Once the underlying organic matter has decomposed, mushrooms will disappear. CONTRIBUTED BY WALTER REEVES

Mushrooms are normal in new sod

Q: I have mushrooms in my new zoysia lawn. What steps can be taken to get rid of them? The yard gets plenty of sun to dry it out. Blake Sims, email

A: The mushrooms most likely are coming from fungi feeding on naturally occurring debris in the sod. When sod is harvested, not all of the grass plants survive the process. They die and are decomposed by soil fungi. The fungi eventually “bloom,” and those are the mushrooms you see. When the debris and the normal thatch layer are completely decomposed, mushrooms will cease appearing.

Q: Yellowjackets are coming out from a hole underneath a young maple in my front yard. How do I get rid of them without killing the tree? Michael Tate, email

A: All of the aerosol wasp and hornet sprays I’m familiar with have the insecticide mixed with a petroleum liquid carrier. I don’t recommend spraying any type of petroleum near the roots of a tree. In my experience, insecticide dusts do the best job controlling yellowjackets. Both deltamethrin and carbaryl dusts are available. I had a similar yellowjacket situation at my house. Not wanting to get too close to the hole, I made an applicator by taping a small plastic dipper to the end of a bamboo pole. This made it easy to drop the dust into my yellowjacket nest while standing back a safe distance.

Q: My tulip poplar has been dropping green seed pods for a couple of weeks. They fall every 20 minutes or so all day long. Guy Gray, email

A: The regular dropping you describe sounds like the work of squirrels. Poplar seeds, like pine seeds, are good food for them in late summer. I don’t know why they were not chewed before they were dropped. The tulip poplar seed pod is interesting to me because, unlike most other trees, tulip poplar flowers are pollinated by honeybees, not the wind. The interior of the flower holds a yellow cone, demonstrating that the tree is a member of the magnolia family. It is said that a tulip poplar can produce as much as nine pounds of nectar during the bloom season. My father, a beekeeper, loved collecting the poplar honey produced by his bees.

Q: Now that the squash and other vegetables are withered in my raised-bed garden, can I till the dried vines into the bed where they grew or should they be put in the compost pile? According to the planting charts, I can plant more squash to see if they produce another crop. I will wait a little longer on the spinach and lettuce. Jim Little, Chattooga County

A: Unless the previous vegetable plants were greatly diseased, I see no problem in tilling them into the soil and planting a new crop of vegetables for fall and winter.

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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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