Sweetshrub easy to transplant

Q: Three years ago I transplanted a calycanthus shrub. I have noticed that the mother plant has sent out new plants in several directions. Can I transplant these new shrubs? — Tom Connolly, email

A: Sweetshrub, Calycanthus floridus, is famous for its spreading nature. If the suckers are 12 inches tall or less, you could move them now and water regularly the rest of the summer. If you wait to make the move in November, no watering would be necessary.

Q: My homemade nectar for hummingbirds turns cloudy after a few days. What causes this? — Larry Sullivan, email

A: My guess is that your feeder is dirty when you fill it and the sugar water is rapidly fermenting. I wash mine in the dishwasher and scrub the feeding tube with a toothbrush. The liquid stays clear for a week.

Q: I may have done a bad thing. I fertilized a 1,300-square-foot lawn with a bag of 28-0-3, which is supposed to cover 5,000 square feet. Is there anything I can do to correct the problem or will I be looking at a dead lawn? — Kathie Skedel, email

A: My bet is that you'll simply have very fast-growing grass. Despite your overapplication, the main ingredients in lawn fertilizer are treated to be released over several weeks. I'd irrigate with an inch of water weekly so the soil is damp enough for the grass to use the fertilizer as fast as it can. Mow regularly and bag clippings so more nutrients are removed over time.

Q: My wife and I just moved here from San Diego and had a concrete patio installed in our backyard. We live on a small lake and get eaten alive by mosquitoes when we're outside. I'm looking at planting mosquito repellent plants around the patio. Are there any you can suggest? — Joe Rothschild, Loganville

A: I wish there was such a thing as a mosquito repellent plant, but there is not. It's true that the sap of some plants (scented geranium, lemon grass, etc.) is mildly repellent to mosquitoes, but you'd have to crush the leaves and rub them on your arms to have any effect. I'm aware of two items that might help: the Terminix AllClear Mister (www.allclearmister.com) and the Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Lantern (www.thermacell.com). In my own experience, an oscillating fan on a pedestal keeps mosquitoes at bay very effectively.

Q: Does the seed from hybrid Bermuda grass seedheads germinate? My sodded yard in is full of them. — David Myers, Carroll County

A: Hybrid Bermuda grass may form seedheads, but there is no good seed inside. Sodded Bermuda grass used for lawns is typically a cross between Cynodon dactylon and Cynodon transvaalensis. C. dactylon has twice the chromosomes of C. transvaalensis, so the hybrid doesn't produce viable seed. Copious seedhead production is usually a reaction to drought stress.

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on AM 750 and 95.5 FM News-Talk WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook Fan Page at xrl.us/wrfacebook for more garden tips.