After their normal spring and early summer flowering time, some gardenias bloom in fall. CONTRIBUTED BY WALTER REEVES
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Gardenias bloom at different times

Q: My gardenia bush overflowed with blooms but now has slowed way down. Is it time for it to stop blooming ?Tina Kent, email

A: Yes, different varieties of gardenia bloom at different times during summer. None bloom all summer long. Despite its name, ‘August Beauty’ blooms in late spring, but it also flowers in fall. ‘Frostproof’ blooms in June but sporadically thereafter. ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ blooms once in the spring and rarely afterward.

Q: Does Georgia have the emerald ash borer?Kim McDonald Cornell, email

A: Yes, we do. This destructive insect has been found in only 26 of our 159 counties, but it has the capability to kill every ash tree in the state. Georgia does not have many ash trees to begin with, but as of 2017, the whole state is under an emerald ash borer quarantine. Ash tree wood can be moved within our state but not to Alabama or Florida. Details at

Q: I want to remove ivy from a steep, shady bank but don’t know a plant that will hold the soil. Also the ivy is a haven for copperheads.Laura Spearman, Buckhead

A: I think you are asking the impossible when looking for a replacement for ivy in deep shade. I can’t think of a plant that would cover the bank in the shade and slope conditions that you have. By their very nature, “ground cover” plants grow close to the soil. This makes it a great space for frogs, crickets, lizards and other small creatures to live. These are things that snakes like to eat, so they will drop by occasionally for a meal. There are no effective chemical snake repellents. The only way to repel snakes is to create an environment they don’t like. Try to keep your ivy clipped around 4 inches high. This will make it less inviting for small creatures and will not provide much cover for snakes. Snakes like piles of logs and stones even more than they like ground cover. Eliminate those as well.

Q: What will kill crabgrass in centipede?Brian Reedy, Polk County

A: It is tough to find products that can distinguish between your centipede grass and your crabgrass. Sulfentrazone plus quinclorac (Image Kills Crabgrass) is labeled for use in your situation. For best results, weeds should be small and the grass not under any stress from heat or drought. Mesotrione (Tenacity) is also effective, but it is expensive and you must measure and apply it carefully. If you don’t, your centipede grass will turn white. As with any pesticide, read and follow the label exactly.

Q: I am clearing ivy from my yard. Should I rake out the ivy litter before I put pine straw on top of it?Zelia Lebeau, email

A: The leaf litter will be decomposed by soil-dwelling creatures and will thereby feed the shrubs and trees above. Leave the litter and spread the straw.

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

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