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A. I am sorry to say, but it doesn't sound too hopeful. Scratch the surface of the bark of what is left and see if there is any green below the surface. If there is, fertilize it and "baby" it with water and care and see if anything sprouts. Good luck!

A. Cutting your iris leaves now will not promote bloom. It is my thought that the reason your iris are not blooming is due rather to the compaction of the root system. Unless the iris' were recently transplanted, then it could be because they are planted too deep. In either case, I would look to the roots and not to the foliage. Either dig them up and transplant them just below the surface of the soil or, in the fall, dig them up, thin them and then transplant. They will thank you with gorgeous blossoms next Spring!

A. No, the andromeda will not survive the winter in New Jersey. If you would like to enjoy it in the container this season, you will need to plant it in the ground to protect the roots from freezing prior to the cold weather setting in.

A. Your Rose of Sharon may be fine. It was difficult for it to be transplanted in the spring.....even if it was before it leafed out. The best time to move a plant ....especially of that age......would be in the fall when it begins to go dormant. It is much easier on the plant. If you did not do so yet, please apply a good, granular, slow-release fertilizer and continue to supplement its watering. Do not over water, however, do not allow the plant to dry out. Create a circle of mulch at the base of the plant to aid in moisture retention. I hope it does well for you. Good luck!

A. I am sorry to tell you that your rose of Sharon has not made it. Transplanting rose of Sharon in September is not the best time because they are either in flower or it is immediately after flowering, depending on the weather in your area. Mid to late October would have been a better time to move the plant. Travel to your favorite nursery, choose a new plant in your favorite color, find a wonderful spot in your yard where you will enjoy it from outside and inside and plant it this spring! It will reward you with beautiful flowers! Enjoy!

A. It certainly was a very hard winter on many plants. Check under the bark for any signs of green. Gently scratch the outside covering off the branch using your fingernail and see if there is any green underneath. If so, give it a heavy fertilizing with a slow-release, granular fertilizer and it will come along. If no green is evident anywhere under the bark on the plant, then it probably didn't make it. Rose of Sharons are late bloomers so I would be as patient as I could and give it a change. Good luck!

A. A butterfly bush is a beautiful addition to any landscape. It is a plant that is easily transplanted and it prefers well-drained, moist, loamy soils. Once it is established, it will tolerate heat and drought. It has foliage by midsummer so the fact that it is the middle of July and your plant is still not showing any signs of new growth is reason for concern. What I would do is begin at the top of the plant and go down each branch approximately 4' and prune it off. When you prune the piece off, look for signs of green tips. This will indicate to you whether or not the plant is alive. If you find green, stop pruning, fertilize the plant and water it well. It should begin to show you new foliage and then flowers. If you end up at the base of the plant and still no evidence of green, I would discard the plant.

A. A fast-growing, large shrub that would tolerate shade would be an Aesculus Parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye). It will grow to be 8-12 foot tall and 8-15 foot wide. They are ideal for shrub borders and large masses. Good Luck!

A. It is best to prune them in late winter or early spring, before new buds appear. Cut them back to the lowest pair of strong buds annually. The flowers will grow on the new wood.

A. Mary, thanks so much for your question. It is a good one. The answer is yes, you can control the size of your tree by pruning it. You will want to trim the entire tree, not just the top. By doing this you will keep the tree in good form. You may shear with either a hedge trimmer or hand prune. You may do this at any time during the growing season (spring - fall), but with evergreens you do not want to prune in the winter. Always fertilize to help keep your tree nourished. Hope this helps you!

A. You will want to cut back the flower portion of the plant only. You do not want to cut all the foliage down. That is not done until the fall. Cut the stem of the flower all the way down to where it meets the base of the plant.

A. You can prune your burning bush as soon as the new growth is all flushed out - meaning all that bright green new foliage - so now is a fine time to do it.

A. Yes, you should deadhead the plant as you are by removing all of the dead flowers. Also, it would be great to fertilize it when doing your normal watering - perhaps every other time. By doing that not only will you keep the plant healthy but also encourage new flowers.

A. Yes, there are so many suggestions for lots of color all season long! If you would like to do perennials, there are many to choose from - things like iris, daisies, and black-eyed susans. You would, however, need to select things in order of blooming so that you would have color all season long. Perennials also can be a little bit of work. So keep in mind that you would want someone to tend to them perhaps twice a month or so. If you would rather go with a lower maintenance type solution, perhaps a shrub such as a potentilla or a spirea would work. They flower all summer and don't require hardly any maintenance other than an annual feeding and trimming.

A. They may grow, however, I would be very apprehensive about doing so because I do not believe they will truly thrive. The root system on daylilies is such that it is not meant to be in a container. They need the room and the soil conditions offered in a garden setting to really do well. Should you decide to try it for a full season, please write with your results. I know I would be quite interested in how they do and I am sure all our readers would be as well.

A. You would not completely cut back the lilac bush. You would prune it after it flowers in the spring/summer. It is beneficial to also remove old flowers at this time. Prune away any dead wood or branches that interfere with the bush's overall shape. The mock orange you would prune at the same time - after flowering. However, you can cut this plant back quite a bit at the same time to encourage new growth or simply prune as you would the lilac.

A. That would really depend on the extent of the damage. If only a few small branches were broken, I would have to say Yes it will be fine and simply need a pruning. However, if the branches that were broken were quite large in diameter, then the shrub will be in a bit more shock. It probably won't die completely but it's shape and blooms can certainly be compromised.

A. Lenton Rose (Hellebore) one of my absolute favorite spring bloomers. They perform so beautifully. Sounds as though you have the perfect spot for them. After they finish flowering, they should be deadheaded i.e., removing the seed heads from the plant. They will retain their foliage which is very attractive. However, if you'd like continual color in that spot once they have gone by, may I suggest perhaps Hosta in particular the Gold Standard variety. Very showy foliage to brighten up a shady spot. Some other nice choices to complement that area would be Geranium - cranesbill Blood-red or perhaps the Lancaster variety. Both mixed together give you the boldness of one and the softness of the other. Very nice together. Ferns, although only green, are a very nice complement in terms of foliage and texture. Some varieties that I may suggest would by Maidenhair and Soft Shield - they work very nicely. Another thing to keep in mind is that Lenton Rose are prolific self-seeders. Be sure to do your deadheading or you'll find them where perhaps you don't want them.

A. Sure sounds as though you are taking very good care of them. What I think of, without actually seeing how much browning is going on, is the natural hardening off process in which the foliage closest to the center of the tree turns brown, dies and falls off and then flushes out in the spring with new growth. It's a natural process that arborvitae go through. However, the Dark American variety don't tend to do it quite so much thus having it be much less noticeable. This is my variety of choice. If you'd like to perhaps send along a picture, I'd be happy to take a look and see if in fact it is something else. Other than that I would say check the trees for any sort of disease or insect activity - anything that looks unusual. If nothing is noticeable, apply a good (I prefer organic) fertilizer rather heavy in the spring along with a fresh layer of mulch to control soil temperature and retain moisture and see how they do. Hope this is helpful! You'll have to let me know how they do

A. Yes, it would be nice to see them bloom. My advice would be to be sure that you have them planted in a nice sunny spot. Iris' like to be warm and in well-drained rich soil. Perhaps amending your soil with a complete planting mixture consisting of topsoil, peat moss, compost and a slow-release fertilizer would help. Also, be sure to feed them well this spring. I would suggest a granular, organic fertilizer such as the one we use. You mentioned that they had spread. That's great but be sure that they don't become too compacted. That's not beneficial for them. Good luck and let me know if you see any color this year!

A. I, too, really enjoy the look of cornus alba (tatarian dogwood) especially in the winter. Since young wood is the most colorful, I would recommend cutting approximately one-third of the oldest stems to the ground either in late winter or early spring. You can also rejuvenate the plant by cutting all the stems to within 2-3 inches of the ground. Should you decide to do the latter, I cannot guarantee that you will have the same size plant for winter enjoyment as you presently have. You may have to be a bit more patient. Also, be sure to give it a good feeding this spring. It will be so thankful!

A. I would recommend adding some blood meal (or dried blood) to your soil. This contains nitrogen which is essential to beautiful foliage. Give it a try. It certainly cannot hurt and can only help not only your Jacob's Ladder but you can use it around all of your perennials. We carry it at the Garden Center. I use it in all the gardens that I care for and really love the results. Happy Gardening!

A. The best time of year to divide daylilies is in the fall. By deadheading the daylilies, you do not make the plant fuller or make it spread, they just do that naturally. By deadheading the plant, you are doing a wonderful thing. If it is a continual bloomer, you are promoting new flowers. If not, you are helping the overall health of the plant anyway. It's a great thing to deadhead. I'm not quite sure exactly what you mean by dwarf daylilies. There are some varieties that are shorter than others such as Stella 'Doro.

A. Deadheading daylilies is done by removing the flower stem all the way back to the leaf. This is best done with a pair of pruners. After the flower has finished blooming and preferably before it sets a seed pod, simply cut back the flower stem.

A. The best time to trim arborvitae is late May or early June.

A. The best way to avoid making them ugly would be to trim off the newest growth at the top and along the sides and be rather gentle about trimming into the older or more woody growth. You can trim the older wood, however, take your time and do so gradually so as not to leave them ugly. If they have not been trimmed in a few years, it may take time (a few years of trimming) to get them back down close to the height you would like without jeopardizing their looks. Be sure to give them a good dose of fertilizer (perhaps a granular organic kind for slow absorption) after trimming. You can do some trimming now but only feed after you trim in May/June of next year. Take your time and be patient with them and they will respond beautifully.

A. You can remove dead or damaged wood at any time. It is usually easiest to prune burning bush in late winter or very early spring because the branch structure is easy to see.

A. Be sure that the plant is in an organically rich soil. It will do better if it were planted this way. Also, Rhododendrons like to be acidic. You accomplish this in a variety of ways. Mulch the base of the plant with peat moss, oak leaves or pine needles. You can also buy a commercial product, and apply that. Also, be sure that the plant has been planted in proper light. The particular variety of Rhododendron that you are asking about liked to be cool. Be sure that it's not exposed to midday sun. Also, fertilize it. That can be done anytime now until mid-June. We recommend our slow-release, organic fertilizer. Any previous blossoms should also be pruned away after flowering each year. Finally, to assure its success, be sure that the plant is not competing with weeds at the base but rather has a nice circle with all vegetation removed and mulch applied. If all of these instructions have been followed, I am sure you will really see results. Your rhododendron will be happy and show you how much with the beauty of it's lovely blooms.

A. Yes, once your iris are finished blooming, you can deadhead them. You will want to cut the flower portion of the plant only. You do not want to cut the foliage down. Cut the stem of the flower all the way where it meets the base of the plant. It's a good idea to do this so that the plant does not set seed. By allowing it to set seed, you take energy away from the plant itself. So go ahead and cut those dead blooms off.

A. Without being able to physically inspect them, I would be hesitant to recommend a treatment. I do, however, suspect insect damage or disease just by the pictures. Contact your local extension service and see if they can send a tree expect over to inspect with some recommendations or ask a reputable nursery person to come by. For future reference, keep in mind, that with a situation such as this, they began not looking well a couple of season's ago, it's best to get professional advice immediately. Good luck and I would be very interested to hear how you make out.

A. Blood meal is a wonderful way to organically add nitrogen into your soil. Nitrogen is naturally depleted from the soil by the bark mulches that are applied to the landscaped beds. So, yes, your coral bells and hostas would probably love some. Keep in mind, however, that blood meal needs to be applied very sparingly because of its susceptibility to leaching. Therefore, it's very important to completely follow the instructions on the bag before applying. You need only a very small amount. Also, do not apply right at the base of the plant, where you apply your fertilizer. Instead, apply in any open areas of the beds where there is no plant material and it will be used and absorbed very nicely. As far as the rabbits go, I have heard that blood meal can be a deterrent to them.

A. The best time to prune it is in the early spring before it leafs out, however, you will not harm the plant if you prune it now. Just remember to not prune off more than 25% of the plant at one time. Also, be sure to fertilize it after pruning.

A. The plants seem to be displaying signs of stress. I would suggest continuing with your watering schedule - not too wet - probably just enough to keep the soil moderately moist and also be sure to fertilize them. I would suggest using an organic, slow-release, granular fertilizer. You can take off the yellow leaves but I would not cut them back entirely. It's a very hard time of year to transplant daylilies. I would suggest not transplanting the others until fall - sometime between the middle of October and early November. At that time you can transplant them using a rich compost mixture, fertilize them and cut them back all the way. They will be very forgiving and do beautifully for you next season. These, however, that you have already done this year are going to need a bit of "babying" along. Good Luck!

A. Azaleas generally require very little pruning. Being, however, that you have had them for so long and they have never been pruned, you certainly can do that. You would prune them immediately after they have finished flowering. Prune away any dead or rubbing branches. Take your time and be patient. Be sure to step back away from the plant after a few cuts so that you are sure that you are keeping its form while pruning. Also, be sure to not prune off more than 25% of the plant at any one time. Also, do not shear them as you will hinder their future flower production by pruning them in this way. Use hand pruners. As far as taking cuttings, you certainly can try. I would recommend a rooting hormone and a good soil mixture. Check with your favorite local nursery for supplies and more information.

A. These large shrubs flower on old wood. Therefore, by cutting the lilac flowers off you are really encouraging more flowers for next year. Just cut down the stem enough to hold the stem in the vase you are using. No need to be afraid of cutting too much, just enough for them to stand in the vase. They actually will really appreciate the pruning. Should any spent blooms be left on the shrub, be sure to prune them off immediately when they are done flowering. You will be encouraging abundant flowering for next year. Enjoy!

A. My first thought would be insects. I would definitely suspect aphids. Although you cannot see them, they may be present just the same. I would search out a safe and organic, if possible, spray at your favorite garden center and treat that way. Follow the recommended directions.

A. Those are very large and very mature trees to be moving. Now is definitely not the best time of year to be doing this. I would recommend mid October. However, if you have to do it now, be sure to have the holes that the trees are going into dug first. Be sure to measure and have them roughly 12" wider than the tree all the way around to allow for proper backfilling. Be sure to backfill with a good soil composition preferably a compost rich one. Be patient when backfilling so as to be sure all air pockets are removed so as to not injure the roots of the tree. Fertilize when planting is complete, apply a layer of 2"-3" of shredded bark mulch and stake. Remove the staking after one year. Also, be sure when digging the trees for transplanting to dig straight down from all sides of the trees to assure you get the best quantity of roots. Stay a short distance away from the tree itself and be sure to dig as straight down as you can - not on an angle. As far as how deep to go, take as much root ball as you can handle. The more the better.

A. You can certainly plant other things intermingled with the tulips. There are many varieties of shade-loving perennials that would do well mixed in with the tulips. If, however, your goal is to have a ground cover for this area, I would recommend myrtle. It has small periwinkle colored flowers late spring through fall and is evergreen. It will allow the tulips to come up as long as it does not disturb its roots. It will, like all ground covers, fill in fairly densely after awhile. Probably the easiest and best way to solve your problem is to intermingle some perennials in. It will save a lot of work in the long run and give you best of both worlds.

A. My suggestion would be to erect some sort of a trellis going perpendicular to the existing fences. This would allow you to use such things as climbing roses, various vines and the like to give not only a nice backdrop to the garden but also some privacy to the yard itself and adding some height to that slope. Otherwise, your plantings in that area will be lost. I hope that helps.

A. The ornamental grasses need to be cut back either in the fall or in the spring. All that "brown and crispy" is perfectly normal. Use hand pruners and simply cut away all that dead grass and you will find that within a day or two they will begin to green up. Cut them short - all the way down to the base of the plant.

A. You are absolutely right to wait until it is all brown. However, to get you through that "looking terrible" period, you needn't wait until the entire plant is brown. You can cut the brown away as it turns brown. In other words, you will be slowly cutting it back rather than waiting until it is all brown. It's the tough part about the bleeding hearts, but they are so worth it.

A. Yes, even though it is June, you can prune it now. An ideal time to prune it is in the very early spring. Keep in mind not to prune off more than 25% of the shrub at any one time.

A. Although I am not sure of the variety of coral bells you are writing about, some of them like to be a bit cooler i.e., part-shade to full shade conditions. A soil test may be helpful. Most farmer's markets offer such a service provided by Master Gardeners. They could recommend the soil amending necessary, if any, for perennials. Also, you did not mention fertilizing. I would recommend that once a year - preferably in the spring. I also recommend a slow-release, granular, organic fertilizer.

A. Once all flowers have finished blooming on a single stem, simply cut the stem back all the way to the base of the plant. Try to do this before a seed pod forms on the stem where the old flowers were. This will encourage the plant to produce more flowers rather then put its energy into producing seed.

A. Yes, you are suppose to deadhead the Hostas. Cut the stem back all the way to the base of the plant leaving only the foliage remaining.

A. The best time to trim Spirea bushes truly depends on the variety. For those that bloom on old would, you would prune them in late spring or early summer immediately after they flower. The varieties that bloom on new wood, late winter or early spring pruning is recommended. You should, however, regardless of the variety you have, thin out up to one-third of the oldest stems each year as well as any overcrowded growth. Spirea will withstand rejuvenation pruning and can be cut to within a few inches of the ground if necessary. As for your daylilies, yarrow, and black-eyed susans, you sure can go ahead and cut back the foliage on these as long as they are finished flowering. It is a bit early so you may have to do it again at the end of next month but go ahead and cut them back a bit if you want.

A. Yes, it is best to trim the spent blooms or deadhead as it is called back to the basal foliage - all the green at the base of the plant.

A. It's best to cut the foliage back on the hostas in the fall.

A. You are so very lucky to have such an old lilac! Yes, you don't want to hurt it. The best time to prune the bush would be immediately after it is done flowering. You don't want to wait until later because you may prune off next year's flowers. As far as how much you can take off without hurting it, a good rule of thumb to follow is no more than 25% of the plant at a time. It may take you a few year's of pruning to get the bush exactly how you would like it but it is best to take it slowly in order to do the least damage to the bush. Also, it is always a good idea to give it some fertilizer when you are through pruning. I always recommend a slow-release, organic, granular fertilizer. That way it is fed a little bit over time. Good luck!

A. Yes, you can deadhead daylilies. Whether or not they will rebloom depends on the variety. Some varieties bloom only one time while others will continue to bloom after deadheading.

A. Yes, the 25% rule does apply. It's just best for the plant. Anytime after the trees have put out their new growth would be a fine time to prune them. Being the area of the country that you are in, I'm not exactly sure when that would be but I would guess to say that anytime after August should be fine. By then they should have all their new growth on for this season and you can prune them to the size you would like them but remember to keep the 25% rule in mind.

A. I am sorry but this is an area that I am unfamiliar with. I would recommend asking an exterminator or some sort of pest control company. I don't deal with or use pesticides at all just for the reason you mentioned about the birds and so forth. It would be nice if they could offer an environmentally safe solution. Good luck!

A. Yes, the flowers should be removed. Cut the flower stem all the way back to the base of the plant.

A. I am sorry that I do not know of a site or book that can explain the process. Without going into a tremendous amount of detail what I can tell you is to prepare the area where you want to move the plant first. Dig the hole approximately 2 times the size that the plant is in now, amend the soil with whatever planting mixture you use and water the hole well. Then go ahead and dig up the plant, taking as much of the root system as you can, and place it in the newly prepared planting hole. It would be best for the plant to move it on a cloudy day or early in the morning. It would be best to avoid moving it in the middle of the day. Also, be sure to fertilize after you backfill the hole and water very, very well. The most important thing you can do to insure the success of the transplant is to keep it very well watered. Also, if you can wait until the fall, preferably late fall, to move it, it would be even better. Good luck with it!

A. Difficult question to answer without actually seeing the plants. A couple of things come to mind though. First of all, were they well watered when planted and continue to be well watered for approximately 3 - 4 weeks after planting? This is a crucial step in the planting process especially as you are suggesting that you planted them in a shady area perhaps under trees where they may not be able to get as much natural rain due to the canopy of the trees. The other thought would be a "blight" or disease that the plants need to be sprayed for immediately. Rhododendrons, especially the Catawba variety, are very susceptible to this especially if they were left to dry out for too long putting the plant under stress or if they came from a nursery that had this problem. When you purchased them, they may have looked fine, however, if they were to have come into contact with a plant at the nursery that had it, they may have been carrying it and it showed up later after you got it home and planted it. Check with your nursery and ask if they have had any problems with this. If you wanted to send

A. I like to see burning bushes trimmed very naturally. No need to trim them into a "ball shape". Yes, they do grow in a somewhat round fashion, however, if you prune them with pruners and not hedge shears you are better able to maintain a very nice natural look to them.

A. The only care I would give your iris at this time of year is deadheading (removing the dead flowers). This is done by cutting the flower all the way back to the base of the plant. As far as thinning/dividing is concerned, I would wait until the fall to do this. Anytime after Labor Day and before Halloween.

A. Knockout Roses are just great! I am very familiar with this variety and yes, it is a great performer. You said that these roses do get plenty of sun. That's good. My thought would be feeding. They are, as are all roses, very heavy feeders. I feed mine in the spring with a slow-release organic, granular fertilizer, then I feed them again in June or the very earliest part of July and finally, when I put them to bed in the fall, I supply them with an early spring feed at that time. I have found them to do extremely well. As long as you keep them well fed, well deadheaded and protected in the winter, they should perform beautifully.

A. Curling leaves generally indicate some type of insect activity. I would recommend taking a leaf off and pulling it open and looking for insects. Depending on what you fine, the plant may need to be sprayed.

A. Yes, it is best for the health of the plant if you deadhead after the flowers are spent.

A. Without seeing what the trees look like, it is difficult to diagnose what the problem is. My advice would be to just leave them alone and give them a good fertilizing in about 3-4 weeks. I would recommend a slow release organic granular fertilizer. I always use Pro Gro by North County Organics. It is really excellent. Give each plant approximately 1/2 cup around the base and really work it into the soil. That should help to give them the jump start and recovery they need this spring. Depending on how they respond, you may need to repeat the feeding again in early June. I would not feed them after that. Seems to me that where they are may be a difficult winter site in terms or weather conditions and you may want to protect them next year from the wind, etc. I would be very interested to know how they respond. Good Luck!

A. I would go ahead and plant them as soon as possible. You will want to use a compost rich planting mixture and fertilize with an organic slow release granular fertilizer. Dig a hole just large enough for the roots and water thoroughly. It is very important to watch them and keep them well hydrated for the first 3-4 weeks. You can plant them separately and 6' apart would be fine. Plant them in a sunny location in a site that is well drained. Good Luck!

A. Arborvitae do, sometimes, fall prey to insects and the damage that they can cause. Without seeing the trees, naturally, it is difficult for me to make a diagnosis. However, if they have been fine in the past and the care of them has remained the same as well as the environment that they are in i.e. no change in any new construction going on near them, etc. then my suggestion would be to call in an arborist who can determine if in fact it is insects and what can be applied to save the trees. The sooner they are treated the better and the problem will only worsen. Good Luck!

A. My advice to you would be to condition the soil surrounding the bush with some nutrient-rich compost. You want to supply the plant with nutrition and also help to retain some moisture since you are in a desert region. I would recommend digging up the plant (if small enough to do so) and replacing the soil surrounding it. Fertilize at the same time with a slow-release organic granular fertilizer and keep it very well watered but not soggy for approximately 3 weeks and see what happens. It really should respond well. Good luck and please let me know how it does.

A. Yes, the hostas should be cut back in the fall. Cut the foliage all the way back to the base of the plant leaving approximately 2" of plant at the base. Remove all cut back foliage from the garden.

A. Yes, knockout roses really are very beautiful and they perform so well giving you lots and lots of blooms all season long. You definitely should protect them. What I recommend is not to do any pruning now but rather deadwood and prune in the spring. For winter protection, wait until the weather truly turns toward winter meaning that the leaves are all off of the trees and the weather is colder. Don't wait until it snows though. For instance, I am writing to you from the northeast and I cover the roses here during the first or second week or November depending on the weather. You don't want to cover them too soon. You will use aged manure (be sure that it is aged and not fresh) and put approximately 2 - 3 "shovel fulls" around the base of the plant and then top dress it with hay. You don't have to cover the plant entirely with the hay just far enough up to begin covering the canes. It's the base of the plant that we want to protect - not so much the canes. Then in late March or early April (again, depending on the weather) you want to uncover them. Don't leave them covered for too lon

A. I always recommend trimming burning bushes when the leaves have all fallen. This is a much better time because you can really see the branch structure, therefore, making much better decisions for pruning. It is much better for the plant at this time as well. Anytime between the end of October and the beginning of March would be best.

A. From what you are describing to me, it sounds as though the plant needs to be divided. I would suggest doing it sometime in mid October. Take a spade and "slice" into the root system of the plant preferably in the back where your thinning won't be as noticeable. Take about 1/3 of the plant out and transplant that piece if you'd like. When transplanting be sure to use a good rich compost mixture and fertilize the new planting. Be aware that the root system of established ornamental grasses can be quite deep and tight. It may take some muscle to thin that grass. You will probably find that you'll want to thin it every other season just to keep the center of the plant from not browning out. Good luck!

A. The best time to divide black-eyed susans is anytime from the end of September to the end of October. By using a transplanting tool, such as a spade, simply slice down into the center of the plant and by "pushing" away from the plant that you want to keep, gently dig out and remove the division. If it is the entire plant that you want to dig up and divide, then when you have the plant out of the ground, slice it into sections using your spade. By sure to cut off all flowers prior to transplanting and use a good, rich compost-based planting mixture when transplanting. Keep them well watered for approximately 2-3 weeks after transplanting not allowing them to dry out. Good luck!

A. Transplanting Rose of Sharon in June is very difficult on the plant. I am sure they are in shock and going through a difficult time. Keeping them well watered is crucial. I would also make sure that they are given an organic, slow-release feed granular fertilizer. I would feed them now and again the first of August and again the first of October. This will help them while they transition. I hope they do well for you.

A. Usually when you see leaves curling on any plant, it is evidence of an insect infestation. Remove one of the curled leaves, open it up and inspect the inside. If you see insects, take the leaf to your local favorite garden center and ask what product would be best to spray on it. Be careful and be sure to read all of the directions prior to spraying.

A. What I believe has happened is that you pruned them too severely. When pruning it is always good to keep in mind that no more than 1/3 of the plant should be pruned away. This way, the plant suffers less stress, is able to rebound from the pruning and will continue to do well i.e. production of flowers. It may take a few years of pruning to get a plant to the size that you would like. The one plant that produced some flowers for you is doing well. The other plant that has yet to bloom is still probably a bit shocked and may bloom for you next year. If, however, you choose to transplant these shrubs, you will, again, be set back in terms of flowers. The best time for transplanting will be in the fall before Halloween. Sometime between the middle to the latter part of October is a perfect time. Transplanting them now will be very detrimental to the plant. Pruning them again at this time of year would be okay as long as you follow the advice of only taking away 1/3 of the plant. Be prepared though that next year you most likely will be flowerless.

A. It would be best to wait until the threat of frost has lessened. I would recommend planting annuals in your area around the time of Memorial Day and not much sooner.

A. It sounds as though they are root bound. My suggestion would be to take them out of the pot and then slice directly down the center of the plant so that you now have two plants instead of one. This will release the root compaction and help the plant to put out new root growth. Be sure to water it well with planting and keep it well watered for approximately three weeks to help reduce the stress. Also, fertilize. Enjoy!

A. What you have been told is correct. A very hard pruning on a lilac will impact the blooming and it may take some time. My recommendation to perhaps help this along would be to fertilize this spring with a slow-release, organic, granular fertilizer with a low nitrogen level. Speak to someone at your favorite nursery/garden center and explain your situation and I'm sure they will understand what I am suggesting. You want to help promote blooms and not foliage. A fertilizer that I am suggesting will do just that. In the future, prune your lilac of dead blooms after it is done flowering and be sure to have any other pruning (for size) done by early summer. Keep in mind, also, when pruning, try not to remove more than 30% of the plant's total growth. It may take a couple of years to get a plant down to the size you would like.

A. What I expect has happened is that they have gone into a bit of shock. To transplant and prune a plant of that maturity all in the same growing season is an awful lot for the plant to handle. Perhaps if you had waited until this season for the pruning, it would have been better. However, my recommendation at this point would be to feed them fairly heavy with a slow-release, organic, granular fertilizer. Keep them well watered as well. Hopefully, they will respond. Good Luck!!

A. Because there are many different varieties of spireas, there are also different pruning times. For the most part, spireas should be pruned after flowering. When pruning, be sure to remove a proportion of the older wood.

A. Yes, once poppies have flowered you do want to cut off the flower stem. Some varieties flower only once a year while other varieties flower all summer long. Check with your favorite nursery/garden center for more information on the different varieties of poppies.

A. Yes, the foliage of iris and daylilies do get cut back. It is done in the late fall and cut back to approximately 2"-3". In the meantime, however, you can cut back the spent blooms on the plants. Just wait until the end of the season to cut the foliage down.

A. Yes, Stella D'oro daylilies should be deadheaded.

A. The wind shouldn't bother them. Do, however, keep in mind that wind can be very drying to plants. You may need to do some additional watering especially when they are establishing themselves. I would try a few and see how they do.

A. They do become a bit stressed ... be sure to supply them with adequate water ... they should be receiving water every other day for approximately the first month. Also, be sure to prune off any flowers that may have died. A good fertilizing will be helpful as well. Good Luck!!

A. Once the flower has faded you may cut the flower from the plant by following the stem to the base of the plant and clipping it there.

A. Yes, they should be deadheaded after blooming. Only the flower stem needs to be cut back. You would like to avoid having the seed pod form as this robs the plant of energy needed to produce more flowers. So, in essence, yes, it delays reblooming. The seed pods should be cut back.

A. It is such a difficult time of year to move roses. I would be sure to keep them well watered ... do not drown them ... however, keeping the soil moist for the first month or so is very important. This may mean a daily watering is needed. Also, be sure to fertilize them. Although I do not recommend fertilizing roses this late in the season, in this instance, it is crucial. A slow release, organic feed would be most beneficial. Be sure to protect them well for the winter. They will benefit from some "babying" to get them through this transition. Good Luck!

A. It would be best to move it in the fall. Have the hole ready for the plant before you dig it up and be sure to water it very, very well. Good Luck!

A. No, January is not the correct time to prune roses in your area. The best time to prune roses is just before they break dormancy. Don't prune roses until you completely remove winter protection and frost danger is past. Prune before new leaves develop.

A. No you should not cut them back. When they were transplanted, was a large rootball taken? Also, were they put in an adequate size hole with plenty of new compost? Finally, were they fertilized and watered well? These are some very important questions. It was a difficult time to move them. Going forward, please be sure that they have plenty of water and I would recommend applying an ample amount of a slow-release, organic, granular fertilizer. You could also make a diluted manure solution by combining aged cow manure with water until it resembles iced tea. Apply approximately 1/2 gallon to each plant. That will be helpful. Good luck!

A. Now is a perfect time to prune it. Prune away all the dead wood from the winter and any canes that you want to for shape. Be gentle with it and don't prune too much. Also, be sure to give it a good feeding now. Roses are heavy feeders and will perform best when fed well. A slow-release organic feed is perfect for this time of year and another liquid organic feed in June would be great. Good Luck and Enjoy it!

A. Burning bushes are very forgiving plants. They should recover and come back. I would suggest a heavy feeding of an organic, slow-release granular fertilizer. Good luck!

A. For a sunny location, some suggestions include azalea, tri-colored beech tree, river birch, butterfly bush, dogwood, enkianthus, concolor fir, hydrangea, lilac, magnolia, or redbud. For a shady location, some suggestions include andromeda, rhododendron, hydrangea or mountain laurel. Enjoy!

A. Yes, you remove the spent flowers as soon as it is done flowering.