A: You can do severe pruning any time between January and early March. But keep in mind that the longer you wait, the less time you'll be faced with the stark white stubs left after pruning. Consider too that anything more than "nipping and tipping" will remove flower buds. Honestly, I'd wait until the shrub's spring flowering ends to do the surgery.
Q: We bought several potted mums this past fall. Our intentions were to plant them in the ground but we didn't get around to it and they are brown. Can we still plant them?
<em>John Stathes, email</em>
A: I have been surprised more than once by the ability of chrysanthemums to come back from the dead. My advice is to plant them in a sunny spot and check on them in mid- to late April. You might be surprised to see green growth at the base of the stems.
Q: Last year rabbits chopped the stems off my hostas at ground level. Is there anything to discourage them from feasting again this year?
<em>Scott Blake, Roswell.</em>
A: Like deer, rabbits will eat just about anything that's young and tender in spring. A physical barrier is the only thing I can guarantee will work. Perhaps you could make some coverings from chicken wire to protect the hosta until they are relatively large. If you can't do that, try fertilizing with Milorganite. This dry, sterilized organic fertilizer comes from a sewage plant in Milwaukee. Perhaps the smell of bratwurst, beer, and shotguns will deter the bunnies.
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