Q: I planted a pomegranate ten years ago. I have read that it should be pruned a specific way if it gets too big. Heidi Plumpton, email
A: I don’t think there is a “specific” way to prune; it just depends on what you want. A pomegranate can be pruned to be a tree or a shrub. Most gardeners prefer the shrub form. If that’s what you want, follow these tips: After removing dead branches, take out a few living interior limbs so light can penetrate to the middle of the plant. If one stem towers over the rest, cut it in half to encourage new growth at that point.
Q: As a child, I remember hunting in the woods for “fat lighter’d” to be used as kindling in the fireplace. How it is formed? Ron Kirkland, Clayton County
A: Fat lighter’d is the center portion of a pine tree stump (the heartwood). It is saturated with hardened pine sap (rosin). Even if you submerge fat lighter’d in water for a week, after you shake the water off you can light it with a match and it will burn vigorously. The wood makes excellent kindling because it is easy to light and burns hot, thus easily starting a fire in a fireplace.
Q: I have quite a few pots of succulents that I planted this summer. They thrived and I am now wondering what to do with them. I don’t really have a bright spot in the house, not to mention the space they’d take up. What can I do? Jane Wier, email
A: You have certainly heard of Secret Santas. I think you should be Succulent Santa. Your friends will find on their desk or porch or car seat a pretty little succulent plant and a note on how to care for it. Think how good you will feel!
Q: I just discovered an unopened bag of 4-5-4 plant food I purchased for my azaleas. It contains “material recycled from the food processing industry, formulated specifically for all acid-loving plants.” What would you suggest I do with it? Judy Matlock, Woodstock
A: The 4-5-4 analysis and the ingredient notes tell me is this is a slow release, organic fertilizer that is perfect for azaleas. Since the nutrients will not dissolve quickly, it is not a problem to fertilize your azaleas now. Nutrients will be slowly released in the winter and next spring.
Q: Can I transplant my hydrangeas to Zone 9, Florida? They are about three feet tall and wide. Alan Cyrier, email
A: Hydrangeas will grow in zone 9 if you give them light shade all day long and if they are watered properly in summer. Unless yours are very special to you, I think I would rely on a local nursery there to recommend varieties that grow best in your new location. Look around your new neighborhood in spring and notice how good-looking hydrangeas are situated in the local landscapes.
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