Graf Growers

On Call Gardener

We’ve got your questions covered, even when we are closed! Send us your gardening or plant questions 24/7 with specific details, dimensions, photos plus your name and phone number.

Simply fill out the form below with your question, and we’ll send you a response and post the question and answer to help other gardeners just like you!

FAQ'S

Question:
My Mandevilla is planted in the ground. It’s leaves are turning yellow and falling off. What should I do to save it?

Answer:
Sorry to hear that your Mandevilla is not growing well. Leaves turning yellow on your Mandevilla usually is caused by the following...
-Too much water, in which case you would take some mulch away if it is mulched, water less often , scratch the soil surface to encourage air to be taken up by the roots.
-Not enough water, in which case you would check the soil every other day and water very, very thorough, slow watering is best, the plant should receive at least 3 gallons of water with each irrigation.
-Spider mites, in which case you would spray with horticultural oil or Eight. Look for fine webs on the backs of the leaves, the spider mites are very small but can be seen if you look very close.

You can bring us a sample of leaves and we’ll be glad to look for you. I recommend that you bring me some samples of the leaves and I may be able to be more helpful . Your success is very important to us. I hope this helps.
-Scott

Question:
I’ve had these six hydrangeas for over five years and never once had a problem. They are the type that bloom on new wood stems and each spring I prune the old wood stems back. So I did that last month and waited and waited and nothing! When I was about to give up on them I noticed a few leaves coming out of the ground. So now I have all of these naked branches above ground that are over 2’ tall with just a hint of greenery near the base. Is it ok to trim all of them down to the “new growth” and just wait for another year? This winter has managed to destroy my oldest and favorites unfortunately. I look across the street at my neighbor’s yard and she just planted one hydrangea last year and it looks awesome – geez. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Answer:
Hi! What a winter! We’re all in the same boat….ripping out and trimming back winter damaged plant material and from what you mentioned in your email your hydrangeas have experienced a double whammy. It appears that the normal growth you would have experienced in spring also got nipped in a late spring frost. If you haven’t noticed any new growth on the naked branches by now you could cut back the 2’ tall stems. It would be helpful to fertilize the plant with organic Hollytone to encourage additional growth. It’s unlikely you will see any blooms this summer, but will hopefully be rewarded next year! Let me know if Graf’s can help you with any other gardening needs.
-Lisa

Question:
I have several Japanese maples trees that have beige spots on their leaves. What are they and can they be treated? Thank you.

Answer:
We’ve been seeing quite a bit of the beige spotting this year on burgundy leaf Japanese maples. It is a fungus, brought about by the damp, humid weather we’ve been having. It is relatively harmless and will not kill the tree. In severe circumstances it may cause heavily affected leaves to fall off. You can spray with a copper fungicide (we carry Bonide brand)to keep the clean foliage clean and the spotted leaves from getting worse. I’m afraid it will not make any affected leaves look better. Please clean up any the fallen leaves in the autumn and dispose of them, but not in a compost pile. You may want to also consider removing a few of the inside branches to improve airflow through the tree which will help the foliage dry faster and allow more sunlight to penetrate. Please let me know if there are any other concerns we can help with.
-Lisa

Question:
My 8 year old tree looks like it is dying. The green leaves are turning brown and dropping. The tree looks bare for about a third of it. The bark appears healthy- no sap or gum, splits. What do I need to treat it with to save the tree?

Answer:
I am sorry to hear that your Weeping Cherry is not growing well. I really do not have enough information to tell you what is happening to your tree. Could it be getting too dry? Too wet? If you bring in a sample of leaves that are turning brown I might be able to tell if it is disease causing the problem . Be sure to bring leaves that are not all the way brown. Look for small holes in the branches to rule out borer insects . Look on the underside of the leaves for fine spider webs to rule out spider mites. For sure you should fertilize the tree to make it stronger and force it to grow out and fight off whatever is causing the problem naturally. Hope this helps. Your success is very important to us . Please do not hesitate to stop in with samples and I will try to help more.
-Scott

Question:
I have four hydrangea bushes that are about 6 years old. I have no sign of any blooms. The same thing happened to me last year. Is there anything I can do now to generate the flower?

Answer:
In response to your question regarding lack of flowering on your hydrangeas, it would’ve been helpful if you could tell me which variety of hydrangea you have. I also would ask you if you do any pruning on your hydrangeas and where are they sited in the garden. This information would greatly narrow down my answer. I may be wrong to assume, but I’m going to guess you have the hydrangea variety that blooms either pink or blue flowers during the summer (Hydrangea macrophylla). It prefers morning sun and afternoon shade and moist soil. The only pruning I recommend is the removal of any dead wood in the spring. I have noticed that a couple of applications of organic Hollytone fertilizer in the early spring and late fall greatly increases the amount of flowers I get on my plants. Please feel free to respond to my questions, so I can tailor my answer to your specific needs. Hope this information helps though.
-Lisa

Response:
Thank you for responding, Lisa. I don’t know the name of the variety offhand, but you are correct in that it blooms pink and/or blue flowers. I know for sure that I did not prune them this spring and I believe I did cut them back in the fall. I haven’t had any significant buds for the last three summers. It seems like they never recovered from that one spring where we had a late cold spell. Funny, these plants get just the opposite of what you recommend; shade until about mid afternoon, then sun until early evening. I will try the organic Hollytone and see what happens.

Question:
What is a great all-purpose potting mix that you sell for indoor plants such as dracaena, fiddle leaf fig, schefflera, and spider plants. I tried repotting with Fafard's B3 but it held way too much moisture. My pots were extremely heavy and the soil stayed soggy.

Answer:
We would recommend a soil-less potting mix such as Black Gold All-Purpose. It is an excellent mix for container gardening and houseplants. It is very lightweight, has a minute amount of slow time releasing fertilizer and is made up of nutrient rich ingredients such as peat moss. We carry it in many sizes to fit everyone's needs. Please let me know if you have any more questions- we are happy to help.
-Karlie