IN THE GARDEN

Posted: May 13, 2017 at 1:51 a.m.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette weed spray illustration.

Q Emer-gency! I no longer have a fascination for or the physical ability to do weeding. Can Roundup be used on daffodils and irises? Though I spray in November with Roundup before the daffodils are up, now vetch and rye/winter grasses are taking over. Accidental overspray of native spider lilies never bothered them but cleaned out all of the grass, etc. Any advice? Poast will work on killing grasses but will not hurt broadleaf weeds or desirable broadleaf plants.

Peony blossoms can be so large that plant stakes are needed to prop up the stem.

A I don't recommend spraying Roundup on anything other than what you want to kill. While it may not have killed your native spider lilies, it should at least have damaged them. Once you cut the foliage off your daffodils and you no longer see any sign of the foliage, spraying with Roundup shouldn't hurt, but they need to be totally dormant. If you spray as soon as you cut the leaves, they will still absorb the chemical and could be damaged. Using a grass-specific herbicide such as Poast or Fusilade will kill grasses but not broadleaf weeds. A good hoe is still the best recommendation for the broadleaf weeds.

Q In 1980, my husband planted a tomato plant that grew to 8 feet. We had tomatoes until November. Could you please help us find the type of tomato.

A Tomatoes come in two types -- determinate and indeterminate. Determinate varieties are like patio tomatoes. They grow to a specific height, stop growing and produce their fruit. The indeterminate varieties will continue to grow provided they aren't pruned. They need some type of physical support to hold them upright. If we have a good growing season they can reach 6 to 8 feet tall or more if they are not topped. Some good indeterminate varieties include "Better Boy," "Traveler," "Husky Cherry Red" and "Big Beef."

Q With their two blooming seasons, when should one prune the "Encore" azaleas? After the spring bloom or the fall?

A Re-blooming azaleas such as "Encore" and "Re-Bloom" should be treated like spring-only bloomers when it comes to pruning. If needed, prune as soon after flowering as possible, but no later than mid-June. Do not prune after their fall display or it will limit blooms the next spring.

Q I want to grow a grape tomato plant in a 20-inch container. What type of soil should I use?

A A good quality potting soil is best for containers. Bagged garden soil is heavier, and soil from the yard is heavy and also could contain weed seeds and pathogens.

Q I have two very large fringe trees or old man beard in my front yard that are 18-20 feet tall. They have almost finished blooming. Can I prune them back drastically to a more manageable height, somewhere around 10 feet tall?

A I usually recommend trying not to remove more than one-third of the plant at one time. Prune as soon as possible after the tree finishes flowering, no later than mid-June. Instead of just whacking it all back to one height, why not stagger your cuts and do selective thinning? This should give the tree a more pleasing appearance while reducing its size a bit more gradually.

Q Can you tell me what this plant is? [The reader submitted a photo.] Any information would be appreciated.

A It is a peony. Peonies are long-lived perennials that do best in full sun. They come in a wide range of colors and flower forms, from simple, with one circle of petals, to doubles. They normally bloom in pink, white, red or a combination. The plants often benefit from perennial stakes, which can hold the flowers upright after a rain.

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

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