Saturday, October 4, 2003

Removal of suckers will kill tree stump

Gardening Q&A

Tim Morehouse

This past summer, I had a pin oak cut down. The stump is 4 feet from my garage and surrounded by plants. It sends up 2-foot-tall suckers. What can I do to kill the stump?

Removal of the suckers as soon as they appear kills the root system because its food supply is exhausted (this prevents food manufacturing by the leaves that nurture the roots). Paint the fresh wounds on the suckers with ammate. The herbicide will be carried to the roots where it will prevent sucker formation.

How can I handle my lantanas (now in containers on my deck) so that they will bloom indoors this winter?

Buy small plants in the early summer and sink the pots in soil out of doors until autumn. Bring inside before danger of frost. Do not repot. Keep them in a cool, sunny window or sun porch. Give water sparingly at first, then more water with a liquid fertilizer. They should start to bloom again in December or January. In spring, repot and sink outdoors in a garden bed or large container.

When is the best time to divide and repot an old Boston fern?

In spring, just as new growth is beginning. Select younger and stronger crowns from outside the plant for replanting rather than

older, woody interior parts.

Why do the leaves on my spider plant turn yellow at the tips, then brown, and then die back? The plant still is making healthy new growth at the center.

There are a few major possibilities. Though a vigorous grower, spider plants must have a humidity around 40 percent to thrive. Lower humidity will cause browning tips. Spider plant is a member of the lily family and grows roots like mad. If pot-bound, the tips of leaves will brown and die back. Spider plant is not a heavy feeder, so don't over-fertilize; this will cause yellowing. If your water is fluoridated, fluorine buildup can cause brown tips.

Contact Tim Morehouse by Web site:; mail: c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202.

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