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Reg solves your gardening questions
Reg Moule
Reg Moule answers your gardening questions...
Last updated: 25 May 2005 1720 BST
lineReg Moule has been solving gardening problems for years. Now he's answering your gardening questions from across the world!
Click here to go to our new Reg Moule Gardening pages.

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The man who always has the answer for gardeners with a problem, Reg Moule has been a popular voice on BBC Radio Gloucestershire for many years.

Now Reg is available to answer your gardening questions online - and his latest batch answers gardening queries from as far afield as New York, Baltimore and Austria!

Ask Reg your gardening question

JUNE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:

C. Fagg asks:
I have a Trachycarpus Fortunei growing in a large tub this year it is becoming very yellow, is it lacking in something?

Reg answers:
I would feed it using a fertiliser with extra iron, like Levington Rhododendron and Azalea Plus. Make sure that the compost is not too wet.


Abbey Randall asks:
In my patio pot plants, They seem to have a lot of woodlice type bug which live in there and breed. Is there anything I can treat them with so they don't attack the plants. The get in through the bottom of the pots.

Reg answers:
Yes, they probably are woodlice and they do not do much damage to established plants so you could just ignore them. If you feel that you'd like to deter them just dust the compost and under the pot with an ant powder.


Maggie Krahling asks:
My neighbour is shovelling dog faeces into my hedge. The hedge now looks weak & thin. My tree trimmer said my hackberry tree is dying. This tree is also exposed to the faeces. What to I have to do to decontaminate the area, after my neighbour removes the faeces?

Reg answers:
Once the dog muck has been removed the area will need to be thoroughly disinfected, but after that things should be OK again.


Andrew asks:
How do I prune my dracaena as it is getting to large.

Reg answers:
Dracaena can be pruned now if you wish, when pruning becomes necessary it is usually carried out in late April/May as the plant comes back into good growth. Just remove as much of the newer growth as you would like but do not prune back into old wood.


Tony Price asks:
We have a gleditsia triacanthus 'Sunburst', about 20 ft high, suffering from a bad attack of gall midge. Can you suggest a way of getting rid of these midges and/or preventing attack in future years?

Reg answers:
Although Gleditsia gall midge looks very unsightly it does not really affect the vigour of the tree too much. The variety that you have is particularly susceptible to attack. Adult midges emerge from the soil under the trees from early May and lay eggs on the leaflets. Larvae feed within the galls as they develop and pupate in them. There are several adult generations during the summer with the last lot of larvae overwintering in the soilas cocoons.

They are not easy to control but applications of ant killer powder around the bottom of the tree in early May could well kill some adults as they emerge. Where the tree is growing in a border raking over the soil to expose the pupae to the birds couls account for a few as well. Smaller trees may be protected by applications of Bio Greenfly Killer Plus or Scotts Bug Clear which would kill the egg laying females.


Alan Absalom asks:
When can I first cut my new lawn without damaging it?

Reg answers:
If you use a hover mower cut over it when the grass is about 3in (7.5cm) tall just taking the top off it. Do not attempt this if the lawn is very moist.


Albert asks:
When I was in Cornwall last year I noticed that a lot of Hydrangeas in gardens were a rich ruby red. I managed to get some cuttings which have now grown into the usual pink. I put it down to the soul but what can I do to get the red back?

Reg answers:
Yes, you are quite right the colour is probably due to soil conditions. The best thing to do to try to get a deeper red colour would be to apply a dressing of sulphate of potash, about a handful to the sq. meter.


Alex McCall asks:
We have just bought a house with 4 leylandii trees right in the middle of the garden that need to come down. They are about 12 feet high and quite bushy. I was quoted£850.00 to cut them down and take them away which I thought exorbitant. I would like t do this myself and am willing to buy a shredder. How much would I expect to pay for a decent shredder for the lighter branches? Best regards A McCall

Reg answers:
As with most things in life, to an extent you get what you pay for as far as garden machinery is concerned. You would need a fairly strong shredder to cope with even the lighter Leylandii branches and I would recommend a visit to a reputable dealer to see what sort of offers were available.


Rod Bullock asks:
Two quick questions. I've planted privets 10 months ago and they haven't grown since last summer (I'm trying to grow a hedge). Is it just that limited or no growth will occur from Autumn to Spring? My second question is how soon this year is it suitable to sow grass seeds? Thanks.

Reg answers:
Grass seed can be sown as early as mid March but really it depends on what the weather conditions are like at the time. You cannot really garden by the calendar alone the prevailing weather makes a big difference.With the privet it is normal for them not to grow during the winter as they are in a near dormant condition waiting for the weather to warm-up again in spring.


Allan Clark asks:
30 year old rowan tree. OK until two years ago last year and this few buds little foliage no blossom or berries. Any ideas on problem?

Reg answers:
Really I could do with a bit more info. As to whether the leaves appeared then turned brown or if the buds simply did not shoot at all. The lack of leaves would lead to there not being much spare energy to make flowers and suppoer berries. Scrape the bark on the bare stems with your finger nail to check if there is green,moist tissue beneath it.If so then the shoot is not dead and the tree is likely to recover if it is kept fed and watered.

If the tissue exposed is brown and dry then the shoot is dead and should be pruned out.Really I need more details to work out what the trouble might be.


Katherine Chiles asks:
Is it OK to plant out a Viburnum Bodnantense Lamonte in January?

Reg answers:
Yes it is.


Allen Roberts asks:
I have a large and a small Napoleon cherry tree in my garden. The fruit is fantastic so last year for the first time I collected a lot of stones. Is there a way you can grow cherry trees from stones as I would like to give people trees to grow.

Reg answers:
Yes you can just plant the stones individually in 9cm pots of John Innes Seed Compost and place them outside. You might like to put a layer of horticultural grit over the surface to deter moss growth. It could take some time for them to come up and they cannot be relied upon to produce good crops of cherries, as they will not be exact copies of your parent tree.


Alister Laidlaw asks:
Rabbits are chewing the bark on my trees. Is there anything I can do to save the trees?

Reg answers:
Putting a cylinder of small gauge wire mesh around the trunks of the tree or some other type of tree guard should help to reduce further damage. If the rabbits have eaten all around the trunk in one place the tree is likely to die.


Mr A Cooke asks:
I have a Palm Tree that I purchased in Spain. I have no other instructions than to put the base of the tree in to water until it begins to bud. That as now occurred, & now I'm at loss as to what to do.

Reg answers:
Pot it up using John Innes No 3 compost with about 10% extra grit added. Keep it well watered and it should begin to settle down and grow away.


Ann McIvor asks:
My sempervivum started life as a happy clutch of rosettes just a few weeks ago, but the central rosette has shot up to a height of approx. 6inches and is rather leggy and pale green instead of ruby tips. What am I doing wrong? Many thanks

Reg answers:
I don't think that you are doing anything wrong, your plant is making a flower bud.


Anne Davis asks:
Is there such a thing as champagne rhubarb? I have a plant from my grandfather's garden and that's what he called it. If not how could I find what variety it was?

Reg answers:
Yes, there is a Rhubarb called Champagne, so your grandfather was quite right.


Anne Sheffield asks:
What is wrong with my palm tree? It bloomed and made this huge "appendage" (on the top) which seams to suck the life out of the rest of the tree. Should I cut this "appendage"? The stem of it is so big I am afraid it will bleed to death. Please please help.

Reg answers:
Yes the palm tree has flowered and this plus it's attempts to make seeds has taken some strength from the plant. Just follow the stem back from the flower as far as you can then cut it off.


Dee Howard asks:
I have a Acer Palmatum, which has been growing in a large pot for three years quite healthy. But lately its leaves are shrivelling and curling up and there is white sap like substance on the bark. It has been in direct sunlight, but I was told that it needs dappled shade, so I have moved it. Thank you.

Reg answers:
Certainly moving the Acer into a semi shaded position will have done it a great favour and it is likely to re-leaf.


Andy Berry asks:
Hello... could you please help me our laurel for the last few years now the leaves curl and dry up could you please tell us what is wrong... thank you

Reg answers:
This sounds like powdery mildew, quite common on laurel particularly when they get dry at the roots. Treat the problem by spraying the plants with a fungicide like Scotts Fungus Clear or Bio Systhane Fungus Fighter, repeat this dose a couple of times about 10 days apart.


Bob Atter asks:
My potatoes each year never have clean skins to them but have wart type blemishes to them. I live in a very lime stone area is this the problem? but if so why do the farmers around me get good potatoes

Reg answers:
Limey soils do tend to produce potatoes with a surface scabbing.Some gardeners help to ward this off by lining the planting trench with grass mowings. Some varieties are much more resistant to this problem than others and as commercial growers tend to use modern varieties this is why their crops are seldom affected.

Try varieties like Colleen,Accord and Swift for 1st earlies, Carlingford and Maxine for 2nd earlies with Wilja and Picasso for maincrop.


Watch out for more questions and answers in July!

You can submit your questions to Reg by clicking here

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