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IN THE GARDEN

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Photographs by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/RON WOLFE

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Bee Illustration

Q I bet many people are wonder-ing this ... how much longer before these pests are gone for the season? And another point of interest is the low number of hummers, bees, butterflies this year even with all their favorites planted.

A Japanese beetles are a huge pest problem in Northwest Arkansas, and they are definitely here to stay. For adults, their normal feeding time is June through mid-August. I just want them to stay out of central Arkansas. I assume you are in Northwest Arkansas, but I have talked with agents up there, and they are seeing no decline in butterflies, bees or hummingbirds. In Little Rock, I have had more butterflies and hummingbirds than last year by far. There may be fewer at your feeders since many areas have had a mild growing season and almost ample rainfall, so our native flowers are blooming quite nicely, giving wild things more choices to feed on.

Q This plant was bought at the Bella Vista plant sale three years ago; no one could tell me about it then as the person who contributed the plant was not there. It has taken over both sides of our deck ramp even though it was only planted on one side; it's 3 to 4 feet tall and did not bloom until last year. Any clues as to what we have here?

A The plant is commonly called Mexican hydrangea or Cashmere bouquet -- Clerodendrum bungei. The flowers are showy and fragrant, but watch out, this plant spreads like gangbusters.

Q I have an out of control "shrub" that is made from runners off a tall crape myrtle. Cutting it back only seems to exacerbate the problem. How can I get it under control?

A It sounds as if you have root suckers coming up. If possible cut the sprouts right below the ground line. Some varieties sucker more than others, but typically it is just at the base of the tree. Herbicides would damage the mother tree as well as the sprouts, so avoid those.

Q There is a lovely tulip poplar tree on the north side of my property, but all of the grass under it has died. I've tried Bermuda and St. Augustine, but with no luck. What can survive under the shade of the tree? I'd prefer grass, even if it doesn't match the rest of the grass in the yard, but I'll settle for some type of ground cover if necessary. Do you have any good suggestions?

A Grass and shade do not mix. To add insult to injury, your tulip poplar tree is going to grow taller and taller and provide even more shade. If you want it to look like grass, plant the groundcover Mondo grass (Ophiopogon) or a little bit taller monkey grass (Liriope). There are other groundcovers as well, but these would be the most grass-like.

Q My wife and I live in Chenal and very much enjoy eating the wild blueberries that grow so abundantly on the rocky hillsides where we live. If we wanted to give a small sprig of this bush to a friend to transplant in another part of the state, how would we do that? Should we try to grow a sprig from the berries or cut out one of the many roots that grow just below the surface of the ground?

A Transplant a small plant this fall when the weather cools off and it should do well. Transplanting now would be tough on you and the plant.

Mexican hydrangea, aka Cashmere bouquet, will expand to fill whatever space it isn’t yanked out of.

Janet B. Carson is a horticulture specialist for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Write to her at 2301 S. University Ave., Little Rock, Ark. 72204 or email her at

jcarson@arkansasonline.com

HomeStyle on 08/12/2017

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