Ask Burton

Ask Burton

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Ask Burton: Q: I like to buy the tall cone-sheared rosemary each year to use on my porch, but often have chunks of them turn brown. Sometimes I see tiny spots of white on the leaves when this happens. How do I stop this from happening?

November, 27

A: Rosemary is a plant that likes full sun and good airflow to keep its leaves dry. Next to your door on the patio in winter is part of the…

Ask Burton: Q: How do I make my tulips look good this time? Every time I plant tulips, they never look like the bulbs at the Arboretum. They’re trying to bloom, but the bloom stems are stunted and unimpressive.

November, 18

A: Your tulips need to chill. And we’re not intending that as humor.

Many spring-blooming bulbs – chief among them tulips and hyacinths – would benefit from spending six weeks…

Ask Burton: Q: I have a hedgerow of dwarf Burford holly that has gotten out of control. It hasn’t been pruned for a number of years, and it’s out of control. How much can I cut it back?

November, 07

A: It’s a tough problem.

By and large, most evergreen shrubs don’t respond well to that level of extreme pruning. Dwarf Burford hollies are quite tough and should recover over…

Ask Burton: This week, just a reminder. Please check your sprinkler systems!

October, 30

It’s November. We all watered like crazy this summer, due to the severe heat. But, thankfully, that’s over with until next year! We’ll still have some warm(ish) weather, certainly. But…

Ask Burton: Q: Now that we are getting towards the end of summer, when do I need to fertilize again?

September, 04

A: It’s September, so you should fertilize now! The fall feeding is the most important of the year; new growth in the spring is fueled by the food stored by…

ASK BURTON: Q: My crape myrtle is dripping sap, isn’t blooming right, and generally just looks tired. There are also tiny white dots up and down the branches. How do I fix this?

August, 29

A: This pest is crape myrtle bark scale which sucks sap from the plant, making it less vigorous and reducing bloom. Sticky residue from the insect coats branches, stems, and…

Ask Burton: Q: I’m watering generously, and this August’s unpleasant heat is still battering our new plants. What am I doing wrong?

August, 24

A: Chances are, you are doing everything correctly! Make sure the two points below are covered, and your plants should do better.

1. The plant is in a bit more…

Ask Burton: Q: My flowers next to my front door are looking pale and wimpy – I’ve been watering them every day in this heat, as they’re in containers, but they’re still looking poorly. Any ideas to what’s going on?

August, 14

A: What you describe is a common problem for those of us diligently watering our containers to get them through an oppressive Summer. Your potted flowers do need steady moisture…

Ask Burton: Q: I have a scattering of leaves starting to turn brown and fall on the interior and lower canopies of my mature trees. The species does not matter – they are all doing it a little. I can only water once per week because of city restrictions.

August, 09

A: Well, first, the good news. Your trees are not going to die. As you expected, it’s the high temperatures and dry weather. Mature trees do not need frequent watering,…

Ask Burton: Q: I had a nice bed of roses until they were visited by rose rosette this year. I want plant recommendations that will bloom as long as my roses did, grow in similar sizes, and won’t catch that disease.

August, 01

A: Fortunately, that last is simple. Only roses can catch rose rosette virus. Literally any other type of plant will do that for you. The other requests are harder.