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Your gardening questions answered by Pike Nurseries

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ATLANTA -

Do you have a problem with your garden? Pike Nurseries answers a few of our viewer submitted questions!

If you have a question about taking care of your lawn, garden, or shrubbery, send it to goodday@myfoxatlanta.com and it just might be answered on Good Day Atlanta next Friday!

Website: www.pikenursery.com  

Question 1:
I recently purchased and potted two tropical hibiscus.  Will I have to move them indoors during the winter to survive?

Answer 1:
Yes, you will need to move the hibiscus indoors before our first frost. Typically, we recommend bringing in your tropical plants like hibiscus, bougainvillea, etc. by September 15th just to be on the safe side. Place your topical hibiscus in a sunny location where there aren't any cool drafts.

Question 2:
Over the last 2-3 nights I've been capturing pictures of spiders around my house. First there was one specifically I was focusing on then this morning I came outside and caught it mating. I took pictures and wanted to know if you could tell me what kind it is and if it poisonous.

Answer 2:
It looks like the spider in your picture is a Black and Yellow Argiope, commonly called Garden Orb Weavers (orb refers to the circular nature of their webs). Sometimes people refer to them as Writing Spiders because of the zigzag patterns that they often include in the center of their webs. These spiders can look intimidating because they are so large, but they are not dangerous as a general rule. They may bite when threatened but the bite is usually no worse than a bee sting to a healthy adult. Of course, people who are allergic to bee and other insect stings should steer clear of these critters. Argiope spiders are very common in the landscape and they benefit the environment since they feed on aphids, moths, mosquitoes, some wasps and other varieties of flying insects. We don't know why but spiders always seem to build their webs in the most inconvenient places, like across a garden pathway or on a front porch where unsuspecting humans walk into the webs. If this is the case, remove the web with a broom and hope that the "owner" will move elsewhere to rebuild his/her next web.

Question 3:
My hydrangeas suffered with the heat again this year as well as last. My question is, can I cut them back as I do my roses?

Answer 3:
Pruning hydrangeas can improve the plant's vigor and appearance, but different types of hydrangeas need to be pruned at different times of the year. Hopefully you saved the tags so you can identify which kind of hydrangea you have; if not, bring a branch into your neighborhood Pike Nurseries. Those that bloom on old wood (the previous year's growth or older) should only be pruned immediately after flowering. Varieties that bloom on new wood (this season's growth) should be pruned before they start to leaf out in early spring or when they are going dormant in fall.

Many hydrangeas that bloom on new wood will flower consistently throughout the summer.   If you think your hydrangeas bloom on old wood, let the blooming period be your guide.  Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood characteristically start flowering in early summer and stop flowering (except for some sporadic flowers) by mid-summer.  These hydrangeas form next year's flower buds in late summer or early fall.  So that you don't remove these buds, prune just as the flowers begin to fade.  The sooner you prune after flowering is complete, the quicker the shrub can recover to produce more and larger flower clusters next year.

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