH by applying lime where soils are acidic. I am not saying you have fusarium wilt because many things can cause these symptoms. The suggestions I listed are useful for most garden seeds.

Email Walter at georgiagardener@yahoo.com. Listen to his occasional garden comments on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for his latest tips.

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