A: I think you are overreacting to the soil pH level. It is true that garden plants grow best in a pH of 6.0 - 6.5 but most can easily tolerate a pH of 7.0. At this point, I think it would be good to switch to no-till gardening. It sounds like your garden soil has plenty of organic matter. If that's the case, you need to allow soil fungi to continue making their tiny, oxygen-filled pores in the soil, which plants love. Tilling destroys this wonderful soil structure. Plant your vegetable seedlings or seeds in small holes you dig in the dirt without causing major soil disturbance.
Q: The community landscape crew used a hedge trimmer to chop off about a third of my healthy, newly-planted Encore azaleas. I presume the spring blooming will not happen but I'm wondering if they will survive this butchering?
Roger Klask, Canton
A: If they were healthy when they were pruned, I have no doubt they will survive. Although you will miss the typically heavier spring bloom, Encore azaleas will have several flushes of blooms between spring and fall. As the weather warms up, new sprouts will cover the bare stems left from pruning.
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