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Bromeliad needs tropical light conditions

Q: My new bromeliad gets light directly through a window for an hour in the morning but the rest of the day there’s no direct light. The leaves are turning brown and it looks very unhappy with me. Samina Sharriff, Decatur

A: Generally speaking, bromeliads prosper when they get some shade but also intermittent bright sunshine. This mimics their native tropical environment. Despite your room being bright most of the day, I think your bromeliad needs more light. Move it to a sunnier spot if you can.

Q: Most of the bushes in my yard have fertilizer recommendations of 10-10-10. For many years I’ve used liquid 10-10-10, mixing it with water from my rain barrel, but I can not longer find it. What do you recommend instead? Margot Beebe, email

A: You can use the granular 10-10-10 that comes in a big bag. Simply scatter it on the ground and let the rain dissolve it into the soil. A typical rate is one tablespoonful per foot of shrub height.

Q: We had a large pine tree cut down because of pine beetles. The tree died in only two weeks. The trunk had lots of holes with sap dripping out on the lower part of the trunk and narrow trails under the bark. But the sapwood looked perfectly solid. Is that the normal way a tree dies from pine beetles? Jim Nystrom, Alpharetta

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A: The two most common causes for sudden death of a pine tree are a pine beetle infestation or a lightning strike. Both events severely damage the water-conducting tubes under the bark. The tree dies but the trunk is solid. The symptoms you’ve described sound exactly right for beetle damage. Although Southern pine beetles usually attack the bottom of a tree, they can infest limbs as small as 3 inches in diameter. Consider hiring a certified arborist (www.georgiaarborist.org) to inspect and possibly treat nearby pines.

Q: I have an old climbing rose I forgot to prune after it bloomed in May. Can I still prune it this late in the year or should I wait until next year? Taylor Gravitt, Forsyth County

A: If it needs major surgery, it would be better to wait until after it blooms in spring. Otherwise you’ll be taking off all of your bloom buds. If you only need to trim a few branches, it would not hurt to do it now as long as several branches are left intact.

Q: My brother’s walnut tree has walnuts on the ground and some still on the tree. Should we knock the ones on the tree off and do a one-time collection or collect them as they fall? Pam Zuber, email

A: Collect them as they fall. The nutmeat inside the green skin does not mature until the husk turns brown. I’m sure you know this but when you collect walnuts be sure to wear gloves. Otherwise the juice will stain your skin for days.

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips.

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