A: Some evergreens are commonly fed on by deer, but juniper is not usually one of them.
Q: I have several Green Giant arborvitae that have grown beautifully. I would like to top them, in an effort to force more growth toward the middle. Mel Wilinsky, email
A: Pruning out the top of a tree doesn't force growth to occur in the middle of the tree. Pruning causes "nearby" dormant buds to sprout, but "nearby" means somewhere between 2 and 12 inches away from the cut, not 2 to 12 feet away. The only other thing that causes growth to occur in a certain vicinity is increased exposure to sunshine. Sunshine triggers photosynthesis in dormant buds and makes them sprout. The best way to control the shape and size of an arborvitae is to prune when the need is seen, not years later.
Q: The online retailer where I bought my butterfly bush recommends gardeners not to amend clay soil for a butterfly bush. Agree or disagree? Brenda Jefferson, DeKalb County
A: It is true that in most cases no amendments are needed when planting a tree or shrub. Amendments create a paradise for roots, which they are reluctant to leave when they need to explore the surrounding soil for new sources of water and nutrients. An exception could be made if you are planting a big shrub bed and can amend the entire area. And keep in mind that amendments are useful when you're planting annual or perennial flowers. I know this flies in the face of recommendations I have made over my career, but I am not too old to change my mind.
Listen to Walter Reeves’ segments at 6:35 a.m. on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 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.