Cut privet at the trunk to separate it from scuppernong

Q: I have privet competing with a 100-year-old scuppernong vine. Any thoughts on how to get rid of it (the privet, not the scuppernong)? — Linda Woodworth, Newborn

A: The privet is stealing the sunshine your grapes need to become sweet! Persuade an intrepid family member to crawl under the vine and use a hatchet to chop the trunk of the privet. Paint undiluted glyphosate (Roundup, etc.) into the wound. The upper part of the privet will die and you can cut it off as needed. When you prune the scuppernong next January, remove the privet trunks underneath the tangle of vines.

Q: I just visited Germany and fell in love with white asparagus. What is needed to grow my own here in Georgia? — Dedi Patterson, Douglas County

A: White asparagus is simply an asparagus spear that has been shielded from light after it emerged from the ground. White asparagus is considered to be slightly milder in flavor and a bit more tender than green asparagus. Europeans pack sand carefully over the developing spears. Soil or straw could also be used. Another technique is to cover the spears with opaque plastic as soon as the tips emerge in spring. Gardeners have also experimented with sawing a black plastic barrel in half lengthwise and covering the spears with that.

Q: Enlighten me regarding the preferred temperature to apply weed killer to lawn grass. The label says it should not be applied if the temperature is 90 degrees or greater. Can it be applied in the morning, before the temperature rises? — Ernie Wright, Atlanta

A: An excellent question! The reason for the temperature warning is that plants cells are growing rapidly in the heat and thus are more likely to be affected by chemicals. General grass health and stress also determine if a weed killer will cause damage. Applying in the morning, when it's going to be hot soon, is not a good idea. Better to spray the chemical in the evening, when temperatures are falling.

Q: I recently purchased a Teddy Bear magnolia in a three gallon container. It’s gotten so hot, I wonder if I should keep it in the container or plant it. — Ann Walker, e-mail

A: I think there will be more stress on the magnolia growing in the pot than in the ground. Loosen a wide area around the planting spot, untangle the roots as you plant, apply mulch 3 feet from the trunk in all directions and resolve to give it 10 gallons of water once per week in the absence of rain. No vacations for you this summer!

Listen to Walter Reeves from 6 to 10 Saturday mornings on WSB-AM (750). Go to Gardening in Georgia for details on his TV show or visit his Web site, Walter Reeves .