Each week the University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Have a question about your home or garden? Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to the website at hgic.umd.edu.
Gravel mulch tends to keep the soil cooler and more moist than organic mulch, and its sharp edges can abrade plant tissue as plants move in the wind. Abrasions and overly moist soil provide the perfect entry point for the fungal spores that cause root rot.
Grass plants are some of the most aggressive plants in the world. Typical lawn grasses do not grow under barriers (though weed grass such as Bermuda grass and quackgrass can), so a depth of 1-2 inches should suffice.
First, match the ultimate plant size and requirements for water, soil and sun to your site, which will mean no pruning, no watering (after the first two years), no fertilizing and no shaping plants that lean out or stretch up to reach sunlight.
I just learned that we've lost about half the world's nonhuman vertebrate animal population since 1970. This is shocking. One of the two main culprits is habitat loss. Can Marylanders help without turning their yards into woods?
Squirrels, voles and chipmunks can all be the bane of bulb gardeners, but there are lots of rodent-proof choices — including daffodils, which now come in shades from pink to white with orange highlights, as well as many fascinating forms and fragrances.
Crazy snakeworms probably came in on imported plant soil or soil amendments, but can, tragically, be spread as bait worms. Excess bait worms should be killed in vinegar water, never dumped on the soil.
Discula anthracnose was a fungal disease that slowly killed many dogwoods — particularly stressed ones — in full sun and poor soil. However, because of the genetic diversity of the dogwood, this disease is no longer the rampant threat it once was