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Daphne grows in more sunshine than thought

Q: Will a daphne grow in morning shade and afternoon sun?Janice Rowe, Monroe

A: Conventional wisdom says that daphne grows best in morning sunshine with shade in the afternoon, particularly in the southern United States. But one daphne in my neighborhood does not read horticultural literature. It is growing very well in practically all day sunlight and in soil that looks to be completely composed of red clay. If you want a daphne in a spot with morning shade and afternoon sunshine, my advice is to loosen the soil in a wide area, plant the daphne in the middle, pay attention to watering in summertime, and see what happens.

Q: Several of my neighbors use a mosquito control service during the summer months. What are your thoughts on this control measure and the effects on nature as a whole?Clark Connelly, email

A: This is tough for me to answer because every situation is different. I am concerned that mosquito spraying can kill beneficial insects, but I also realize that mosquitoes carry various diseases that we certainly don’t want to get. I have a friend who believes she lost a $300 investment in her beekeeping hobby because her neighbors sprayed for mosquitoes on breezy days.

I am totally opposed to permanently installed mosquito spraying systems because they are not under the day-to-day control of someone who can judge whether their operation at a particular time could affect pollinators.

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But if you have done the common prevention techniques like draining gutters, old tires, planters, etc., and if you keep nearby ground covers like ivy and pachysandra mowed low, I can reluctantly support spraying. But this assumes your pesticide company only sprays on calm days and directs the spray only into mosquito habitat.

Q: Where can I get non-GMO heirloom Big Boy and Better Boy tomato seeds?Paul Puckett, email

A: When I saw your question initially, I thought to myself, “What does he mean by ‘heirloom’? Those tomato varieties aren’t that old!” But I am going to have to eat my words! One definition of heirloom tomatoes includes those varieties introduced 50 years ago, which would include both of these!

Addressing the first part of your question, to my knowledge there are no GMO tomatoes available to homeowners, either from seed or at the grocery. Some have been produced in laboratories, but they are not commercially grown. And to your second query, you can get Big Boy and Better Boy tomato seed from Totally Tomatoes (totallytomato.com). To reward you for helping me learn something new, I posted the history of Big Boy and Better Boy tomatoes at bit.ly/GAbigboy.

Q: Are solar pots good or bad for plants? Might they confuse a plant by shining light on the roots, causing them to try to grow more?P.G. Randall, email

A: Solar pots are quite attractive with their soft nighttime glow, but I think the intensity of the light would not be enough to affect the plants in the pots in any way.

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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