Grumpy Gardener's Best Reader Questions

Over the past decades, Grumpy Gardener Steve Bender has received lots of questions from his loyal garden readers. In honor of Southern Living's 50th anniversary, Grumpy has pulled some of his favorite questions that people are still asking today. He guarantees 14,810% accuracy of all garden answers.


This is Southern Living's 50th anniversary year. And every since Southern Living started way back in the 70s, videos you've been sending us gardening Questions that have always been answered with 14,810% total guaranteed accuracy. Most of the time, by me, so what I thought I would do for you today is pick out 10 of those questions. That we got even back in the 90s and 80s and 70s. that people are still asking about today. And I'm going to answer them totally correctly. Can I have my first question please? Dear Grumpy, several years ago, [UNKNOWN] vine was planted on a hillside near our property to control erosion. It has now spread and is killing a few of our trees. How can it be controlled? [LAUGH] How can it be controlled? Okay, first thing you wanna do is you wanna get the [UNKNOWN] off of your trees. So go out with some pruners and cut out all the stems of the [UNKNOWN] off at the ground. Then the next thing you want to do is you can get a product called brush killer. And you can treat the cut ends of the stems that are still there coming up from the ground. It will take the vertical down roots And it will kill it. Or now this really will blow your mind, you can now rend a herd of goats. Believe it or not. You can rent a herd of goats and they will come to your property, they will eat all the cuds you have down to the ground. And if they do this two years in a row the cuds We all die. Dear grumpy, many of the leaves on my ten year old southern Magnolia turned brown and dry, what should I do about it? You should ru the day you ever planted An industry. Southern Magnolia may be a Southern icon, but this is just what it does. It drops leaves 365 days a year. And there's nothing you can do To prevent it, it just shed it. So think of it as a big green leafy cat. Dear Grumpy Gardener, my houseplants never seem to live very long. I could use some advice. Houseplants Plants need a certain kind of condition. Number one, they need light. You can't put them in a closet and expect them to thrive. So you need to give them some light, preferably from a bright window. They need to have drainage in the pot. The number one cause of killing house plants is overwatering them. So you have to make sure that the pot has a drainage hole. And then make things easy on yourself. Select houseplants that are hard to kill. And some of them are, like snake plant, rubber plant, pothos, ZZ plant, any of those. Those are plants that even you can't kill. Dear grumpy gardener, I can't seem to keep powdery mildew off of my [UNKNOWN] golden [UNKNOWN] any suggestions? I hate this plant, but besides that I don't like the way it looks, I also don't like All the stuff that goes wrong with it, in addition to the powdery mildew. Which is the white film that covers all the leaves, it's subject to a lot of pests like scales. And what they do is they coat all the leaves and stems, they suck out all the sap, and the plant dies, which actually, when you think about it is the best possible outcome. Dear Grumpy Gardener, I have a white Crepe Myrtle that is several years old. This year the bark is peeling off. What should I do? Absolutely nothing. This is natural. There's nothing wrong with your plant. It's absolutely natural. Go back and have a cocktail. Dear Grumpy Gardener. Someone told me I could plant a Norfolk Island Pine outdoors. Is this plant hardy? Well, it is if you happen to live on Norfolk Island, which is off the coast of Australia, where it's tropical. But I'm guessing you don't live there. You probably live in a place Where it freezes in the winter time. And so if you put your Norfolk Island Pine outdoors the first time, and it freezes, it will turn the most lovely shade of brown and croak. No you can't leave it outdoors. Dear Grumpy Gardener, We would like to rid ourselves of some old privet hedges. Every time we cut them down they grow back faster than ever. Is there something we can use that will kill them, roots and all? So what you need to do is take some pruners, some loppers, some whatever, cut them off a couple of inches above the ground. Throw away all that stuff that you've just cut off, and then you paint the cut surfaces of all those stems and trunks that are still there with brush killer, and that's gonna take the chemical down to the ground and kill them, roots and all. [UNKNOWN] has no reason. To be living in this world. Let's get rid of it.>> Dear Grumpy Gardener we recently purchased property with poison ivy growing on it. Can we safely compost the poison ivy and then use it later in the garden? I'm gonna answer this question with a line from Clint Eastwood and that is do you feel lucky See, the oil that causes all the skin rash from poison ivy is very persistent. It breaks down slowly. In fact, if you were to burn poison ivy and walk through the smoke, you would get a terrible case of poison ivy. Now I don't know how long that oil is gonna last in compost But if it were me, I wouldn't wanna chance it. So no, keep it out of the compost. Can you eat ornamental peppers? Yeah, you can. The question is, should you? And I would say no. A lot of these ornamental peppers Peppers are so hot, it's like consuming fires. So if you're not into extreme pain, I would say avoid eating ornamental peppers. Dear Grumpy, I purchased the Mimosa tree five years ago for my yard in Kentucky. Each winter it has died to the ground. Why is this? The reason that your Mamos dies to the ground in Kentucky is because it's not cold hardy up there. And so when the winter temperatures drop, let's say to zero or something It kills it to the ground. And then it grows up from the roots. So that's why your mimosa keeps dying, which in my opinion is not a bad thing. Please promise me the next mimosa that you choose involves alcohol. So now I've answered Are just a tiny sampling of the thousands upon thousands of questions we've received in Southern Living about gardening throughout the years. Everyone has gotten a correct answer and you have gotten it for free. Well that's okay with us, keep those emails coming in. [MUSIC]
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