Walter Reeves: Dwarf apple makes a good landscape tree

Listen to Walter Reeves on 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.

Q: I had two trees being taken out and I have the option to put a fruit tree in their place. It is quite a small space, but it does get full sun. — Sarah Bova, email

A: I think a dwarf apple would suit nicely. The best time to plant is in fall, but I see fewer on sale then than in spring. You can get a better variety selection if you’re willing to order online. I have a list of sources at bit.ly/fruitsources.

Q: My neighbor had several locust trees cut down last year. This year there have been a huge number of sprouts coming up from the roots. I’ve used Brush-B-Gon a couple of times, but new sprouts come up weeks later. Is there a stronger chemical I can use to get rid of these? — Matt Sitter, Chamblee

A: You’re doing the best you can. Your goal is to starve the roots. You can kill the sprouts by whatever means you choose: mowing, clipping or spraying with herbicide. There is no product that will kill all the roots the locust once had. Usually it takes a year of persistence to gain victory.

Q: I love to cut grass but have been stung by yellow jackets three times this summer. Now I’m terrified to mow. How can I find the nest in a huge yard? — Debbie Hipps, McDonough

A: Try this: Upend a 5-gallon plastic bucket in the middle of your lawn. When the sun is coming up or going down, place an open can of tuna and a small slice of watermelon on the bucket and sit quietly in a chair nearby. Sunlight will reflect off the bodies of the yellow jackets that come to eat and you can visually track them to the area where the nest is located. They will not bother you while you sit because their little insect brains are focused on taking food back to their nest. But once the nest is located, you can give it a deadly squirt of insecticide at dusk.

Q: My 86-year-old father lives in rural Georgia and he asked me to look for information on ordering drip irrigation parts. He says he needs an emitter. — Holley Shuford, Conyers

A: Drip irrigation is a terrific way to water a garden. You run plastic tubes down the rows and use small plastic emitters to drip water to the plant roots. I found a great explanation of how to set up a system at bit.ly/dripirrigate. I’ve seen kits and emitters at home supply stores.

Q: We just took out my beloved Leyland cypress because they were dying. I want to replace them with ‘American Pillar’ arborvitae in the same spot. If my cypress were diseased, will that spread to American Pillar? — Sally Ganey, email

A: In my experience, arborvitae and Leyland cypress don’t get the same diseases. ‘American Pillar’ seems more drought-tolerant as well. I have a big list of good plants for screening at bit.ly/screenplants.