Purple kudzu flowers are attractive and fragrant. PHOTO CREDIT: Walter Reeves

Kudzu is flowering now

Q: When do kudzu vines flower? Rachel York, email

A: They are blooming right now! I saw several flowers recently when walking on the newly completed South Peachtree Creek PATH near Mason Mill Park in Decatur. The boardwalk is elevated between kudzu-covered trees so it was easy to spot the purple flowers. I could smell the grape-scented blooms as I walked along. Kudzu is a member of the pea family, so when the flowers disappear they are replaced by clusters of short pea-like seedpods. All parts of the kudzu vine are edible if you harvest them at the right time.

Q: I plan to dig out several roses that have rose rosette virus. I wear a pair of long-sleeved leather gloves when I’m working around my roses. Can I possibly be transmitting the disease via the gloves? Buddy Snipes, DeKalb County

A: Rose rosette virus is spread by tiny mites that feed on infected plants and are then transferred, usually by wind, to a healthy bush. In theory I suppose your gloves could carry mites from one bush to another but I don’t know that it has ever been observed. Just to be safe, wipe the gloves with a rag dampened with soapy water before you work with your “clean ” roses.

Q: We have rabbits who like my yard and flowers. What do you recommend to make them move away? J. Kalahar, email

A: Rabbits are tough to control. A low fence will keep them out of individual flower beds but that’s hard to accomplish when you have a big landscape or lots of spots underneath shrubbery where they like to hide. I don’t know of a repellent that works consistently but you could try Milorganite fertilizer, which is reputed to repel animals.

Q: I have no choice but to transplant some mature azaleas this month. I would really like to cut them back. Can you advise? Celine Thomas, Acworth

A: I remember moving six hydrangeas and ten azaleas on July 4 many years ago. It was hotter than blue blazes that day but they all survived! I think the key for you is to have soft organic soil ready to accept them in the new garden. After planting, really soak the soil around them and then put mulch around each plant. Don’t fertilize them until next spring but you can prune them back by a foot or so if that seems necessary. A more severe pruning will increase their need for water and will stress them unnecessarily.

Q: The last storm knocked over some of my corn. Should I stand them back up and hill some dirt around each one? Mike Childers, email

A: In my experience, sweet corn stalks never seem strong enough to withstand a summer thunderstorm unless the corn is growing in a big patch where the stems can lean against each other. I think home gardeners should put a post at the ends of individual rows and run two lengths of twine down the row. The twine should be about three feet from the ground. As the corn grows, guide the stalks between the two strings so the stems are supported during strong gusts.

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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