Ask a Master Gardener

Hi, I enquired about white spruce a few days ago. However, I based on the answer I got I suspect whether I got the name of the tree wrong. An arborist told me these trees in my neighbor’s backyard are white spruce and are what I need too, because they grow tall and narrow, can tolerate some shade, and grow fast. I attached a photo this time. Can you help me identify what they are? Are they white spruce at all? They are the trees I plan to grow along my back fence to form a tall hedge to block the view of the apartment buildings.
Thanks for your help!

I have a limelight hydrangea about five feet tall and nicely shaped. I would like to prune it this year. I am in the Kingston On area, I go south on Jan. 1 and return Apr 1 . Should I prune now or wait until the first week in April. Your advice much appreciated, thank you.

Are there any Hoya experts among your group of volunteer advisors ? I am a newbie that would like to have a couple that would most likely survive in a large North window , as most of them require lights and greenhouses to be well . Thank you for taking my question

Hello there
Can you help me answering these questions please
1) Are there different kind of Forsythia shrub? What I want, something that grow vertically not horizontally and the height should not be more than 5-7 feet. If there is something like that what is called?
2) How the leave look like during summer and fall? green or yellow
3) How the shrub look like in Winter? Just woods (branches) not leaves?
4) Where to find small plants. I looked for one last summer and they all sell big one.

Thank you very much.


I am starting to worry about my Veitchii plants I have in my office. They have been growing good for the past few years. This past month or so, I have found that a lot of the bottom leaves of the two big plants I have have had their leaves turning yellow then then to brown. The brown leaves had dried up. I water them once a week and have been cutting off the dead leaves. I really haven’t that kind of problem and I have had them for the past three years. I just don’t know what to make of this. Do you have any suggestions as I do not want to have them die on me. I have been taking real good care of them all these years and do not know the solution. I tried to send a picture of those leaves but am having trouble downloading them on your attach a picture.


My plant looks amazing with new growth, however this just started happening with the leaf? Do you have any idea what is causing this? Also, I have a bird of paradise that was doing well and now seems to have stopped growing. There is a new leaf that has been there for approximately two months yet does not grow or open, also the one leaf is curling in and turning brown. Any suggestions? Thank you so much.

zone3 if a perennial is planted in a container, when or can it be planted in the main garden. is zone3 too cold for a fall re-plant.

thank you

Good Morning. I am searching for peach trees. I have been looking for a Red Haven and a Golden Jubilee. I see you carry the Red Haven which is good but the Golden Jubilee I do not see. I grew up with a Golden Jubilee which grew great with allot of delicious fruit year after year. I do not understand why no one carries it. I have been searching for over a year and I must get them planted this year. Could you please tell me why no one carries this? Would you also be able to help me as to where I could get a Golden Jubilee. Perhaps some strange disease wiped them out. I need help.
Best Regards John

I’ll do anything to discourage the critters visiting the yard, since I see their footprints, and their body hair shedding. I’m sure a racoon dragged a bag of stale bread under the back stairs, as a hideaway, from a neighbour’s unattended trash bin.
With a short-term warming trend, which should melt the snow capped back garden in west Toronto where I’d like to amend the patch where peonies, roses and phlox are overwintering, can I add some manure, as a last ditch touch to the garden? Maybe the smell of the product will temporarily discourage visits?
Spring is only about 70 days ago with a lot of other challenges!

Hi thank you for your assistance. I am in an errand climate in Colorado near Denver and I have had in Norfolk Pine for 10 years. It has been happily growing in a bay window with lots of indirect has a little bit of new growth at the top however there appears to be a sap emerging from the tip in the form of a cluster of small bubbles. Furthermore at the base of the branches at the trunk, there are woody bulbous-like formations. How can I help this plant? Thank you.

My question is whether or not it’s ok to prune my plants during the winter. Or if I should wait until spring or if I should wait until next fall ? I realize most of the pruning ( my raspberry bushes especially) should have been done in the fall but winter came unexpectedly early and now I’m not sure what to do about pruning. thanks for the help!

Do amaryllis stems photosynthesize?

After the flowers are done I remove them, but I leave the leaves on until it is time to force dormancy in September. I understand the critical role the leaves play in building up the bulbs energy for the following year. Some people suggest leaving the stem on the bulb until it begins to wilt as it too participates in photosynthesis. These sources are unreliable so that is my question. Do amaryllis stems help with photosynthesis or can I cut them off once the last flower is done?

Thank you for your time,

Hi, I’m planning to plant an evergreen hedge along a tall wall to block some unwanted view from behind the wall. I need trees that can grow 15-20 metres tall and stay as narrow as possible (no more than 3 metres). I don’t mind having wider lower branches while the trees are still young. However, due to the shaded spot I believe the lower branches will just naturally die over time, which is actually preferred.
I have narrowed down my selection to a few: Balsam Fir, Norway Spruce, Hoopsi Blue Colorado Spruce, Iseli Columnar Spruce, Blue Weeping Nootka. I don’t know which ones of them grow faster than the others, and which ones can tolerate more shade. Looking for some help to choose one or two that’s most suitable for the purpose.
Thanks a lot!

Where can I buy good quality dahlia tubers close to Toronto. Are there nurseries that you could recommend? I plan to start them indoors, and wondering when would be a good time to start them.
Thank you

Hi, Is ‘Frans Fontaine’ the narrowest kind of European Hornbeam tree? How tall and wide do they grow? Is the shape more pyramidal or columnar?
I’m looking for a kind of tree in columnar shape to form a tall hedge in a narrow strip, and can tolerate a lot of shade (almost no direct sunlight, open shade only).

Also, I heard hornbeams are more shade tolerant than beeches. Is it correct? Would beeches be able to survive in full shade?

I heard the American hornbeams can tolerate full shade. But, is there a columnar shaped cultivar?



Regarding Compost Zone 5B.

1. Street side leaf pick up comes every year in late October here in Cambridge. Last year a large amount of product was left behind and is still sitting curb side in late Jan 2020. Is street side curb leafs a good idea to put in my compost pile? My concern is the salting done by the plows and if this effects the plant material.

Thank you


I live in Zone 5b in Cambridge Ontario

My property has about 30 mature trees a cross between Ash, Pine , Maple and Oak.

Over the last 20 years, part of my property has been left to nature. I fenced my yard for a pool which sectioned off this area full of leafs and plant ground cover. This year I created new raised vegetable planters 4X8, 3X8 and 4X4 boxes with the intention of planning new gardens to kitchen table source of home grown produce. Finally my Question If I were to till this area can it be used to create compost or mulch for my new raised gardens?

I assume so but siding on caution.

hello …I live in Sault Ste. Marie ON. ..a climate with great temp fluctuations. Planted this potted maple and staked it about 3 yrs ago..this fall I noticed the split trunk …about 1 foot long about 3 ft from the ground. Will try to attach picture. Thanks for your help. Brenda removed stake and panty hose I had tied it with.

Bought a polka dot plant a couple months ago. Over the past month the leaves have been turning brown and falling off. I’ve been watering regularly, keeping the soil moist and using a humedifier when possible, but I can’t maintain moisture levels as the winter season gets colder. Now my plant is down to a few tiny leaves which I don’t think will survive much longer. Is there anything I can to to save this little guy?

I wonder if you can help me find out whether a plant is harmful to cats. The (house) plant in question is Hatoria salicornioides, and common names include Dancing Bones, Drunkard’s Dream, Bottle Cactus, Spice Cactus.

It is not listed on the ASPCA’s toxic/non-toxic plant listing, and I have “googled” and only found general comments that most succulents are not harmful to cats so it’s probably ok. My cat is important to me so that’s not definitive enough!  If you could determine more suredly, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks very much.

Good day,
I have a plant which looks like a succulent or could also be a cactus. It grows long tendrils which climb onto any structure out of a large bulb. Tine white blossom appear in the spring and drop as little bulb into neighbouring pots where they then grow.

Hello – I purchased Juliet (yes, I named her), my calamondin orange tree, in early September, but this winter has been difficult. She has shed a considerable amount of her lower and inner leaves in the past couple of months, and now some branches are drying out completely. I try and keep the soil moisture levels moderate, usually watering her only twice a week. My apartment doesn’t get a lot of natural light in the winter, so I have been supplementing with a full-spectrum LED light for ~12 hours per day (sometimes 14, depending on my workday). I am also using a humidifier to keep the levels around 40-45%; sometimes, the humidity level does drop below 40%. I found out shortly after bringing Juliet home that she had a mealybug infection, and have been monitoring the situation, treating her with a diluted soap/rubbing alcohol mixture and q-tipping off bugs/infection areas on an ad-hoc basis. I am planning to re-pot her in the spring if she makes it to then.
Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Hi there!
We are currently looking into buying a home and fell in love with one…except for its backyard :-/
We were wondering if we can hope to have grass in there if we give it a little love, or is it a lost cause?
You can see attached the actual yard surrounded with cedar hedges and several trees.
Thanks for your help :)

Live from June 5 to mid October in Nova Scotia, zone 6a. Its mostly solid rock property in my area with just a few inches of soil. I want to build a cutting garden and therefore need to do it by building large raised beds.
Am interested in Ranunculus and Dahlias. Have read dahlias dislike potting soil so not sure what to use? Is Ranunculus the same? Never planted a cutting garden, let alone on rock. Approximately how many flowers does one form of Ranunculus give….not sure how many to buy. Thank you!

I bought a small fig tree (about 1 meter tall) in a container last summer. It lost its leaves in the fall and I brought it indoors for the winter. It is in complete darkness, around 16C. I water it occasionally so the roots don’t dry out. I noticed a few days ago that it is beginning to make leaves. I understand it is much too early for it to wake up. I don’t know what to do. I can relocate it to my attached garage where it’s cooler (-5C to 10C), but I’m afraid this will damage it. Please help!

My Regent Park condo is on the 21st floor, west facing so has strong afternoon sun. I would like to plant evergreens in containers so it looks a little less gloomy next winter. What suggestions do you have for types of plants and winter care?

In December, we noticed “honey dew” on the leaves and on the floor in our plant room. We thoroughly washed all the leaves with a soap, water and alcohol sotion. All the plants were then moved and spaced out through the house. We repeated this 3 times, each time a week apart. Except for 3 large Ficus benjamina, the problem disappeared. Since then we have sprayed the 3 ficus, 3 times with a horticultural oil/soap solution and 3 times with a neem oil/ soap solution, each time a week apart.. We still see honeydew on the floor but not on the leaves. It should be said that even when using a magnifying glass we have not seen any scale. So a picture won’t help. The plants look very healthy. Any suggestions?

I have a canna-lilly. Outside it bloomed flowers. I put it inside in a bay window. It kept dying – it was too cold. So I put it by another window. Now its growing new stems. However, in the middle of the plant its still all dead. Do I empty out the soil, cut out the middle, and put the soil back? See pic

Hi, I live in Oshawa (5b/6a). I’m thinking of planting up my hellstrip with some things. It is completely covered by snow in the winter and gets some salt The strip faces south, with a young Northern Red Oak. Two of my main goals are to attract pollinators and incorporate native plants. What do you suggest that can be cut back in the fall so it doesn’t get in the way during the winter, and how can I plant it up so that it doesn’t look too “mangy”

Thank you in advance

I am looking for rose bud apple blossom geraniums plants. I found out about a nursery in B.C. that sells this species but I cannot find the address.
No-one else seems to know where to buy rosebud apple blossom geraniums. Could you please help me find a nursery that sell these plants?

I was wondering about transplanting an Emerald Cedar that is approximately 12ft Tall. The Emerald was planted next to the front porch when it was about 3ft tall. It is now 6 years later and the 12 ft cedar is growing into the soffit of the house. I wanted to transplant it to the backyard. How large/deep would the root ball be? Is it recommended to wrap the root ball in burlap or to just place the tree right into the newly dug hole? If wrapped in burlap do I leave it on the tree? When is the best time to transplant? April? Any other information would be great. Thanks in advance.


What is the best food to put in your watering can
to feed your house plants , such as Geraniums

yes what is the number that i should buy and brand ?

could you let me know

what is the best potting soil to mixture for my
house plants such as geraniums

I see that they are not doing to well lately and I just wanted to know what is best for them

since they don’t look all that great now

Hi there. Thanks to your response to one of my earlier questions.
I’m thinking of adding some ornamental trees to my backyard. I garden in zone 5. It has clay-ish soil and is in full sun on a gentle south-facing slope. I’ve already decided that I want a kousa dogwood, but for a tree in a different place, I haven’t decided between a serviceberry or a redbud? Which do you think would do better in the space, and compliment the kousa dogwood better?

Many thanks

Our 20 year old dogwood did not drop all its leaves in the fall. Many are a dried up brown now. What is this tree telling us?

Hi Can you grow from Seed
Rose bud pelargoniums from Seed
or even Apple Blossom from Seed

could you email me on this
thank you

We’re finding ticks any time we’re over 4 degrees. Do you see anything wrong with moving most of our pruning to the late winter? Obviously every shrub and tree have their own best times for pruning, as do perennials, and I do intend to still prune in warm weather, but all the hoops I need to jump through, not to mention protective clothing I’ll have to wear, as well as articles suggesting I cut down tall grasses, add more gravel, etc. is taking away the joy I used to associate with gardening in good weather. What would you recommend to a gardener wanting to keep her chin up?

When is the best time to plant a Japanese maple in a container. The container will be on a balcony, six stories up. It will receive late afternoon (3:30 on) sun and will experience windy conditions. The container is self-watering from under the roots, up.

Are chum tree / shrubs susceptible to cherry maggots

I’m in Toronto, and I would like to prune three pine trees in front of my house(see pictures attached). When is the best time of year to prune these trees and where on the branch should they be cut? In the past I always pruned mid-summer after the new growth has matured. The two blued pines on the left I would like to keep them in the shape of an umbrella. The dark green one on the right I would like to keep that in the shape of a round ball.

I had a number of Columbine that were affected by leaf miner last year. Am hoping to manage the problem without pesticides this year.

Is there a recommended course of action beyond removing affected foliage promptly, and do you think it is reasonable to expect that this can be managed without harsh chemical treatments?

I brought a potted mandavilla indoors 6in pot before frost etc eventually all the leaves dropped , watered during nov to present , having not seen any sign of life so unpotted it and roots look ok , what should I do next? put in water like a cutting ? repot in perlite /peatmoss etc help please

I have had my indoor avocado plant for over a year now. However, I noticed the leaf tips turning brown. I flushed the dirt and let it drain well, but now the leaves are changing texture and yellowing around the edges. I know it must be root bound because I see a few tiny roots coming out of the hole of the terra cotta pot. It’s due for repotting. The dirt has settled from when I repotted it last year September/October. I meter the dirt and water it about once a week. I am wondering if there is a lot of salt buildup at the bottom of the pot? The older leaf tips are brown as well as the large ones. I have beautiful new growth coming from the top since sun has been more frequent. The avocado plant is a Mexican breed that sits in a North window. Cannot achieve putting it in a South window. My assumption is it needs repotting and having the soil settling do much the dirt has too much buildup… I also let the water sit for a good week before watering

Dear MGs, could you please help me. I have started some marigold seedlings very early as part of my horticulture course assignment. They are very healthy looking, are growing under their very own grow light, and are even beginning to blossom. On the new shoots (but not the older leaves) are very regular dots. The dots are small, purple, evenly scattered on the leaf, and the edges of the leaves are a little purple as is the petiole. The dots look like bumps that are popping out of the leaf. Any help?

…..we have placed garden leaves over our flower beds for the winter for the first time and we are wondering when would be the ideal time to remove them to the benefit of the wee beasties below ??……

We have tents over a juniper shrub which is in the ground but has struggled lately and tents over 3 free-standing barrels with succulents. When should these be taken off our shrubs? . What daily temperatures and sun conditions should these be taken off? Or could one just take them off in plus temperature days tents with sun and put back for the night? But that would start them up?

I have two Honey Locust Trees in the front yard which every year have various insects such as plant bugs, midges, etc. The arborist recommends annual spraying each year with insecticidal spray (two applications). What will be the impact on these trees if they are not regularly sprayed with insecticide?

In trying to grow indoor herbs, we find that they are under attack from some disease. The leaves brown and then die.
We have fungus gnats in the soil. Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t seem to eradicate them, even after repeated use.
We sterilized soil before planting.
Your advice?

I have been interested in getting a office client however, my office has no windows or natural light. I know there are a lot of green plants that will survive in this environment. But I was interested in a plant with more color to it. I was wondering if bromeliads are good no window office plants and any tips to keep Bella no natural light plant growing

Hello, we are looking for three mature silver lace vines to plant on an arbour in our backyard. We have had these vines on the arbour for about 15 years but they died after a new fence was added. Where can I buy them? We live in Etobicoke.

A few weeks ago, I bought a pussy willow plant and it was growing fast and nice. But now it is about one week that I can see it’s leaves are turning brown, especially on the head of the leaves. What is the issue? The situation was not that changed, we keep it indoor, water it every other day, and the light situation is also the same.
Please help!


I have a standard rose that I overwinter in the garage (this is the second year I am doing this). The garage has a window and it doesn’t freeze in there though it is not heated. The rose is doing wonderfully! Last year it even bloomed in the garage. Can I bring this rose inside the house now? I think it may bloom and would like to enjoy it a bit more than I will while it is in the garage. It’s still to cold to move it back outside.

Thank you!

I hope this email finds you well and you are staying health.

Last summer I trimmed a few lower branches of my evergreen tree. It seems that there is a fungus infection at those cuttings and I was wondering if I should do anything.
Any help is much appreciated.
I attached one photo and shared a few more here:

Thank you very much!

Our West facing back garden now looks into two modern houses with such enormous windows we can see straight through the houses. An 18 to 20 ft. Cedar hedge was replaced with an 8 ft wooden fence. I would like some suggestions of fast growing flowering trees and / evergreens to bring beauty and privacy into my back garden. The fence line is 75 one end of the fence there is a beautiful Japanese maple and a not so beautiful honeysuckle. The height should be around 15 to 18 ft if possible.

I was wondering where I could purchase a Martha Washington Geranium plant?

Good day,
In cleaning out some of my flower beds I don’t usually rake but try to remove certain “undesirables” such as the tar spotted Norway maple leaves and the petioles by hand.
My question is about the great number of maple samaras or wingnuts in the beds. Do these wings provide any value to the soil or should I be raking them out? I sometimes think that the wings never break down but last indefinitely.
A related question is whether it is a good idea to put a thin layer of topsoil on the beds at this time (early spring) to help break down the organic depris from last year that litters the beds?
Thank you in advance for your time.

Hi I want to know we’re I can buy now Camellia, chamomile, and dandelion

Hello! I was wondering if you’re able to give recommendations for planting? We are not experienced in this area and would like to order some plants for our front yard. If this is possible please let me know. Thank you!

Dear Master Garderner,

I received an order of oriental, trumpet, and asiatic lily bulbs on March 23rd 2020. I live in Mississauga (Zone 6a) and it is still snowing outside as of today. I read online that i should plant the lily bulbs as soon as i received them, but i know with other summer-flowering bulbs that you are supposed to plant them close to the last frost date (April 29th). I am unsure what to do with my bulbs. Do i plant them now (late march)? Or do i try to keep them indoors unplanted in a cool area for a couple of weaks? If i should keep them indoors, how should i store them, when should i plant them?

I very much look forward to hearing from you!


I live in the west end of Toronto north of Garrison Creek Park.  Could you please tell me what zone I live in?

Thank you very much.

I covered my hydrangeas with shrub covers in November, as instructed I piled dried leaves over the plants before securing the cover. The covers do provide light and moisture. I am now wondering when is a good time to remove the covers and next steps following that. The shrubs did have buds when I covered them. I am in Lindsay, so the weather is a little cooler than in Toronto.
Thank you

Hello Toronto Master Gardeners,
I’ve had a beautiful begonia for about 8 years.
Never had any issues until one day this winter, when I noticed it losing a lot of leaves. I figured perhaps a draft from the window we hadn’t noticed caused some damage, but it hasn’t gotten better. I removed all the dried parts and repotted the healthiest parts in new soil.
I’m very worried about it, it keeps losing leaves and all the new growth seems to perish fairly quickly. How can I promote growth? What are the best conditions for it?

Thank you for all your help as always!

I live in the city of Sudbury and want to grow butterfly plants on a balcony

I live in a rented house in Toronto. The south facing backyard is in sun/shade. It had grass but now it’s mostly mud thanks to two dogs using it. I need to plant an inexpensive, hardy, self-renewing ground cover that can withstand the dogs as it grows. I know that’s a lot to ask. Any suggestions?

I have a white Hydrangea in my backyard. Come into blossom quite early in spring. BUT, after the white flowers come out, they soon are eaten by some insects. Could you give me some instructions to resolve this problem please?

This tree was planted last summer prior to us taking possession of the house. We watered it a lot until we put the hose away for the winter. A bunch of other trees had similar symptoms, where specific branches would seemingly die off. Others are fine. I THINK the soil around here is clay. Cookstown, up the 400 from YYZ. Wanting to find out if this (these) trees are salvageable, what you think is happening here, and what I should do. Thanks! Greg

Hi, are you able to tell me what this cactus is please? And why it has so many protrusions at the top (is this normal?) Can I propagate it?
Thanks for your help!

We planted 46 dappled willow trees in a zigzag pattern about two years ago. The trees have a six foot spacing with quite a healthy lawn in between. We would like to place mulch over the grass between the trees so we don’t have to mow. What type of mulch is recommended and how should it be applied so the grass doesn’t grow through it?

I mostly grow vegetables and herbs in my garden and I”m wondering about starting seedlings indoors this year given that getting seedlings might prove difficult to get from my favourite supplier Urban Harvest. What should I be considering when choosing which kind of lights to purchase if I’m growing from seeds indoors… mostly tomatoes, basil, marigolds, kale, cucumber and a few more? With thanks

They showed up last year but was told too late to do much about them. They were in my raspberry plants. I do not have a large garden…but a third of it is raspberries. Can you recommend how I can get rid of them? Traps? Sprays? Other. I did try and hand pick them last year…but guessing there will be more this year.

Hello – does anyone know where to buy Henryi Clematis in the Toronto area? And if they would do a drop-off? Thank you!

I’m in Vaughan and I have an apple tree that produces very delicious crunchy fresh fruit. My problem is the worms. What can I do? The organic, blemish free apples in the grocery store seem like a miracle!

I will broaden the querie . My deck is approx. 5X8 with a southeast exposure lots of sun in the morning and none in the afternoon. I am located in Chelmsford (NW of the city of Sudbury) I would like to attract butterflies and Humming Birds. So my question is what should I grow and how?

Good Morning,

I have been growing heriloom tomatoes in a Community Garden here in Toronto for the last 12 years. A week ago the City padlocked the entrance to all community gardens here in Toronto including mine. I am hoping that they will lift this restriction before the end of May so I can plant my tomato seedlings. Unfortunately none of us have any idea exactly when the City is going to relax this ban so I am looking at possible alternatives as to where to plant these seedlings. I ordered these seedkings over a month ago. They are growing in a greenhouse as we speak. They will be delivered by mid May. My problem is that if restrictions are not lifted in time for planting in late May early JUne, I will have knowehere to plant them. Unfortunately there is knowhere on my home property that has the required sunlight or proper soil. The only idea I have been able to come up with so far is to plant these seedlings in large containers/pots and hope they stay alive until my community garden opens again and II can get them in the ground. Any other ideas on where or how to plant these seedlings until I am allowed access to my garden again would be much appreciated.
Thank You

I’ve had my indoor Norfolk Island pine for a little over a year and, since January, he’s been showing weird reddish brown tips, brown spots directly on the branches, and a strang scab-like wound on one of his trunks. I’m attaching a picture of a branch with the weird tips and spots.

Here’s a bit more info about him: he uses a grow light because my house gets little sunlight and it’s too windy for him outside. He has a Miracle Grow potting mix and a 1-1-1 liquid Miracle Grow fertilizer that I double the suggested amount per oz of water because I couldn’t find a 2-2-2 liquid one. I live in North Carolina, but I brought my tree to DC when I visited in January, which was when I noticed the symptoms, so I’m thinking he may have picked up something in transit.

Please let me know if you need further information to help me figure out what’s wrong with him, and thanks in advance for any help!

Two weeks ago, I asked a question here ( about my pussy willow. From that moment, I put it in the sunlight whenever it was sunny (unfortunately we did not have too many sunny days), and water it every other day, it’s soil was always wet.
But I feel things became worse, as almost all of its leaves turned brown. I do not know what can I do to rescue it, and because of the pandemic, I am unable to find anywhere to bring it for consultation. I attached a picture, you can see there are still some green leaves but the majority of the leaves turned brown.
Please, let me rescue it, I do not want to loose it.

Hi, Can you tell me the best place to purchase organic soil for my vegetable garden? Would you recommend two different types of soils and how best should I go about having it dropped off at my home? Thx.

I have a saucer magnolia with a serious magnolia scale problem growing on my property. In each of the last couple of years there has been a paper wasp nest that I have seen up in a different tree situated on my property. Each year, I have been stung by a wasp when I got in close proximity of the magnolia tree. The Arborist I contacted late last fall suggested he could cut down the magnolia tree or I can have the tree treated, but he appeared hesitant about treating the tree. Am I contacting the right “Professional” if I prefer to have the tree treated? In other words is an “Arborist”, the Professional best suited to treat infestations, or is it another type of “Professional”. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you,

I have a wide hill (40 feet) in my backyard that’s about 40 degrees. I want to have a garden on it, but need to make sure the maintenance is low. I’m debating whether to terrace it or not. Since it’s very expensive to build a retaining wall, I wonder how manageable it is to garden on a 40 degree hill without terraces. I’m looking to gather some ideas so that I can assess the future maintenance, and to decide whether it’s worth to invest on a retaining wall.
Thank you!

Is “triple mix” sufficiently alkaline for Hellebores?
I purchased two at TBG’s plant sale following the cancellation of Canada Blooms and want to make sure I plant them in the best possible soil conditions.

What can be done about severe infestations of rose cheevers on my peonies? I’ve had issues with them for years . Picking them off is almost useless in dry June’s as our gardens have their favourite sandy soil.

Dear Toronto Master Gardeners,
I have started several flower species indoors under grow lights. The tiny Heliotrope ‘Marine Lemoine strain’ seeds were sown in a flat tray. I searched online but cannot find any info for when to pick them out and transplant into individual pots. They were started March 11, ~3 ½ weeks ago. They are very slow growing and I’m unsure when to transplant. I’d very much appreciate your input.
Thank you,
Patricia D

Last summer I noticed a lot of leaf loss on a 5′ columnar boxwood I’ve had for several years. I didn’t know why, and didn’t have a chance to deal with it. This spring, I noticed leaf discolouration on a much smaller boxwood (2 years in my garden) and not far from the older one. I’ve included a picture of the 2nd showing underside and leaf tops. I think this fits the description of leaf miner, but would love your diagnosis and advice. I have a third, old and gorgeous pyramidal b.w. on the other side of the garden, and I don’t want it to get infected too!

Hello Master Gardeners, We are thrilled to be living in a home — for the first time — that has space for a small garden. We are hoping to grow some vegetables and herbs in stainless steel container garden. Do you have any suggestions for herbs and vegetables that are less likely to be devoured by raccoons, squirrels and other urban wildlife? (We are planning to plant a native pollinator garden as well.) Also, do you have a recommendation for what kind of soil we should purchase to fill the container? Thanks for your wisdom!

My bugleweed is looking like it did not survive the winter. The attached picture shows the plant on April 6. As you can see many of the leaves are brown

I have a metal pergola in my backyard (4 metal posts with slatted roof, 10 x 10 feet). I want to plant two Boston Ivy vines at the bottom of two of the posts (the roots will be buried directly into the lawn) and have the vines snake upwards and cover the entire metal roof of the pergola. Issues: We have fierce western sun so hopefully this vine grows super fast and is very hardy.

Question: How long will it take for the Boston Ivy to grow up an 8 foot post and then cover a 10 x 10 foot pergola roof? Again, I plan to use to large Boston Ivy plants.

Thank you

p.s. Is it safe to mix two vine species together, eg Boston Ivy one side and Virginia Creeper the other?

Where can i buy a Hibiscus tree in Toronto? I know with COVID-19, all stores are shut down, but some have curb-side pick up. Thanks everyone and be safe.

A couple of years ago I removed an English Walnut tree from my backyard. My lawn is much improved however I have reoccurring bare patches in the same areas even after I have reseeded each spring. I am assuming it is Juglone still contaminating my soil. Is there anything I can do short of sod and soil removal, then reseeding a new lawn?

I am wondering how best to handle a deciduously shaded ravine forest garden being seemingly overtaken by an unknown species of perennial Elephant Ears. I gather some are edible, and some are poisonous.

While visually dramatic they would seem to be at odds with prudent native planting ravine stewardship ? These seem to spread rhizomally so the neighbours have expressed concern as well. They are flowering now. I have attached a photo (and can provide other pics) from last fall with thanks for any assistance…


Your detailed answer on the use of ashes from our log fire as a fertilizer was very helpful. We live in Rosedale Toronto and have Clay soil. Would this change any of your recommendations as regards the quantities to be applied per sq ft (You suggested 20lbs of log ash per 1000 sq ft?)

I live in Toronto. I have a patch of lavender (sorry I don’t have the Latin name) in the flower bed on my front lawn. It is about 5 feet wide by one and a half feet wide. It gets the morning sun and it is planted about ten feet away from a 29 year old Ginko tree and near the driveway. I understand this is the time of the year when it should be pruned but I need advice as to by how much and how to do it. The soil is clayish. I also would like to know about feeding and any other ongoing care.
Thank you very much

As it seems the 2020 plant sale at the Toronto Botanical Garden will not proceed this year, I’m wondering if you have any recommendations on where to purchase plants this year. Specifically, I am looking for pepper plants that I do not have room to start from seed, and would be interested in growers that will deliver. I’ve looked at Vesey’s and they do not seem to sell and not peppers, which I would be interested in.

Thank you very much,

Last year, all of our boxwood hedges died, thanks to the box tree moth that has wreaked havoc in west Toronto and Etobicoke. We lost about 50 plants, and would like to replant something similar. Would love your insights!

A friend bought me a Easter Hydrangeas my question is can get be safely planted outside in the ground? I am in zone 6 kansas city mo 64152

What is the best way to control and prevent cherry fruit flies from laying eggs in cherries?

They infested quite a few of my back yard cherries with eggs (and the worms/larvae that hatch from them) last summer (2019) and I’d like to prevent it this summer.

I’m at Shaw Street, Toronto. The cherries are Romance series cherries (Juliet, Romeo, Cupid).

Hello. I live in Oakville/6b. But I’m inquiring about the master gardener course. Could you please send me some info. Thank you.

Hi, due to space limitations, we can’t grow any vegetables/fruits/herbs in our yard. I heard there was a movement to create “edible” planters. We have planters at our front door that we change with the seasons. Can you help suggest how/what to grow in the planters that would be edible, but still attractive as front door planters (have height, colours, etc.). My home is south facing in Toronto with 16” planters. Thanks

Hello. I can’t find nematodes in Canada that are specifically for apple maggots. The only ones that I have found are the ones that are for lawns. So are these the same? Can the ones used for the lawn be used for the apple maggots? If not then where can I get them? And please any other useful information on what to use and how to proceed with this would be helpful. I fear that my spring window is closing fast.

Hello :-DI planted a sorrel about 3 years ago and it comes back every year but something keeps eating it so I hardly ever get any. This year is no exception. I saw it poking up about a week ago but before any leaves come out it is eaten up and there are just a few little stems. Now the stems are even bein eaten. I don’t see any evidence of pests. Help!!Last year I got lemongrass. It grew but not wonderfully. I potted it and brought it in for the winter and it stayed alive but is pretty spindly. Can you give me some suggestions for the summer to help this plant thrive? Same with rosemary plant? Did not do great in the summer, potted it and brought it in for the winter. It’s alive but not great.Pics of both attached.Thanks so much for your consideration.

balcony 20’x 10’. 24 th floor. South facing. Protected on East and west sides by high walls 9’ deep. Would like shrubs climbers and some annuals. Just moved in in December .

Please help . I am only now beginning to appr I ate the difficulties.


We have a very long and narrow bed that we are starting to plant this spring. We have purchase a Hinoki Falsecypress Spiralis but I am worried the bed is too narrow for the roots to grow. On one side is a chain link fence and the other is patio stone.

Hi there. I have both Miracle-Gro shake n feed as well as the regular all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer. Is it possible to use this fertilizer on my houseplants? They include pothos, ficus elastica, dracaena marginata, spathiphyllum, and sansevieria. Thanks in advance!

I bought succulents, low light lovers and a yucca cane. I don’t know how to replant them correctly – what soil do I need? What pot size? Is there a certain time when I should do this? How often do I water them?

Hello. My climate zone is 6. My soil is sandy loam but part of this garden is over a hard pan. A well drilled nearby informed us of that, along with planting some trees and shrubs 15 years ago. A row of Holmstrup cedars run in an east west line providing shade from the south sun on the affected bed just north of it. There are also 2 silver leaf linden trees that my husband has kept trimmed and thinned out. Therefore there are lots of roots from one tree over the hard pan area that have grown up 4-6 inches out of the ground.
Last year we built up the area with 4-6 inches of soil around the tree roots and placed several stepping stones with gaps left for ground cover, of which several have survived the winter.
However, last fall several plants in the 3-4 foot wide bed directly beside the hedge died. I had some hostas, some astilbes, Japanese grass that didn’t look too healthy and the impatiens developed a rotting disease along with the begonias. We have an irrigation system. There is some filtered sun getting through the trees at various times of the day.
The hedge is also turning brown on the north side(our side) but is nice and green on the south side.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated since we will be spending more time in our back yard this year

Could this be a soil problem? Can you suggest where to get a soil test done in a rural small town area. I live in Simcoe near Lake Erie-not north of Toronto. I am wondering if the soil is too acid but I thought cedars like an acid soil. I was also wondering if it is a root problem. I did fertilize with a slow release granular flower/shrub fertilizer.
Thanks in advance for any help. Cindy

Dear Master Gardener,
Over time, wood-colored protrusions have developed at the base of each branch (please see picture), and I am wondering if they are a sign of disease? Please help me identify the issue. I don’t detect any scale, or aphid infection. The indoor plant is several years old. I am aware that it may need more light. The soil is kept relatively dry, though the humidity in the room remains about 60%. Thank you for your time – I really appreciate it.

I live in a Townhouse in Mississauga and wanted to create a hedge wall that will block myself and my neighbours. I have been researching the Leylandii Hedge but it may not be hardy enough for our environment even though Port Credit rarely goes below -10 in the winter. There is large Maple Tree growing above the area that I want the hedge with limited sun (some but blocked by tree). I would like it to grow fast and be 6ft or taller, I can trim regularly, water and provide good soil. What would you recommend?

I am writing to clarify my ongoing confusion re yews. I am wanting to plant a hedge around my stone patio but want to be able to maintain this hedge no higher than 3 feet and 2 feet wide. When I read tags re. growth it seems they all get too big yet pictures online appear to be what I am looking for. Is there a special type of yew I should be looking at. Thank you

I live in a high rise downtown and have a few containers with soil on a small balcony with full sun. I would like to plan anything, preferably colourful. Ordinarily, I would visit a gardening store like Sheridan on Yonge Street and browse. I’d appreciate advice on what plants to get and where to find or order them.

Hi everyone. I planted a seed from a lemon 22 years ago and It grew into this incredible 8’ tall lemon tree. It’s my baby and I love it. Every year we bring it out to the backyard and it fills with lush new leaves and brings me joy to just look at it.
It’s tried to give me fruit 3 times- always when it’s dormant inside my house in the winter- and never succeeded. They are tiny little lemons…
1) Can anyone advise me on what to do to help it bear fruit?
2) should I cut it back a bit more than I usually do, and when is a good time to do that?
3) do they have a life span and if so what should I do to prolong it?
Thanks everyone!!!

Northern Exposure – midtown Toronto, 2-3 story townhouses surround area.
Require tall, dense, green ( preferably with berry to attract birds in winter )
Would English Holly with red berries work ?
Please advise and add others deemed appropriate.
Forsythia, tulips & daffodils have flourished here in the past .
Thank you.

I would like to purchase a plant or cuttings. Do you know any garden centres that sell them.

Hello. I live in Port Hope. I have an old Kolkwitzia amabilis. I have tried to keep the size of it fairly small, and as a result the bush is now an awkward shape. I might inevitably need to dig it out, as I know these do not look their best when they are not allowed to grow to their desired size. I would, however, like to give it one more chance by hard pruning it and seeing if it will come back to a more pleasing shape. Is it too late this spring to do that? I would like to take it back to about 6 inches from the ground and see what happens.

I live in SW Ontario. The tree in the attached photo is about 13 years old and is covered with what looks like a mold or a disease (my neighbour’s opinion). The other trees on my street are very mature with thick, healthy trunks and full branches. All neighbourhood trees were planted at the same time. My tree is blooming right now (the attached pic is a week old) while the others in the area are just budding. Mine will shed it’s leaves in late August/early September. It’s a typical subdivision with more sand than clay. I fertilize the tree twice / year and keep it hydrated during hot summers. My yard has a streetlight that used to provide full 360 degree but a few years ago they changed the streetlights and now the light shines out into the street vs my yard. Any guidance you can provide on what the issue is and how I can make this tree healthy would be very much appreciated. Thanks for your time. Stay safe!

I took over care of a friend’s ficus last spring, it thrived during the spring and summer indoors. Over the winter it lost 80% of its leaves and is continuing to drop leaves. I tried adjusting watering, have adjusted its location so that it gets diffused light (east facing window) in the morning. Nothing seems to work. It has some new growth but overall seeing more decay than growth. The tree is about 5 ft tall, the pot is about a 13 inch diameter.

Hi There
I planted some daffodils ( in a garden under a birch tree) last Fall, hoping for some colour in the Spring. Can I plant some hosta with the daffodils and expect both species to do well? Is there a particular species of hosta I should use or avoid for this application?

Can you please help me with calculating the amount of soil (and other ingredients) needed to fill 4’x4’ garden bed (12”deep). I am buying 2 of these for my parents to put in their back yard. They will grow mainly vegetables, salads and herbs.
Can you please recommend a formula for good quality soil mixture and maybe a supplier that can deliver the basic ingredients in bulk?

Hello – I have a lovely purple ninebark (could be diablo) and the last couple of years it’s suffered badly from powdery mildew which I didn’t detect until it was well advanced. I wondered whether (a) applying dormant spray now would prevent an outbreak this year, and (b) if so, is the spring too advanced? I’ve never used dormant oil but understand you have to apply it no later than a certain time in the spring — I’m just not sure when that is. Many thanks in advance for your help!

Hi there

2 weeks ago i sowed seeds for tomatoes and cilantro and now they have germinated and see true leaves for both.

I sowed them in starting mix so no other organic material for seeds to feed on. I wanted to ask if i should add any fertilizer while watering them?

I prefer organic fertilizer and what i could find in other online resource was some kelp mixes, fish emulsion and organic choice from miracle gro.

I couldnt find any in canadian websites so i was looking for help to see what my options are.
This is resource i was following


When can I sow my rapini and wild fennel seeds outdoors.

Thank you!

I have a tropical plant which was beautiful and green but it’s leaves are turning yellow with spots and then dries out.
I have been removing the dead leaves but this now increasing.
What can be done?
Attaching a picture

Hi – I want to start a garden this season to grow some veggies & herbs. Not sure where to start. Any advice would be great. I’m going to do a raised garden that’s approx 4′ x 2.5′

I would like to please ask you a question about a kousa dogwood.
Let me give you first some background.
The soil is sandy, and the backyard is lightly sloped and mostly shaded. There is a mature kousa dogwood in a dappled area of the property. Most of my backyard is part of the protected ravine system, and the kousa sits at the very edge of that protected area.
Over the last years, I did a fair amount of landscaping in the garden, mostly removing invasive plants and weeds: garlic mustards, english ivy, lily of the valley, siberian scilla, etc. I also planted native plants in many parts of the garden with some mixed success. My goal is to one day create a woodland garden.
About 3 metres away from the the kousa, on the other side of the fence, there are mature oaks and mulberries as well as a large lilac and young scottish elms. The neighbour has a construction project going on since last year, and the contractor uses the space near the fence and the trees for storing equipment and construction material.
Last fall, the kousa dogwood didn’t shed its leaves. We are in April and the leaves from last year are still attached to the tree. The tree had always looked healthy in the past.
I read that dogwoods don’t like to be disturbed, and it is likely that I did so by digging out weed and replacing them with native plants. My husband also did some pruning last year.
I would like to know your opinion regarding this tree. Do you think this tree is in distress?
If so what would you recommend that I do to bring it back to health?
Thank you for answering my request.

I would like to plant a hedge along a busy east west main road in Toronto and so have to think about it’s ability to deal with snow, road salt etc. I would like a beech hedge. Would you please let me know if you think it would be suitable for these conditions. Other suggestions would be welcome. Many thanks.

I’d like to plant a wild rose for the purpose of cultivating it’s rose hips. I’ve been reading up on different varieties of roses native to Ontario. I was leaning towards a Rougsa rose because it seems to be more popular for it’s taste and fragrance. However, some of the research I’ve read suggests that it is an invasive species because of how it spreads through runners and by way of how seeds are distributed by birds……causing new plants to shoot up in the wild and take over other native plants. For this reason I was leanding towards Rosa Blanda, and I wanted to know if you had any information on the taste and usefulness of it’s hips.

If we were to purchase seeds from you, are we allowed to sell them again for the purpose of a fundraiser? All the money would go to organizations that focus on trees and animals.


Hello I live east of Toronto about 10 miles north of Lake Ontario. I believe my zone is 5a or 5b. In the fall I planted some tulip bulbs in a small garden area. I’m wondering if I can ‘scatter’ some seeds like Cosmos, Clarkia, or Virginian Stocks in the space with the hope that they will grow and flower so I don’t have an empty space when the bulbs are done. If so any suggestions for other plants that may work well? I’m open to any information. If you need a picture I can get one. Thanks so much for your help and information.

Hi I live in north York, Toronto. I have 3 veggie beds in my backyard. They’ve been covered with straw during winter and the garlic is perking through. I’m wondering what I can do outside to get the growing started. Can I drop some kale or spinach or pea seeds under the straw? Or anything else that I can direct sow now? The straw insulates the beds a bit
Thank you for your response.

For a single person, are mailhouses and garden centre a good source for an easy garden startup for lettuce, and some alternative green product. Can you provide timelines?
I’m planning to get a blender to expand my options, and will do anything to avoid shopping in person, with masked strangers who I can’t even interact with, as I’m reduced to a once weekly choice online while I’m under virtual house arrest.
I have my late mother’s seed collection, and understand that they can be good for a long time, but what I don’t want is more uncertainty, and they’re several years old. As I went for a walk today, I noticed a house with daffodils, not helping the intimidating task of caring for the peonies, roses, mums, asters, phlox, irises, hostas another year, but having to line up for supplies as well. I wonder if I can even take flowers to the cemetary.
Any suggestions for the basics for the smallest veggie garden with only iceberg lettuce and something else? After reading your guide about growing from seed, the gist of the guide was that it’s better to purchase the seeds, which means I’m going to be waiting in line with masked strangers. But I guess I can try the older seeds as well, and compare.
The book Sabbath has a quote from RS Roshi about humility:
When people praise me for something
I vow with all being
To return to my vegetable garden
And give credit where credit is due.
Thank you

For the last 2 seasons I have used red emperor beans, morning glory and some annuals to make a trellis gardin that has made a green ‘room’ of my balcony. I get full sun from noon to nine on the longest day of the year.

– What household or commercial products could restore balance to the soil?
– Can you recommend a high climbing, dence plant to replace legumes? If not which plants may improve soil?

Thank you for your time.

I have 40 emerald cedar trees about 2 to 3 years old and 6 feet tall.About 12 trees have gone brown and died. please advise how I can save the rest. Mississauga area

I have 3 golden tipped Thuja occidentalis shrubs that have grown straggly behind the shade of a kousa dogwood. Could I drastically cut these cedars down this spring and expect them to regrow slowly back? Not sure if gold coloured cedars will live through such an ordeal.

I have a number of beautiful lenten roses, hellebores. I have read up information that differs from person to person, site to site. Is it safe to move them, dig them up and replant in another location? I have heard from many people that you must never do this; others say they have tremendous success.


I bought a Freeman Maple Tree last year which was planted as a memorial tree for my Mother in late September. I have looked at it this spring and while it looks like it has plenty of buds, there is also quite a bit of sap weeping down one side of the tree, which is attracting ants and midges. I’m wondering if there is any possibility this is just sap leaking, or if the tree has Bacterial Wetwood. I really don’t want to have to remove the tree and return it as it was a memorial tree, and it is enormous and it won’t be fun to dig out. However, if it is likely infected and it will have an impact then I want to return it to the nursery now while it is still covered under their return policy. Is there a way to determine for sure if it’s Bacterial Wetwood? Or am I being silly in my optimism by hoping that there’s another explanation?

Is it safe for me go grow vegetables and eat the vegetables that I grow in my garden during Covid 19?
Thank you, Lina.

Last year my Limelight Hydrangea tree had very few blooms. What can I do at this time of year to help,it. Should I prune it? Do I fertilize it? If so, what kind?

I am wondering your advice regarding when I should be hardening off my plants. Ideally I’d like to be hardening them off now to prep to get them into the ground but it’s been so cold outside I’m worried I may damage them. They are growing well so I don’t want to risk anything. I have tomatoes, basil, peppers, lavender, garlic, and onion. Thank you!

Hi folks, can I grow wisteria in Sudbury? Build a pergola this week and planning a garden around for it. Location is sunny exposed to western breezes. Frost are to till May and start in Ernest in September.
Appreciate any feedback! Chris and Janet

I have a row of emerald cedars in my background along the fence with my next door neighbor. I planted them a few years ago. They range from about 5-8 feet high. I planted them a bit far from the fence about 2.5 feet away, thinking they would really fill out. This hasn’t been the case and I want to move them closer to the fence so they don’t eat up so much room in my yard. My neighbor is a serious vegetable gardener and has a garden on the immediate other side of the fence. He uses a large machine tiller each spring and says if the cedars are too close the tiller will destroy some of the roots. I’m not sure if this is the case and even if it is, would that really kill the tree or just hinder its growth slightly. Interested to hear people’s thoughts. In the picture you can see some of the trees which are moved and ones that aren’t.

I just bought a pot of blooming mum’s, can I replant them in the ground once the flowers are gone or should I treat them as annuals. Can I put them in the ground now?
Also, when is the best time to plant poppy seeds? Are they legal in Canada, if it is just for gardening purposes?

I live in Toronto and have a semi shady backyard. On my honeymoon I visited Christchurch Botanical Garden and saw the most beautiful ombré hydrangea display. I want to recreate it using varieties that are available locally. Friends have suggested Bloomstruck and Endless Summer varieties. These varieties don’t create that deep red! What are your thoughts and how can I ensure the best blooms?

We ae smitten with the Genie magnolia although we haven’t yet committed ourselves to one. Our neighbour has a senior, huge, Sauce magnolia and In our garden we have 4 various smaller magnolia and all are doing well. Our neighbour to the other side has a Butterfly one and it too is happy. We are situated near Lake Ontario and our south facing lot can be quite windy, as is all of Cobourg. I think we are a zone 5a, as Japanese maples seem to like it here too. Is it worth a try to adopt this gem of a tree? Would it require some windbreak protection?

Thank you for your assistance.

i have 40 emerald cedar trees and 12 have browned out completely. Pl advise

We have a big maple tree in our backyard, at the bottom of the tree there’s some perennial plants that over the years have been getting thinner and thinner, how can I make them thicker again? I don’t even know the name of the plant; much less if I should plant more of it or what to do to make it look better. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

I planted 5 swamp hedging cedars last year to form a hedge at my property line. However, recently when I start to spend more time in the yard I feel two of them were probably planted too closely – They are about 18 inches apart (is the proper spacing 2-4 feet?). They have grown a few inches since I planted them, reaching about 8-9 feet, trunks much thicker than last year, meaning they are estimating well I think. Is it worth to dig them out and replant them? I would need to replant 4 of them to correct the spacing. And would they take another year to establish once moved?


I live in aurora and will be getting a new front lawn tree placed soon

The city gave me a few options including an accolade elm, Freeman maple and London plane.

Our home is north facing and used to have a HUGE oak tree that was beautiful before it was infested.

My main questions relate to info re:
– aesthetic (the trees in our neighborhood are a decent size already and colour beautifully)
– fast growing
– minimally invasive root system (though I read that the species doesn’t matter actually)
– no seedlings/floaters etc that need to be cleaned up. Ie. Easy to rake : )

Thank you so much!

My Japanese maple looks like growing too heavy on the left size. Is that ok to remove the lowest branch out so to make it grow like a weeping canopy?

I was walking just inside the edge of the woods (mixed hard and soft wood and some conifers) and found a short woody plant blooming today, April 20th. I cut a branch and have attached a few pictures. The flowers a purple, four petaled and in clumps of three on the branch. The flowers mells sort of like sweet candy. Hope you can identify it for me. The woods are in Oro Medonte near Lake Simcoe.
Thank you.

I have a 28 x 28 inch deep wooden planter on my terrace. It gets full light and has an auto drip system. I love cilantro/basil and parsley to name a few herbs. I have had problems keeping the herbs thriving – wanted some help with space and species planning for this space. Not sure how much or little I can plant but I want to max out what I grow. I have to say kale from last year popped up this spring to my surprise. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Can I grow acidanthera indoors in a pot? Same question about ranunculi.

Hi there, I’m in toronto with a specific gardening need in my backyard. I would like a boston ivy to grow across a garden arch/entrance to my back yard, to provide some privacy. I planted ivy beside the arch, but it grows the other way (towards the sun. I have no garden, no ground, and no sun on the other side of the arch. If I plant it in a container in deep shade on the other side of the arch, would it grow into the sun, across the arch, and thrive? Thanks


I live in zone 5, Ottawa. I need cow manure but all I see available online now is cattle manure with spagnum moss/peat. Is this okay for my perennial flower bed?

Are there brands or varieties of bagged compost that do not contain plastic waste, such as small pieces of plastic bags?

In recent years the bagged compost I’ve got at garden centers and such contains pieces of plastic, that look like they are pieces of plastic bags such as the plastic bags one gets a stores for carrying things in and that people put in their organic waste for the city. I think the free compost from the city has the some problem.

I want compost, but I don’t want to put plastic pollution in my garden. Does that option exist?

I was planing to buy and plant Clematis this year but now with everything is closed I can not do that. I wonder if you can sell me some or give away if you have and do not want. If I can not find it these days then I will have to wait for another year or more. Thank you so much.


We have a smallish backyard in Toronto and are looking to plant two trees. One we would like to be located where the circle is in the attached photo both for privacy and visual appeal. It will have to be a small tree due to space constraints with the fence. The area gets partial to full sun. In terms of drainage I think it normal and I have not tested acidity.

I was wondering if you had recommendations for types of small trees that would fit best. I am very new to this. Some options I have seen are serviceberry (native, but perhaps a bit boring?), dogwood (there seems to be many kinds), crape myrtle (pretty but I think its too cold), magnolia (?). Open to suggestions!

Thanks so much.

Please advise a similar looking plant that could withstand Toronto winters in the planter. Ideally it should be evergreen.
Planters will be exposed to sun about 6-7 hours daily.

Hi there.
About 6 weeks ago I dug up part of my lawn and made it into to a space for growing vegetables.
I had put a tarp over the area and about 2 weeks ago lifted the tarp , weeded anything left and dug in compost and some fertiliser then put the tarp back over it.

I am now about ready to transplant the plants I have been growing and am wondering what I should do with the new plot before planting out i.e. leave tarp off for a few day, water, turn soil over, mulch etc.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated .


I live at Danforth and Victoria Park in a condo on the 12 floor. I have a very large L shaped balcony with north west exposure so lots of sunlight. The railings are glass so again lots of light.

I want to plant flowering perrenial shrubs that have a chance of wintering on the balcony. Also evergreens or other small trees such as service berry.

I have heard that Hydrangea can survive but not sure that is so. Would love to plant Lavendar or rosemary as well.

Thank you so much for your advice.

We’ve been in our house for 10 years and some animals started digging into my lawn late fall last year and again now. I just got some grub busters through Amazon. Please advise on the best approach on how to deal with this problem. Thank you very much.

I live in Toronto. Have had blackcurrant bushes in my garden for years. I never get any fruit from them: they flower, form tiny berries, and then they all drop off before they ripen. What do they need to turn into edible currants?

Hi there
I would like to add more interest to my front yard. Can you provide some guidance as to what plants/shrubs I should plant and where?
I’ve attached pictures.

Is it too early to plant pansies in boxes in front of my house? The house faces west. It is sunny.

How can I encourage an organic potato and sweet potato to grow shoots, so that I can plant it in a pot?


I am having problems with my cedars thinning. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada where we have long cold winters and spring is only just starting now. I have no idea how old they cedars are but they were large when we bought the house 6 years ago. They act as a privacy screen so I really want to get them healthy again. 

It all started last year, when they had dropped a lot of needles at the end of winter beginning of spring. At the beginning of spring our arborist said to feed them now and water regularly, which I did all year but they don’t seem to have improved. The cedar on the right in the picture is the worst, with the other 10 looking like the one on the left. The one on the right is a different cedar to the others, a white cedar I think, that they must have put in by mistake years ago. It does seem to be putting some growth on in the bare patch from the trunk. 

I bought a sprinkler hose which I put under the cedars and turned on every 2 days for an hour, 24 hours later the ground feels wet as far as I can put my fingers in. The hose is a sprinkler on the top and soaker underneath. I have this running directly under the cedars, should it be more at the edge on the drip line?. Do you think this is sufficient water? 

There is now a lot of dead leaf matter on the ground, should I remove it (I did last year)?. I’ve read I could mulch but I’m not sure what with, is it worth top dressing with compost? 

I’ve also read I could sheer to encourage bushing but some people say spring, some say early summer and some say both. What is the best way, how much and when? 

I really want to do whatever I can to save these guys and would really appreciate any help. 

Thanks in advance 

I believe my 100 yr old lilac has borer. I understand that the treatment requires hiring a technician with a license to use the required toxic chemicals. I am a senior and concerned about the cost, although I really don’t want to lose the bush. Can you give me some idea of what such a treatment costs?

Our climate zone here in Mono is 4B at best. It faces south with sun all day. The conditions are dry and we do have sandy soil.

We are in north Burlington and our soil is clay based. We want to plant 30 emerald cedars along our creek (a metre away from the creek). What’s the best way to plant?

We have a pool and are looking to plant some fast growing privacy trees. We are obviously concerned with the amount of falling leaves around the pool and the root system so it does not damage the pool. On the back side of the pool we have an easement (slope) which allows us about 3-4 feet of planting space next to our fence. We would love some colour, but we do open our pool (end of April) and close it (mid October) What would you suggest?

1. what kind of soil do snowdrops need….many people on my street have snowdrops that spread like crazy…mine don’t do that….
2. How do you winter agapanthus …should you cut them back before bringing them inside for the winter? I didn’t and they flowered nicely last summer in full sun but only a bloom or two

What is the most hardy pink rose that blooms from summer on through fall in Toronto?

I have many dozens of tulips in my garden, front and back. This is the first year that none of them have bloomed. I would like to know why.

I have a gorgeous Japanese Maple tree. Underneath, to discourage weeds, I have planted ground cover which is doing well. Should I have done this – is it a detriment to the tree? If so, should I just put mulch there instead?


When can I transplant bushes from containers into the ground in the backyard? I will buy bushes like dogwood, nannyberry, serviceberry etc from a nursery. Thanks.

I have poppy seeds that I have received from a cottager. When should I plant them in the ground, how deep , how many seeds per hole? We are in Wasaga Beach, very cold nights still but summers can be hot. Location has 6-7 hrs of sunshine, in an amended sandy soil. Any tips would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

When is a good time to fertilize clematis— and what fertilizer should I use.
Thank you

What is the best way to prune Helleborous?
I always prune old foliage close to the ground, being sure to leave some of it in order for photosynthesis to take place to energize new stems and blooms. Is this method correct? In past years my plants fill out fully eventually and beautifully. Thanks!

I have recently moved and given up my garden. I would like to do some flowers on our small balcony. Interesting annuals have been hard to come by for years now so I would like a professional service to do this at my home.
I can’t seem to find any on line. Are you aware of anyone who does this. I have attached. Photo from our old garden.

Perhaps you can help me with re-potting my bougainvillea which has been indoors in Toronto all winter.

I was told that I would need to re-pot it in a larger pot in April to allow for this years’ growth.

The pot is currently 14 inches across the top and 9 inches high. There are 2 stems as in picture below.

Any tips you can provide would be helpful.

Also, when can I put it outside on our west-facing deck after re-potting?

Thank you.

I have 6 iceberg roses growing in pots on my terrace. Last summer a number of them had black spot. Do I respray when the leaves come out? How often? What about the soil?

Hi, I’m looking for recommendations to install a short barrier hedge (looking for max 3 feet high, 3 wide to span a 25 feet length) at my front yard to divide my property from my neighbours yard as we share front yards (I live in a semi-detached house). I live in Toronto (North York), soil type: silty clay topsoil, full sun exposure, fairly moist (not excessively wet nor too dry). Looking for something that will grow fast and into a “full” dense hedge. Could you share some recommendations for evergreen as well as deciduous shrubs to use as a hedge for this area? Since I have the chance to put in something new in this area, I am open to planting something unique/ vibrant or flowering a shrub if recommended.

As a side note, the rose glow barberry has been suggested to me as a “unique hedge” option, what are your thoughts on this?

Thanks for your time and assistance!

Cottage rock garden, need small bushes, native, with flowers/berries. Sunny location, East of Orillia, near septic tank, soil not great, lots of compost and mulch, fairly dry location

I noticed green/bluish fungus from my pine tree at pruning spots. I was wondering if this is slime flux ( What can I do the help the tree?

My backyard is in woodbridge and facing west.

Stay safe.


We have a flower bed beside a decorative wall/bench in our backyard. The wall divides the yard from stone to grass.
We would like to plant boxwood in the bed along the wall because we know that we can trim it so that it doesn’t get too high and block our view of the pool.

My questions are, our yard is in full sun. Is there something special (soil, fertilizer) we should plant the boxwood in? Should we buy dwarf ones? If you don’t suggest boxwood, can you recommend something else?

We are gardening newbies, so our knowledge is very limited.

Thank you so much for your help, we truly appreciate your time!

Hello, some of my box woods trees are becoming yellow and branches are dying? They form a hedge around a garden with a juniper and a weeping mulberry tree in the middle. I have moved the mulch from around the trunks and have put coffee grounds on the soil to deter dogs from peeing on them (I think this is working).

What else can I do to save these trees? Should I cut off the dead branches of trim back the entire bush? Thank you for any guidance!

Can you plant horsetail in a container? It would be a container in front of a west facing wood fence in a North York backyard. How tall would it grow? I’d like to block the fence and the neighbours so the taller the better.
Any other suggestions for growing something very tall as a barrier? There is a locust tree casting shade over the whole area.

We are in mid-town Toronto and have a 12 year old climbing rose going up our pergola which is in the north west corner of the garden. Can we prune the roses now? It is just starting to send out buds. We would like a lot of blooms on the sides and top of the pergola. Thank you.


I noticed this on a branch of my September ruby apple, I live in Saskatoon. I’m hoping you might ge able to identify it and if it needs treating. It’s a thin black layer, almost like mildew, that you can scratch away with your finger. Someone suggest fire blight and somebody else suggested black soot. Obviously the treatments are very different abd these people aren’t experts so I’m Hopi g you can help. Thanks

I live in North York. In the summer my purple lace died in the front of my house due most likely to verticillium wilt per you when I phoned. The plant was removed roots and all. I need to get something to fill the space and I want to put a Dwarf Burning Bush or spread Cosmos annual seeds. Both these are not listed as susceptible or resistant to verticillium wilt on the lists I found on google. Does this mean they are both o.k. I was told back in 2019 I could plant resistant plants and after several years the disease in the soil would disappear due to having no host plant. Take care and be safe during this horrible disease of Covid-19. Thanks.

Hi there. I live in Etobicoke, Sunnylea neighbourhood. We have sandy soil here. The area of the garden I am concerned about receives full sun more than 8 hours a day. In the area I have planted Hens and chicks, Yucca plant with variegated leaves, phlox ground cover and creeping Jenny. As I list them out like this I realize how complicated I have made this small area of my garden. My question is: How do I maintain order in this part of the garden? First, the Hen’s and Chicks seem to have spread quite a bit. They are constantly purple in colour and never look green and healthy. Should I root some out? Is the the right spot for them? The Yucca have traveled a great deal. We started with three plants in the centre of the space, a real focal point behind some large rocks. But now they have moved to in between the rocks and are not at all in their original location. Should I try to dig them up and put them back where they were originally? What should I have done to stop them moving all over the place? I notice in other gardens the Phlox is simply kept in a particular clump shape so I will do the same. The creeping Jenny has all died. I guess this is not the type of conditions it prefers. Should I dig out the creeping Jenny and plant somewhere else? What conditions would it prefer? Thank you in advance for answering these questions.

I’m in zone 5b. Richmond Hill. I want to grow Hydrangea but have mostly shade. Can I grow them or any recommendations?

I live in North Toronto near Eglinton Park, which used to be a brick yard. The soil in our backyard is clay. We have a number of trees shading the garden and we are the lowest yard so we get the drainage from all the yards around us. The back garden floods every spring and even now, Apr. 25, is just mud. The grass won’t grow but the moss is flourishing. My question is: If I were to buy a few yards of sand, spread it over the ground and dig it well in to a depth of 1 to 2 shovels deep would this lighten up the soil enough that I could put the area to a shade garden? I am a senior and would do it myself. Many thanks for considering my questions.

I turned over a small part of my garden to prep for transplanting a plant. I found a layer of sandy-like substance. The soil is full of our neighbour’s cedar hedge roots and i have grown lemon balm in the space for years. There is no obvious insect infestation. It just seems odd and i wonder if the soil has a fungus. Thank you!

Hi there
I’ve seen quite of few trees in my neighbourhood that are very pretty and would work well in my yard.
Can you tell what the tree is called? I’ve attached a picture.

I was wondering type of weed is this and how to get rid of it.

Thanks very much.

hi there- i have a couple of potted agapanthus (very root bound, facing south) that have been with me for 5 or 6 years.
they have only reflowered once.
any advice to get blooms again?

I plant a vegetable garden yearly. I rely on my local nurseries to provide seedling sales. With covid still around will I have any difficulty finding these seedlings. Namely, tomatoes, peppers , kale, brussel sprouts etc.And would you be able to provide retailers in the North york area? Thanks

hasn’t bloomed in 10 years


I am interested in knowing where I can purchase earth worms for my garden in the Toronto area. Soil is part clay, sandy. I mixed in some peat moss and topsoil to help but worms seem to be scant.

Hi I have zero experience gardening but I will try to be as descriptive as possible. I’m looking for a clumping variety of bamboo that grows about 8 feet tall with a relatively small spread. I have a sunny backyard and am unsure about soil type. I have no problem researching varieties, but I am at a loss as to where I can purchase bamboo in the GTA.

Is it ok to leave pulled dandelions to sit on your lawn to decompose?
Thank you

We are looking at purchasing 6 emerald cedars for our back yard. For a 5-6 foot tree we are seeing price ranges from $29.99 to $89.99. We understand that you do not recommend garden centres, but are wondering if the prices reflect a difference in the tree, quality of tree, etc. or if this is generally simply a price point issue? Thank you!

What’s the current status about planting impatiens in the Garden in Toronto ( Zone 7)? Many varieties were hit by a virus and would frizzle after panting them. Are they free from the virus now? Can I bring them indoors at the end of the summer? Will they survive? Thank you.

I want to plant a privacy hedge on one side of a backyard swimming pool which is shade tolerant as the neighbour”s backyard has 2 big trees , fast growing and tall and narrow. I live in the city of Mississauga just north of lake Ontario. I would like the height of the shrubs to be appox 10 feet .
I have also seen hybrid shrubs which have just the trunk and foliage on the top which would also be suitable to my needs

Live in Toronto, small backyard patio with a fence around it. Looking for some tall, narrowish trees or shrubs that need little to no sun but will be colourful or interesting and can live in a pot. Happy to have something I need to shape or prune to keep it narrow, but I need a bit of height in my boring backyard. 3-5 feet would be ideal.


My partner and I live on a busy street in South Burlington and are interested in planting a hedge around 4 feet across the front of our property. According to the internet I believe our hardiness zone is 6b and we seem to have a mixture of clay and sand based soil.

Currently we have a fairly mature Maple tree that is approximately in line with where we would like to plant the hedge. Ideally we would have this hedge wrap around the tree, or merge with the base of the tree below the canopy.

MY question is how close can we plant this hedge to the tree while setting all plant material up for success?

Japanese beetles are already starting to feed on the leaves of the earliest lilies that are out. I picked off seven. But they seem to be burrowed in the soil. What can I do?

Hello, am trying to replace old shade garden under large Oak Trees and would like some suggestions as to what to plant.
Specifically, thinking of adding five cedar/type evergreens that will grow to 6-8 feet.
Plus some flowering large bushes and or more evergreen bushes.
Back of lot is about 45-50 feet wide by 4-6 feet deep.
Very shaded due to neighbours trees as well, and soil is not sure?

Hi there, I hope whoever answers this is staying safe during these times. I garden in Oshawa (zone 5b), and my bed is loamy and in full sun. I recently noticed the lack of spring interest in my garden. What tulip varieties do you recommend that are reliable perennials in our area that don’t fizzle out over the years and maybe even naturalize. I’ve looked into species tulips but they aren’t really my thing, I’m thinking varieties that are more like traditional garden tulips. Thanks in advance.

Hello! Question about my Japanese maple, which I’m concerned did not come through the winter very well. You can see in the attached photo (apologies for the focus – iphone is hard to get it right up close) that some branches are nice and green, with red buds starting to swell. That’s on about 30% of the tree, mainly on the side by the fence. Much of the tree looks more like the brown ones, with no apparent spring progress on buds. I had been hoping it was just slow to get going (it is still early), but by now my hope is fading…. Some details:

1. Planted summer 2018, covered with burlap that winter. Looked great last summer. No burlap this past winter.
2. Well-mulched with shredded cedar bark.
3. Soil is clayey-silt, located in the Mimico (Lakeshore/Mimico Ave) area. Slowly amending each year with compost.
4. Photo is looking to the south, so located in partial sun/shade. Yard is dominated by a mature black walnut which provides significant shade through most of the summer.
5. Regularly watered last year, about 1x per week (poss. too much, given clayey soil?) with irrigation system.

If there is any other information you need which may be helpful, feel free to reach out and let me know.

Thank you!


I am looking for a lemon and bay leaf plants that I can grow inside. Do you carry them?

I am looking for flower seeds can grow in the shade, such as Polka-Dot Plant, Hosta etc. please provide advice for different flowers and how and where I can buy,


I am developing a new garden on the north side of my house. There are numerous mature trees in the area and therefore the area I’m looking at will get afternoon sun in early spring and dappled afternoon in late spring/summer.

I want to plant a native shrub at the back of the bed which will provide some height (6′ would be ideal) and interest in autumn/winter.

I keep coming back to Aronia, Black chokeberry. Tolerant of soil types, attractive to birds, stunning fall colour, berries etc.

I am unable to figure out how shade tolerant this plant is however. Would it grow in a partial shady area and still, produce flowers, berries and turn colour?

I also would like to know if the shady area I’m looking to plant it would affect size. I am hoping to fill in a space about 7′ w x 5′ d.

Also, if this plant will not grow in a shady area are there any other recommendations for a similar sized native shrub? Have also been considering dogwoods.


My question is two-fold:
1. I’ve been looking for a variety of daphne that will either stay quite small (maybe 24″ tall, maybe 12″ wide) or that is easily shaped. If possible, I’d rather start with younger plants that’s not much taller than 12″. It’ for the north side of a building, so quite a shady spot. Can anyone suggest a particular variety?
2. Any idea as to where in Toronto might I find it? This year in particular, tracking down plants has been (understandably) complicated, and thus far I’ve only managed to find an gigantic and very mature Carol Mackie.

my neighbours cut down the tall pine trees that gave me privacy and built a fence. Their yard is a higher elevation than mine. Now they like to sit out and watch my back yard most of the day, and I find it unnerving. I would like to plant a privacy hedge, and was considering bamboo. It needs to be able to grow at least 12 feet tall or more. Do you have a suggestion. I live in Barrie ON zone 5

A forsythia bush I planted last September is not blooming. It is planted in a full sun part of my yard. When I carefully open the buds some are green on the inside and some are dry and fall off. There is one small leaf open at the bottom of the plant. I live in Belleville ON, I don’t think the winter was too harsh. All the other forsythias in the neighborhood seem to be blooming.

I’m in sSouthern Ontario and have a number of hostas that need to be moved. They’re currently just starting to peek out. How soon until can I safely transplant them?

Good evening, I just have a quick question for you regarding a seedling that I started. I bought a pack of broccoli seeds and planted a bunch. Now that the first sets of true leaves are coming in, I’ve noticed one is quite different from all the others and just wanted to know what is growing.
Thank you

I live in a house and I have a small garden but I cannot cut the grass regularly anymore because I am getting older. Can you please tell me if I can plant a ground cover or how I can solve my problem? I have 2 standard poodles that do not use the garden other then going out and looking around as I walk them many times a day.

Is Dwarf Mugo Pine good for containers?
Is it ok to plant 3 Dwarf mugo #2CG in one planter?
Planter Size: 15” H x 38” W x 15” D

Wondering if you can provide some advice. We own 1 to 2 acres of land in PEC. On the property border there are trees mainly juniper type trees on the east, north and west parts of the property. In addition there are buckthorn trees mixed in. We wish to plant trees on the south part of the property for privacy. It is a sunny location. Currently there are sumacs and juniper trees there but not along the property border. The soil is 1 1/2 feet deep before you hit limestone rock. The soil is clay type (?) and climate zone 6 (?) I believe as farmers nearby grow corn and soya beans. I have researched various trees and sugar maples and white pines seem to be the best trees to plant as the soil is shallow and dry. I plan to plant first along the border sugar maples and inward would be white pines. Please let me know if this would be the best choice and arrangement and if so what would be the spacing between each sugar maple and the next row of white pines and their spacing requirements. As well there are small buckthorns which I will pull out by the roots. For the larger ones I will cut them down and try to remove as much of the roots as possible. Is this the best approach? Appreciate your expert guidance. Thank-You as always.

Hello, I love the look of Japanese Angelica ever since I saw a gnarly old specimen at the Niagara botanical gardens. For years I enjoyed its flower plumes and arched branches despite its thorny demeanor and wandering eye. It was worth the extra work. Two years ago a spiteful and unstable neighbour poisoned it by spraying something on the branches which they could reach from their side of the property fence. They know nothing about plants so this was not some kind of lofty protest against invasive ornamental tree species. The tree is half the size it once was and it does not seem as happy now though there is new growth on the remaining half. If I need to replace it this year I was just wondering what else would have a similar look and size and be OK with part shade and maybe be not so aggressive. I love a ‘tropical’ or lacy look, there’s room for an approx. 15 to 20 foot high tree. Thank you so much for your time and keep up the great work!

Hi there. I garden in zone 5b in Whitby. I have a gentle south-facing slope with clay soil. I removed a ‘Sensation’ lilac sucker last year, and planted in my front yard garden. However, I’d like to move it to my backyard where it’ll have more space to grow, and I think it will do better. My backyard is gently south facing and has clay soil, however, I can amend it. The plant is not more than 3 inches tall and I was wondering, approximately how long will it take to bloom?

my potted blue spruce was moved outdoors a few weeks ago and subsequently all it’s new growth has gone limp and the wee tree looks ‘unhappy’….any help, suggestions would be very much appreciated

Hello Master Gardeners,

I have recently moved to a new place, and in the front yard, I have a long (6m) and narrow (0.5) flowerbed. I would like to plant some evergreen bushes + seasonal flowers. Any recommendations on how to plan this and what to plant ?

Many thanks in advance!

Hi, I planted a Don Juan rose last fall and it was beautiful. So far this spring there isn’t any shoots coming out yet, is it too early to expect to see them ?


1. I purchased a Poinsettia this past Christmas and would like to maintain it for this coming year. Advise if I should repot, fertilizing tips, lighting required.

2. I purchased a Lemon Tree last summer. It has done quite nicely through the Winter. Should I repot, fertilizing tips.

3. We have these small bug flies around our plants and flowers, how can we remedy this issue.

Thank you

We recently moved and this is in our garden. It seems to be near a rhubarb plant so I have no idea if it is some sort of herb, vegetable, etc. Can you let me know what this is?

Hi – I live in Cobourg, about 2 blocks from Lake Ontario. Zone 5 I think. The planting location will be against a garage wall with a southern exposure.
My questions are:
1. What are the hardiest varieties?
2. Are espaliered plants obtainable?
3. Would there have to be 2 for pollination?

Thank you

I’m new to gardening and have made my own 8ft long x 2 ft high x 2 ft wide garden bed. I have a chicken wire latch top to stop the animals from getting in. The bottom is open and connected to the ground for moisture. I have filled the planter with soil and triple mix. The planter is south/east facing and gets 8 hours of sun. I have an idea of what I want to grow but would love some advice to make sure I get this right/have enough space! I was thinking of growing (in order) chives, tomatoes, basil, peppers, cilantro, parsley, spinach, cucumber, lettuce strawberries, thyme. Is this feasible/a good order/managable choices for a new gardener? Thank you so much in advance for your help!

Hello, I live in midtown Toronto. My house faces south, and my backyard is shaded to the north by a large silver maple and to the south by our house. I currently have a small, long planter in the east side fence (you can see part of it on the very right of the photo I attach) and I am thinking of planting some sort of climbing vine in the planter along the fence. Do you think climbing hydrangea can survive there (due to the shade from the tree)? If so, what would be the dimensions of the planter I need (my current planter is only 7.5 inches deep in the interior)? And would I need some sort of trellis along the east fence to help the vine climb?
Thank you very much!

I’m planning to plant a Coral Honeysuckle or Lonicera Sempervirens. Yet, I wonder if it will be successful to grow it in my garden in Toronto.

We live in Swansea (south of Bloor and Jane toward the lake). Our house faces south (toward the lake).
We moved in 11 years ago and inherited a too-tall (about 2 metres tall) box (?) cedar hedge that runs along the west side (between our lawn and the neighbour’s driveway) and front (south side) of our property (along the sidewalk). Not really fans but kept it. Have trimmed it annually to keep it from growing taller.
We find it dangerous because it is high enough that it makes it hard for us, and our neigbours, to see the sidewalk (small children and animals) when pulling out of the driveway.
We would love to cut it down drastically, by about 1 metre. Can we? What do you recommend as the fastest way to get this hedge down to a safer height? Thanks so much!

Can boxwoods be planted along back of house in beach stone. Gets afternoon sun

Thee are growing in a swampy area in our ravine in West Toronto

I have a lilac on a standard in a flower bed… likely 10- 15 years old and I prune it back every year to about the same size.
Problem is several of the main branches from the graft on one side have died and left one side of the top with a big empty area. How can I encourage growth from the bottom of the remaining heathy stems so that it will fill in the big gap.
Btw, I am in SW Ontario near Sarnia

I have very heavy clay soil. While I am adding raised beds for vegetables, I have areas thats mostly shade and no grass grows there. What plants/ ground covers can I plant on that shaded clay soil?

Hi, I live in a condo downtown TO, our small balcony is oriented to North with approx 2h more “direct” light around 6-7pm. What plants/flowers especially can I buy. Thank you! Regards

My black tulip magnolia has some damage to its trunk. How can I repair this? The bark is stripped to the bare trunk – about nine inches and there is a crack in the trunk. I do not want to lose this tree. I am still waiting for it to flower.

What do I need to know to grow happy haskap?
I know they need acidic soil, would wood ash help with that?
Where is the best place to buy these plants?
I want to grow them in a sunny location, just east of orillia.
Thank you

I live in Toronto near LAke Ontario. I have had lots of problems growing many kinds of Clematis. One of the most common problems is the I get some blooms and then the leaves start to dry up, turn brown and die. What could be the cause. I have tried different locations, now trying south facing wall.when do I fertilize?

Toronto …is pepper a good preventative?thanks

I saw a number of different varieties of Mountain Laurel ( Kalmia Latifolia) in bloom in Boston last June. Are there specific varietals that you would recommend for Toronto.

I had a number of mature wingstem in my garden last summer and fall. I don’t see any coming out. Do they surface late?
Also, I collected a lot of wildflower seeds (e.g. wingstem and others). They haven’t been hardened in the cold. Can I sow them now or do I have to wait for fall?

I am wondering if my Bobo Panicle Hydrangea is still alive, I do not see any green buds on the stems at all (May 5th 2020) I planted this Bobo last summer. How do I know if it is alive or dead? I am located in Marmora Ontario some sites say zone 5a others 5b. Part shade then full sun and well drained.
Thank you for your help.

Rose of Sharon
It’s been neglected for a few years. I have some areas where I don’t see leaves coming up it’s unruly I would love to send you a picture. Sun in the morning and then shade the rest of the day. I don’t know how far down to trim it

Hello. After 30 years, my mother’s Star magnolia has died and we would like to get her another one. She would like the same kind, but in case we have trouble finding it, are there others you can recommend, suitable for growing in Toronto? Thank you.

Sunny, dry, clay soil flower bed has been taken over by weeds which I pull out but they grow back every year. Can I place rocks and large stones instead of perennials in that sunny, clay soil bed to prevent weeds from growing? Or will weeds grow around the rocks and stones?






Hello. I am very interested in growing the chamomile flower to eventually make chamomile tea. Can you tell me when to plant the seeds and what kind of condition it can grow in. I have areas in my garden with lots of strong sun and lots of shade. Also, I am looking for seeds that are non-GMO and natural. Does the TBG have these seeds? I look forward to your reply.

We bought some danica eastern globe cedars 3CG to plant in the containers on our deck.
Could you please advise the right maintenance schedule for this type of cedars when planted in the planters?
Soil,watering, fertilization and maybe some other tips ;)
Cedars are labeled with Hardiness Zone 3b , do you think we could keep the planters outside during the winter?
We live in Toronto and planters are insulated with1/2″ styrofoam from inside.

How can I get rid of /kill star of Bethlehem plants growing in my lawn? They are taking over and seem to spread each year. I am a farmer near Peterborough have a licence to apply herbicides. It is …the plant from hell. Thanks.

Hi I have recently got some eastern white cedars played for a privacy fence. Planted, they are 8-9’ already.. I would probably want them to go to about 11-12’ in height and about 3’ wide.. when should I start pruning these trees? I have read about the basics of pruning to promote new growth.. I just don’t want to hurt the plants. Again my overall end result I would like about 11-12’ high and 3’ thick privacy fence.


Hi there,

This is my second year of vegetable gardening, but first year of intensive in-ground beds gardening. I read that the last frost date for Toronto is May 11-20. I live just north in Thornhill. My question – to confirm, is it still too early to plant seeds/seedlings?
Thanks for your help!

We have a terrace with a Japanese maple growing in a pot. The tree is about 5 years old. We would like to re-pot it in a larger container. The leaf buds are almost opening. Is it safe to do it now? What is the best soil to use. We have triple mix and compost with river stones for drainage. Any help would be greatly appreciated. We live in downtown Toronto and the tree gets a mix of sun and shade.

When is the best time to plant butterfly bushes. I live in Cobourg.

Thank you


I’ve bought dry tubers of each of these at a Metro grocery store. They’re packed in sealed, clear plastic bags, the calla lily tubers in what looks like sawdust, and the dahlia tubers bare. Is there anything I can do to speed their recovery from dormancy?

I am inToronto backing onto a ravine connected to the Don Valley.
I have clay soil with average moisture in shade.
I want to create a privacy/ sound barrier along the back of my yard as there is a path which a lot of people use to go down into the valley behind our property.
Which native shrubs would work for this.
I would prefer ones that will also attract, feed or shelter wildlife.

I am looking for the best choice for a low 3ft hedge, dense for privacy in full Sun. Please let me know your recommendation and where i can find in the GTA

I have been desperately trying to find Cheyenne Privet in the Toronto area as my 86-year-old Cheyenne Privet hedge needs some replacement. I used to get them from the now-closed Plant World on Eglinton but no-one else seems to know what I am talking about or carries this privet. I have been calling everywhere but no luck. could you help me find this hedge privet? I’d be so grateful as I am so frustrated with this long search! Thank you!

How far away (how close) can I plant a serviceberry tree in proximity to a septic tank and field?

(Photo: rake for perspective, jug where I’d like to plant the tree)

Thank you so much for hosting free gardening sessions on line! I was able to join your April 29th session and it was really helpful!

I have a further inquiry about my baobab seedling. As attached in the picture, it somehow looks partially brown. It was healthy when we germinated it but since we planted it two weeks ago, it’s been looking brownish and not as healthy.
I live in Montreal in an apartment where I grew it indoors. I tried looking up all the instructions online and try to keep it moist by misting the top soil when it’s dry. It is located beside my window and I also provide growing lights when the sun is not sufficient in some gloomy weather and at night to prolong the exposure to light.
The stem looks green and healthy but I really don’t know what happened to the leaves. I used my empty facial spray (rose water) container to mist it, but I did rinse the spray bottle several times by circulate it with clean water before using it for my plants. Would you think that might be the problem that is hurting it?

You advise is highly appreciated! I’ve been watching it everyday and it grew a bit but the browning is concerning… Thank you experts so much for your help in advance!

I had a dying oak tree removed on the border between the table land and the South Kingsway ravine. I would like to plant a white pine. Is this allowed? And what would be it’s minimum size?

Hello, I have ivy growing on my fence. It is coming from the neighbour’s, other side of the fence. It looks quite nice when the leaves are out. I would like to know the name to perhaps plant more of it in other fences in my backyard. Also, as you can see in the photo, some of the threads are getting lose at the end. Is there anything I should do about it? Thank you.

What are the best methods for eradicating creeping charlie from an infested lawn?

My tulips and daffodils are so lovely right now that I would like to plant more in the fall for next spring. How can I identify the current bulbs so I don’t dig them up when I plant the new bulbs.

Hi all,
I have started plants indoors from seed, then hardened them off in a cold frame, and just planted them out into my vegetable bed in my back garden. The plants had been fine and looked very healthy all the way through until I put them in the ground. There are holes in the leaves and a slight discolouration.
Any ideas about the cause (and/or remedies) will be greatly appreciated.

Where can I buy organic Lawn Fertilizer?

Can anyone help point me to any City of Toronto rules on hell strip gardening? I am thinking about replacing parts of my front lawn with gardens.

I need to transplant my peonies as they are in the way of a new gate. I know September is suggested. I don’t know what the “eyes” are that people refer to. Can you help?

I have old shrubs separating my driveway and neighbour’s front yards. They are old and only produce leaves close to the top. I’m planning driveway re-pavement. So probably their root system will be damaged anyways. I got this idea to move some of them to back yard and let them leave as trees. Isn’t it too late to move them now? They already have little leaves developed. Any other idea?

Is it possible to buy seeds to start creeping phlox? If I bought a plant, how far apart should each plant be? They would be in a sunny area most of the day. Very difficult to find a place to buy seeds. I am in zone 5. They would be in regular garden soil with sheep manure. Thank you.

Hello, I need help in the following:
– flowering perennials to grow in acidic soil conditions
– I have hydragenzas
– Indoor airy focal plants for planters
– Indoor draping unique plants that would drape down in a planter
– The best edging I can use for flowerbeds
– Best way to grow grass in a shady area
Thank you

Hello, we planted some Virginia Bluebells 3 years ago in our shady native plants front garden. We bought them at a nursery. They were fairly tall and already in bloom. They came up last year, but barely grew more than 6 inches and no flowers. Same thing this year. It is a particularly shady spot where they are, so I’m wondering if they need more sun. Is it too late to move them now? The trouble with moving them is, once they disappear, we have no trace of where they are. Thanks for your help.

I have a supplementary question to your informative answer on pruning hydrangea tree. How do I keep it just about 3-4 feet tall, but still let it flower.


We have a cottage north of Parry Sound. Originally grass was seeded over the septic bed but it has long since disappeared and I pull out little tree seedlings that sprout out every fall. I tried scattering wild flower seeds last fall but they didn’t take. The area is more shady than sunny but does get mottled sunlight. What would be a good ground cover? I thought of ajuga, Lily of the valley, ferns. It is a large area about 7×12 metres so cost and availability of plants/seeds are a consideration. Transplanting native plants from our 4 acre property is a possibility. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The photos that I have are too large to attach. I’m hoping you have enough info to go on. If not, I will try cropping the photos if I can. Thanks!

Help…My japanese maple has yellow patches and white spots all over its trunk. It was planted about 3 years old and is in full sun in my backyard in Toronto.

What is it and what do i do to fix it?

Hi. I have 3 large mugo pines planted in a group in the front yard. They’ve had a scale issue for the past few years. Humber Nurseries recommended I spray them with mixture of sulphur and horticultural oil (from a prepackaged kit) in early spring. I did this last year with fairly successful results. There was still some scale this year so I sprayed them again this spring with the same mixture. For some reason this year, unlike last year, there is a lot of “burned” brown needles. I’m not sure if it was the solution that I used or the unexpected cold weather or the one sunny warm day that might have done the needles in. My immediate reaction was to remove the sulphur/oil mixture with a strong spray of water from the hose. It didn’t really remove anything. So then I used up a whole bottle of Safer’s Soap Insecticidal Soap thinking that at least the soap in this might loosen up the oil and then I could remove it with water from the hose. The needles still had tons of the stuff on them. I then spritzed the needles with a diluted mixture of water and dishwashing liquid thinking the grease fighting nature of the soap would loosen the residue on the needles. I let it sit for about an hour and then sprayed hard with water from the hose again. A little came off but not too much. I’ve basically been doing this early morning and early evening for the past week and there is still stuff on the needles (see attached pics). The trees still have the slight odour of sulphur. Some of the branches and new buds are dead but others have the “burned” needles and the buds are green and viable. So I’m assuming that the branches with buds will be fine and the dead needles will just fall off. I still feel I need to get all of the oil/sulphur solution off the pines for their health. My question is what should I do? Is there some kind of wash to remove the oil spray? Was it the sulphur in the mix that did this? Should I have just used horticultural oil? Kind of beside myself with worry. These pines are pushing 30 years old and are the focal point of the yard. I don’t want to lose them. Looking forward to your advice.

we cut down old linden tree living just a stub, about 5 meters from the house. Looking into planting Autamn blaze maple about a meter away for the stub but 4 meters away from the house. Two questions: Does this tree produses pollen and sap? Secondly, Its full sun location, we want to produse some shade, but to intrude in water pipes or killing th eroof of the house, also dont like the sap linden tree prodused.

i live in Gibsons BC and bought two small heather plants in March, we planted them in April in a planter on the deck and they are very dry to the touch, the soil feels moist but the leaves and flowers feel dry, can you help me! Thanks!

I wonder if you could let me know if there are any plants (ideally perennials) that I could plant in my Toronto shade garden that are resistant to dog urine? Sadly, there are a lot of dogs in my neighborhood that treat me garden as a restroom!
Thank you in advance!

I have a large area, full sun and on a slope with sandy soil. Can I plant lavender and other drought
Tolerant plants with out amending the soil?
Thank you for your help

As much as I cover my pink and blue hydrangeas they freeze during the Toronto winter. I wonder which Hydrangeas bloom only on new wood, so there is no need to cover them for winter but still they will beautifully bloom all season long.
Thank you. Your advice will be much appreciated.
Warmest regards

I found Lilac Agincourt and the label says its height will be 2-3 meters but did not say what its width will be? Anyway I google it and it says the width can be also 2-3 meters. I like the height 2-3m but I want the width to be much less since I do not have space. I do not like bushy plant. Can I make the Lilac look like the one below in the link by burning it? If yes, would that be tedious job or easy and less frequent?

How long it take for a small plant to look like the one in the link below.

I appreciate your help in advance. Thank you.

Attaching the picture as well and the link is below

My mother is very ill and she has asked me to take care of her garden but I don’t recognize all of the plants or I don’t know how to take care of them. I’m afraid I will accidentally dig up a growing plant. I’m also worried that the Japanese maple is dying. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I live in Leaside. Thanks!

I will be planting Karl Foerster and Hakconechloa grasses together (the Foerster in the background against a fence). Currently I have a lot of clay in the area that I want to plant both of them (they will be together). What do you recommend I do for the soil prep? Should I remove all the clay and replace with soil? Or can I mix in soil, composted manure and fertilizer with the existing clay? I live in midtown Toronto.
Jane Edwards

I pruned my spirea bushes (Magic Carpet, Spiraea bumalda)
in April before they leafed out. Now, a month later they are about a foot tall and filling in with lovely reddish leaves. However on each bush, there are several branches that have just one or two or no leaves or leaf buds at all. The confusing part is that if you snip off a piece of these branches they are still green inside. My question is whether I should prune off these branches now or wait a while longer. They bloom in late June.
Thank you.

I planted a Smoke Tree in my front yard in the Dufferin and Bloor area of Toronto about 10 years ago. It has done tremendously well, and is probably close to 30 feet tall..absolutely spectacular when in bloom. It is in a south-facing location with full sun, and can be dry..but usually Smoke Trees like that! I water when it’s very dry.

It is a multi-stemmed tree and last summer sections began to die off in rapid succession. By August last year only one section remained alive. When the sections died, the leaves just shrivelled up and turned brown within a matter of weeks. This spring there is one small section in leaf bud, but the buds look small, and I don’t hold out any hope for it.
I had an arborist in to look at it last summer, and he didn’t really have any ideas. He suggested that perhaps the roots were strangling other sections of roots underground? When I google these symptoms in a Smoke Tree, I come up with verticillium wilt as a possibility and am wondering how I know for sure.

We will have to take this tree out and replant, and if the soil if infected with this fungus it will affect what I can plant. For example, if I can’t have a Smoke Tree, I’d love to plant a magnolia…but read that they are also susceptible.

The only other tree in the yard is a Green Ash (City tree) which is so far unaffected by Emerald Ash borer. From what I read, they too can be affected by this wilt though, so I’m wondering if it can spread through the soil, and if the Ash tree is at risk.

Do you have any suggestions/input as to a diagnosis, or how I can get the soil tested? Or how likely it is to affect the next tree I plant. We’ve lived in this home for 25 years, and I’ve had no similar issues.

What native north and south American annuals are suitable for hanging baskets and window boxes in Toronto. An examples that I know of would be portulaca, zinnia, and begonias.

Hello – Thank you for reading my question. I hope everyone is doing well. It may be that I’m being impatient, but I’m trying to figure out if I have shrub roses. The newer branches (they are not just canes) have lots of small thorns. These strange growths on the branches may be what’s throwing me off. Thank you!

Hello, I am considering planting Boston ivy along the east fence of my backyard (right of the photo) and perhaps the north fence (middle of the photo), to cover the fence. The north fence is right next to a big silver maple (you can see a bit of the tree to the left of the photo). Would that be a bad idea? I would like to cover the fence, but should I be worried about the tree? If so, can you think of any other vine that could work well there. Thank you.

Good evening,
I just received my mail oder bare root perennials and some hardy bulbs today, May 8. It is cold outside. I live in Oro Medonte near Lake Simcoe north of Barrie.
Should I wait to plant the bare root perennials? They are:
Bach Bergenia
Lavender Tower Culvers Root
The bulbs are:
Blacklist Asiatic Lily
Erlicheer Summer Daffodil.
I appreciate any advice you can share.
Ps i can store them in my cold room if necessary.

Hi there,

I am looking for advice on how to manage and control the weeds in my yard.

1. On the side of my house that is south facing, there are many little trees that are sprouting between the pavers and on stones. My husband cut them down last year, but they just branch off and regrow again. This year, I pulled out what I could and cut down what I couldn’t pull up. If I keep cutting it down year after year will it eventually die? I have young kids so I’m hoping for a more natural and safe solution. I have heard mixed things about using vinegar, salt, and boiling water. I don’t plan on planting anything in this area since it is the side of my house. So as long as the solution works and is child-safe, I am happy with it. I know the best option would be the remove all the stones, dig-out the area, but I am hoping for a less labour intensive option.

2. I am not sure what plant/weed this is, but it has overtaken a large portion of our yard. The parent plant seems to be a hardwood and from that plant it sends branches/shoots all across the yard. So when I try to pull up one plant/shoot, I find that the roots are actually connected across the yard to many different shoots eventually leading back to a main hardwood parent. Do you know what type of plant/weed this is? What is the best way to get rid of this one and prevent further spreading?

3. There are some trees growing where our pavers meet the fence. They are too established to pull out. So we have just been chopping them down every year. Will this kill it eventually? What is the easiest way to kill it?

looking to buy cornelian cherry

I am unable to attach the photo of a plant I saw in Toronto (too large MB wise). Friends think it may be some kind of sedum, another Crassula Perforata. But Crassula grows in a semi-arid zone and on-line photos indicate that it grows more vertically than horizontally as noted here in Toronto. Could it grow here in this zone?

In the attached photo are my viola seedlings (appropriately 3 weeks after planting). I haven’t done this kind of planting before and was wondering how to transplant them into a permanent place (be it the ground or container).
Should I move it in the small container first? When?
Also, It seems it sprouted very dense (in some spots around 10 roots per square inch) so I am not sure how to move/separate it without destroying it.

Hello – I am questioning the condition of 2 branches. Attached are pictures. It is in the middle. Last year around June, I did cut a branch as it died. I can not seem to download the file….should I put into a PDF?

I have a new 10’ X 3’ spruce above ground garden container with 4 inch walls. I want to grow organic vegetables. Is there an oil i could use on the outside of the planter so it doesn’t turn grey? I have been reading about raw or burned linseed oil but it doesnt seem like a good option for me

I am a beginner to gardening, we are in Scarborough. I wanted to know how to start gardening


We planted a Katsura In May 2018. Now two years later we need to move it. It has grown about 3 feet in that time and now stands about 16 feet tall. I have a landscaper who is willing to dig it out and drag it across the yard next to the garage.
Is it likely the tree can survive this move?

Good morning,
My name is Osvaldo,
Would you please tell me what is the the best soil to use in box gardens to grow organic vegetables.
Kind regards,

Hi, I have Cedars, not sure what kind they are so if you could put a name to them it would be greatly appreciated. I live in Kelowna, B.C. and deer unfortunately ate them about 2 winters ago. I am wondering if I can clean all the dead leaves and debris from under them there are two side by side? It looks so messy since the deer enjoyed their nibble. I appreciate the help, thank you.


Hi there,

I thought I had attached an image with my question last time, but I guess it didn’t go through. I’m just resending it with the image again. Thank you so much!

1. On the side of my house that is south facing, there are many little trees that are sprouting between the pavers and on stones. My husband cut them down last year, but they just branch off and regrow again. This year, I pulled out what I could and cut down what I couldn’t pull up. If I keep cutting it down year after year will it eventually die? I have young kids so I’m hoping for a more natural and safe solution. I have heard mixed things about using vinegar, salt, and boiling water. I don’t plan on planting anything in this area since it is the side of my house. So as long as the solution works and is child-safe, I am happy with it. I know the best option would be the remove all the stones, dig-out the area, but I am hoping for a less labour intensive option.

2. I am not sure what plant/weed this is, but it has overtaken a large portion of our yard. The parent plant seems to be a hardwood and from that plant it sends branches/shoots all across the yard. So when I try to pull up one plant/shoot, I find that the roots are actually connected across the yard to many different shoots eventually leading back to a main hardwood parent. Do you know what type of plant/weed this is? What is the best way to get rid of this one and prevent further spreading?

3. There are some trees growing where our pavers meet the fence. They are too established to pull out. So we have just been chopping them down every year. Will this kill it eventually? What is the easiest way to kill it?

I’m considering either Densiformis or Wardii. Do you know which of these produces berries? I’ve seen conflicting information on Conifer Society of North America, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden, etc… so first hand experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Humber nursery is closed for good, where do I buy the old style heirloom tomatoe plants around Toronto I live in aurora

I have small black spot and on twigs of my hornbeams that’s spreading and causing branch die back. I’m seeing similar tip die back on a nearby River Birch and Limber Pine but no spotting.
Is this fungal? What is the recommended treatment ?

I am in Cambridge, Massachusetts US.

Thank you

We are based in downtown Toronto. We are looking for plants that would be best suited to plant in a long narrow planter box on our balcony.
We get morning sun until about 11am.
Would love any ideas of plants that would survive and flourish here – to give some life to our balcony over spring and summer.

I have two climbing hydrangeas on the north wall of my Toronto house, one on either side of a window. The dry soil conditions adjacent to the house apply to both. The one on the east, planted probably 30 years ago is vigorous. The one on the west, planted about 20 years ago is not so vigorous. In the last 5 years or so by mid summer many of its leaves begin to go yellow near the veins and steadily the yellow spreads. For the last few years I have fed it iron chelate, 7%, once in the spring and once early summer and have mulched it with pine needles. It hasn’t improved. Is there anything else I could do that would help it?

I have just moved and i have a garden that is a mess! There is foliage coming up everywhere .. i think they are different types of spring bulbs. I want to tidy things up and although i do like spring flowers, I prefer a more orderly look and not just one of this and that everywhere. When is the easiest time for me to remove these? Should i wait until i see what they are and then know what i could possibly dig up and use next year?

I saw on a recent publication the suggestion to plant an onion with potatoes to ward off a specific beetle. Two questions: 1. Is this appropriate when growing potatoes in a container or just in the ground?; 2. Can I use a grocery store onion (I know potatoes are suppose to be seed potatoes but not sure about onions)

Hi there, I am in Zone 3 and I have heard witchita blue junipers are hardy here. Some of the other upright junipers are not. My question is, depending on the website I look at, some say that their spread is 4-6 feet, and some say 6-12 feet. Why is there so much conflicting information on the size of some of these upright evergreens? I only have a certain amount of space. 6 feet is ok, 12 feet will not work. Can you please shed some light on this?

I noticed leaves with yellowy blotches and opened a few up to find tiny yellowish-orange larvae inside. I think I have boxwood leafminers. As it is only mid-May, is it too early to shear the boxwoods? What time is best to spray with an insecticidal soap?

I have a a very large planter that leads up to my front door which faces east. It’s 4ft wide, 7ft long, 4ft deep about 1/3 of it is under an overhang of the roof. So part of the flower bed is shaded and part gets the afternoon sun. I’ve planted annuals in it for the last few years but would like to switch to flowering perennials. I’d like something that flowers profusely and maybe some hostas(?) to fill in the gaps but I’m stumped as to what to plant. Please can you help!? Thank you.

Garden Design is so difficult for me, but today I thought I found the solution in my neighbours design.
Would it be kosher to just partially mirror their border design, since our pathways are adjacent, and “ imitation is the highest form of flattery”?
I wanted something temporary, so I could renovate the porch.
I could ask mention it to them. My fear of asking is getting more “original” ideas, which would wear me out. I just want to spend little time, and with their design just plant robust year-round type plants, which are low maintenance. Most of my lawn would remain for now. I’d mentioned this type of low maintenance garden to them anyway, in the past. I even left them a schematic of the French drain that they used following a workshop I did around water conservation at Humber College, so I don’t think their plan is original.
I know in academia and business, people are proprietary, even if the rules around intellectual property aren’t in the company policies, but does gardening have an etiquette?
Looking at my time spent with my chiropractor last year, getting the purchases of the plants with this design would save me some visits to the health clinic around groundskeeping and experimenting because I’m reluctant to fall into the DIY trap, since there are competing plants that need more TLC.
The photo is of the margin, to the stones, which I would change to an eco-friendly, low maintenance plant choice. Something about symmetry “tickled” my brain.

The curved entry was inspired from a talk by Wolfgang Bonham, who described it in a Feng Shui context, leaving stress behind as one rounds the bend, to their residence, in his case study at one of his presentations.

Thank you


I live in a condo in Toronto and received a Calamondin orange tree at Christmas. I didn’t take great care of it until the last few months and would love to see it flourish. I just hope that I’m not too late :)

When I brought the tree home from my office, it had oranges on it but the majority of them fell off.

I have had had a few come back but they have some white on the tip (visible in photo) and it looks like the branches are turning brown which I’m not sure is ok.

I’ve been watering once per week but will increase that based on what I’ve read and also use a plant light that runs from 7am to 4:30pm as I don’t have a ton of sun in my unit but it is super warm in here.

I also purchased fertilizer for acid loving plants and put a pinch in a 500mL water bottle and will use that every other week.

Any advice on how to best care for this plant would be really appreciated.

Thanks so much!

My new sod is being peeled back at night presumably by a skunk or racoon. How do I prevent this so the sod can take root?

Looking for ideas on what edging I can use for the gardens to give a neat contained look.
– Have a lot of mulch, no plastic or interlock brick. Not sure what else I can use that does not stand out but has a neat look
Thanks you

Last year we had a serviceberry tree that died . We believe possibly due to poor drainage. My husband cut it down and there was a stump left. As u can see from the photo there are now branches coming out of the stump. Is it coming back? Or should we just remove the stump? Thanking u in advance for any info .regards, Maria

Sigh. I cleverly decided to do my balcony planter garden during this pandemic year with flower seedlings.. I purchased 4 packages of Burpee flower seeds. I stupidly managed to mix up the labels of the flats…so even though they seedlings are now well over 2.5cm and in bigger pots, I no longer can figure out how to ID them with only their young leaves (some of the packages have mixed varieties). It’s important due to their different sizes, requirements for space, blooming periods etc. The packages were: COSMOS – bright lights mixed colours; SUNFLOWER – evening sun mixed colours; MIXED FLOWERS- magic carpet’ MIXED FLOWERS – old fashioned. Any information that might help me have a better idea of how to proceed (e.g. pictures/descriptions of the specific leaves?) would be much appreciated! (I did write to Burpee – but no reply has arrived.) Thank you for being there. Stay well and thrive.

Can I transplant “shoots” from my quince bush to a family member’s garden in the spring or is it better to so in the fall? Would it be better to order one from a nursery? Now or in the fall?
Many thanks.

Looking for this rose in Toronto area
Who is the biggest supplier of rose plants in this area?

I wonder if anyone successfully grows Clematis montana in Toronto area without protecting them in any way in winter? I am struggling with keeping my hydrangea macrophylla blooming and do not want to add another useless plant to my garden.

hello! I had virginia creepers planted in my yard last year and did not realize that they are perennials. I let them be through the winter and I am wondering if they will ‘come back to life’ this spring? right now they mostly look dead (the vines are still ‘climbed up the fence’. I am a total newbie when it comes to gardening so appreciate any advice you have. Thank you!

My 2 year old tree is not showing and leaf. The stalks are red but bare. Is it dead?

Hi there,
I guess I jumped the gun and have bought a few hostas and hydrangeas. I have put off planting but hoping I can safely do that now?

When is the best time of year to seperate and transplant lilly-of-the-valley ti another spot in the garden?
Before or after blooming? Or another time?

Many years ago I was told to add crushed eggshells around my strawberry plants to discourage bug infestation. I am not sure it worked that well, but I was wondering if crushed eggshells add nutrients to the soil in any case.


Are there any fruit trees that I can plant that do not attract rodents?

We live in the West Rouge area of Toronto, very close to the lake, and there are for sure mice in the area. We are keen on planting fruit trees, but also on keeping rodents out of our backyard!

The backyard is north-facing (not sure if that is relevant information).

Thank you for your advice

I have this ground cover plant that I’m not sure is a weed or perennial. Can you help identify please? Photo attached. Thank you

I planted a climbing hydrangea against a west facing fence. Last year it started growth. This spring it showing no sign of budding. I think I need to try another plant. I have not had luck with clematis and I understand that there are problems with Virginia creeper. Would a honeysuckle be a good choice? And how do I plant it ensure success. We live in georgetown Ontario.

We are planning to install cedars in our backyard for both privacy and landscaping. What is the characteristic/species difference between an Emerald Cedar vs a White Eastern Cedar? For a 5′ tall tree is about $100 for an Emerald Cedar and White Eastern is $22? I’ve gone online and have asked a few nurseries but just haven’t received a clear answer. We just want to ensure we are choosing the right tree for us. Thank you, Joe.

I’ve noticed out my window that there are mice who run in the back of my garden. There are some old logs dividing the garden from the high up parking spot and I think they run in the cracks between the logs. I’m planning on trying to fill the entrance in. Do you have any other tips to keep mice away. I plan to plant mint and other stinky herbs. Thanks so much!
– Laura

Why are these trees looking more brownish than pink and not dropping their leaves as in other years?
Thank you(heard about you on CBC t.o.)

I have a 4 year old yucca plant that has multiplied to three plants and I would like to divide and transplant. when is the best time to do this and do they need a sunny spot which the current plant has?

Hello, we have a property near Thornbury. I noticed with horror that garlic mustard is making its way along a pretty creek I just looked back at another question about this wretched plant and know how to eliminate it – my question is – is there a native plant I can encourage that will successfully compete with it?
Also- there is a lot of it. Can you confirm that if the flowering part is eliminated that is a good start?

When I moved to my present home, the garden had a small patch of lily of the valley. It was pretty so I let it be. Over the years it has spread steadily and has now infiltrated other plants that I don’t want to lose. How can I control it (or get rid of it)? I don’t want to use herbicide. I’d prefer not to dig it too much to disturb the other plant – small creeping true geraniums. Thanks.

I have a spot next to a wooden deck with railings and posts I’d like to train a climbing rose over. The spot is a south west exposure with full sun almost all day. I live on the Scarborough bluffs about 500 M from the lake. Can you recommend an aggressive, fragrant climbing rose for this spot, bonus if it comes in yellow? Many thanks in advance.

Hi Master Gardener – I live in Toronto and just bought a beautiful Moonrise Japenese Maple last week that is pretty fully leafed-out. I haven’t planted it yet – it’s still in it’s 5 gal pot. The first night we had frost, I didn’t take in indoors, but since then I have taken it indoors at night. However, it’s not looking good. The leaves have gone pale and papery and I’m feeling heartsick. Is there anything other than keeping the soil moist I can do? Is there any hope it will recover?

Hello , I bought Monkshood Capuchon ( Aconitum ) from the garden ctr . From the research I have done on the internet it says that it is poisonous and to be careful . So I am wondering if that is true and if so ? I would return it to the garden ctr because I cannot have it planted in the garden and someone might hurt . Thanks . Gordon,

Several of these plants have appeared in the garden this spring, loosely grouped, with rhizomatic roots. I have never seen them before and wonder what they are?

I have a new raised planter that holds 210 litres of soil. I hope to grow some herbs and a few vegetables. It’ll be in my small back yard in Toronto and will only get direct sun part of the day. What kind of soil should I use?

My name is Benoit and we are located in High Park. I have a cedar hedge facing west offering privacy for my front yard. I have been trying to make use of this 18-24″ in front of the cedar hedge without success. I have tried burberry, sedums, lillys, ground covers so far…. Perhaps the soils is too dry/acid/??? I have an irrigation system watering every 3 days. Any thoughts as to what could be tried next?

Thanks in advance!

Hi, Last 2 years we’ve tried to plant yews beside our back deck, it’s very shady and doesn’t get tons of water, we have a rain barrel and a soaker hose. Both winters they’ve died. We’d like to plant something hardy there, a perennial that might grow 4-5 feet or so at least. Any suggestions?
Thanks for your help,
Jim Crummey.

Do you know what kind of plant this is? Is it a berry vine? I’ve just moved and wanted to know what to look forward to.

Do you know what kind of bush this is?

I wonder what your opinion is on using cedar mulch in perennial beds to retain moisture and deter weeds. I just put fresh mulch down (about 2 – 3 inches thick) on one side of my garden and last year put the same amount down on the other side. I am trying to raise a garden that benefits both the earth and my own aesthetics. I also have just been reading that mulch may not be the most beneficial to my plants, nor to beneficial insects. What do you and your colleagues prefer? If you think it is not good, should I pull all the mulch out? What would I do with it? (I live in the middle of Toronto on “not a grand” plot of land.) Thank you!

My small backyard has 15 30 foot cedars along the side and across the back which have generated an awful lot of florets over the winter and cover all my flower beds. Should I rake them off the beds where I grow monarda, evening primrose, day lilies, etc. Or can I use them as mulch?

We would like to plant some blue corydalis in our Toronto garden but have been unable to find a source which sells the blue variety. Can you help?
Thank you

Faces south in my back yard withing 2 feet of house—tree is about 13 years old—over the last three years it has more and more yellow needles…soil is clay but has had lots of triple mix added over the years…cedar mulch every year as well.

I have small black spot and on twigs of my hornbeams that’s spreading and causing branch die back. I’m seeing similar tip die back on a nearby River Birch and Limber Pine but no spotting.
Is this fungal? What is the recommended treatment ?

I am in Cambridge, Massachusetts US.

Thank you

I have big planters ( indoor and outdoors )
Should the entire planter be filled with soil ?
I’ve heard that a filler can be placed half filling the planter , what would be a light filler material before we put the soil . Thank you

How long can you leave the Emerald Cedar in the plastic container before you can plant it?..Some good deals right now but I won’t be planting for 3 to 4 weeks .

I had tiny white insects (whiteflies) on my hibiscus leaves. I washed them with a solution of 40 parts water to one part soap. I seem to have gotten rid of them but I notice that the leaves are now very shiny (but not sticky). I am concerned that this might be another insect infestation. What should I do? The plant is currently sitting in an east facing window.

Hi, we live in a west facing home, the soil was predominantly clay but we have put layers of good soil on top but our grass does not survive. What should we do, this is our 4 th spring when we are envious of other people’s lawns in our area.
Please give us suggestions,

I live in downtown Toronto (Roncesvalles). I just moved to a new home and have space to start a garden. I’m starting some flowers and veg from seed, but I hope to buy various starters and larger shrubs too (yarrow, clematis montana, black eye susan, Verbena, bridal bush). What nurseries or plant shops do you recommend? Small local shops have limited selection – I otherwise know only of Fiesta Farms and Home Depot. I will order bulbs for fall but hope to get some of these plants to put in the soil in the coming weeks. Thank you!

Hi, do you know where in Toronto ( North York) I can buy bamboo to plant in front of an east facing fence to block my neighbour’s wall? I have heard that Fargesia dracocephala works well.
I have a locust tree that casts shade over the area.
I have no idea which gardening centres will have bamboo .
Thank you.

Onion grass is starting to spread, we have been digging out the bulbs. Is there an easier way to rid the lawn of this type of grass?
thank you!

Hello – this is an upright bush in the Annex – it looks a bit like some kind of magnolia but I don’t think it is. Can you help me identify please.

The picture is of a plant with red, fleshy stalks and early blooming yellow flowers. I haven’t been able to identify it and thus know whether to eradicate it as there are a few in our Urban garden in Peterborough. Secondly, we have lived here for 18 years and have established many varieties of tulips. This is the first year that some creature has decided to chew off the flower stalks and often take away the buds. Who is the likely culprit and is there a good defense?

Hi there,

Thanks again for your quick response. I am resending the images by splitting them into 3 separate questions to make it easier to see the images.

1. On the side of my house that is south facing, there are many little trees that are sprouting between the pavers and on stones. My husband cut them down last year, but they just branch off and regrow again. This year, I pulled out what I could and cut down what I couldn’t pull up. If I keep cutting it down year after year will it eventually die? I have young kids so I’m hoping for a more natural and safe solution. I have heard mixed things about using vinegar, salt, and boiling water. I don’t plan on planting anything in this area since it is the side of my house. So as long as the solution works and is child-safe, I am happy with it. I know the best option would be the remove all the stones, dig-out the area, but I am hoping for a less labour intensive option.

am not sure what plant/weed this is, but it has overtaken a large portion of our yard. The parent plant seems to be a hardwood and from that plant it sends branches/shoots all across the yard. So when I try to pull up one plant/shoot, I find that the roots are actually connected across the yard to many different shoots eventually leading back to a main hardwood parent. Do you know what type of plant/weed this is? What is the best way to get rid of this one and prevent further spreading?


I have a chain link fence that runs along the side ofmy house. The space between my house and the fence is 12 feet wide. I would like to run a limelight hedge along the fence. In your experience, do full size limelights reach full height (8ft) in Canada. If so, is it possible to keep them to 6 feet high/wide or so with prunning or will this result in a droopy plant from weak stems (hard pruning each year).

I am also looking at the Little Lime, but I would like the hedge to be at least 5 ft tall (which is its max growing height).

Many thanks!

Is this a raspberry?

Hi there. I was just curious, is it possible to propagate perennials using stem cuttings, similarly to woody shrubs. The plants that I’m thinking of are blanket flower, milkweed, phlox, monarda, and penstemon. I garden in zone 5b.

My climbing hydrangea–approximately 5 years old–is flourishing in terms of leafing and growth but I have yet to see a bud or a flower. It lives against a porch facing east in just ordinary dirt–not clay or sandy. I do not provide it with any nutrients. What can I do to promote flowers? Thank you!

Can you tell me a year long shrub, flowering plant or grass for a shady area, such as under a tree.

I live in the Midwest just south of Chicago tree is in sun majority of the day soil is black dirt with a little clay it’s about 5 to 6 years old the base of trunk is about 5 inch across and about 12 feet high And after 2 to 3 years I would get fruit but would get to about a Olive size and drop off around June And the leaves would get holes in them and I had ants and I think a problem with those Japanese beetles last year no fruit at al I have been applying Bonide fruit tree spray for the past few years with no luck I pruned it this year when dormant and the tree blossomed white and now the leaves are on it and looks very healthy any suggestions Should I spray it now with the Bonide, need some advice thanks

I have several Crown Imperial Fritillaria. The last 3 springs, they came up with beautiful, healthy foliage but no flowers.
Wondering what I can do to encourage blooming next year.
Some have multiple stocks. Do i split the bulb now or when?

I see all kinds of soil sold at the garden centre. What do you recommend to enhance a vegetable garden and what kind of soil to top up flower beds? Black earth? Manure? 4 in 1?
Topsoil? If manure, what kind?

Is it possible to plant Karl forester grass as an informal hedge in an area underneath and beyond the drip line of a Norway maple? If not, is it possible to lay ground cover? If not, will anything grow under neath and beyond?

Good morning. I couldn’t resist buying these costco flower planters (mixed flowers)! I have ornamental planters I want to put them into. Am I better to remove the flowers from the plastic containers they came in or is that just making work for myself? can i just plop them as they are into my own planters? thanks!

I have two mature viburnum bushes in my backyard and every year the leaves are being eaten by small grey-ish insects (a bit smaller than a maggot) and the leaves are turned into “skeletons”. I have done some research and found out that those insects are “surviving” the winter by laying eggs and “living inside the plant” – creating little cavities in the centre of a branch/ twig. I have thinned out the bush and trimmed part of it but they keep coming back. what can I use to successfully eliminate them and have full and luscious bush? Thank you in advance for your help and advice.

My daffodils and tulips are nearing the end of their blooming season. Shall I leave them in the ground or dig up the bulbs, dry them out, and replant them in the fall? If I dig them up should I wait till the leaves have died off?

I live in the Bronte area of Oakville and have started a veggie garden. My plants have grown quite a bit under the grow light I have but I’m worried about this hardening process. I’ve watered on average every other day according to the miracle gro potting mix dryness. 2 days so I started the hardening process I real about online by going 1hr on day 1, 2hr on day 2…etc incrementing by 1hr every day.

The first day i put them on the deck and placed a 4×4 plastic greenhouse thing we have that has a raisable roof as the wind was strong. After 30 minutes I checked on them and every leaf on every plant was completely wilted and couldn’t hold themselves up at all. I brought them in after 45mins total. Yesterday was very cloudy and they did not wilt nearly as bad and were out there for 2hours.

Day 3, today has been raining and on/off sun (15min bursts). I left them there for maybe 2.5hrs. Every time the sun came out the leaves fell completely wilted again pretty hard.

I’m a little worried going for too long would burn things badly. I do see some leaves have brown and yellow spots around the edges that have only appeared since yesterday.

Cucumbers, zucchini, tomato, a couple lettuce to try(no success previous years) and various other veggies. I have other images available if wanted.

I had an infestation of Japanese beetles last summer that attacked my roses. Is there anything I can do now to prevent an onslaught of the pests. If they return can I do anything else besides pick them off the flowers and drown the (*&^%$ things? I have a bee and butterfly friendly garden and don’t want to harm them

Hello, I’m wondering what I should do about the invasive Scilla plants which are completely overwhelming my flower gardens and lawn.
We moved into this house one year ago, and at that time I wasn’t paying enough attention to the gardens although I was somewhat aware of the scilla even then.
Having ignored them then, they flourished and now completely fill the flower gardens and are popping throughout the lawn.
After decades of gardening, I find that I have little energy now to continue to battle them. So far this spring, I have spent many hours out here pulling them out and it’s a losing battle, as they continue to appear in droves and spread.
I’m about to give up, and I wonder what will happen going forward.
Will perennials or shrubs that I plant have difficulty surviving with the competition from thousands of scilla bulbs taking the nutrition from the soil?
And, similarly will the grass in the lawn be able to thrive with this competition?
I would very much appreciate your help with this vexing problem.
Thank you very much.

Saw this in a city garden park
Not sure what it is called …. no one seems to be able to help me.
Can you identify it …. kind of a different plant

Have wild onion overtaking my south facing lawn. Spreading through lawn and into flower bed. Very deep rooted with small onion bulb when dug up. How can one get rid of i?

Is it ok to plant my tomato plants now May 16th
I live in Niagara falls on
The weather is supposed to be pretty good from now on
No more frost
My plants are about 5″ high with a fair amount of leaves
Mixed varieties of heirloom

Hi there we have received a white oak from the Toronto tree program.It is located in our west facing garden below a huge maple tree. However I have noted peeling bark recently. I tried to spray it with soap and water as there was one white foamy area on the main tree . Is there any thing else I should do apart from adequate water and ? fertilizing the tree. I cannot remove that old sugar maple

I have a small front yard (5 feet wide) in Toronto, sun in the morning. I would like to plant a shrub or small tree that doesn’t take over the whole space but can be a point of interest and add a bit of height. I have spring bulbs, chives, Irises, hostas, aquilegia. I like colour so was thinking maybe Japanese maple, maybe a type of dogwood that doesn’t grow to big, other suggestions? I don’t want something that takes too much work. Soil is pretty loose -not clay. Appreciate your advice.

Every early spring this flower plant blooms. I love it and would love to plant more. No idea what plant it is. Can you help me on this. Thanks

I live in Niagara on the Lake. I’ve purchased a few honeydew melon plants. I don’t have a lot of room and wish to also use it for some herbs and veggies. I saw a video where they made use of a teepee structure and the vines were to grow up it, which would be perfect to conserve space. Should I put only one plant per teepee or could I plant two or more. The video also explained to use pantyhose in which to nestle the melon which will expand as the melon grows and offer support.
Many thanks

Hello,I heard you on cbc radio and thought I’d send you a question. I have a small backyard with a big golden retriever who tramples my plants and urinates on them. Nothing in the back has survived. Plus it’s A shady area. Can you suggest some dog tolerant plants. Thanks !

This plant has sprung up in my garden in Toronto this spring. It’s low to the ground and covering a good square foot. The leaves are narrow, with red on the underside. I’m not sure if it’s a weed. I do not remember planting anything like it. Thanks

Hi there, I have three cedars – two in backyard with south exposure and one in front with north exposure – and they are all extremely dry and their leaves are curled and look pale, almost yellow. I’ve been watering a lot with a spray hose over the last week and a half rather than once deeply. I started watering when I noticed a patch of brown on the cedar that gets the most sun exposure. The ground is moist a few inches down. I’ve now removed all the brown branches and raked them away from the base of the tree. I’m not sure what to do to help these trees – are they suffering from drought and I should water deeply, or have I overwatered and they have root rot? Thanks for your help!

Where in Toronto can I find lavender plants that produce pink lavender, blue lavender and white. Corner plant outlets just sell the same variety lavender.

Hi,i keep my plant behind the window,feed it with water every week,last night change its it survive?plz guid me

My husband and I recently bought a home with a beautiful flower bed in the backyard. However, we found out that it’s been overrun by goutweed. I’ve done a lot of research online and have learned that it’s extremely difficult to get rid of. The flower bed is completely full of it so it would be almost impossible to go through and attempt to pick it all out and solarize it…plus, it would end up killing all the other flowers around it. We’re wondering if it may just be a better choice to tear up the bed, lay down some kind of ground cover and build a raised bed over it, essentially just covering up the ground completely? We currently live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The bed gets a fair amount of morning and midday sunlight.

What type of fertilizer for a honeysuckle. Most sites say balanced. 10-10-10. But I am having trouble finding that. Would 20-20-20 damage the new plant!

I have removed some ivy from my backyard and want to plant some non invasive plants there. The area gets sun from about 10am until at least 6pm. I think a hardy ground cover might be good….. something that doesn’t need care! II can’t send a picture as it’s too big and I don’t know how to make it smaller

It’s been a cold Spring in Toronto? Is the soil warm enough now to plant corn?

Just found these in our grass in our backyard in North York in sun. Guessing it’s some kind of fungus but we don’t know what . We’ve lived here for 47 yrs & never had them before. Hoping you can tell us what they are & if they’re poisonous, thanks,

Is May a good time to prune an amur maple? It seems to form a canopy of leaves in the summer, so I’m concerned if I prune about 25% off the top now it may not leaf out sufficiently.

Hello from Mississauga. This comes up every year in my garden and grows about two feet high. If it is a weed, how do I get rid of it? Many thanks.

Hello and hope you are shaving a lovely weekend.

I am writing because I a looking for suggestion and ways how to get rid of gout weed in my back yard. It has been three years since I brought my place and neglected dyne garden for two years and it has now taken over. Some patches that didn’t have it are now having it. My neighbour and I are having shed time keeping up with it. I tried probing the plant but it is so exhausting and labour intensive.

Any ideas on what I can do to eliminate it and or plant a plant or flowers that can complement and or over power it.


I am wondering what type of (potted) plants are suitable for a south facing balcony in southwestern ontario near Lake Ontario? it does become very hot on the balcony mid-day and in the afternoon.
Thank you!

wallflowers multi- colour mix & are they perennial for / in Toronto
where to get the above to plant in big box on Toronto balcony? that faces west /south / west & /or garden facing same

Hello, thank you for answering my question. I have a large maple tree in a narrow (6ft’) garden between my driveway and front walkway. It faces west. I’m struggling with the plants under the tree. I appreciate reading the answers already given regarding perennial gardens under maples. I have a number of hostas and a few low lying pine bushes. I’ve just spread an inch of top soil and added some sheep manure.

I’d like to add some annuals for colour. In the past I’ve loaded it with impatients and coleus which didn’t really thrive. Is there something with a root system that will do better under the tree that you would recommend?

Also, I’ve been wondering if mulch might help. I hesitate to put mulch down due to the keys that fall from the tree and I don’t know that it would look tidy.

Thank you for any suggestions, Laura Rossiter

I have a very large maple tree on my front lawn. It is hard to maintain grass so I covered part of the lawn with soaked cardboard then shovelled 2-3 inches of mixed soil on top. My questions are: 1. Can I start to plant or do I need to wait 3 months for the cardboard to decompose? 2. If I can plant now. Can you suggest a perennial plant that I should buy and plant that will spread and survive this type of new garden that has limited sun due to the large maple tree?
thank you very much,

My garden seems to have become a wasteland for worms. We had plenty several years ago, but for the last 4 years I haven’t seen a single one. The soil has become heavy and wet and we are trying to restore it to better health. I live in East York, and my neighbour has a similar problem.

Is there anything I can do?

I used shredded cedar mulch last year. Should I clean out all the old mulch before putting down new mulch? Can I leave the old mulch in place and mix it with new mulch?

Hello Master Gardeners

In 2012 I re-graded a 3 level terrace back into a sloped hill and covered it with grass. However, since that time, I had left a portion uncovered due to its steepness and potential difficulty with cutting grass on that slope. I’ve attached a photo.

The area is in direct sunlight for all of the day and becomes quiet dry in the depths of summer. However, during heavy rain this area becomes “Niagara Falls” due to the influx of water from the adjacent neighbour’s property.

I was raised as a gardener but I have no experience with the selection of a proper ground cover for this hill. Given that it is still mid-May I thought I would take the opportunity this year to select and plant some appropriate ground cover.

I did not want to come empty handed so I did read through your “Popular broadleaf evergreen groundcovers”:

1) “Arctostaphylos uva–ursi, also called bearberry, or Kinnikinick”

2) “Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri) or Bearberry”

As I have never dealt with such shrubbery before, I did want to lay out some basic requirements:

– It should not creep everywhere as I do not wish it to get into my adjacent neighbour’s backyards.

– Its primary purpose is to push out the weeds which normally come to occupy this bare hill.

– It can deal with direct sunlight throughout the year and require little watering.

Thank you for the consideration of this request!

I have been at war with an our-of-control ground cover called Yellow Archangel. It has crowded out areas of Vinca and Japanese Pachysandra. I’ve been clearing the YA little by little, digging up roots and sifting the soil. Do you have any advice as to how I can encourage the Pachysandra to spread and grow to fill the location where it once thrived? ie should I propagate more of it or just transplant, etc.?
Thanks so much,

Hi. I have a cherry tree planted in my back yard, where the soil might be contaminated, since the adjacent property is known to have contaminated soil. Are you able to tell me if the cherries okay to eat?

I have a very large weeping willow, a very big white pine and another pine tree in my backyard that’s about 65 ft wide and 50 feet deep. I’ve been pretty successful getting a garden growing underneath all of them but the flowers in the gardens never seem to do as well as in my planters. I use granular garden fertilizer from Sheridan nursery which suggests applying it a couple of times throughout the season. I’ve done the early spring application and it suggests I should do another end of June. I’m wondering that with all the trees I need to increase the number of applications? I’d love your feedback. Thank you

I am looking for a fast growing evergreen/hedging that need little maintenance after first year. I have approximately 500 ft to plant.
In addition what is the type of fertilizer is best for established cedars, 15 to 25 feet at this time

Many thanks Anthony

When I purchased these trees I was concerned that they were not branched out, was told to cut off the leader. I did and now the trees aren’t getting bigger nor are they branching out? Did I damage the trees?

I trust all is well with you and your family, friends and acquaintances.
We live on the 12 floor of a downtown Toronto condo with a west facing balcony. Our balcony is only open on 1 side, i.e., the west facing side and gets sun from approx. 11am to 8pm.
We are looking for a dwarf tree or shrub with the potential to thrive in this very hot, sunny environment. And of course, the normal overnight temperatures of Toronto.
thank you, peter pinch

Hi! I am wondering if you had any suggestions for what to plant on a narrow strip of ground (~14 inches wide) between my fence and the sidewalk. I live in Leslieville and this patch is north-facing. Thanks!

I bought two beautiful Tuberous Begonias from a local nursery last Friday a critter who shall remain nameless (resident Chipmunk) mowed one down completely the second is hanging by a thread and looks awful. My question when it starts to get warmer will they re-grow or are they toast and I will need to buy new ones? I was asking on the Canadian Gardening group on Facebook what to do about protecting my plants from the Chipmunk and one suggestion was to put some rocks or even Christmas ornaments around the plants because they love to dig in fresh dirt. I did that tonight. I’ll see what happens.Will they come back?

I snapped this photo from inside my living room on Fri July 20, 2018 around 11 or 11:30 a.m. My question is do you know what kind of plant this is? It had small white trumpet/bell flowers on 4-6 branches all coming out of 1 main stem. The bird was going up and down one side then the other eating all the seeds.

Good morning,

There is a lot of information on the web regarding the use of used coffee grounds and gardening. I am hoping you can answer the questions below:
1. can i put my used coffee grinds in my “cold” garden compost bins? We have about 1/2 cup of used coffee grounds per day.
2. will sprinkling the used coffee grounds around plants that slugs/snails like limit their visits to those plants?
3. are there any garden perennials that absolutely should not have used coffee grounds around them?
4. are the used coffee grounds good or bad for the worms if sprinkled directly on the garden?

Hi Master Gardeners, I recently noticed a strange orange growth on a couple of branches of a juniper in my front yard. Any idea what it could be? How should I deal with it? Thanks.

I planted 2 birds nest spruce 3 weeks ago as instructions asked. Have had 3 inches of mulch around and fed with evergreen feet. Watering everyday for 2 weeks and now every second day. Soil around plant moist. Had rapid green growth but now all the tips are turning brown. Getting worse each day. Almost looks like lacking water as color fading slightly. No mites present. Ideas?
Soil mixture of mulch and topsoil. Zone 3b. Weather wet/sunny. Direct sun for half the Day.


I purchased and planted 3 Emerald Cedar in the middle of April 2020 (Toronto). I used a mix of soil that was removed from the site, and nutrient dense soil. The root ball was just barely covered, leaving an inch of trunk exposed, with soil slopping away. Also added mulch to the area, although not within several inches of the trunk. It’s now the 3rd week of May and a limited number of branches have started to turn yellow. One of the cedars in particular has this dark blue/black discolouring on some of the branches. I’m only able to attached 1 photo, so I’ll share the particular discolouring I’m most concerned about. But, I’d be curious to know why some of the other branches are turning yellow, or even pale in colour.

I’ve attached pictures below to get a better opinion on what I should be doing to care for the cedars.

thanks in advance for your help!

It’s been a cold Spring. Can you help with any advice as to the best time to apply the nematodes? Live in Toronto.

Hoping someone can help me with my well established lilac shrub. Its had some powdery mildew for the last couple years and last year some of the foliage turned a rusty colour, some curling and dying and there was a lot of dieback. I pruned it last summer to try and increase air circulation for the mildew and take out the dead branches. I also cleared put the dead leaves in the fall from under to remove the mildew from the area. This spring there are more branches with foliage, dead looking blooms, and some of the new leaves are already rusty coloured and some are curling. The shrub typically blooms end of May into June. There is no visible mildew yet. See picture attached. Wondering what is wrong and what I can do to to save this beautiful shrub.

Thank you,
Catherine Saric

Do you know where can I buy Yoshino Cherry trees in Scarborough or Toronto?

I checked with Home Deport, Lowe and Sheridan but none of them carry it.


I know it is difficult to identify a tree by a picture, but I was hoping someone might be able to identify the trees we have in our backyard. They are in a row, and the spacing looks like they may have originally been a hedge that they just let grow. Now they are 25+ feet tall, and I’m trying to decide what to do about them. The trunks are relatively thin for the height, and the bark is rough and a darker brown/grey color. The leaves are in pairs, but alternating on the branch, and the leaves are serrated. If anyone has any ideas, I would really appreciate it! I can provide more pictures, I just don’t have a good one showing both trunk and leaves.

I have two such plants that have not blossomed for several years. How can I get these plants to flower?

I have an indoor hibiscus 3 years old. 2 years ago we went away and it lost its leaves. The stock is 14″ and leaves have not come back. Plant has no problem blooming. How do i get the leaves to grow back or should i be cutting back the plant?

I am in north oakville with a front garden question that faces East (gets morning sun). I planted boxwoods around a concrete porch 2 years ago in newly provided good soil. They gradually keep dying off one by one and more seem to be dying off this year. I do fertilize. Initially I thought it was just winter kill and would trim off the dead but it keeps spreading. I tore two out last year. Now a 3rd is looking bad and I notice two more on the other side are starting to brown. I have attached pictures. I don’t want to lose them all.

Can someone identify this little plant for me? I have not seen it in my garden before this year.

Assuming I’m removing the dandelion root properly as I weed more systematically, is the idea to remove the entire root only, or can the other parts of the plant germinate? I try to dispose of all of the flower and leaves, respectively.
Also, do seeds blow easily from other gardens, since they must germinate quickly, because I note the root length for each one, and rarely sever the root.

I suppose it’s too late to consider a barrier, but if I wanted to, how small are seeds to consider a barrier’s quality, such as a tightly woven landscape fabric?

I think that this just lasts for the month of may, if I’m diligent, so I can spend some time doing other garden tasks.
Is a dandelion in west end toronto the same type as the grocery store product, since the grocery store ones have longer, slender leaves?

Thank you

Where can I get Organic Stevia plant in Brampton?
How do I grow that in Brampton climate?
Thank you!


We are looking to add tall flowering perennials to our backyard that is sunny in Oakville and greatly appreciate your top 5 picks that will flower rights through summer. Thanks

Hi, we just bought a Watercress plant and planted it in a pot, for the first time. What kind of soil do you recommend? We used Promix organic vegetable and Herb Mix, is that a good choice? What type of fertilizer do you recommend and how often do i fertilize? Can i harvest watercress through to the fall or should i start seeds in a pot to ensure continuous harvest? When should i start to pick for eating, at a certain height? Should i cut with scissors? thanks very much! Marlene

Dear Master Gardener

It’s now May 21 and my Japanese Maple hasn’t bloomed (but they have bloomed around our neighborhood.) I know we had a longer, cooler wet spring and a late spring freeze, so I’m unsure if that’s a factor. A few branches bloomed but then began to wilt after the late spring freeze. As for the rest of the tree, the branches have no buds, and they’re dry and easily snap off (and were not green inside). I pruned away all the dry branches and left the ones that still bend (hopefully they are still alive).

Does my Japanese Maple tree still have time to bloom this year? If not, will it bloom next year? If the tree does not bloom does that mean it’s dead? If it is dead and I remove it, can I put another Japanese Maple in the same spot if I treat the soil (solarize it)?

Please help thank you

Dear Master Gardener,

My backyard will soon be undergoing major changes due to a kitchen renovation that has led to the building of a large deck and new hardscaping. I’m wondering if you could advise me about how to successfully transplant mature forsythia bushes that have to be removed for a new shed. I would also like to know how to transplant a mature lilac.

Finally, I would appreciate if you could advise me on how I might preserve a very healthy climbing hydrangea on a fence that will need to be replaced due to rot.

Thanks! Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need more information. I’ve attached a photo of the climbing hydrangea taken a few weeks ago. I have other photos but your site did not seem to allow the upload of more than one.


Is it possible to graft Japanese maple on another maple root stock to increase hardiness and cold tolerance?

I have lots of Caampanula and lilly of the valley that are taking over all my front yard. I tried to take them out before they flower but it is no use. They are covering my other plants. What is the best way to limit them? Thank you

This flower, which I believe is a bearded iris has been in my garden since I bought my house in 2009. It has rhizomes, not bulbs and what looks to me like a beard. I am probably the opposite of a gardener… I basically ignore it other than clearing away dead leaves and weeds and throwing a little soil over exposed rhizomes. Could you possibly identify the species? Thanks so much.

I live in downtown Toronto. I have an unknown tree in the garden that has serrated leaves & small cone-shaped white flowers in the spring. I’m attaching a photo. My garden faces west but is shaded in late afternoon by a large maple. The soil is rather clayey, though I’ve added lots of compost over the years. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks very much,

We have a beautiful hibiscus that we bought with three intertwined stems. We brought it in last winter and took it out this week. Terrible white spots turned most of the leaves silver. It is crazy. What happened to it and Can it be fixed

Do you know any ground cover which gives yellow flowers (not leaves) in the spring (same time like the Phlox). Something similar to sedum yellow gold, but bloom in Spring. Thank you very much.

I can’t figure out my the leaves on my tomatoes on turning yellow The plants are in a pretty sunny part of my yard, they are in pots, with potting soil. I tried cutting off the yellow leaves, but then more appeared.

Hi Master Gardeners team! I ve had my tomato seedlings since mid march indoors… due to this cold spring we are having, I am hardening them off but looks like many leafs got sun burned, paper like shiny silvery color on them. I read it could be sunburn or excess fertilizer (I did fertilize them) I am wondering what to do as I cant afford to discard them. Should I pinch affected leaves off? Plants are eager to go out to the yard, its been a long time inside.

Dear Master Gardner,

My backyard has intense western sun, especially in the afternoon. I’m wondering what trees/shrubs are hardy enough to withstand afternoon sun. The soil may have fungus so the ideal tree/shrub should be hardy enough to tolerate these soil conditions as well. So far, I am considering either a:

Velvet Viking Japanese Maple
Emperor 1

I would greatly appreciate your advice.
Thank you

Hello. We have a new house in North Toronto that can benefit from two more trees on the front yard with full sun exposure.
The two trees will be 25′ apart. Initially we wanted a Japanese Red Maple but think too much sun might be a problem?
Also want a native tree. Or another species that is less insect or pest prone, grows fast, survives harsh weather and ideally turns red in fall. We would like to plant a bigger tree, around a 6″ D.
What species do you recommend?
Thank you very much for your help.

In the past I have sprayed my hosta with an ammonia solution in the early spring while the hosta were just emerging. My hosta is now 4 to 6 inches high and just beginning to leaf. Can I go ahead and spray them or is too late?

How to prepare the ground for new sod? First I want to cut and remove the grass with sod cutter. Please let me know the how to complete the job.
Thank you

This plant is in a Toronto backyard and the person’s arm burned for hours after touching it. It appears to have hairs on the underside of the leaves similar to stinging nettle. It looks like lettuce that’s bolting but I can’t find anything similar when I search online. Thoughts?

Hello. First i would like to thank the master gardener who answered my question about garlic mustard. Very helpful
My next question is about this plant growing in my lawn in Mississauga. I will attach a photo. It looks like Ajuga and is quite persistent. Any suggestions on how to get rid besides the obvious – elbow grease would be appreciated
Mary Greer

Thank you for providing this service.
I live in Markham, climate zone 6a with clay soil. The hostas in question are under a black walnut, so the area is currently sunny, but will be shady once the tree’s leaves come out. The hostas have grown successfully in this location for about 5 years.
I have 9 hostas that are in various stages of rotting and few others that I am not sure about yet. After some internet research I have come upon 2 potential causes, one being petiole rot caused by the fungus Sclerotuim rolfsii var. delphinii, and the other being caused by freezing temperatures after the hosta has become active. Fearing fungus, I have removed the plants from the garden, but if there is a simpler explanation I’ll put them back.
The only work I have done in that area of the garden this spring is to clean it up and spread CIL Biomax Composted Manure on top of the soil and around any shoots that were visible at the time.
I have attached a file showing one of the hostas. Please let me know the cause of this problem and what I should do about it.
Thank you!

Hi, I live in Toronto (west end near Dundas and Dufferin). I have a 2X4 space in my garden that gets full sun (mostly afternoon). I just planted a Rose Glow Barberry (Berberis thunbergii). Beside it are a lilac tree and on the other side some raspberry canes. Now I am reading that Japanese barberry plants are invasive and can attract ticks. Is this true? Should I make a different choice for this spot? Thank you.


Any suggestions for stopping squirrels (?) from cutting off the flower heads of my tulips and leaving them beside the bulbs.


Hi, I have had this yucca plant for many years, it blooms beautifully every year, but since last year it developed very ugly spots , especially the bottom spikes. It started cutting them off, but I am not sure if this is the best approach. Does it have a disease I should treat instead?
I appreciate your help with this!
Maya Awasthy

I’m in the North York area and I’m trying to identify this
flower pictured below – I am new to this house and would
like to transplant this lovely flower to another area.
Thanks so much for your help.

Hi, I’m trying to find Blue Fortune/Anise Hyssop with no luck wherever I go. Does anyone know of a garden centre which may carry this amazing perennial?

Hello, this plant has progressively been creeping into our lawn and I’m unsure how to remove it. Would you be able to identify it and supply tips on how to remove.

All the best

I have several Katsura Japanese maples, some of which I rooted and the mother plant. All the smaller rooted ones wilted off and died and now I notice the leaves on the mother plant are also blackening off, shriveling etc. Whole branches are dead. What do I do? I am removing the dead stuff but I could apply an anti-fungal if necessary. My concern is that I have many other Japanese maples in the yard which have not been affected at this point but I do not want it to spread. Suggestions?

How much spacing is required to plant a blue prince/princess holly hedge?

I have clay soil

Planting along a foundation.

Shady conditions,

relatively dry

Once obtained as a hedge can I use a hedge trimmer to get the shape required? or

If I get more mature hollies can I plant closer together to achieve a hedge using a trimmer?

Last year my smoke tree looked beautiful and full but this year it’s very bare. Do you think it’s dying?

While transporting a very large Norfolk Island plant, branches were lost and broken off. Will it survive this kind of damage?

We planted 6 small Emerald Cedars in between us and our neighbours the bottoms at first were only brown on 1 or two but noticed their dog next door urinated on them now all 6 like that could it be because of that we have 5 more planted else wear and they are fine we are in St Thomas Ontario

What is the best honeysuckle to plant in wasaga beach.

and any other information that I need

Hi there,

I have a 7 foot tall banana plant that up until recently has been very happy.

It over wintered indoors, more or less in a green house, and then when the days got longer it Started to send up new leaf shoots.

Then all of a sudden it stopped and the baby shoots all frayed. Which was odd because it was still in doors.

I then moved it outdoors, when the nights were above 10c, hoping that the extra room and sun would make it happy but all that did was seem to sun scar the plant.

Any ideas on what to do?

Much thanks and appreciation.

I am in Toronto and about to plant a garden. I did not realize peas are cold weather plans as with lettuce. Can I plant Homesteader peas and sugar snap peas tomorrow or is it now best to wait to the fall. Same question regarding Grandpa’s Leaf lettuce, Mache Corn Salad, and Arugula?

I have two Rhus typhina Tiger Eyes. The leaves were fine last year and they seem unaffected so far however the bark looks dreadful with large areas covered in black and splitting in some places. The bark at the base has yellow ooze turning to black in some spots.
Last spring I bought a number of hollyhocks at a church fundraiser which I ripped out in August as they were completely infested with a rust.
In the fall I discovered black spots surrounded with red edges on the stems of all the rose bushes. These I cut out as much as possible.
There was no aphid population last year noticeable and have not seen one this year although the roses did have caterpillars.
sumacs: zone 5b/ sun head and shade base due to fence /loam/drier side /companion plants violets, coral bells, hostas, ferns, clematis

Are any of this incidents related?

Can the sumacs be saved or do they need to be pulled? This disease seems to have infected almost all parts of the bark. Do you know what disease this is and what I an do about it?
Thank you for your help with this.

Hello, I planted this japanese maple 3.5 years ago. In the last year it has started dying. We cut back the branches that were dying, last fall. The part that is dying is not sprouting new growth and the part that is surviving has a few dead branches on top, this spring.
The tree is in our westward facing front yard in downtown Toronto. It is very dry because there is also a very large Maple in the yard.
Can we save it? What is impacting it and what should we do?
Thank you so much for any help.

Hello everyone!

We were gifted two Swamp White Oak saplings from a nursery two days ago. I am not sure of their age but I can tell you that, for each of them, the acorn they sprouted from still sits on the soil next to them, they are in what I assume is a coconut husk temporary planter(nursery said it decomposes and can be planted with the sapling), and they measure 10-13cm tall. I think they are very young (each has about 10 leaves so far).

I have read that Swamp white oak is relatively uncommon and I am determined to grow these little trees until they are on track to reaching their full potential.

We live in Mount Albert, Ontario and we have about two acres of land. I am considering a plot where I think they will be happiest. It is full sun, with soil that floods in the spring and stays damp to wet throughout summer and autumn as well. The plot has dark brown soil and is pretty squishy, almost like mud but full of bits like soil is (sorry..I hope that helps??) also, there are many weeds and tall grasses in this area.
I will have read that it is necessary to clear all the surrounding weeds (at least 2 feet around) and to plant the oak with mulch surrounding but not touching its trunk. In all, the plot is about 10 meters by 10 meters large.

I’ve come to the experts to know the following:

->Should I plant these two saplings asap or should I wait for a better time?
-> Is the land chosen appropriate for the species?
->Will saplings so small survive the Canadian winter? And with virtually no shelter from other trees?(they would be in a flat plot of land with other trees only on the outskirts about 10 meters away)
->Any and all tips you can give this VERY amateur gardener to keep these precious trees happy?
->Should the trees be surrounded by rabbit proof fencing? Will anything try to eat them?
->Any specific nutrients, additives they should be given?
-> Is it true I should rinse the roots and remove any “root knots”?

Again, any and all tips would be extremely appreciated!! Please spare no detail.
I want to do this right and leave something beautiful for the next generation.
Thank you so much!!

I trust all is well with you and your family, friends and acquaintances.
We live on the 12 floor of a downtown Toronto condo with a west facing balcony. Our balcony is only open on 1 side, i.e., the west facing side and gets sun from approx. 11am to 8pm.
We are looking for a dwarf tree or shrub with the potential to thrive in this very hot, sunny environment. And of course, the normal overnight temperatures of Toronto.
thank you


eed to get rid of this! dig it up as much as possible. then newspapers and on top, soil… i guess the newspapers biodegrade and next year i can plant right on top of the soil?

Hi there,

I am thinking either purchasing an indoor orange tree or an indoor olive tree. What species of either plants would you recommend? I prefer a species that is low maintenance. I also want to understand the full scope of taking care of either of these trees prior to purchasing as this will impact my decision. I understand sunlight, temperature and appropriate watering schedules are important but is there anything I should be aware of before owning one of these trees? Lastly, is there a place that you would recommend for the purchase within the city of Toronto or GTA?

My current situation: living in a condo with constant sunlight throughout the day and even more sunlight in the afternoon (west facing windows). 10ft ceilings and HVAC vents are next to the window.

My tree is 10 years old. It has always been beautiful. This year half of the tree looks dead. I’m in Mississauga. I have a 3 year old beside that is fine. There is some growth out of the dead branches. I’ve tried watering it Some spring fertilizer was around it in my garden. What can I do

This is growing in my beds. I do not know if it is a perennial or a weed. Zone 5, southeastern Ontario. Full sun site for the one in photo.

I want to plant a tree in memory of my grandma, I’ve been thinking about a crabapple tree, I want one that has pink flower long season of interests and the fruits can be persistent for the birds. It’s going to be a specimen tree on a small lot. I want one that grows wide and not too tall. Disease resistant. I don’t know if Adams or Robinson are going choice. I’ve been looking at many nurseries, I see some thunder child and royal raindrops, they are tiny baby tress and upright . Does anyone know where can I find the crabapple I am looking for?

Hi there! I was just gifted two oak saplings that are potted in the same pot. I don’t know much about caring for oak saplings but would love to learn more. I haven’t separated the oak saplings but wanted to ask if I should pot them in separate pots. Also, I live in Texas and wanted to ask when it would be ideal to actually transplant the oak saplings to a permanent location in my backyard.

What can I safely use on the numerous weeds growing between my interlocking patio bricks short of picking them by hand? Conditions are dappled shade in Scarborough . I tried cleaning vinegar and water, half and half, which did nothing. Cleaning vinegar is 10% not 5%. The area is quite large and I sprayed a small area just to test but nothing happened. I don’t want anything toxic. Thank you.

Our boxwood leaves are turning brown and I am concerned it is boxwood blight…what do you think?

Hello, I have a hedge of boxwoods that have been thriving for several years now. This spring, I noticed that one section was developing yellow leaves, particularly on the sides. I assumed it needed some fertilizer treatment and so I fertilized all of my hedges (some newer and smaller ones as well) with a liquid fertilizer. Two days later I noticed that the tips of the leaves were all burned. Can the hedges be saved? How do I proceed from here to reverse the damage especially if I still do not know what the initial problem was?

Looking for suggestions on perennials for our front and back yard. The soil is clay. We have partly sun and shade areas. These are pictures of our back yard.

Thank you

Please suggest perennial plants for our front yard.

Thank you.

Hello – Thank you for reading my question. I’d like to help my willow shrubs keep their vase-like shape after removing (almost all) the dead wood in Feb/March. They are 15-20 years old. Should I just cut 1-2 ft off the top in late winter, removing the tiny ground shoots? (I’ve seen Martha Stewart go so far as to cut back all side shoots to the main branches, and others coppice to the ground, but maybe both are obsessive in this case?) Thank you again.

I live in central Etobicoke and would like to know which viburnum to plant with a Nannyberry, Viburnum lentago, in order for cross-pollination to occur. I have two burkwood viburnum presently in the garden.

This past week I have noticed several new leaves on my 3 year old Annabelle hydrangea curling up. There are black eggs or insects inside. Is this something serious? Is there anything I can do to get rid of whatever it is? Should I apply a non toxic substance to protect the plant?

should I put feriliser on new wet or dry sod

Hello, I planted 4f emerald cedars in pots 2weeks who and top is getting brown. I water them 2x. Wow am getting concerned and I do not know what to do. I used potting soil, loosen roots, pat the solid that there are no air bubbles. Please let me know what can I do to keep them alive and healthy.

I am so happy to have found this site! I hope you are able to help. I have 7 of these planted in a row in the front today my house. They are about 4 years old. They love it there and bloom every year and are growing fantastically well. We will be landscaping early-mid June with edging stones. The placement of the problem stones will be directly between the beauties and the foundation wall, and there will be very little space for the landscaper to manoeuvre. I am thinking that the least damaging way to try to protect them would be to run a thin rope from one end Of the row of plants to the other and pull them away from the work area. If that doesn’t work, would it kill them if I cut them down to about 4-5 inches? My landscaper says sometimes we have to make sacrifices, I would be devastated If I lost my stunning plants! (I am a transplanted city girl and have a black thumb). It gives me great joy to see them grow stronger and fuller every year. I appreciate any advice you have to offer. Thank you in advance.

I was wondering how often I should water my tomato plants in my garden in this extreme heat ?
They have been in the ground for about a week now

Also I have a couple tomatoes in planters 16×14 1 plant in each

Do they need to be watered more often?

Thank you

Hello Master Gardeners.

Looking for help in determining what these brown spots are on our tomato plants.
– Backyard garden is in Toronto
– March 21 – Tomato seeds started indoors
– April 30 – Repotted to 3” pots
– May 23 -Transplanted to Greenhouse (Greenhouse does not get full sun all day. In past, tomatoes have done well)
– May 25 – Noticed brown spots on two of the varieties, Cherokee Purple first and then Sweetie. Not on all plants.
– Appears to be first leaves only.


Hi There. I have recently planted Emerald Cedars in an area that seems to stay quite wet. Previous to the Cedars, I have Hills Yews planted last May. They died in a few months. It may be that the Yews died due to how wet the soil was? My question is in caring for the newly planted Cedars, it was recommended that I water them for only about a minute at the root daily for three weeks. I have also read that Cedars generally like moist soil and should not be dry when the Cedars are young. I just want to ensure that these Cedars don’t suffer the same fate at the Yews. Just looking for some care advice.

We planted three rhododendrons ‘Lee’s Dark Purple’ three years ago in our west Toronto oak canopied backyard. This year they do not appear to be thriving- the leaves are a bit sparser and there are hardly any buds. We have added compost over the seasons and I make my own mulch from cedars and pine debris at our cottage. We also have an irrigation system. I feel that they are in the right location as there are other rhodos growing beautifully next door. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do to improve their health?

I have a terrible problem with creeping bellflower that was in the garden of the house I purchased 5 years ago. I’ve been digging for these 5 years and the problem is getting worse, not better. Do you have any idea how to get rid of them. Unfortunately it has creeped into the grass, all my annuals, and veggie beds. I am desperate.

I have not cut away the damaged leaves, but is there a spray that I can use to discourage this to happen?

My usually healthy and very large four-trunk Katsura tree (15+ yrs) – has been dropping shriveled dry black leaves. I sweep them from deck every day – not many (20 or so) – BUT it is very concerning. Please advise & thanks!

Hi. I am a complete enthusiastic novice and am about to plant my bed. I live in Leslieville. Please would you advise me about any critter deterrent.
Thank you

I’m trying to get some myrtle spurge for my front garden but am not having any luck. Do you know of any garden centres that would likely have it some for sale which I could contact? A lot of homes in my East York neighbourhood have some in their gardens but nobody is ever outside when I pass so I’m unable to ask where they bought it.

Thank you

I had a sapling gray dogwood planted in my small downtown backyard in Toronto by LEAF about 19 years ago. It has thrived and became much larger than I expected and much to my pleasure. However, it started getting dead branches in the past couple of years. I had them removed and last year the tree looked better than ever with a lot of new growth. However, this spring, almost a third of the tree is not producing leaves. I have clay soil but add compost and mulch. My yard is shady but the tree gets plenty of sun now that most of the branches are higher than the garage. It will break my heart to lose this tree and I’m hoping it can be saved. Any advice will be welcome.

I have predominantly blue irises in my yard. Some years ago, to my delight, some tall yellow irises appeared. They disappeared after two seasons. Now, more than 5 years later, three stunted, 8″ tall, pure yellow irises appear 3 ft from the original iris cluster. What do you think could have happened? (I had a similar situation of disappearing white iris in the back yard. It never showed up again.)
My guess: seeds from a seed pod got blown to the site, and it took several years for the seeds to germinate.


I just would like to say thank you for allowing residents to contact this community for all our gardening needs!

This year we are first time gardeners and we planted a nice fresh veggie patch with a variety of different veggies (Including 3 fruit bushes each being strawberry, raspberries and blueberries). We have been reading about mulching our garden, and it seems that Hay, Straw, Pine needles, Grass clippings and Leaves are the way to go, but sadly we can’t seem to get a hold of these materials what so ever. We read that wood chippings may also be used, but that seems to be highly not recommended for vegetables as they are not permanent plants. We heard that Newspaper and Cardboard may be used, but we aren’t quite sure how to go about using it, or if it’s safe to use (We keep reading mixed reviews).

We are completely unsure of what route to take, considering Hay, Straw, Pine needles, Grass clippings and Leaves are unavailable EVERYWHERE we look that isnt 100+ KM away from the city. Would you recommend us any thing we may use to keep our garden fresh with mulch?

Thank you, we would love all the help we could get!

I would like to know where I can purchase acidanthera bulbs.
Thank you.

I found Spurge – Euphorbia Polychroma in one store. I like it since I want a yellow follower/ground cover with yellow flower for spring time. My concern for this, is it going to be out of control and bushy (big). I do not want to spread like crazy. That is only my concern. I prefer something with height 20-30 cm and width 20-30cm as well. Thank you so much.

I found Potentilla aurea one store. I like it since I want a yellow follower/ground cover with yellow flower for spring time (the label says it blooms is summer which is ok too). My concern for this, is it going to be out of control and bushy (big). I do not want to spread like crazy. That is only my concern. I prefer something with height 20-30 cm and width 20-30cm as well. Thank you so much.

We’re trying to source some hedges for the property at Philpott Gardens in the Beaches Toronto. The main thing we’re looking for is a suitable plant for the hedge that does not rely on regular watering, more hardy, and doesn’t need really good soil. 2-3 ft below the surface is clay and stone.

I notice on a lower branch the leaves had holes. I applied dormant oil early April, but the spout of the sprayer did not have the nipple device to enable an even spray. It only sprayed in 2 directions. It was difficult to spray the tree well. The tree is a mature tree. It needed more pruning, but I did what I could to not shock the tree. I can not send a picture as they say the file is too big

I have been dealing with this invasive plant for 4 years since we moved into our current home. It got worse each year. I finally have to use RoundUp as it has become unmanageable. My question is : Should I dig up the dead ones before I plant over the site? Please advise.

Is it too late to do a Chelsea chop on a large clump of shasta daisies ‘Alaska’ that I have? They are very tall and require staking. I was hoping that if I cut them now the stems would get stronger. I am worried I might cut off the blooms if I do it now. Thank you.

Hi! I have fallen madly in love the plant verbena bonariensis, tall verbena; also known as Meteor Showers by Proven Winners. I have honestly contacted at least 7 garden centres in the GTA including Toronto, Newmarket, Bradford, Unionville and no one carries this plant. It is too late now to grow it from seed. I am wondering if there is any chance that you might know of a garden centre that sells this plant. I notice it was was also a plant at the Toronto Botnaical gardens in the entry way in 2012 but I cannot find it anywhere. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Alternatively, and God Willing, I will grow it from seed next February!
Thank you in advance and have a lovely day!

Hello, I have one plant that has done very well in my garden. I am trying to buy a few plants for mass planing but I am unable to locate them at any of the local nurseries. Is there a way to propogate this plant? I have seen seeds but I am not sure if the young plants would survive the cold in the winter. I live in Toronto.


I planted the seeds but they are so skinny after a month. Is it normal?

Good morning

So we have these tiny, 1 cm long, shiny black head, 1mm thick body, plus dark hairs – caterpillar dropping down from everything. I think they are biting but maybe they are stinging and the bites hurt. Please help identify, I attached a picture but not sure if good enough.

Am growing an heirloom tomato on my balcony in mid town toronto. It faces East and gets the morning sun. Every morning there are droplets of water on the leaves. They do not come from water dripping from the balcony above me nor from any rain in the night. No evidence of this on any other plants on the balcony. Have success in growing tomatoes in that location in the past, but this is the first time have tried an Heirloom. What could be the cause of these morning droplets and what should I do about them.


Last year we planted 8 beech trees (5-6 feet) and they are establishing well. The goal is to have them 10 feet tall and as dense, bushy as possible to provide privacy.

What is the pruning approach? To you wait until the to branch is over 10 feet and the bushy section is higher? Wait until it is fully denser lower down?

I read the earlier post that was made on this site, but it did not address the height issue.

Your advice is greatly appreciated!

Many thanks

Four or five tall Manitoba maples line the south fence of my property but on the neighbour’s side. We had them thinned this year but the plants (typical shade plants – hostas, ferns, astilbe etc) are small and straggly.
1) Do the maples deplete the soil’s water and or nutrients?
2) if yes, and I feed/water religiously, will my plants thrive or will the Manitoba maples just get healthier. Sigh.
If a good feeding is a good idea do you know a type of compost and a site for calculating amounts.

I have two maple trees in my backyard that has begun to spit in the middle. These trees were planted in 2003 and are in direct sunlight. The cracks you are seeing in the attached image started happening about 3 or 4 years ago. At the time, we thought it was nothing until it started expanding. Other than that, both trees appear to be quite healthy and sprout leaves each spring.

Is there a way to treat these trees and if so, how? The idea of cutting these trees down is unfathomable to me.

Type of soil: There may be remnants of clay since the area we live in was a farmers field and subdivision was created back in 2001.

Climate Zone: Not sure but we live in Aurora, Ontario so, I image this mirrors the temperature across many parts of Canada

In advance, thank you for your help and advice.


Hi, I am trying to buy wisteria locally, but I could not locate a nursery selling the plant. Davenport is out of stock, the rest does not carry. Any tips? thanks

There is a patch of established, large white trilliums in my backyard garden. The leaves of some of the trilliums are deformed as you can see in the attached photo. The soil is sandy and acidic and the patch grows right next to a path on the east side of a large boxwood shrub. The other plants growing nearby are solomon’s seals. The woodland garden is sunny in early spring and becomes shaded by large red oak trees as the leaves are coming out. Would you know why the leaves are curling and what should I do about this? Thank you for your assistance.

I planted this at the corner of my house.
The tag says ‘3-6 hrs of daily sun’, ‘1.2 – 2m tall x 1.2 – 2m wide’

The spot has irregular sunlight – morning a couple hours, then fro early in the afternoon almost full –
1. Is this fine or too much sun?
2. Also there is only 30cm to the wall… Should I relocate later?
3. The second day several buds got ruined.. possibly bit by rabbits? I followed this advise on YouYube link and start covering the plant with a tulle fabric at night. Is it alright?

I am curious to know if I should do a soil test to understand the level of nutrients that my vegetable garden contains and the possibility that I may not be replenishing the nutrients used by my plants each year. What type of cost am I looking at? I do not necessarily have a problem with the soil just yet but I do notice that yield has been somewhat down over the last 2 years even though I have been adding bags of cow manure. I am not adding any chemical fertilizer and I do not till over the dead plants. It started off 7 years ago as grass on a clay type soil bed, but over the years of tilling and adding top soil, manure, wood chips at one point, it has become much better. I stopped using the city of Toronto compost because I heard that they use the dead leaves and those leaves give off bad chemicals, not sure if there is truth to that?

I am looking to buy a rose for a corner in my backyard along the east fence. It gets a lot of afternoon sun, especially higher up, with strong light 12-6pm more or less (but it’s not sunny all the time on the floor; in fact, moss grows nearby). I am placing a 4 ft x 1 ft x 1 ft planter box in that spot. I was thinking of planting a climbing rose in that corner, would that work? What variety of rose do you recommend? And if a rose won’t do well, can you recommend something else? Thanks

We recently noticed a number of slugs and snails in our garden and have been destroying our plants. We tried looking up for a pesticide that I can buy from local nurseries or Home Depot or Lowes but not much help there. Where can I buy some effective pesticides for these?

Hi there
We would like to grow a privacy hedge along our backyard fence and love the look of Nelly Stevens Holly or English Laurel. These hedges have shiny leaves and grow together nicely so we can prune to look like a wall. We would like fast growing and a total height of 20 feet.

Will these plants survive in Brampton – zone 5? They are rated for zone 4.

Are there any zone 5 hedges with shiny leaves, we do not like cedars or hemlock.

Thank you!

My backyard is covered in stone. I am going to place two 4 x 1 x 1 ft planter boxes along the east fence to plant Boston ivy to go up the fence. The location is under the canopy of a large silver maple so has quite a bit of shade. I have two questions: 1) should I plant one or two Boston ivy plants (1 gallon each) in each planter? And is there anything else I could plant in the planter boxes, in addition to the Boston ivy? Could I plant something else to give the planter a bit of colour? I am pretty clueless with gardening, so thank you for your help!

Hello. I was planning to plant foxgloves in my yard this year for the first time, but I have just learned that they are poisonous. I have a dog, as well as squirrels, a rabbit and many birds who visit the yard. Does foxglove pose a risk to them? Thanks for your help.

I have a shaded woodland garden in downtown Toronto. I have Hostas along a shady path, some growing in Vinca, some in loam beds. A number of new Hosta shoots have not unfurled and grown misshapen with the very tip drying to a black kind of thread. What can cause this? I have included a photo of H Royal Standard deformed shoots.

I’m looking for a vine, as described above, to cover a concrete block wall in Toronto. English Ivy? Any variegated ivies that would work? What about Emerald Gaiety Euonymous? Purple Wintercreeper Euonymous?

And what about a Climbing Hydrangea? Does it need to be supported? Are there pink/rose ones suitable for our zone?

*What is our zone when converted to US hardiness zones?

Would you know where I can buy Black Baccara Rose and Dolce Wildberry Coral Bell?
I am not having any luck so far in places like Sheridan, Kennedy Greenhouse and others.

do i use an all purpose fertilizer or one of those with a high phosphorous number which is for blooms? read differing opinions. i am using miracle gro potting soil in pots. I also have a few geraniums in the ground .

I live in St Marys, outside Toronto. I desperately need to locate a dealer who can supply a replacement 8foot black/white cedar which was part of a line up. I’ve checked local surrounding nurseries. Do you have a suggested contact. Thank you

I have this tree growing in the back of my garden. I think it is a cherry tree, but not sure. Plan to move it to a sunnier location if it is,

Hello, I have a viburnum shrub that is about 30 yrs old. Has always done so beautifully with lots of blooms. This year after 3 days all the leaves were destroyed by these very small black caterpillar-like insects. They are about 5mm in length ( like size of rice). They don’t appear to be “hairy” nor do I see any signs of them clustering together on the trunk or branches. Only when I cut a branch, a lot of them clustered to the cut wood. Can the shrub be saved or should I cut it down. Will it affect my other plants?

Hello, I live near downtown Toronto, so my front and rear yards are very small – each under 700 sq ft. I am not lawn care savy and don’t know how to care for my lawn. All I do is mow & rake. I let the rain water my lawn. I read that to get a deep green colour, I should use iron. Scotts Green Max is 27-0-2 with 5% Iron – – and Canadian Tire GolfGreen NitroGrow is 34-0-12 with either 2% or 4% – their website isn’t clear – . sells Ironite 1-0-1 with 20% Iron, but is no longer sold in Canada – . Can I use Ferrous Sulfate Heptahydrate – ? Do you know how much powder to mix with how much water and what area it will cover to get 20% iron? Or should I apply a lower percentage? Thanks.

I have a garden area filled with masses of ferns.They are shaded and have damp soil so they grow well.They are quite a sight!Two years ago I lost a few dozen and this year I lost several dozen.
I wondered if we put a thick layer of leaves on this area in the Fall would that protect them? .We might be replicating a ‘forest ‘? That idea came to me when I realised the yard man had not put most
of the leaves in this garden for the past 2 years.
Just a guess.
Thanking you in advance

Hi, nearly all of my tulips got Botrytis tulipae this year. I am cleaning up the area and won’t be planting tulips in the same location for a few years. My question is whether or not it’s safe to plant other bulbs in the same location as the blight. I would like to plant narcissus or iris but do not want to waste good money if the new plantings are likely to also be infected. My research tells me that iris can get botrytis too. Is it a different strain?

I garden in zone 5b, sunny conditions, loam, fairly dry conditions.

Thank you so much for your help.

How can I treat these foliage destroying caterpillars rat are mnchung their way through every leaf on our weeping copper beech tree, oak tree and Japanese maple trees.

We have just moved in to a house that has an old cedar hedge which is dying at various places. It has holes in it. The branches where it is dyeing has a speckle of white on it. How do I treat it?
secondly, in one section the old owners planted new cedar trees to probably fill up some section. So there are cedar trees growing in sections of the hedge. If I cut the trees down will they blend into the hedge? The hedge is about 5 ft tall. Is a cedar tree plant different from a cedar hedge plant? we really like the hedge it gives our front yard a lot of privacy. I would really appreciate some advice. I am not a very experienced gardener.
I can only attach one image but would like to share an other where they have planted cedar trees between the hedge.

I look forward to hearing from someone. Thank you so much. Munira


First of all thank you for your website, it’s very helpful so far with some of my questions answered already. I live in East York and I bought an English lavender plant and am growing it in a container. Two weeks have now passed and my lavender seems to be consistently droopy and does not perk up at night as what most forums say they do when they’re conserving water. Furthermore, the stems have become very brittle and woody.

A little bit more about its living conditions: since I live in south Toronto, my climate zone would be 6a. I leave my lavender plant by my corner window facing south and west to ensure it gets sufficient sunlight. I also spray water on my plant once a week to prevent soil moisture and root rot. I have transferred the lavender plant from its original pot to a bigger one and added some basic potting mix, but I am not sure what type of soil it is (although I know it is not sandy). I have also included crushed eggshells in order to make the soil more alkaline.

Will I still be able to rescue my lavender plant if the mother stem is already woody? There are still many green stems shooting from the woody mother stem however. I would like to know what steps I can take to rescue my plant if it’s not too late (i.e. how to prune properly, watering, soil conditions). Thank you in advance for your help!


I had a company fertilize many of my cedars in my yard mostly larger ones. The company also fertilized 2 small cedars located in front of my home which I notice turned brownish/yellow after a couple of weeks.
I’m trying to figure out if there dying or burnt and if there’s a way to save/revive them back to there original green look.

I am in Mississauga. This is my current flower bed. It was full of thistle weed and some creepers which i manually dug out. I think my soil is a mess with roots, leaves,stones and mulch so how do i prep is for new flowers? Do i need to sift the whole soil?
I do plan on using triple mix soil for my flowers so just using that in localized areas where i dig for flower planting is enough?

Hi Toronto Master Gardeners – hope all is well.

My newly planted young rose bushes (Double Knock Out, Floribunda, Grandiflora and Hybrid Tea Roses) are producing new leaves and stems in bright burgundy color with extra thorns. Older thorns and stems are turning reddish as well. I’m very worried it could be Rose Rosette, but I’m no expert and this is my first year of growing roses in Toronto.

Please advise. Thank you.

Warm regards,

My beautiful mature oak trees rain catkins this time of year. They create a carpet of brown across my yard and I skim my swimming pool multiple times a day. My gardens are likewise full of catkins. The catkins disintegrate into dust when I sweep them. Can I leave them in the garden as added organic material? Does it do any harm if I sweep them into my garden?

Hi there, for the first time I brought a few potted peppers inside for the winter and have just recently put them back outside. It’s a rooftop deck in downtown Toronto and they’re getting about 8 hours of full sun. They’re in regular potting soil in a 14” pot. I’ve been giving them pro mix fertilizer (20-8-8) weekly for about a month or two. The habanero looks healthy, lots of leaves and flowers and several peppers have formed but some are already starting to turn orange and are only the size of a raspberry. I’m wondering what I should be doing in terms of pruning, picking back flowers and fertilizing during the growing season. Thank you so much!

I have a Boston Ivy along my fence. It has done well for many years and spread to all my neighbors. But along my fence the original location, has not produced many leaves or just a few so far. What is the solution?

I live in Nipigon (north of Thunder Bay) and my Ohio Buckeye has numerous canker-like scars on the twigs. I wanted to ask someone in Toronto as you might be more familiar with this species. I’m a retired Forest Technician and can’t find anything in my pathology books nor on the web. There are not any apparent fruiting bodies on the wounds and nothing seeping from them however small black ants are in and around the wounds. The “wounds” don’t appear to affect the vigor of the twigs past that point and it’s trying to heal over them but they weaken it and the branches often break. I realize it may be out of it’s range but the tree seems to be putting out new branches and leaves each year. The tree is in full sun in a silty/sandy/gravelly soil and puts out good growth each year. My Butternut is in the same site and is doing well up here too.
Could this be some kind of frost damage? It does get below -30° C in the winter. Any help would be appreciated. (I tried to add a (0.5 MB) photo but it wouldn’t upload it)

I want to plant a row (4) of Ilex crenata in a strip of soil two feet wide for a length of six feet. This area does not get full sun–it gets partial sun, perhaps 4-5 hours in the morning and early afternoon, but none after 3-4 pm. I have read conflicting information regarding the amount of sun this plant needs. Also, I live in Toronto below the height of land, which places me in the warmer zone, I believe 5b. I have read conflicting information about the hardiness of this plant. The planting site is also against a neighbours verandah wall, so the plants would be shielded from the worst of winter winds. The soil is not sandy; given that I live in Toronto, I assume a clay-based soil, with non-acidic pH. I have not purchased any trees yet. Are they likely to survive in this spot?
Thank you,

my boston ivy has died back in large patches over the last two years. This year I noticed numerous little waxy spots on the underside of the leaves. Do you know what it might be and could this be causing my plants to die off?

My blue spruce is 3 years old. But I noticed it has grown but there is thin growth on the inside of the tree in that u can see the branches and trunk very well. Is this tree lacking something?

Hi – I live in a wooded area in the countryside near Orangeville so zone 4b. Have this geranium growing successfully in some parts of the garden. Two years ago, took out lawn and replaced with the geranium. Did well year one, less so year two. This year (year 3), lost a lot of plants over the winter. Growing in damp part shade. The plants along the edge by the driveway are growing well, the ones in the middle areas suffering dieback, roots are sitting on top of soil. In the attached photo, it’s the area on the left and the area at the top of the photo. Not sure if due to less winter snow, or leaves lying thickly on them during winter. What might the issue(s) be? What will be the best way to revive the area and get the plants to thrive? Thank you

I am so sad…my beautiful rose has set no buds this year…first time ever…did I feed it the wrong food? Lush foliage but no buds
What is the right food for a rose…

Hello, I want to know if I can start perennial flower plants from seed now? I am fine with not getting flower this year, but if I can get a plant that gets established through the year to next spring, i will be happy.

We have recently renovated our cottage near Bancroft and have a stone wall that we would like to add plants to to deter animal activity here. We face north-west. Can you suggest some plants that would do well here? Thank you!

Toronto – We have 5 fruit trees/bushes that are 5 years old. Early July last year our cherry tree had one branch die back, leaves curled down to back, wilted and discolored to fall colours. Cut that one off but a couple of weeks later the rest of the tree did the same thing and although I hoped it was a one year thing the tree did not come back this year. It was dead. It is now starting in our plum all over at the tips of the branches, new growth, and starting to work back. Per my book it is the symptoms are fire blight. Can I save the plum and if yes how. Garden centre expert said little hope and just prune back severely (and fertilize?) and hope. He said he lost 4 trees to an apparently similar problem.
Second part of question is do I need to worry about so far healthy plants cherry bush (5 feet away), Peach (20 feet away), and Pear (30 feet away). Also have blackberry, blueberry and raspberry bushes in the vicinity.
Do I rip out the plum to save the rest? Do I need to do something to sterilize the soil? There are also cedars and other small bushes nearby. The garden is raised and L shaped with the foot being about 20’Lx12W’ and the upright being about 20’Lx7’W.


We have a somewhat shady backyard, and i was hoping to get some suggestions on hedge options. We have some overgrown elm trees that used to be a hedge long ago that I plan to replace. They face southeast, and get lots of light on that side, but the northwest side only will get dappled light through the day. There is also a large evergreen tree that takes up a lot of the light there. We have small children, so something poisonous is out for us as well. Are there any good options for us? Or should we just go with a fence instead?

– Ken

one question about spinach. I am growing some spinach in my balcony, I am seeing very long stems and small leaves. I get around around 4 hours of sun daily. What’s wrong? Thanks.

We have two overgrown junipers, 27 years old, beneath our southfacing front window. They are trimmed every year but last year when I tried to do a more severe trim I found that after 4” of greenery the entire interior of the plants are brown and dead looking. Can the bushes be cut back or will they die. The part trimmed away last year did not recover so there is a brown hole in a lush looking planting. Thank you

Please see photos. This is the 2nd year all the leaves have been eaten last year I did not notice the bugs maybe I did not look closely but just this week I saw all these black little bugs everywhere they are on The main trunk at the bottom as well.

There’s hundreds or thousands of them

At first I thought of cutting off some of the leaves but now they are on the trunks so I’m not sure what to do Please help thank you.

I have more photos. I’m in Toronto, Ontario and this bush has good sunlight

Etobicoke back yard garden. Limber pine planted spring last year.
Noticed today a white substance, powdery. Noticed a small white worm/caterpillar on the white substance.
Please help with a diagnosis.

I recently bought 2 potted coneflowers in April. One already had 2 fully bloomed flowers when i bought the container. They would wilt during the day and get better in cooler evenings/overnight. I thought it needs to be transplanted, so I planted them on the ground. They still stay too much stressed during the day. The leaves edges have started browning and drying. The flower wilt as if it is going to die soon. The entire plant droop/sag. But overnight they get better and upright. I am in Toronto Canada and the weather is not too bad. What is happening to my coneflowers? Did I get a bad batch to begin with? Please help.

I live on Lawrence Ave W and just replaced my retaining wall. Soil is clay and is now 9’x13′ facing south. The contractors had left stones and debris and I have tried to remove as much of these. The front is 2′ high due to the wall now straight instead of a slope and the side is 10” x 16′ long. Can I just try to move the existing soil to fill in the gaps and level off and then add new earth on top of existing soil or go with only mulch. I only have 2 hick’s yews and some. I had a border of Heartleaf Bergenia but most were damaged during the construction. Last few years I had nd loved Ruby Stone Coneflowers but they took the whole area over. I am looking for suggestion on some lower maintenance small shrubs as a border (not boxwood but maybe some low round or dwarf euonymus. Simple but something all year round but not too spreading due to the small space.

I have a volunteer Red oak that is now about 8+ feet tall. The tree sits on the east side of the house under the canopy of a 35 foot red oak, a 20 foot bass wood and another unknown tree. Near by there is also cedar and an ash. The location is breezy, elevated, well draining and the sapling gets dappled sunlight. It has been a healthy tree.
This year there are ‘gooseberry’ type growths in colour and approx. 1/2″ x 3/4″ oblong shape.

What are they and what to do?

Hi there, my boxwoods are covered in what I have identified positively as the Boxwood MothCaterpillar.
I have searched endlessly for recommendations on how to get rid of them and what product to use and while there are lots of articles about the pest, I cannot find any information on your site on how to treat or get rid of them.
Thank you

I have two pagoda dogwoods in large planters in a rooftop garden, planted in summer 2017. They get a lot of sun and are pretty sheltered, as they are beside an 8-foot wall. The soil is kept moist but far from wet. Right now, they have plenty of leaves, which look quite healthy, but hardly any blossoms and all of those are on the topmost branches. Why are there not more blossoms? Should the trees have had a lot more fertilizer (worm compost) in the fall? Should I try that this fall and hope for more flowers in 2021?

What is this tree ? the cedar waxwings seem to really like it this week.

My 4 year old grape vine is in a sunny spot getting 8-9 hours of sun in Mississauga ontario has developed pinkish red spot on leaves. Will up load a picture.
What to stop and prevent it?
Thank you.

I have this northeast corner in my backyard; the whole in the ground is only 11” x 22”, so I’m thinking of putting a planter box on it. I’d like to put a plant in the corner, ideally a climbing rose or some other vine that climbs on the (east) fence and the shed you can see on the right. Would a deep planter allow for a climbing rose there? There’s good afternoon sun in that spot. If so, what would be the require measurement of the planter? And if not, can you recommend some other vine or plant? Thank you.

The dwarf Japanese Maple “Waterfall” which leafs out beautifully every May in a sunny location for the past 16 years has hardly any leafs on it now on June 4th. The leafs are very slowly and gradually appearing. It doesn’t appear to be diseased. Could this be due to a cold spring and/or too many allium “Purple Sensation” plants which have spread and grown too close to the Japanese maple roots? I am pulling a lot of them out.

Last year I started cherry type tomatoes under lights then enjoyed a bumper crop after moving the plants to a large container on my balcony. This year I started plants under the lights again using seed saved from last year’s crop, and moved them to the same container after the last frost date. The plants look healthy and seem to be growing normally, but they are flowering already and the flowers are so small that any fruit which develop are likely to be only a little larger than a pin head. Do you have any suggestions on how to get the flowers and subsequent fruit to be normal size for a cherry tomato? In anticipation, thanks for your answer.

as it was recommended by you for my new dawn rose I need to know where do I find it in toronto?
I can find all sorts of formulas but not this one….
Thank you again for all your help.

Hi there,
I am looking for a Bing cherry tree to plant. Do you sell it or know how I can get one please? I have visited Home Depot, Walmart, Sheridan nurseries and they didn’t have any.
Thank you!

I live in Toronto (zone 6) and my backyard has tile. I’m planning to plant a climbing hydrangea In a planter box along my East fence. What would the dimensions need to be? Would a 2 ft deep planter be enough? And what would be the length and width? Thank you.

This weed plant has taken over our backyard and we have been trying to get rid of it by plucking by the roots, however the roots are strong and go much deeper. It would be helpful to know the name of the weed, to get more help- Would spraying some kind of weed application help eliminate? Thanks

Hi gardening friends ~

Suddenly this spring, the daisies (possibly shasta, possibly oxeye) in my front garden have taken over! They’re killing my sedum and other plants. Yesterday I manually ripped out 2 leaf bags worth but of course the roots are still in the ground. From research I understand that they spread by rhizomes so I expect I need to dig up the roots. Are you able to give me any more information e.g. are they shallow or deep-rooted, will they keep recurring for years, how invasive are they? Also, can you suggest anything flowering but not invasive that I might plant to replace them? South-west facing, pretty much full sun. Black-eyed susans also turned out to be invasive as did coneflower so those are off the list. Many thanks, and stay safe!!

I live in Toronto (zone 6) and my backyard has tile. I’m planning to plant a climbing hydrangea In a planter box along my East fence. What would the dimensions need to be? Would a 2 ft deep planter be enough? And what would be the length and width? Thank you.

I recently moved into a new house and inherited a tree in my backyard. I am not sure what type of tree it is, and it seems to have had leaves last summer from what I recall before I purchased the house. However, it has not produced any leaves or flowers so far this year, which has me concerned. It has been putting out a lot of suckers at the base of the trunk which I have been regularly pruning off, but I am not seeing any new growth on the branches. I live in Toronto (North York area). The tree is about 10 feet tall, 3 feet spread. I’d also like to mention that it had been tied to a wooden support via a copper wire by the previous owners and that seems to have cut into the bark just above the lumpy part of the main trunk (see photo)- I have recently removed this wire as it appeared to be damaging the tree. I am hoping you could help me in identifying the tree, and recommending what I could do to revive it and perhaps heal the cut made in the bark to prevent bugs/diseases in this area. Thanks for your assistance!

Hi there,
I recently moved into a new house and inherited what I believe looks like a weigela shrub in my front yard. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be getting any leaves or flowers on most of the branches: only a couple of branches have leaves and some few feeble flowers so far. I live in the North York area of Toronto, and the shrub is about 2 feet tall x 2 feet wide. Could you confirm if I’ve correctly identified this as a type of weigela, and provide any recommendations of what might be wrong with this shrub, and how I could revive it? Thanks for your assistance!


Can you tell me why my rose has withered. It is in a sunny south facing border in Toronto. I am not sure what kind of soil I have (acidic or otherwise) but it is good loam with proper drainage. I water by hand. This was just planted last year.

These mushrooms have been growing en mass in my garden. They generally hid under other plants or very close to them. I find them unpleasant – what can I do about them? Are they harmful to the rest of the garden?

8 year old tree, usually blooms so healthy each year. This year, 1 limb is dead. I need someone to look at this and some information on what is happening and how to deal with this beautiful tree. Many thanks, Susan

Can i have an expert advice how to take care a tree gardenia? I recently purchased a tree gardenia but It is extremely tricky to take care of it. I would really be glad if you can simplify some of my question.

Q1. How do i fertilize my gardenia? There are tons of different type of fertilizer in the store, i am at lost. There were no-one at the store could actually help me also. What type or brand of fertilizer I will require for this plant?

Q2. How do I make soil acidic?

Q3. So far I understand fertilizing a soil is different job than making it acidic. is that true?

If you can please help me on these concern I would be really glad, because I am really concern to do any foolish steps since this is a very tricky plant, lot of people told me. Can you please summarize what we are dealing here?

Thank you.

I want to grow something 8-10ft tall along about 8 feet of my fence line, to create privacy. I have sandy soil. The area is shady. I want fast growing. I’m not fond of cedars. Want something clumping so it won’t spread under fence or into pathway. I live in Mississauga, near Rattray Marsh (zone 6). I was looking for a clumping bamboo or attractive grass with hope of fast growing. If nothing like that is available in this area, maybe a vine but concerned about controlling spread. Any suggestions please? Thanks very much! Ruth

My rose bush, which looks healthy otherwise, is being eaten by something but the culprit is not visible to me. No beetles, aphids etc.

I have noticed that the boxwood which is beside it has hundreds of tiny flies within the foliage noticeable when I brush it with my hands. I put the hose on it to get rid of them to no avail.

Hi I am looking for cherry tree, but the cherry with the yellow and red fruit, not the dark red, to plant in my garden.

We live around High Park area in Toronto (Zone 5 is my guess) and planted this Saucer Magnolia at the end of May.
We noticed that started to dent and dry out around the edges. It is also growing new leaves but the come out like covered in a thin white membrane outside. It doesn’t look normal to me.
We have been watering plenty every day and it is planted in a sunny area where a former small magnolia used to stand (we removed it last year because of a car bumped into her, but we did not removed the roots).
I can forward more pictures if needed.
Thanks for the help

I live in Waterloo, Ontario. I have two hydrangea plants of unknown variety (I think white ball shaped blooms). It has been a few years since they bloomed. Last year I blamed it on the February thaw as I saw that they had budded out and then we went back to hard winter freezes. Both last year and this year I have assumed they were dead and now in early June, I finally see some leaves forming close to the ground. I did not trim them last year. They are part of a large foundation garden. They have eastern morning light.

I live in Waterloo, Ontario. I have a climbing rose that is a prolific grower and bloomer ( I don’t know the exact variety). It has southern exposure against a brick wall. The soil is pretty good – I think. It has been amended and doesn’t seem overly heavy like clay – if anything maybe closer to a sandy soil. I just noticed the leaves on some of the canes are yellow and spotted. When I handled them some fell off easily. There are a lot of buds forming.

My snowball bushes have been attacked for the second year in a row. The leaves are almost all gone. They only had a couple blooms befroe the leaves and the blooms were eaten. I have identified it as Virburnum leaf beetle from all the larvae on the underside of all the leaves. Brownish black to start but larger ones have the subtle stripes on them that I have seen from images. I have not actually seen a beetle.

The leaves only came out two weeks ago and there is virtually nothing left. I did not spray with horticultural oil in the early spring before the tree started to leaf so instead, I have sprayed twice with vegetable oil/dish soap/water combination and it appears to do nothing to the larvae. I am considering digging them up and getting rid of them before it spreads to something else like my vegetable garden nearby. The bushes are small, 3 feet high, but they look awful already. I may consider compost and mulch and watering to help the bush if I could get rid of the beetles.

Should I spray with Horticultural oil now? If so, do I spray the tree and the surrounding soil? How do I know if I have resolved the issue?

My outdoor ferns had something step on them and they broke. Do I cut them off at the break or down at the bottom? Also will they grow back?

I’ve noticed many maple trees shed an early crop of seed, towards the end of May or mid-June. Are these seeds viable or do maples shed them to make way for the remaining seed clusters still on the tree? The ground beneath maples is soon covered at this time by these small green helicopters. During autumn, of course, maple seeds of a more substantial size are shed in equally short period of time. I’d like to know whether clearing away the small, first crop actually prevents seedlings developing.

I leave in a condo building in Toronto. My unit is at the second floor and it is above the garbage room. There is an exhaust louver beside the bottom of my balcony. Sometimes the exhausted air from the garbage room is blowed to my balcony and into the unit. I am thinking that a green giant may block the exhausted air from blowing to the balcony. My unit faces north. There is no sunlight around the balcony. Can I plant a green giant? If the green giant is not a good idea, what would you like to recommend?
Thanks in advance.

I live in North York. The Anthony Spirea is currently in mostly shade and I want to transplant it to a spot that is about half shade and sun. I want to do that now in June 2020. What should I do to prepare the soil to help it survive in this new spot. Thanks Lorrie

I have a shady garden in Toronto. I first saw the yellow leaves with black dots on my holly this year. I have clay soil. I’ve removed the damaged leaves.

I planted a cherry tree in a sunny spot last May. This year I saw budding on all the branches, but only one branch grew leaves. The rest of the buds just dried off. I dont know what is wrong with the tree.

How often should I water my tomatoes? How do I determine if they are too much in the sun? If so, what can I do?

Hi, I am a not very fit senior on a budget. I have a large back yard and I have areas where there is no grass growing just weeds. I have been doing some research on soil solaraization to kill the weeds and have found conflicting information as to whether to use clear plastic film or black tarps. What do you say?

Hi there,

I contacted Agriculture Canada, and they referred me to master gardens of ontario. I have bug infestation in my yard.

How to kill leatherjacket (crane fly Larvae) in my garden? They killed all my tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and strawberries? Basically they wiped out all my plants in the garden. I need a method to kill all immediately, and also the next generation



Hi there,

I contacted Agriculture Canada, and they referred me to master gardens of ontario. I have bug infestation in my yard.

How to kill leatherjacket (crane fly Larvae) in my garden? They killed all my tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and strawberries? Basically they wiped out all my plants in the garden. I need a method to kill all immediately, and also the next generation



To Whom It May Concern;
I am having trouble with my lawn. We woke up one day to dead grass. (See pictures). My husband fertilized our lawn. I’m just wondering if that could be the problem and or what can be done?

Thanks in advance
Shari Klu

I received a response yesterday suggesting I send a photo. I had done so but perhaps it was not clear enough. I am sending another photo of individual leaves from my rose bush.
I looked at the underside very closely and can see nothing that is eating these leaves.

Two of the leaves in the attached photo are that of the underside.

I do not know the name of this shrub but think it might be a weigelia.
It is not doing well this spring. Any suggestions?

Hi there,

I contacted Agriculture Canada, and they referred me to master gardens of ontario. I have bug infestation in my yard.

How to kill leatherjacket (crane fly Larvae) in my garden? They killed all my tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and strawberries? Basically they wiped out all my plants in the garden. I need a method to kill all immediately, and also the next generation



I leave in a condo building in Toronto. My unit is at the second floor and it is above the garbage room. There is an exhaust louver beside the bottom of my balcony. Sometimes the exhausted air from the garbage room is blowed to my balcony and into the unit. I am thinking that a green giant may block the exhausted air from blowing to the balcony. My unit faces north. There is no sunlight around the balcony. Can I plant a green giant? If the green giant is not a good idea, what would you like to recommend?
Thanks in advance.

Hi there,

I have an large empty space on my property (in direct sunlight) and would like to plant a tree there. I’m looking to pick a deciduous tree that will be grow to be as large and tall as possible — there is lots of space, so I want a dramatic and beautiful centerpiece for the property. I don’t particularly care about growing speed, so long as it grows very tall and wide with time.

What are some tree species that would fit this need? I was considering perhaps a maple (red? silver?) or an oak (red?), and would be very grateful to hear your thoughts. My property is located in the GTA.

Thanks for your help!

Hi there,

I contacted Agriculture Canada, and they referred me to master gardens of ontario. I have bug infestation in my yard.

How to kill leatherjacket (crane fly Larvae) in my garden? They killed all my tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and strawberries? Basically they wiped out all my plants in the garden. I need a method to kill all immediately, and also the next generation



Looking for some advice on some poolside landscaping options. I have mocked up a design (see attached) with a few tree options. The flower beds are 4’x30’ on the south-west side and 4’ x 19th on the north-west side. I prefer a fairly modern style Here are my questions:
1) We recently obtained permits to remove 2 weed trees from the yard an now need to incorporate the re-planting of 2 trees from the list of city of Toronto approved options. Looking for something that doesn’t grow too large so as not to shade the pool too much and doesn’t drop leaves or seeds or berries etc as they will be around the pool. I also like mixing a little red to flank the corners. Originally was thinking Japanese maple, but fear they will grow too large and shade the pool. Maybe something from the list of city approve trees? Looking for suggestions.
2) I love peegee hydrangea trees, but do you think 3 will be too crowded in an about a 14’ span betwee whichever trees are suggested for the corners? Backup plan of maybe euonymus trees that I can keep trimmed?
3)I’d like some privacy from the neighbours on the south-west side. Originally, I was thinking cedar trees, but I don’t like that they seem to harbour mosquitos, so now thinking of columnar beech trees. But open to suggestions
4) looking for suggestions on layering. Again, prefer more modern (or transitional) and not too busy. Thinking boxwood along the front and either hostas, grasses, or or periwinkle between the trees? I need some help!

I know those are a lot of questions, so if I’ve been too greedy in asking so many, the priority question would be #1 (which city approved trees are best for pool side planting?).

Thanks in advance,


I recently discovered an aphid infestation on my 2 Golden Full Moon Maples. I’ve been spraying the undersides of leaves with water to deal with them. Then I noticed ants on the trunks that congregated around knots. That’s when I discovered what appear to be Calico scale. Please advise if this ID is correct and if applying horticultural oil to trunk and branches in fall will help. Thank you.

Hi there,
I’m hoping to get some advice for my suffering calathea. As you can see, the leaves stay curled and upright. It took a while when I first got it to figure out what it needed within the conditions of my apartment, but after months of ups and downs, I had it sorted out and it was a bushy, healthy, colourful plant. Then this past Fall/Winter, it went through a period of inconsistent watering (too little for too long), where it was starting to crisp up at the leaf tips and lose it’s pink stripes, but after some regulating and care (consistent watering, misting and increasing humidity), it seemed to re-adjust. It even began growing a few new leaves (in the middle of winter..?). Around late Feb/March, it started losing its leaves, and overall lost 1/2-to-2/3 of its size. I think you can see from the picture all the holes where there were leaves – it was really shocking. The remaining leaves stay curled upward with browned tips (see pic). I wasn’t sure what to do with it, thought it might be the end, but figured I’d see if it got happier in spring. The old part of the plant hasn’t, but it does now have new growth coming in. These new leaves seem a lot shorter than the rest of the plant, have their pink stripes, and seem minimally crispy ended. I’m not sure how to care for the plant at this point: Should I cut off the older rolled up/dried out leaves (can it handle that much pruning)? Is there something I should do for the new growth so it doesn’t get affected by the old? It needs re-potting (the roots are pushing out of its pot at the bottom) and soon a change of location as the light patterns are changing and it’s now probably starting to get too much direct sun. However, that’s a lot of change all at once, and I’m not sure what to do with the existing/older leaves. Any advice on what may be wrong with it/how to care for it going forward is greatly appreciated.
With sincere thanks.

Why would my previously healthy 2 year old clematis suddenly shrivel and die? It is in sun most of the day, its roots are shaded, it bloomed for the first two years. It started growing this season, looking very healthy, with a number of flower buds. Suddenly within the last 5 days, it shrivelled up and looks dead. Could it simply be a lack of water? We haven’t had rain in about a week. The temps have ranged from 15 – 30 degrees C. I’m in south western Ontario. Thanks for any help.

I had 3x 7-8ft emerald cedars planted in the yard last summer (unfortunately regrets with who I had plant them). It seems they were planted way too close together and they started to brown top to bottom, one more severely than the others. I’ve removed the most affected one and shifted the middle one over to have a good amount of space – I checked the drainage, soil etc. as reading on here for recommendations. My question is for the affected brown segments on the remaining cedars whether I should leave the brown leaves as is, prune the whole branches/brown segments, shake them off? If I run my hand along the tree lots of brown leaves will fall off, especially on the sides that were close to each other (they were planted so close they were touching each other). I have checked for spiders or mites, nothing seen there. Is there anything else I can do to help with the recovery? Or is the same going to happen to these trees as well?

HI there
I live in the Etobicoke area. I have a redbud tree (about 6 years old) in the front yard (west facing so it enjoys afternoon sun). It flowered this season. However, the garbage truck inadvertently ripped a mature branch from the trunk. The remaining part of the branch was cut from the trunk. Now, 2 weeks later, the node on the trunk looks unhealthy and the “knot” is loose. I am wondering if it is infected, or if it should be sealed from infectious invaders? Or left alone? Thank you for your assistance. I have a picture (attached below).

Planted near a maple tree and bridal bush. Very shady. Located in east York.

The attached pictures show a 25 year old cedar foundation planting that, as you can see, has gone “out of control”. It is located on the north side of my house. During snow or heavy winds, it is now separating in to 3 sections. Is there any way of saving this tree? I would like a reply as soon as possible as it is scheduled to be cut down shortly unless it can be saved. Thank you

Hello there!
We have a completely enclosed curved 7 x 17ft bed that we would like to plant with groundcover to form curving rows that alternate different, contrasting plants. The idea is to have river rock flowing from a spilled’ pot surrounded by the rows of plants. Our plant selection is based on our location and is black scallop bugleweed and angelinas teacup sedum. My question is how to plant these in rows so that they won’t grow into each other. Will we have to use a divider between the plants to keep them separate and in their respective rows? Is there a better way to plant them?
Again, Thank you so much for your advice!

Hello there!
We have a completely enclosed curved 7 x 17ft bed that we would like to plant with groundcover to form curving rows that alternate different, contrasting plants. The idea is to have river rock flowing from a spilled’ pot surrounded by the rows of plants. Our plant selection is based on our location and is black scallop bugleweed and angelinas teacup sedum. My question is how to plant these in rows so that they won’t grow into each other. Will we have to use a divider between the plants to keep them separate and in their respective rows? Is there a better way to plant them?
Again, Thank you so much for your advice!

My yard is a typical small to medium city of Toronto yard.
I live about a block north of Lake Ontario in Mimico (part of Etobicoke), in an area that was once marsh land.
The soil is heavily clay.
Being close to the lake creates a microclimate that is cooler in the summer and a little warmer in the winter.
When I first got my property I dug deep and amended the clay with decent soil.
The plants seemed to appreciate that and I’ve had great success with a lot of unique plants.
It is now a fairly mature yard, dense, very natural looking with tall trees, understory trees and shrubs filled out with smaller flowering plants and ground covers.
Great care has been taken in understanding what would be the best exposure and planting situation for each plant… and so far they seem to be thriving.
A lot of the plants are acid loving (rhodos and azaleas) so the soil has been heavily amended to create a peaty, acidic base for them.
Just wanted to let you know a bit about where everything is growing.
I’ve never really bothered to fertilize anything since they all seem to be doing well… but after 25 years you’d think the nutrients in the soil might be depleted.
So I think it’s time to feed all of this.
I have a pile of fertilizers I’ve never used and am pretty overwhelmed with how and when to use to use them.
So this is why I’m reaching out to you today.

Not sure how to approach this so I have lists of the fertilizers, plants to be fed and some specific questions.

First of all I think I understand what N,P and K do.
Pretty sure this is what they do:
N greens leaves up – but does it promote more leaf growth?
P promotes root, fruit and bloom development – but can it be used on trees that don’t fruit or bloom?
K strengthens plants to resist disease and keeps them vigorous during drought and infestations – but I’ve read that the soil already has lots so is it necessary?

Am I correct?

I have a pile of fertilizers already, which is great, but am not sure which ones to use on which plant, shrub tree.
One of the fertilizer’s instructions said “use this as part of your regular fertilizer protocol. I read that and thought… I never had a fertilizing protocol. Should I?
If so what would that look like?
Any thoughts on a fertilizing protocol through out spring, summer and fall?

Forgive me but I’ve listed all of the fertilizers I have below so you know what I have.
Most seem N heavy.
I read the labels, get what they do but then I’m confused when the combos of numbers are similar.
Or when one lists that it’s good for trees, shrubs …and cedars?… so initially I think I can use it on all trees and shrubs (like a Serviceberry for example) until the mention of cedar… which makes me think it is more for evergreen trees like cedars.
I also don’t want to kill any plant with the wrong fertilizer or combo of fertilizers… or is that possible?
Here’s the list:
4-12-8 ( I know this promotes flowers in rhodos and azaleas)
Would the 20-20-20 be the best all round?

Again, for clarity I’m just going to list what I’d like to feed.

List of shrubs/trees I want to fertilize:
Jack Pine (mature, 20’)
Japanese Upright Yews (mature, 15’)
Japanese Maple (mature, 20’)
Mountain Ash (mature,25’)
Fairview Juniper (20’)
Weeping Japanese Maple
Mugo Pine (mature 5+’)
Magnolia (Susan?)
Sweet Bay Magnolia
Honeysuckle (old and mature)
Hicks and Hills Yews
Cedar (pyramidal)
Oregon Grape
Viburnum Lantana – Wayfarer Tree
Viburnum Plicantum
Balsam Fir (very tall – 70’, very scrawny, needs some love)
Forest Pansy Redbud (newly planted last fall, about 9’)
Ground cover junipers
Various grasses and ground covers: Ajuga, black Mondo grass, Japanese Forest Grass, Purple Coneflower, Rugutso rose etc.

General questions:
I’d was going to feed everything (evergreen and deciduous) a 30-10-10 to boost leaf/needle grow and green everything up. Does that make sense?
I want to feed the 30-10-10 to my rhododendrons and azaleas for the leaves but want to use a 4-12-8 also on them to encourage flowers. Will that be a toxic mix?
3) I have a weeping Japanese Maple that, for some reason this year, has not filled out like it normally does. It’s very bare. So I was going to give it a blast of the 30-10-10 thinking that, even though the foliage is red and not green, it will boost leaf production. But I’m unsure. Would the 20-20-20 be a better overall for it since it seems weakened?
4) Is there a perfect all round fertilizer? If so what N-P-K combo should I look for?

I think that covers it.
Apologies for so much detail but I figured you’d need to know the lay of the land before you can answer.
Looking forward to your thoughts.
Thanks. – Andy Brokenshire (416-252-2680)

What is the best way to treat this problem. It appears that every other year they appear.

What is the best way to treat this problem. It appears that every other year they appear.

Hello, Attached is a picture of my left flower bed. There is already two Weigelas and a ninebark. Do you have any recommendations on what shrub will go well with what I currently have to add more privacy? Thank you!

Hi, i would appreciate help with this. I need to find a nice evergreen for indoors, it would be right in front of a unit that has a little lobby that is cold in the winter . So we cannot put a tropic plant there, and it has a bit of sun in the morning, but it is mostly shady. I once planted the evergreen from home depot, but it died, i think because it had no sun. I read on your website that evergreen can grow in shade, where can I find shady evergreen??? Thank you in advance
I really wanna find this plant, a little evergreen bush or small tree, but the plants they sell in stores only those that has full sun on the label.
With regards,
Tanya Doyle

My maple tree is two years old. I do not want to lose it. Attached is a picture showing several leaves. As you can see the new ones look perfectly healthy.

What can/should I do to salvage the tree. See Photo attached.

Hi, I read that it is best to plant lilacs in the spring or fall, it is now mid June and I have 4 lilac bushes in planters. I’m wondering if I should keep the lilacs I just bought in their planters until September to plant into the ground or do it now? Thanks!

We’re in Willowdale – Yonge/Sheppard area – We’ve lived here 25 years and the lilac predates us. This year, for the first time, its bark has been attacked – quite severely. We caught squirrels in April/May munching away at some new shoots, but now that we’re in the yard again, can see the huge damage to the bush. Is there anything we can do to protect it? We’d love to keep the lilacs if at all possible. It took us years to figure out how to prune them properly to get blooms and would hate to lose them now!

Hi there, a prior owner planted rose of Sharon, lilac and rose bushes all together in a corner, it’s lovely. You’ll see in the picture though that there are now 3 rose of Sharon, one lilac and a rose bush. I’m wondering if I should remove one (or two) of the rose of Sharon, they are quite large and the roses seem to get overpowered. I appreciate your thoughts.

Hello there!
We have a completely enclosed curved 7 x 17ft bed that we would like to plant with groundcover to form curving rows that alternate different, contrasting plants. The idea is to have river rock flowing from a spilled’ pot surrounded by the rows of plants. Our plant selection is based on our location and is black scallop bugleweed and angelinas teacup sedum. My question is how to plant these in rows so that they won’t grow into each other. Will we have to use a divider between the plants to keep them separate and in their respective rows? Is there a better way to plant them?
Again, Thank you so much for your advice!

What could the problem be? These seedlings were fine until a couple of days ago although one seedling shrivelled up and died. Now, all my plants seem to be affected as well as the peppers. Some of the leaves are curled under. I’m wondering if the hot humid weather was a factor. Will this affect the plants once they are planted? Any remedies to treat leaves?


Hello – I live in Toronto – South facing garden, but with filtered shade from a mature honey locust tree. I want to plant shrubs with white flowers (no other colour). I’m getting a late start in 2020, as garden centres were closed in the spring, etc. Can I plant, in mid-late June, any or all of the following: white peony, white tree peony, White hydrangea, white lilac, white Rose of Sharon? I don’t expect them to bloom in 2020, but I’d like to know whether I can plant them now, or should I wait until fall 2020 or spring 2021? Thanks, and happy gardening to all!

My 3 weigela bushes (about 5 years old) have very dry branches on 2/3 of the plan. Only one side has leaves and flowers. Is it dead? If not, what can I do to bring them back to the beautiful resplendent plants they use to be?

In Pickering
Plant hardiness zone 5-6
Back yard gets 5-6 hours full sun
Top soil put in recently
Watering soil consistently

My iris plant is getting yellow and dry leaves. I’m not sure why.
Please help.

Location Pickering
Climate zone- 5-6
5-6 hours of sun
I consistently water them
Recently put in topsoil .

Hello, I recently purchased a pink dahlia, and I planted them.
I fear I may have planted it too late.
But Regardless of that, the end of the plant is not doing so well.
I’m wondering if I’ll be getting any flowers this summer and if the flower will grow from it.
I hope you can help me with this.

We have 3 hugh pine trees on a slope into the valley between our neighbour and us. It is bare except for the hostas that we have recently planted. When there is heavy rain, our roof gutter overrflows and washes the soil into the valley. What sort of ground cover would be best for easy maintenance in this shady clay soil area. See picture.

This is the 2nd summer that this small blackish worm is totally eating my beautiful vine. I sprayed it with insecticidal soap last year but it didn’t kill them and they are back again this year. Can you tell me how to get rid of them. My vine is on our fence and is about 40 feet long and until last year was beautiful and very healthy

why am I seeing a number of caterpillars hanging down from my king maple? The tree is 52 yrs old. Is there a potential issue for the tree and what can I do about it in a safe way? The caterpillars are dropping on us as we sit below. Sorry, I don’t have a picture.

Mrs. Vimla Dayal

Noticed my leaves are discoloring and starting to curl. So far this is is just some them beginning to do this.

Hello, I am located at Scarborough east Toronto, which is around zone 5-6. I want to find one kind of tree alternative to Emerald Cedar against my backyard fence. My backyard is face to west, so the sunlight is enough.
I was planning to plant 10-15 7-8 feet emerald cedar, however, I read some information and find emerald cedar need moist soil conditions and need tons of water in the first year, also will be very hard to survive in the first winter. Toronto’s summer is dry and heat. I don’t have time to water and maintain them. So I am looking for one kind of evergreen tree needs low maintenance and can resistant to dryness and harsh winter, but also grows like emerald cedar. Please give me some advise and recommendations. Thank you

I have a huge balcony in a downtown condo at the corner of York Street and Queens Quay West in the Harbourfront. It is about 400 square feet, north east exposure, fully exposed to the sky, on the 20th floor of the condo building.

I am looking to turn it into a beautiful garden escape with much greenery … trees, bushes … in planters and large pots, etc.

The issue is the height being on the 20th floor and the wind than can be blow super strong throughout they year. Not to mention the need for the plants selected to survive the frigid, cold winter temperatures we experience annually.

I’d love suggestions on any and tree varieties that will survive well for years in pots and planters. No doubt evergreens will do well, but they can be challenged as they grow through the years. Would be great to have a tree or two up there but I worry about the wind that can howl in fast speeds especially in the winter. By the lake gets pretty frigid.

I’d appreciate any suggestions, if not any professionals I can secure services from.

Thank you in advance.

Diane Laporte
3:21 PM (7 minutes ago)
to Toronto

Thank you for your response. The vine 1/4 to 1/2 way up with spots light greenish to yellow and the edges of the leaf are darker and curling. I planted it in the ground at least 5 yrs ago and is 6-7ft high with multiple stems. Can’t see any insects, watch when to water. Happened around June last yr and kept going up. Love the hops for privacy and wouldn’t mind a home recipe I could do for this problem.

Hi! A friend gave me a container of 10-52-10 by BioFert. I don’t know much about fertilizer. I have added worm castings and cow manure. Should I use this other fertilizer? I’ve read it’s too strong and could kill plants?? Any suggestions? And if it’s ok to use, what ratio of fertilizer to water would you suggest? Thanks so much!! Stay safe :)

I want to buy grape vines to plant it in my back yard.
Let me know where can I buy it.

I planted a japanese maple 3 years ago and it has done well in my garden here in the Niagara Falls, ON area
This spring we had a very hard late frost and most of the upper branches have not recovered. We do have some leaves on a few select branches and we are seeing some slight growth of new leaves from the living stems and branch but it it largely empty. I wanted to replace it but the emergence of new growth show its trying and i will keep it for another year anyway to see if it bounces back next spring. Should I fertilize it this year and what product is best to stimulate the new growth and strengthen the tree

I have 16 mature boxwoods planted along the fence (facing east and north). 3 out of 16 plants look very very unhealthy. These 3 are located in sunny spot ( the rest are in more shady area, and some also show the signs of the same problem) The leaves on these 3 sick plants are almost gone. it seems something is eating them up. After closer inspection I found lots of white looking webs between the branches and some creatures which look like caterpillars.
Can you please advise how to address this problem to save my plants?

A purple sandcherry has developed white, greyish dots. Dots can be easily scraped off. Portions of the tree have died off while the base is sending out many new shoots. Please see pictures.

Dear learned and wise folks,
Those blasted Elm Leaf Beetles are eating the little Elm in my little front yard … DAILY I pick them off three or four at a time, I spray the leafs with soap and water – nothing seems to help, the elm grows new leafs and next they are punctured (see sad picture attached).
Can I do something about it? Please say yes and I will. It is a spontaneously growing elm … last year I had the same issue and my wife cut it back to a stump … this Spring she grew back from the stump (the Elm, not the wife) stronger than ever, sprouting branches and leaves from the stump … this will to live, I want to promote and help … so, please, you with talent, skills and experience tell me how to fix this.
Thank you (from me and my Elm … her name is Ella).

I purchased a Ruby Falls redbud from a nursery and I took notice that they cut off the leader the top of the tree will I get new growth on the top or does that mean that the Ruby Falls will not grow any taller than it is? I just want to make sure that it will still continue to grow and the tree is going to be okay. The tree is about 4 1/2 feet tall. I live in zone 6b. The ruby falls gets about 7 hours sun and then gets shade from about 1:30pm on. The long stick in the picture is the stake.
Thank you for your time


We would like to grow tulips in our front garden. I have tried all my local nurseries and none keep tulips. Do you know where I can buy tulips from? Appreciate your guidance.

Hostas along a east/west fence of about 20 feet seem to have outgrown their space, and are in need of a haircut, like a lot us. I’m sure they grew to about four feet last year, without my giving them any attention, except keeping the pathway near them clear. The pathway borders a larger area I have covered with black plastic as I solarise that area for mulching, for future plans.
The intention was to overshadow the fence separating two separate homes, saving a few for the return to another space.
At this time of the year in west end Toronto, do I have the choice of thinning them, or should I wait until September, since they seem to be growing more than I wanted, and will require more disposal later, than now.
I also want to plan my time around higher maintenance plants.

My 20ft long cedar hedge is approx 14 yrs old, about 18ft high, and I cut off the tops last year for the 1st time. I have neighbors on the other side as well as a lattice fence that is 15ft high. I do not want to see my neighbors, and now I can see through the trees. From the stem, the branches extend 4ft easily, there is maybe 12″ of green growth. How do I encourage growth? Is it too late?

I bought one new peony from a local garden centre and I also have one old peony that I transplanted to a different location this spring. Both a herbaceous peonies. Because I learnt peonies require full sun so I planted them in a sunny location in my backyard where part of the garden bed gets some morning sun and hot afternoon sun for about 6 hours. I never thought peonies in southern Ontario would get too much sun, but mine seems getting burned a little?: new flower buds become black and stop increasing size and eventually dry out in a few days. Is this a sign that the plants are getting too much sun? The leaves all seem just fine.

Hi and thank you for this resource and helping home owners.
I have 3/4th of my backyard with established thin lawn and 1/4 badly weedy and bare patches. I have seeded and applied starter fertilizer and by July mid it would be 6 weeks. I see a little sprout of grass in some areas. It is still bare and the starter fertilizer makes weed grow faster and I pull them out(misery).It will take 2 more seasons to fill up. I know the bare patches still need seeding in fall or spring and the rest of my front and back lawn need overseeding as it is a thinned out lawn. I do not want to sacrifice fertilizing as I know it’s important.
While overseeding established old lawn can I put starter fertilizer will it affect the rest of the lawn. NPK ratio?
I have lot of spores blown in from trees in spring. The last two seasons of seeding bare patches did not help as weeds outgrew the seeds.
With my need to reseed and overseed I am struggling to find a balance between seeding and fertilizing and weed killing I use good quality seed -sun and shade mix from a reputed nursery
Please advise regarding what should I do regarding seeding and fertilizing from now mid june through July end and in September. This is my third season of trying to correct the lawn.. it is slightly better but I want to do the best for my lawn.
Thanks a ton and highly appreciate this web resource.


A friend gifted me a Rose of Sharon but I live in a condo and understand that generally they are planted in a garden. Is it possible to grow it in a pot outdoors on the balcony (south facing with no obstruction, full sun all day long)? Would I bring it indoors during winter? Thank you.

I have a row of arborvitae trees in my backyard, and one of them seem to have a section that is browning (see photo). I live in the North York area of Toronto, and the soil type is silty clay. I’d also like to mention that I recently topped up the soil around these trees with some silty clay soil I had dug up from my front yard. Could you suggest what might be wrong with this tree, and how I could help revive it and prevent spread of the browning to other branches? Thank you for your help!

I bought one new peony from a local garden centre and I also have one old peony that I transplanted to a different location this spring. Both a herbaceous peonies. Because I learnt peonies require full sun so I planted them in a sunny location in my backyard where part of the garden bed gets some morning sun and hot afternoon sun for about 6 hours. I never thought peonies in southern Ontario would get too much sun, but mine seems getting burned a little?: new flower buds become black and stop increasing size and eventually dry out in a few days. Is this a sign that the plants are getting too much sun? The leaves all seem just fine.

Hello, We really need your help. We have a beautiful honeylocust Tree which appears to be sick this year. I have taken pictures and wonder if is developing some sort of canker. The ends of the branches are dying, and it appears to have been infected with Gypsy moth caterpillars. The tree is quite large to spray for moths, however when I took The picture I didn’t see caterpillars on the tree. Lastly we had some Renovations done on our house and there was heavy equipment that travelled In close proximity to the tree, (outside the drip line). I hope the root system has not become damaged. Please help me save this tree. Thank you for your help.

Hi. Looking for advice regarding fertilizing Tomatoes. The plants were grown by seed, potted up and then potted into cloth bags using store bought soil. They are looking good. They live in a backyard city greenhouse where previous crops have done very well without much fertilizer. There are four varieties, most have started to flower.

Should we now give them a high phosphorus fertilizer or a 20-20-20? The only fertilizer that they have received so far are a few rounds of micro-seaweed, Marphyl and not a strong mixture. Looking for advice. Would love the best yield, however, concerned about over fertilizing.

We also have pea, carrots, cucumbers, beans, lettuce, beets. All in containers. Should we fertilize them?

Also, do you recommend a specific brand?



I have a weeping Japanese maple which is at least 10years old. Planted in a partly sunny area. It has been doing except for this year where it looks like it’s dying. Little foliage which is drying up. The outer bark close to the soil has come away. See attached picture. What is wrong and can anything be done to save it

I would like to plant a living fence alongside a lot line. It would be about a dozen metres, end to end, and a very narrow depth, maybe a quarter of a metre, front to back. I would like to keep the final height to one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half metres. I prefer something deciduous. I am prepared to train or weave the stems/branches over the years, with or without some supports, but eventually it has to stand on its own. I think the trunks/stems need to be quite woody. I have seen videos where people use willow but I’m afraid that could get out of control after a few years. The line is north-east to south-west. The east/south side has shade from mature trees over half of the area. The west side has lots of late afternoon sun. Zone 5b. Which species are possibilities to plant?


I am working on a research project on growing bamboo for structural usage on Leslie Spit. I identified Phyllostachys Bambusoides (Madake) and Phyllostachys Edulis (Moso) as the two bamboo species I would like to suggest growing on the Spit. I was wondering how these two bamboo species would fair if grown in a plot of land unprotected from the wind. And if these bamboo species would still thrive during an extreme cold-weather event, or need some sort of winter protection such as a greenhouse, etc.

Thank you very much.

I planted this grass about 14 years ago. It took two or three years to really take off, then every year increased in volume and height (3-4m). Then last year, it grew about half the previous volume of shoots, and they were not as tall. This year, as of June 10, I can only see about 5-6 shoots, and am worried that it is dying. Over the years, there has been no change in the amount of sun/moisture it receives or other plants nearby. I will admit to not fertilizing it in recent years and don’t remember whether I bothered much with fertilizer in previous years, because it appeared to be doing so well. Location of plant is at a vacation property near Orangeville. Please note: About 2 or 3 years ago, I started cutting the canes off in September near ground level (taking care not to pull up the roots). Previous to that, I had let the canes dry out over the winter, but found they were difficult to cut in the spring. Thanks so much! (Photo is from Google Images. Feel free to edit for publishing.)

I bought a load of new soil and used it in deck planters that receive 7 hours of sun daily, in Toronto. The tomatoes, squash and beans have yellowing leaves. How can I give them the nitrogen they probably need need without burning the plants? The soil mix has a high proportion of wood chips in it. It is from Homeland Market, which has a good reputation.

Would fertilizer remedy the situation?: What kind, how much, how often? I watered with fish emulsion 2 days ago, and see no change.

Would top-dressing with manure work, and how can I avoid burning the plants?

For the tomatoes, should I dig out a hole and replant them in a soil pocket of good soil?

Thank you, Nellie Sue

I have a very large 20-30 ft tall beautiful yellow Elizabeth magnolia which has magnolia scale and is dripping the honeydew sap as well as losing some leaves. I understand from reading up on it that the most effective treatment is spraying with a horticultural oil in August/September. I don’t want to lose the tree – is there anything I can do now to help and is there anything I can do to protect the plants under the tree as they are being coated with the sap? I’m currently trying to wash them down with water every morning.

I bought a fairly well grown cherry plant from costco last year and inserted the pot that it came in into a larger pot. The larger pot is 18inches x18. This season, it did start sprouting leaves but then all leaves have started drying. Right now there is only one branch with leaves, which are also dying. Please tell me what should I do to revive the plant. if it helps, it is in the balcony and I have a large pine tree in the backyard. sunlight is not great but it is there for this plant.

Where can I buy Yellow Loosestrife plants in Toronto?

I have had a variegated euonymus plant for several years. Each year when the leaves come on, I get one branch that is only white. It is not sick, it simply has white leaves. Would you be able to give me any information on this?

We want to change the look of our garden and was wondering if you provide that type of advise. We are located in Toronto and our front garden gets partial sun until 1-2 pm and wanted a low maintenance garden with pops of colour. We already have a large Japanese maple, dogwood tree and burning bush but need smaller plants to fill in the gaps especially from the centre to the left of the garden per the picture.

Also, we are creating small gardens on either side of our backyard stairs. Each area is 2ft by 7ft And the height of the deck is approximately 2 feet high. Looking for ideas what to plant their as looking for a modern minimalist style. Our backyard faces west.

I have been given some Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’. I have been told to rake it hard, but I don’t know exactly what that means and when to do it. Would cutting the old leaves back down to the ground also suffice and when should I do that?

I have a lilac, not sure what type, purchased 3 years ago. It is a shrub not a tree and has a main cntre stem. This has grown to about 12 feet, 4 or 5 feet aboe the other stems, and has two branches. Can I,simply lop this off to make the shrub bushier? It didn’t have many flowers yet.


I have some Dahlia tubers. We are already in mid June. I live in Scarborough. Would it be okay for me to plant them now or shall I wait until fall.

Please let me know.

Thanks for your help,

After several years of wrestling Japanese beetles into submission, I thought I had won and that this year, my Virginia creeper would finally be pest-free. Well, today I noticed a different type of hole pattern on many of its leaves. Some are very big and some holes are tiny. Then I found the culprit, I think. I am attaching photos of the holes in the leaves and one of the actual insect – a caterpillar, perhaps? Can you identify it and tell me what to do?

I have a plum tree
1) the fruits is falling off the tree
2) the leafs are having a holes

I have asked questions before about my Pandanus Veitchii but I don’t think I have asked about what month it would be good to take my plant outside for the summer and when to bring it in. I would make sure that it has shade as out sun is too hot for it. I am concerned right now because some of our nights are a bit cold and I would not want to kill it. Also, when should it be repotted? There are really no signs of roots coming out of the bottom. Also, it has not had its soil changed for 6 years now.

Planted the tree 5 years ago. Flowered every year but not this one.
What are possible causes and corrections

We have a stella magnolia shrub that we planted 2 years ago (lots of sun, sandy soil). It is thriving and is now about 2.5 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide. We do not want it to get any bigger as we are afraid of root spread destabilizing the garden wall behind it and to the side where there are stone stairs. If we continue to prune the shrub so that it remains this size (or a bit smaller), will that keep the roots from spreading as well? Or is there concern, and should we just dig it up.

thank you,

Hello, I have two 10′ lines of Green giant arborvitaes in my back yard, all of them have here and there yellow spots of dead or dying needles. This started in the spring. Please advise if it can be some disease or pest problem and how to resolve it. I did some inspection with a magnifying glass but could not find anything.

I’m in a condo. My desk is next to the window facing south. I’d like to put an indoor plant on each side of the desk. I am hoping to find something at the Toronto Botanical Garden store this weekend. Whether there or somewhere else, could you please suggest a plant or two that’s great for the air, potentially even good for a writer/creative thinker (if there’s such a thing?)
Thank you

Dear Master Gardeners,

About three weeks ago I planted over a hundred three-foot black cedars. Today I noticed that the bark on many of them is split open above ground over a length of about four inches. A different wood is visible in the opening. In many of them, I saw beetle-like bugs (the same kind we often find under rocks around here, along with earthworms). I’ve also noticed that many of my trees have some yellow foliage, but not all the split bark ones are yellow so I don’t know if these “symptoms” are related. I was putting the yellowI g down to transplant shock, the hot weather we’ve had, and my inconsistent watering (which I have now improved with soaker hoses and a timer).

I’ve googled around and could not find answers to my questions. I wonder if the split bark is a concern, if it’s caused by the beetles, and if there is anything I can do. I guess I’d like to know what to expect. I wonder if I should pull out the affect trees to control the pest. I have huge native cedars nearby that I really don’t want to die.

The trees were planted in original clay soil mixed with some triple mix soil. The only soil amendment I made was the addition of supposedly beneficial fungus. I’ve attached a photo showing a split and bug.

When was impatiens first introduced in Toronto, and when did it reach the peak of its popularity?

Good morning,
I have been growing Hosta’s successfully in my gardens for years. This year, one of them has produced what I will call a “spike”, not the typical shoots for flowering that they produce later in the season. I am wondering what is going on. From the stalk of this spike, it is producing flowers coming out of the leaves, connected to the stem. I am not concerned, just wondering what this anomaly is.

Gets sun most of the day. It is next to a poplar tree and about 2 feet away are flower beds

Attached are pictures of Plants –

Is this a plant or a weed. If a plant what is it and does it

Pine tree in upper beaches in a small garden.
Branches being stripped.

I am taking over an empty garden that is covered with 2 to 3 inches of black wood chip mulch. Below that is a layer of black landscaping fabric. I would like to make a pollinator garden with the space, and it will be all perennials. How do I plant perennials (e.g. common milkweed seedlings, and transplanting large mature plants) in this? Do I keep the fabric and make holes to access the soil (and will perennials generate and establish in the surrounding mulch each year), or do I need to remove all the fabric and start with fresh ground (and perhaps put the mulch back over the soil?) I can’t see how plants will root and grow in 2-3 inches of mulch as a substrate, with fabric blocking access to soil underneath. Thank you!

I have several Endless Summer – Twist N Shout, and Blushing Bride plants who had numerous flowers for the first few years and now are producing only 1 or 2 flowers. I apply soil acidifier in the spring. I have been adding ‘flowering fertilizer’ this spring in the hopes that I would see more flower buds, but so far there are only 1 or 2 flower buds.

Hello. I have several planting of Jack Frost Brunera and Heuchera (Coral Bells). For the past three or four years, something is eating the leaves. I do not see any signs of aphids on the plants. We think it may be slugs. We have put slug repellant around the plants, but it does not seem to be working. Any help you can provide about what the pest might be and how to control it would be most helpful. I have included a picture of the leaves from both plants. With thanks.

Good morning,

I love your garden and I do my early morning walk every day. I noticed one of the very beautiful pine trees near the second bridge after Edwards Gardens Don Central bridge one pine tree which is attacked by termites or ants. It’s bottom trunk is really not in good shape. Is there anything you can do to treat this beautiful tree before it’s too late?
I’m attaching some pictures of this pine tree to help you identify it.
Sincere thank you,

Hi, I live in Toronto, Canada and recently purchased a meyer lemon tree back in late May 2020. The tree is still very young and has a trunk thickness of around 1cm so probably around 1 1/2 feet tall in height. The lemon tree will be indoors and will remain in its pot as the winters get very cold. However, nowadays we keep it outside due to the hot weather. The tree has new growth at the top, although slow. The newer leaves are a lighter green compared to the older ones. Recently I have purchased Jobe’s slow release fertilizer spikes. However, I am unsure on when I should fertilize this tree and have not found any clear answers. As a new lemon tree owner I am very confused and dont want to damage the plant. Any help would be appreciated!

I had a landscaper plant 5 Dawyck (columnar) European beech trees for me along a tall concrete retaining wall to form a hedge. There’s plenty of space for the trees to grow. The planting was done about 6 weeks ago in early spring. The trunks were about 40-45mm thick. Four of the five have leafed out growing beautifully, the biggest one is taking much longer but is about to open all its buds. But just yesterday I discovered white powdery things on all the leaves of all of the trees, look like white flour, and feel a bit sticky. Mostly on the upper side of leaves but some are on the bottom and looking pretty bad. Can also see some curled leaves with lots of powders and maybe some kind of worm in there? I didn’t open up the leaves because I was afraid to get anything else there infected. I’ve never seen this before. Did a little research, suspecting it’s powdery mildew. I don’t understand how they got infected. I’ve been so diligent looking after them, watering about 3-4 days a week. The only concern is I’m not sure if they are getting enough direct sun. I think some are getting about 4 hours and some are getting about 3 hours. Sometimes they only get sunlight on the upper part of the trees due to the retaining wall that is taller than the trees. Before landscaping, we thought hard choosing between hornbeam and beech. We chose beech eventually for its narrower and taller form, and it’s leaves retain better in winter. We spent so much money on getting these trees and planting them, as well as installing the rest of the garden, it’s really hard to even think about I might be loosing them. What did I do wrong? Is it something treatable? Also even if it’s treatable, am I fighting a loosing battle because they are so easy to get this disease for some reason? Is it a sign of insufficient sunlight with the 5th tree not leafing out yet by now? (I thought it’s just taking its time to establish) I’m hoping the trees will grow over 12 metres to form a ore act hedge over years. If this disease keeps coming back then I need to seriously decide whether to keep them or start over. I want to protect the rest of my garden too!

In zone 4 and annual French marigold leaves are eaten. What pest is causing this and what solution do you suggest to counteract. Have removed from ground into pots to save. Wish to put back in our perennial border.
Thanks for your help.

I have two lilac bushes about 5 years old. 3 and 4 years ago they produced many flowers. Two years ago no flowers. This year, two flowers. I have carried out minor pruning after the flowering season each year. What else would you suggest?

Hi there
All of my service berries have a rusty spot all over the leaves starting around mid June. This has happened for the last few years. Can you help me ID what the issue is and suggest ways to remedy it?

Hi There,

I have a Gala tree that I recently planted in full sun (our soil is clay) in our meadow, but its leaf tips are turning brown and curling. For fear that it is some sort of infection, I’ve been clipping of leaves I notice it on. Today I fiddled with the leaf tip and I found some larva inside. Is this something I should be concerned with? What should I do to fix the problem?

Please see the photos attached.

I recently planted two apple trees, the Gala, and a Honeycrisp). They are about 10 meters apart but the Honeycrisp does not have the same issue.

I read your 2012 article on wisteria pruning before I gave my wisteria a hard cutting this past weekend. I even cut out most of the many suckers at the base of the plant. I hope I didn’t overdo it. I still have to work on the horizontal branches.
The second cutting is in winter. In Canada, specifically Oakville, Ontario, which months are we referring to?

I was asked about this tree variety and what the hairy fuzz is that is growing all over it. I though someone in the master gardeners may know.
Would appreciate your help.

Hello Master Gardeners,

Last September we planted two 3 ft Taxus Capitata Clipped Yews on our west facing 6th floor balcony (with no overhang). They are in two 18″ x 18″ x 18″ insulated planters. We get full afternoon sun and occasional strong winds.

The yews looked great through the winter and until the beginning of June had deep green foliage. They are now both starting to get yellow needles on the inner parts of the tree. We put a 1/2 tree spike fertilizer in early April and have kept it regularly watered. We don’t believe we have overwatered.
Attached is a picture of what we are seeing. I’ve pulled the branches apart so you can see inside. We would appreciate any advice or comments. Thank you.

At the beginning I thought that it was a sort of a shock resulting from transplant. I inserted 3 sticks of fertilizer in the ground about 10 days ago, but I don’t see a big improvement. We asked the landscaper to plant it for us and I believe that that was our mistake. I don’t have much information on how the planting was made. Anyway, we just noticed that there is a sort of a clay in the ground and I am not sure if that is normal. Please help me to save my magnolia. The brand new leaves dry out as soon as they pop out. It doesn’t look healthy to me overall.
We live around High Park area and we water the tree plenty everyday. It is planted in a very sunshine spot.

On a shady hillside in Scarborough, (a “reverse” ravine) under Black Walnuts, we have a large number of Black Raspberry bushes. These are supposed to be compatible. We started seeing orange rust a year ago (maybe 2) and now it is on many plants. I googled and found a site that says we have to remove the entire plant including roots which is likely to be impossible for us. I can cut the canes but getting the root out is a task.,the%20roots%20to%20the%20canes.

1. Do you have any other suggestions for dealing with the problem?
2. Should I dispose of the canes with city compost or put them in garbage? Thank-you.


The new home owner says these came up in the spring – east facing. Thoughts on what they are?


i live in toronto with clay soil & use lots of leaves as mulch. my tree is about 5 yrs old. for the past 2 years i’ve had scant leaves & blooms. ive removed all dead wood & cannot find any holes from borers. i haven’t tried fertilizing but it was planted with lots of my compost. it’s looking sick.

I want to plant a row of 6-7 Bobo hydrangeas to form a low hedge on a terraced retaining wall. I want them to have a hedge look that the plants grow into each other a bit, instead of seeing a gap between adjacent plants. What should be the appropriate spacing for this purpose? Is 36-40 inches too much?

I have a 5 years old hydrangea Paniculata tree(peegee). Year after year it has been beautiful. I prune it q early spring but this year no leaf appeared and we are in latter June now. It was fertilized on spring with slow release fertilizer for hydrangeas. When I scratch the bark it is gree on trunk and branches. What should I do? I love my tree

Hi l live in Maple Ontario. The yard is southern exposure and
the privacy fence I want to place is on the west side. The
soil is very is sandy, but is always wet. I wanted to achieve
privacy and also deal with the soggy soil. Please advise some viable solutions. Thank you.

not sure why there are white spots on my parsley? it’s planted in a pot ( balcony), gets 4-6 hours of sun. I don’t see any bugs crawling…

Can I stop these leaves from being eaten..first time in ten years..20 feet of them ,two trees/bushes on the south side of back garden..almost always damp ,clay soil,heavy.Shady .Reddish marks looks like spread of eggs on many of the leaves,getting worse.The spikes are there but no flowers so far.I have more photos to help .Should I send separately? One doesn’t do it I think.

Hi there,

Where can we buy Caladium Bulbs around GTA?

Thank you.


I planted a potted 7 Gallon red maple tree bought from a nursery 2 weeks ago. We live in Clarington Ontario. 3 days after planting some of the leaves started to turn a light green, which now are turning yellow and a few have dropped already. The soil is a good 10” of topsoil with a clay base a little further past this. I dug the hole twice as wide and around the same depth as the pot. The root flare is not buried. Halfway filling the hole with dirt I soaked the hole to pack down the soil and remove any air pockets and filled in the rest of the hole. There is a dirt ring around the tree and the roots are covered with a cedar mulch. After planting I have watered the tree once a week using a 5 gallon bucket with a 1/8” hole drilled in it to keep all the water at the root ball for a deep soak. I have read about iron deficiencies in these trees and was wonder if it could be that or just shock due to the time of year of planting and the heat wave that occurred right after planting. Have I watered the tree enough?

Thanks for your advice.

Hello, Susan Magnolia, Spring 2020 experienced a freeze after blooming began, many branches still have buds, but no further growth/leaves. Any recommendations to start growth on the bare branches, now June 25th. Applied 1 spike fertilizer June 14th. Planted 2018. With thanks

Hello I’m am looking for a place in Toronto where I can get a smaller sized boxwood witch I believe is an English boxwood I would need it to be able to fit into the space where this dead one is. Can you help?

I am in zone 6. I would like to transplant my cyclamen coum. They are growing into, and underneath a large established hellebore.
When is the best time to do this? Are they dormant now? The seed pods are visible.
Thank you so much, it is hard to find much info on the subject.

what can I use to create a tall privacy fence. I want something
fast growing in height. The soil is very wet.

Hi I live in Mississauga and would love to purchase a CL Pianta climbing rose but I can’t seem to find them. Any suggestions where I could buy them or something close to it. Thank you

by putting wood shavings on a vegetable garden does it harm it or help it, I was told 2 different things…I was told it takes all the nutrients out of the garden, and I was told if I fertilize it doesn’t matter…please help

There use to be a tree shading this Hosta.
Will it survive till the Fall or should I move it.? I did want to split it as well.

Hey folks, first time I’ve ever seen tiny green caterpillars in my garden, and really hurting my Mountain mint and Columbines.
Besides removing the worms by hand, what else can be done, and does anyone know what these little caterpillars are?

I grow on a small second-storey deck in Toronto where I have a series of cages (for plants to be trellised and/or protected from squirrels) and shelves with various containers on them. At the very bottom of the shelves, we have an experimental window box where we just let whatever from last year come up to grow, plus some clover seeds we tossed in earlier in the season. I noticed that there was quite a few forget-me-nots popping up but let them be. The result is it’s pretty densely planted. Recently I noticed some of the clover in the corner started to develop white flecks all over it but it didn’t seem to be spreading so I didn’t get alarmed. Well, now it looks like those white flecks are on about half of the peas in the planter box beside it, with what appear to be black spores beneath those flecks on the underside of the leaves. I’m thinking it’s a fungus, but would greatly appreciate anyone who might be able to recognize it and recommend a treatment. The peas are done producing anyways, so tearing them out isn’t the end of the world. I did notice that a lot of these tiny black spots on the pea leaves seem to be concentrated on either the undersides of the leaves or on parts where the leaves touch the chicken wire cage. The photo is of the underside of a snow pea leaf.

i have a very imposing house behind my property
i am looking to grow some fast growing cedars
i would like native plants to my region which is norwich.
22 minutes south of woodstock

climate zone is 6a
full sun most of the day
think its clay
wet or dry? not sure

thanks in advance

I have an existing English lavender plant in full glorious purple bloom. It’s been 3 years since planting. It’s been pruned twice a year every year in my care. Last fall I inherited a second mature English lavender plant that had not received any routine pruning and had a lot of woody elements. It overwintered well, but now that it’s blooming, half the plant has white-ish flowers, the other half matches my original lavender shrub. I verified that there were no edelweiss or alba varieties that may have accidentally come home with me. So, why are the blooms losing colour?

North York, clay soil, full sun, south east exposure, occasionally watered only during prolonged dry spells, no fertilizer or amendments added aside from some cedar mulch.

My mandevilla’s have lots of blossoms coming but the vines are now over reaching the trellis I put in the pots. Should I prune the ends to promote growth lower down in the plant or should I let the vines fall over by their weight and start to trail downwards?

Overnight, something has dug about 8 holes like the ones in the picture in three different gardens. None of our plants have been disturbed. We have lots of chipmunks and squirrels but we’ve never seen them dig holes unless they are planting nuts in the fall. We live in central Etobicoke and have lot of wildlife including skunks, racoons, rabbits, and the occasional opossum, fox or coyote. Do you recognize the hole and is there anything I can do to dissuade an animal from digging in my garden? Thanks in advance. You folks provide a great service.

We live in St. Catharines and have a small pond in our back yard. It is 10 feet by 6 feet and 4 ft deep at one end. We have a lot of goldfish which we feed with pellets. In the shallow end we have a few bullrushes. This morning we found 8 bullrushes chewed at water level making them fall over. What kind of animal would be doing this? Should we set traps?

Hello, I had 6 white pine trees planted last fall. In my attempts to deal with the Gypsy moth infestation I had run out of insecticide and was hand removing the caterpillars from my trees. When I got to the white pine trees, I noticed this white oozing sap on the trunk of 4 of the 6 trees planted last fall. My question is this a fungus, possibly white pine blister rust or a pine borer? The trees are approximately 6 feet tall, they all have new green growth and from a distance do not look diseased at all. A close up view does show extensive green pine needles on The ground. This white substance oozing from the trunk of the treeS was only noticed after a close inspection looking for caterpillars.

My second question is, whatever this may be, Is it possible that the disease was already on the tree before I got them? I purchased from a grower and I am now wondering if the trees had this disease prior to my delivery and It wasn’t evident until this spring. Had I seen this earlier I could have sprayed them with an insecticide. Now I feel it may be too late in the season to spray. Your help is greatly appreciated

hi, I was wondering if you knew anywhere in the GTA that would have aphrodite sweetshrub calycanthus
I have been emailing a few nurseries without success. I saw that you cannot recommend nurseries, but I only want to know if the plant exists in the area
thank you

I hope all is well

I have this beautiful Stromanthe Plant that was doing great and all of a sudden her leafs start to came out very bright green. usually when the new leafs comes out it had this dark pink colour and it will take about a week for the leaf to fully open with light pink on top. 2 weeks ago the new 2 leafs came out and they never opened. they came out and start to die! I cut them at the end and when I open them they were yellowed with a lot of wrinkles inside. even the new leafs are having the same bright green colour and I kinda feels like its going to happen again. do you know what should I do? or what did I do wrong?

Thank you all so much in advance

We are in east york and the cucumber plants get full sun.
The soil is triple mix. Drainage is very good as our garden is higher then our neighbours.
The plants in question are about 3 feet tall and spread is about 2 feet.

In your gardening guide for roses, what does “Pruning removes potential leaf surface from the rose plant” mean, in your guide to cutting roses?
With Irises and peonies, the plant branching isn’t so complicated, and they bloom over very short periods until next season, making pruning easier.
With roses, I found the parent stem, then found the bud, l<¼ in or less, above the bud,outward and cut. Then I cut dry, diseased, rubbing, crossing, stems.
What happens after that initial pruning, since there are these smaller shoots, but they seem to happen so quickly, and in so many places, so much that the plant configuration changes?
Is this called “suckering” with respect to new canes,as in this video? I’m afraid of cutting and making irreversible mistakes with summer heat competing with my learning curve around pruning roses. One beautiful yellow rose never came back years ago, and I suppose I’m afraid of them all dying off, without the vision of the person in this video, who seems to be planning for the future.
I think I’ve identified the climbing roses, versus the others that just use more common pruning in this link.
How do you remove suckers properly, since the 3rd/4th from the last of this link’s photos suggests some special technique?
Thank you

This issue has been persistent since last year. Tree is 3 years old

Hi. Front yard. South facing. 23 box (Asian variety) shrubs on a mound, some full sun, others part shade. Leslieville Toronto. All seem to have minor fungus that Google tells me is different kinds of fungus. Some minor root fungus, some rust on leaves, some white fugus on stem, “dog vomit” fungus found on soil. I’ve removed some butterfly plants that were between them, I’ve been spraying a baking soda, veg oil and soap mix on leaves and soil and some stems. Basically need some professional guidance because this is a ton of work for just me to do, and I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing. Because the fungal infections look like they are early in the game, I’d love to preserve my shrubs. What kind of professional assesses this kind of issue and what can I do next? Many thanks! Michele PS I’ve tried to submit photos, but even 1 photo is too large to upload to your site. If you can give me an address or someone to contact, I could sent them there. thx

In the pots of dipledemia, there is regular buildup of a dry powdery buildup. I was told this is salt and can be scraped off the top. But how to prevent it? – water filtration or nutrient deficiency problem? The pot previously contained several snake plants which eventually declined/wilted due to overwatering.

I live in Toronto (zone 6) and my backyard has tile. I’m planning to plant a climbing hydrangea In a planter box along my East fence. What would the dimensions need to be? Would a 2 ft deep planter be enough? And what would be the length and width? Thank you.

In recently planted a David Austin “Heritage” shrub rose. A week or so later the leaves started to turn a bronze color. Now about a month later the leaves look diseased. The other roses planted at the same time have not been affected. Can you tell me what may be happening here? Thank you.

We live around Birch Cliff in Toronto and planted this Genie Magnolia at the end of April.
Unfortunately all leaves and flowers are coming curly.
We are watering it every day, it is planted in sunny spot in sandy soil.
Also we have one northern lights Azalea close to the tree which was planted at the same time.
Azaleas leaves are also curling( last two weeks before it looked perfectly fine) with some small brown spots.
Is it treatable?
Thanks for the help

I received a dwarf calamondin tree approx 2.5 years old purchased from a local grower who grows from stem cuttings. However, I’m realizing that the tree hasn’t been pruned much and it seemingly has three stem cuttings planted together!

It was kept inside by the previous grower in not so bright light and then I brought it home into my unheated greenhouse where it started to drop fruit and leaves.

A few related questions:

1. Is there a reason for the fruit, bud and leaf drop? It gets full sun via direct light and grow lights for 12-14 hours per day.

2. Should I repot and split these into three separate plants or can I leave them together and prune?

3. Will a high phosphorous fertilizer (bone meal 4-10-0) mixed with a citrus fertilizer (10-5-5) help in flower and root development once I split them?

Thanks for your help in getting this lady back to full health and bearing fruit! The picture attached is of it now after fruit and bud loss.

Hello, I live in Paris, Ontario and built a new home in a typical city lot subdivision. My back yard is very small with nearly no privacy beyond a 6ft fence. The rear neighbors have two-storey homes that can easily see into my backyard space.

I am looking for ideas for getting privacy via trees,etc. for example that can have maximum height beyond the 6ft fence (dream would be 10+ feet above fence line, so 15+ feet from ground if possible), but as narrow as possible to not take up too much of my already very small backyard

Open to any suggestions including building the trees up from the ground to allow quicker options to get height from start, etc… Hoping someone can help me here – really need some privacy!

I have 3 clematis in different areas of yard that display chlorosis of only a part of the plant?

Hi I have a long backyard so I want to plant a evergreen shrubs so as it should look good and easy to maintain ,please suggest name of shrubs suitable for Toronto area .

Please help to indentify this flower.
Thank you, Lina.

What type of plant would serve best as a hedge (that would attract butterflies and bees (and hide an existing chain link fence)?
-We would like it to be native to Ontario and colourful (oranges and reds?)
-We are in Toronto (Jane and Bloor).
-It is the north end of our backyard. The yard has new-ish cedar fences on both sides but the far end, the north side, is chain link. We like those neighbours and don’t want to block off contact with them or go through the trouble/expense of building a new fence.
-There is a tree shading one end of the fence but the other parts of the fence basically get full sun.
-Both we and our neighbours have vegetables gardens that run quite close to this fence line.
-We have minimal time (and experience) re maintaining plants and gardens.
Many thanks!

Recently we had some landscaping work down, including a new bed with shrubs and plants (yews, boxwoods, hydrangeas and a magnolia tree) that were planted at the front of our house (front is east facing). It will be one week tomorrow since they have been planted, and the last few days I noticed one of the yews that is about 3 ft. high has a slight discolouration (predominantly white, and a slight hint of yellow / brown). It is also planted near an eavestrough that is connected to a mole pipe that was trenched out and runs underneath the bed. For the first week I’ve been watering all shrubs and plants in the morning and night. I also used a water soluble fertilizer and applied to everything on the third day, and will do so again in 14 days. Starting with this morning I plan to just water in the morning, and assess the soil moisture to determine how much to water everything. I just wanted to check in and see if this is cause for concern in terms of the discolouration (see image with two views provided).

About 4-5 weeks ago I planted a Boston ivy in a planter (I have tile in my backyard). [Since the planter is quite wide, I also planted a few begonias (the location gets quite a bit of shade).] For the last couple of weeks I have seen these little ivy sprouts come out surrounding the plant around the planter, as you can see in the photo. Is this “normal” (pardon my ignorance, I am not familiar with ivy)? Should I pull them out, or will they grow and help cover the fence behind it? I would like the ivy to eventually grow on the fence behind it. Thank you.

where i could get honeysuckle in toronto

Hi, we just purchased a home with a very large backyard. We would like to develop a good portion of it into an english garden. Having difficuly finding a local(ish) design consultant who could help provide design thinking, as well as plant selection best for the are, the varying sun exposure and seasonal colour. Can you recommend any exceptional, brilliant people who do this? Thanks. B

Hi, I purchased a very young Empior l (or Bloodgood) Japanese maple last year. It’s only about 3 feet tall now. My question is: should it have a central leader as it grows higher? As this one doesn’t have. The central leader stopped at about 2.5 feet high, then there are 2 main branches going in opposite direction almost horizontally, as well as other smaller branches. Should I train one of those thicker branches to become a central leader, or it is ok to leave it like this?

Hi there, thought I would give you folks a try! I live in Scarborough and came across this resource. I am interested in trying to grow an ivy type of plant on one of my exterior walls. It is a south-south east facing wall that gets some sun, but it is obscured later on in the year (June onward) by my neighbour’s red maple. I was thinking something like a Boston Ivy. There are lilies growing in the area now that do fairly well due to the early spring sun that the area gets. I don’t know what type of soil it is but it is fairly moist there. I would like something that establishes rather quickly, but not at the expense of a good appearance. Hope you can offer up some advice!

I bought a mock orange “Minicure” last fall. It was a good size – 3 gallon pot, big root ball. I never pruned it, but transplanted it a couple of times as it was getting burning hot afternoon sun. It’s been growing vigorously except no flowers, not even a flower bud. What should I do to make it flower? I bought it for its lovely fragrance.

I believe that I have an Ostrich Fern. It is lovely but just recently the tips have started to dry out / shrivel. Can you suggest why this might happen?

Hello. You kindly just helped me with a pest problem and now I have a hydrangea question. We have 5 large Endless Summer Hydrangeas that are 10 years old. They were blooming when planted, bloomed the following summer, bloomed in 2017, but not in any other year. Each fall, the buds appear on the old wood, but every spring, they dry out. We wrap the plants in the winter, but to date, have not covered the tops. Can you advise on two things: How do we manage the unsightly branches with the dried out buds that stick out above the new growth? How do we encourage more consistent blooming? We have been fertilizing in early May only with 10-10-10. Picture of complete plant attached. I will send in another request with a close up of the dried out buds.

Hello. I just submitted a question about hydrangeas that won’t bloom. Here is a picture of the dried out buds.

We have a Yew hedge around the house that’s probably 5 years old. Given these are poisonous to cats, dogs, and humans, we are considering replacing them.
We would like to replace part of the hedge with blueberries.

As all part of Yew plants contain poison, do you recommend any special soil perp, such as tilling the soil and removing all the remaining Yew roots etc.? Most large roots will be removed with the Yew plants but wondering about the parts that will break off and stay in the soil.

Thank you!

Using the idea of finding the rootstock/bud for pruning roses in your reply to “cultivating more patience than plant growth”, and following suckers to the ground and removing them, peeling to the ground, I found this large cane which must be 18 inches, and have what looks like Dr. Huey. I thought Dr. Huey was a rosarian, who cultivated roses.
Should I take the whole cane out at the bottom, even though this has bloomed, as in the second photo, so that the energy goes to the original plant? Image 2023 has a cane coming out of the bottom of the rootstock, whereas the green cane coming out of the top is the original flower, if I understand the process of healthy pruning.
I think what you’re saying is that Dr. Huey is to a rose what a weed is to a garden. Image 2012 is what I thought was a “real rose”, and thought it looked like the Flower Carpet red rose.

Am I on the right track in pruning/training?

Location: West End Toronto, hardiness zone 7
Soil: Very sandy, drains readily

My question is regarding a Yellow Cinquefoil Shrub. When it was originally planted (15+ years ago) it was in a full/part sun area and thrived as a shrub. In that time however a near by Chestnut tree has flourished and cast it in full/part shade. Additionally, it was not pruned appropriately and had become very woody and leggy, reaching for the sunlight. Early this Spring it was cut back to ~4″. This spring/summer it has put off many new, limp, green shoots, however I wonder if it will be able to rebound properly in full/part shade, or if it should be to full/part sun at the other end of the garden bed? If moving is the right thing to do, what is the best time to do it, and how large a diameter of the root should be taken?

Thank you for reading my question. I want to put a climbing rose on the corner of my deck. For that I will have to build a small raised bed (bottomless) that comes from the ground level upto the level of the deck ( 2 feet high ). So if I put a rose ( alchemist) in the 2 x 2 raised bed, will it survive the winter? will the soil stay warm enough?

I’ve had this climbing hydrangea in a pot for a few weeks right in the spot where I am going to plant it (it’s tile on the floor so I have a 2 feet planter). Since the first week, despite regular watering, many of the leaves have partially dried out. Does that mean the location has too much sun for it? It’s an east-facing fence and gets lots of sun. Should I not plant it in that spot? If I can go ahead, should I water it more, or less? Thanks

I have a collected wild pear (from a field near Owen Sound) that will one day be a bonsai. For the past 3 years it has been growing well in the ground to fatten it up. A few days ago I noticed that a number of the leaves are browning in places. Could they be reacting to the sudden heatwave we’re in – no rain, intense heat and sun? I believe wild pears also suffer from rust but I don’t think it looks like rust. So my question is: Can leaves get scalded by the sun? As soon as I saw this I watered the tree well and the leaves perked up but the “burns” are still there. They only seem to be on the leaves that get the most direct sun. Just to be safe I built a little “shade screen” to sit above the tree and take the edge off the sun.
Love to know your thoughts and how I can treat it.
I’ve attached some photos.
Thanks. – A

I have had my beach tree for 18 yrs. through the years we have found that when it’s stressed out it produces nuts. This year the leaves are being eaten by something. This tree was $300.00 when we put it in . It recently appraised at 8000.00.

Can I cut the suckers in the ground from the purple sand cherry and replant them elsewhere? What is the process?
Thank you.

My zucchini get 6-8 hours morning sun on 9 the floor balcony. Planted in a large pot. Started out growing and producing shiny, smooth fruit. At between 2 and 4 inches in length, fruit develops ridges from flower to where fruit joins the stem and turns yellow and shrivels. The leaves have brown edges and some small yellow patches and the odd black spot and whitish spots that look like a mould. The largest leaves are 9” across and 9”” from stem to tip. The leaves also shrivel.

I’ve been gifted a lovely rubber plant. I’d like it to keep growing but wondered if I can prune it and if I should repot it in a larger container. Also it’s been tied together for support but I thought I should stake it instead. Hoping to let it continue to thrive! Thank you!

Would a Ginkgo Biloba ‘Goldspire’ be a good choice for a small garden south-facing, part-sun?
We cannot have a wide-spreading tree in such a small space and no fruit trees as do not want to encourage raccoons and rats. Thank you!

There is a powdery substance on the bottom leaves of our Ninebark bush. Can you suggest anything I could make or buy or make to solve this problem?

Some of our little lime hydrangeas are looking a little dried out. Can we trim the dead branches? They were only planted last August. Tried giving them more water to no avail. They are in partial
Sun, mostly sun under black walnut tree. Others seem to be doing fine but a few don’t seem to be coming along as well. In Toronto

I have planted a 4 ft emerald cedar in my backyard. It gets 4-5 hours of sun per day (10am-230pm). The soil skews to clay, but it was amended with compost and garden soil and mulched the surface (leaving space around the trunk). Will this provide enough sunlight? Should the tree be moved to a spot with more sun? Or is that more disruptive to the trees roots?

I would like to use lumber to edge my garden, what would be recommended? Should I use Cedar, Pine or Pressure Treated wood? I am expecting to have part of the garden used to grow food.

We have a juniper bonsai tree purchased last year. One of the branches appears to be getting sick and dying. Need assistance to revive and best growing practice

Hi. You know where can I buy sweet cherry trees to plant in my backyard. Apparently most of the nurseries in GTA are sold out,

Hello There
Last year I had a Tree Pruning Company trim my cedar hedge this year the hedge is turning brown I do not know if it was poisoned by leaking gas (trimmer) or salt damage or by insect, the area is erratic in shape the back side is not as bad any help would be greatly appreciated
There is a total of 240 ft of hedge ranging from 7ft to 16ft high. I have had these hedges for close to 38 years.

Many Thanks

Hello, I am considering installing a rain barrel, but need to advise on gutter diversion options so that the gutter works ‘normally’ during winter months when barrel is not in use.
Thank you

I planted this 4-trunk Mountain Ash over 20-25 years ago.
This summer finds a lot of gradual die-off of the top of one of the trunks. Any idea why this would happen? There are a few woodpecker holes here and there on all the trunks if that is a clue. Also a neighbour’s massive maple is now growing into the top but the healthy parts of my tree don’t seem to care. In the attached image I softened some of the surrounding greenery in Photoshop so you could see clearly what is Mountain Ash versus everything else.
Would love your thoughts on what you think it is and what you think I could do to help/save it.
Thanks. – Andy

I have a infestation of potato bugs that have all but destroyed my eggplants and have started on my potatoes and now are attacking my tomatoes! Please help. I am a first time gardener and have a small backyard/patio container garden and it is all organic. I just have no idea how to get rid of these gross things. Up until now it has been really nice and things are growing beautifully, but now…
please help me.

Virginia G. Doolittle

I harvested petunia seeds this week. Can I grow them now ( in July) in Toronto and get flowers?

I bought 29 emerald pyramid cedars, 5-6 ft tall. They originated in BC. They were picked up on Fri May 29. I watered them well all weekend and they were planted on Mon June 01. I am a female senior widow and have to rely on the fellow who looks after my garden. They put in a watering system that waters each tree simultaneously and told me to water every day for 1 hour. I do this in the evening and have been keeping up this regime since. I now have 6 trees which are brown and dry. Looking at the information on this website I am worried that I have been overwatering. Also they were fertilized at the beginning as well as planting in bonemeal. If I have overwatered have I taken the nutrients out of the ground and should fertilize again? My help is saying no and still insisting on the water.
I live in Belleville Ontario (but am clicking the Toronto resident) so I hope that you can still answer my question which is “how should I proceed?” Thank you so much for your time and service.

I have read that nematodes can be used for cucumber beetle larvae that in live and eat the roots. My question is what kind of nematode and where would I purchase them. I have had infestations for 2 years. Thank you

Hello I am an amateur gardener and my narrow yard is nothing more than a sand bar.. and to make matters more interesting… on it’s 14foot width there is a 6foot difference from one side to the othe as I am on the side of a hill. I put black earth, compost and mulch yearly and it all seems to vanish to middle earth… I have heard about biochar and I have been trying to figure out it’s it is viable for a garden that mostly is struggling perennials and shrubs.. how to use it… ANY information would be helpful.

I planted garlic with purple wrapper colouring last year. The harvested garlic isn’t purple. Does it change colour as it dries
or what’s going on here? I know comparatively July 9th is
early to harvest but they were ready. I don’t know why my
garlic ended up maturing so quickly this year.

Possibly you can diagnose and treat phytopathology or parasitism in trees. If so, do you have any ideas on this black, black ooze that’s emanating from the bark of our giant silver maple?

I think the blooms on my geraniums are being attacked by asian beetles. I have seen them on the plant lately. Is it coincidental that the flower petals look mushy? what can i do? move the plant entirely? not sure if these beetles like a certain area of my garden.

Why are my Meyer lemons leaves suddenly looking patchy and falling? This is happening on the older leaves which used to be dark green but are now turning a lighter green. We are in Toronto, and the weather has been 35°+ recently so we keep it outside in direct sun for 6+ hours. Watered thoroughly every few days or when dry. Potted and indoors. Sits in well draining soil and was fertilized 2 weeks ago with a citrus fertilizer (slow release) in the form of a spike. No sign of pests or bugs. Older leaves at the bottom have been falling off recently.

I have a hydrangea standard in my south-facing front garden and this morning I noticed a couple of clusters consisting of a gauzy “web” each containing a LOT of what look like small, thin and each about 3/4″ to 1″ long, busily apparently eating the leaves to which they’ve attached these webs or tents. I am wondering if these are tent caterpillars or something else, and since they (so far) only seem to be in a couple of places, can I just cut out the webs and worms and put them in the garbage? Do I need to spray them with something instead, or after cutting them out?? Many thanks in advance for your help!!

Hi, I know there are lots of articles on this but I would like your opinion on whether I should return these or not and likelihood of recovering (no warrany-Lowes-so I need to return now). I planted in April, I am in Scarborough. 3 out of 7 are yellowing – the very brown twigs are just from bending during travelling. They are in full sun, mix of clay/sand soil, rootballs were not wrapped in burlap, I mixed in some compost and bonemeal when planted, mulch on top, and then fertilized. I think the problem might have been not enough water (started turning yellow last week after the 7+days of 35 degree heat) or fertilize. Just want to know your opinion whether I should take out now or not as now is the only time I can get a refund. Thank you!

Hello, I was noticing a lot of black flea beetles on my potatoes and I sprayed the foliage with a dawn dish detergent + water solution, and I haven’t seen them after. But the foliage is looking bad, is it because of the beetles or is it potato blight? Please advise what do I do?
Thank you.

Soil clay, trees open sun condition, wet and dry at times 4 seasons. Stoney Creek, Ontario
Apple trees young fruits have spots
Prune tree, young fruits are falling- seems most of them, quite a lot. The tree also has black looking pieces spread throughout.

Why are my meyer lemons leaves suddenly looking discolored/patchy, and falling? Would this be overfertilzation/overwatering or a nutrient deficiency? The leaves are also looking burnt from the edges (not the tips) and now have small brown spots. When I originally asked my question, some of these symptoms were not present at the time, and have recently come up. Lemon tree is young, has not fruited or flowered yet. No signs of new leaves coming in. Potted and Indoors. I am in Toronto and during the recent heat wave (35°+), I left it in direct sun for 6+ hours everyday, and would bring it inside in the afternoon. I bought the plant 2 months ago from local store (late april). It already had some form of granular fertilizer in it, but I thought it would be time to refertilize it after and added some citrus fertilizer (in the form of a spike, and put a very small amount, crushed) at the end of May. I water it every 2 days or when the soil is dry. Overall, no sign of pests or bugs, but one day I randomly saw 2 small spiders and instantly got rid of them. I didnt see any bug afterwards. The older and some newer leaves also started looking very patchy and mixing into a lighter green colour with somewhat burnt edges and small brown spots scattered. I started noticing all of this 2 weeks after I fertilized it and after the heat wave had passed. I even flushed the tree today with water in case this was overfertilized, and added a little bit of fresh potting soil on top. Lastly, leaves fall into my hand when I touch them and seem delicate and brittle. The white particles are crushed eggshells in the picture.

I have planted cucumbers in containers. the plant looks very healthy with big green leaves and no bugs. It also has tons of yellow flowers. However, the baby cucumbers are turning white, shriveling up and dying. I was fertilizing it but have since stopped because I have no idea what is wrong. Any help is much appreciated!

How do you undo effects of over fertilization in a lemon tree? My tree looks very sick, has burnt brown edges, brown spots that seems to be increasing by the day, dull splotchy looking leaves, and are falling off to the touch. Tree had some form of granular fertilizer when I bought it, but a month later I added some more, but in a very reduced amount. It was slow release, citrus specific and seems to have dissolved already. I added a few cups of water to try to get rid of nutrients and changed top layer of soil a few days ago, but not many results. Branches are looking very bare due to leaf loss. The picture shows leaves that have already fallen off.

I bought a majesty palm around 3 months ago. It was very healthy, but after being left outside in direct sun and heavy winds, I found it to be fallen over on the ground the next day. I moved it to a different location but it fell over another 2 times. Eventually I brought it back inside. One day, I noticed that the middle “stem” part looked decayed with a brown spot and had broken off. I dont know how this happened but I discarded it. Its watered only once every week thoroughly but the leaves are misted every couple of days. Ever since these events, I’ve noticed that the tips of its leaves have been browning/yellowing. It’s placed away from the air went, but still close to a big window where it can get light. Palm has been given the miracle gro houseplant fertilizer as the palm only fertilizer is not available where I live. I gave it 6 small spikes as it’s a big plant. Lastly, it has been repotted with potting soil mix for palms.

My dwarf deutzia was healthy, bloomed beautifully in the spring. I then pruned it cutting off the old blooms. It was looking fine but within just a few days, the entire centre was bare, no leaves only stems. The stems are not dead as they are green inside. I had been watering it well with a hose. My second thought was that deer had eaten it which I doubt.
Any info and suggestions are most welcome as I would like to save it.
Thank you.

Hello, my boxwood hedge is infected with leafminer. Would Safer insect soaps be effective at this time? Would lawn care companies have commercial products that would be more effective? Thank you

i have a very imposing house behind my property
i am looking to grow some fast growing cedars
i would like native plants to my region which is norwich.
22 minutes south of woodstock

climate zone is 6a
full sun most of the day
think its clay
wet or dry? not sure

thanks in advance

Hello. We moved to a house where there is a backyard pool and cedar trees that surround the property lines. The Cedar trees seem to be dying one after another. We don’t want to resort to fencing and like the trees. What options would you suggest. We need something that is low maintenance solution. If we start using Yew trees it would have to be one at a time, which may look strange. We don’t own want to cut down all the trees if some are doing ok.

Hello! I just moved into a house with an old boxwood hedge growing. It looks like it was once pruned to hedge shape but has not been pruned for maybe a few years. Is it too late for me to shape it this year? Or should I wait until spring? Thank you!

The very old and large white oak became sick last year- then this year the leaves came out and quickly began to fall so now more than half of the leaves have died. Is it anthracnose? What can be done to save the tree? It is large and you can see the top of the house at the bottom of the photo.Thanks

I would like to tarp lily of the valley and periwinkle. Can I do this starting in August and remove the tarp in April?

Thank you,

Toronto, zone 6, mature diamantina clematis , 5 years old, mature with lots of green leaves, about 7 ft. tall , sunny area all day, not blooming since 2019, should bloom mid July.
Need help with pruning and fertilizing info.

I have been to the Kortright Centre north of Toronto where water is recycled, and being the child of depression era immigrants, finiteness of resources was something I learned with gardening.
I bought a mid-efficiency furnace last year, and the water drip line is directed into a basement sink. I am surprised at how much water is extracted during the air conditioning season, since I must have measured one litre of water extracted per hour one afternoon.
I wonder if that water has any nutritious use left, such as for houseplants.
The reason I ask, is that it had been expelled in the front garden in the past, but the location was changed for aesthetic value, and now I was thinking of doing some indoor gardening long term and using that water, but have reservations not knowing how it could affect plants, although I do not have vegetables.

Thank you

Hi there!
my Rose of Sharon shrub is starting to yellow and is dying . I had Tru Green come out to protect my shrubs and plants with an application. I noticed it was green and lush a few days before and we have had extreme heat and humidity, Is their anything I can do to save it?

I recently had a baby, and as a gift, my brother would like to help us set up a berry patch for
our little one to enjoy from his existing patches. He started his patches from our grandfather’s house, so it would be meaningful if we could also do the same. Unfortunately, neither of us remember how he started the patch for my brother. How can you propagate black raspberries? When is the best time to do it? Thank you in advance!!

Where can I find water snowflakes or yellow floating heart in toronto? This is a aquatic pond plants

We have a property where the house is lower to the ground than the road. We have steps down into the front of the house and a retaining wall holding back the driveway. We have many issues with people looking into the house as they pass the road and would like to add a shrub for privacy above the retaining wall. We only have about 3-4 feet between retaining wall and the driveway. Hoping to find something that won’t destroy the wall but will still provide privacy. If possible something also low maintenance. Area is full sun, dry conditions, sandy/clay soils.

What is best way to eliminate and prevent crabgrass on my lawn?…..for whatever reason, this summer I have noted a rapid growth and spread of crabgrass on my front lawn, however my neighbor’s lawn remains spotless?

Hi there,
I was hoping you could help me identify what is wrong with my money tree.
All of a sudden it is covered in yellow spots. Initially, I cut off the few leaves that had the spots, but overnight the rest of the leaves have gained them… I have tried spraying it with soapy water and I don’t see any bugs anywhere so I’m not sure what is causing it.

Thani=k you for your help!!

We have a Boxwood hedge that is turning brown – it seems to have suddenly worsened over the weekend. Looking at images online it looks like the leaf miner . Online resources only talk about treatment in May and early June . Any suggestions on what we can do at this stage will be greatly appreciated.

We have a Boxwood hedge that is turning brown – it seems to have suddenly worsened over the weekend. Looking at images online it looks like the leaf miner . Online resources only talk about treatment in May and early June . Any suggestions on what we can do at this stage will be greatly appreciated.

I am a new home owner. My lawn is full of weeds after getting dry. What can I do to maintain it free of weeds?

We planted a pagoda dogwood tree last year. It came through the winter fine and looked good all summer, but about five days ago, I noticed a squirrel in it, eating the berries. The squirrel had also chewed off the red stems on which the berries grow. The next few mornings, I saw the same thing, and also see a bunch of the red stems and leaves on the ground under the tree (see photo). It is a very small tree and I am concerned that this action will harm it. Am I right to be concerned, and if so, is there anything you can recommend? (This is our fifth attempt at growing a tree in this spot. We have a large black walnut tree. I really want this tree to survive.) Thank you.

I am in zone 5a and the location in question is partial shade with clay soils. I have 5 Carpinus betulus ‘frans fontaine’ that were planted three years ago. They are approximately 7′ tall, and in the spring I get a flush of growth then right around July I am seeing some of the terminal leaves and shoots brown and die back it is also followed by slight yellowing of the terminal leaves next in line. This happens on all 5 of the trees, however some worse than others. The soil is mulched and does not ever appear to be dried out.

Hi. I planed squash this year for first time. Given limited space, I used a trellis and the plants are thriving. I have many flowers that are producing plants. One for off to a very fast start and I have had to put it in a sling.
The garden is in Oakvile and in a raised bed (and on a trellis) . Lots of sun. The soil is loam. I lost the ident tag I planted and cannot seem to find a matching picture on the internet. Do you know what it is? The colours are similar to a Curazo squash except it is more oval than long. It weighs about 3lbs.

My Boyne raspberries are 3 year-old. Lots of berries but not ripening and are hard as golf balls

For the last 2 or 3 years, the pink flowers on my hydrangea are fewer and are hidden at the bottom of the plant. Otherwise the leaves look healthy. I am not sure if i am pruning it properly in the spring or whether this has anything to do with the flowering pattern. Please advise. Thank you.

I am considering planting a variety of day lilies in a bed in my front yard that gets full sun. My concern is what to plant before they bloom in July and after the blooms have finished. The bed is about 15’ x 2’. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks very much.

I have 2 hosta that have leaves that have browned on investigation the whole stem easily pulls away. I wonder with the heat and humidity if its Southern Blight and what fungicide should I use.


You are always very helpful answering my gardening questions….so here are another one..or two:

1/When I inquired about the best rose food (new for me) you recommended 6-9-6…it is just not available here in Canada…I even phoned the company…and then I asked you where to get it…you would not supply that sort of information which I understand …..
So given that I cannot source 6-9-6 what is the next best option?

2/ What is “clematis wilt” and why is it happening this year? I thought it was only my problem…apparently not…
And what is the best formula for clematis and other flowering plants…I have planted a variety of bee and butterfly attractors and hope to get the best possible results…

3/ I have had the opportunity recently to visit the Redford Gdns in quebec where the exquisite blue poppy is now in bloom…do they grow anywhere in Ontario?

After the heavy rain in Toronto last week 2 of my Christmas cactus have developed a white powdery residue at their base… the dishes they were in as well.
Don’t know what to do and whether this will affect the plants long term. Look forward to help

My Japanese maple is dying of bacterial wilt and leaf blight and I am certain it will be gone either this fall or next year. Could I plant amelanchier canadensis in it place right away or I need to wait a few years or remove as much soil from the hole before planting? Is there any wilt-resistant small trees that you could recommend?

i have a 27 year old tree which i planted 27 years ago. it is approx 20 ft. tall. how can i prune it to get flowers lower down? do i need to remove major branches?

We live in toronto in the beaches area (sandy soil) and this maple has mix of sun and shade.. not too sunny! All of a sudden it looks like this. What can I do? Any help is appreciated! Thank you!

Every spring my front and back lawn starts to grow beautifully however come June the colour changes to a deep green and eventually to brown. This year has been the worst. Both of my lawns now look like straw. I have no idea what it is. Both my neighbours lawns look good. Any suggestions. Thank you.


I’m wondering if you could recommend a few native cover crop for a full sun, and a partial shade site? Something that is frost tender, 18″ tall max, average garden soil, and will reseed?

I’m using a mix of Lobularia maritima and Iberis amara for cover crop, but I’d like to switch to native plants if possible.

Thank you.

After the heavy rain in Toronto last week 2 of my Christmas cactus have developed a white powdery residue at their base… the dishes they were in as well.
Don’t know what to do and whether this will affect the plants long term. Look forward to help

I need a tree that can grow in a planter in my backyard. It would get a lot of shade since I have a maple nearby. It needs to be Leafy and wide at the top, so that it can cover the background at around 2-2.5 meters tall. Is there such a tree? If so, how big would the planter need to be? It would be placed in the northeast corner of my backyard. Thank you.

I have many different types of hydrangeas. The two “twist and shout” and 4 Endless Summer” ones are supposed to flower on new growth. However the flowers are healthy bushy with leaves but practically no flowers at all! I used chicken manure, Miracle acid loving plant Diluted in water (9–18-9) as well as sprinkling miracle grow to make flowers bloom in the soil around each plant. Some of the hydrangeas are getting at least six hours of sun a day while others are in part shade. I also purchased the in”incrediball” variety and invincible ruby for this year. No flowers! I added 3 in one soil and compost around them. I am at my wits end. Any suggestions?
I did not send pictures because they are all healthy with lots of leaves. Please help me.

> My Asiatic lilies were eaten by bugs and maybe bunnies as well.
> I’m attaching pictures.
> Can you help me?
> Helen

My Bee Balm has a white substance on all the leaves. Surprisingly it as started to show a few flowers. What do I do to get rid of the residue.

Can it spread to other plants in my garden?

I appreciate your help.

I purchased this last year and it was beautiful with 3″ blooms. It came back and has produced many buds. I was expecting it to be in bloom already. Are these buds normal? They seem small to me given it is late July.

HI, I have planted quite a few trees around my backyard, and recently dug up a large bush that was over 13 feet high. It has left a large “whole” in my privacy for next door neighbors and myself, and was looking at possible options. I have a lovely beech columnar purple color at one part of my garden i planted, that would be the perfect height and size, and have also planted along the garden, three different columnar oaks, a pyramidal, royal prince, and skyrocket….the spot i now need to plant is close to the house, and just want to ensure i don’t have too much of a root system to foundation…..measurement of the space at the house is upt to 14 feet away and seven feet between patio and neighbors fence… far away should i plant a columnar and are their some trees with less deep roots ? Would appreciate you advice, Attached is a picture of the side of the house, depth to plant is 7 feet and 14 feet from house to a large cat cage structure.

My plant is approximately 4 feet and it has had brown leaves for years. It grows inside our Toronto condo where the sun is and the soil is probably loam but dries easily. I forgot the name of the plant, which initially was just one plant w/green leaves but later grew another branch and then the leaves just turned brown for both. I just let it be but now am interested to know if you could help bring back the green leaves. Attached is a photo. Thank you so much.


Please help. I planted morning glory plants three years back and the plant has taken over everything in my front yard. It has spilled over to the grass and now all grass is covered with these spider veins that bllom in the morning. The garden is no longer visible as the plant is crawling over every plant and chocking all plants.

Please help.

Thank you,


Could you let me know if there is a source of copper beech seedlings in Canada?

Hi, my herbal peony’s leaves are turning brown. I am in Toronto, Sunny spot. Could you please advice what I should do?

I live in Ottawa, Ontario and started 2 Catalpa seeds in February. I have had to re-pot then twice as they grow quickly. They are now 28″ tall and am wondering how to overwinter them. I have no place to store them inside so have to hope Mother Nature will be kind to them until I can plant them in the spring. They will be in full sun and the soil will be loam. Believe the zone is 4 or 5.

I have been clearing the little gauzy bundles of larvae from my boxwood bushes by hand. I haven’t found any caterpillars yet but I would do the same. Would it be helpful also to spray the boxwood bush with vinegar and/or mild dish soap diluted in water? Thank you!

We moved into this house 3 years ago and this smoke tree has not “smoked” or bloomed …asked neighbours and they say they don’t remember if it has in the past

I live in north Toronto and have a 10 year old trumpet vine Growing on my iron fence, so it gets plenty airflow. Sun in the morning until 1:00PM, then shade. What can I do to avoid the spread? Is there an organic treatment (spray).

Hi there
I have a large section of basket willow that have formed a shrub shape. They are getting too large and we would like to cut them back by half the size. The insides of the bush seem to be bare branches. How did we go about doing this? Thank you!

Hello. I planted 8 ft eastern cedars in my back yard in the spring and a couple trees have about 75% of their leaves turn brown. most of the brown leaves are on the bottom of the tree and the top of the tree is still green. I got a soil water meter and it indicates that the soil is wet even though I have not watered them in over a week. What can I do to get these trees to go green again? do I need to plant new ones? I do have very bad drainage in my back yard.

Do you sell claiming Rose

Hello. I live in Bradford where the soil has lots of clay. The tree was planted 2 years ago. The first year the foliage all dropped due to a green beatle and this year I had a nice full tree with some blooms. However now I am seeing the leaves being eaten and some of the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I sprayed it twice with safers 3 in1 garden spray but I don’t think it’s helpful. What to do?

I had a few lilies that I overwatered. I removed the bulbs from the soil and let it dry out in the sun for about a day hoping that can save the bulbs. However, the leaves kept turning yellow and the flower bulbs even dropped off the plant. I have now removed the whole plant from the pot and let them dry out in the sun. I inspected the bulbs and they look healthy and no visible sign of disease. Should I save these bulbs for next year?

Reason why the tips of Pilea Peperomioides turns black (pic) and eventually dry off. Our handling of plant as usual for Pilea, less watering, porous soil and no direct sunlight.

We are having trouble with the not growing at the curb of our lawn. It is very sandy and of course the ants like the sand. It has been an on going problem for years. We are now thing about putting a 15″ border of ground cover along the curb. Do you have any suggestion of plants we should use. Thanks.


My 10 year old Early Redhaven peaches have what look like red pimples on the fruit. Can you tell me what this is/how to remedy/is the fruit still safe to eat? For some reason I cannot download the photo to send. Will DM if you send your email.

Many thanks,

Hi. I would like to see if I can get help to assist in identifying yellow mottling on the leaves of several of my plants. I live in zone 5b (GTA – Brampton, ON). This is in my back garden facing NW. New soil added (6″) in spring to garden beds consisting of live organic soil from Gro4 Organics, Organic Worm castings from Home Hardware added and Mulskie fish emulsion fed 3 x to plants this season. Containers all had a bit of the growers mix along with worm castings and pro-mix organic herb & veg. Mottling first came apparent on elderberry trees. On the European it looked more yellow or pale green mottling but on the American it looks more like yellow spots that eventually go brown. I then discovered it on a AK auto cannabis plant a few days ago and then on my Valerian plant yesterday. All plants are in sun from noon to 7 pm. with a bit of dappling sun afterwards. I originally thought it was from the heat but I posted on gardening forums and was told this could be the mosaic virus or yellow spot fungus and would like to see if anyone can assist me. I have been to local nurseries who could not identify. I have quite a few pictures of the different plants but the site will only let me upload one. The picture is of the European Elderberry (Sambcus Nigra – Korsor). The other European Elderberry trees and the American Elderberry trees have similar yet different patterning that almost always goes brown around the pattern. The cannabis plant is dimilar yet different too and the pattern is much more circular.
If you need picture of those to compare, I would be more than happy to send through as well. Thank-you in advance, Cindy.

I shoved a bunch of Stinging Nettle up my anus on a dare. Now my anus is swollen and itchy
What can I do to reduce the swelling?

My neighbour’s small tree or shrub Tecoma Alata(?) seems to grow anywhere, after I placed black plastic over my side of the fence to reduce weeding, while I prepare to mulch the strip of 50 feet by 3 feet on my side of the lot. Orange doesn’t appeal to me, and seems to clash with my vibrant purple phlox which seem to glow as the sun sets.
It’s about 12 feet high, and 6 feet around, and in full sun through the chain link fence on the north part of the fence separating our properties, in Toronto’s west end, with very few blooms.
Aside from the labour of weeding and snipping branches, is there any way to keep this plant, or any plant, from taking over my garden, while the neighbour is away, since this plant needs little attention, and I only have a chain link fence between us?
I’ve attached a bloomed bell shape flower from the plant for your confirmation.
thank you

I live in North York. We planted 3 rhubarb plants and 3 cucumber plants this summer in 2 planting boxes (36 inches high by 29 inches deep by 52 inches long) that are on either side of the walkout area steps from our basement backyard patio doors. The backyard faces north. It is a shady backyard (large Manitoba maple, pine trees) but this area gets a decent amount of sun.

Over the last week, we have found 2 ‘skeletons’ of some type of beetle or bug clinging to the underside of a cucumber plant leaf and a rhubarb plant leaf. The exoskeletons are large, over 1 inch long, open along the back spine where the critter emerged and the exoskeletons still cling to the underside of the leaf for a few days til they fall off.
Can you identify this beetle or bug? is is beneficial or harmful to the plants? Thank very much!

I lost the identification tag for this plant. I think it is squash although it looks like a watermelon given the stripes. I live in Toronto and the garden (a box 4 X 15 X 3 feet deep) gets full sun.

The vines grew quickly and produced 7-8 fruit in various sizes. The first and largest one is 8 inches in length. I have put them in slings for support since they are growing on a trellis. The soil is loam. I notice that the
vines start a light green in color but as the approach the fruit, they turn a dark green. Is this unusual?

Can you tell me what variety it is and when (weight or date) they are ready to be harvested? thanks

Thank you for availing your knowledgable services to others.
My townhouse that I moved into recently has a sloping garden. The growth of annuals and perennials has been poor. Is there anything I can put on top that will retain the moisture.
Thank you.

I have always loved the colour that annual vinca brings to my garden. This year, I have observed something unusual occurring on the plants. There are yellow off shoots growing from them that look as if they belong to something else, but I can assure you they are indeed growing from the plant itself. I have never seen this before and I wondered if you might know what this is?

I had to shrink the photo down to meet your size requirements so please let me know if you have trouble seeing it. Thank you in advance!

We redid the landscaping in our backyard 2 years ago and need to cut lower branches of our gingko tree to allow equipment in. It is a mature tree standing over 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The soil is clay. It has mulch at its base and the in ground sprinkler ensures it gets watered regularly (every other day for 15 minutes). Some branches appear there, some have partial leaves while others look very healthy. I have noticed that the leaves appear smaller than before. Is there something we should be doing to maintain this gingko biloba tree?

Can you tell me the possible reasons why my apple, pear and cherry trees have no fruit this year even though they all had numerous blossoms in the spring. I have noticed numerous gypsy moths in my garden. A Norway maple in particular has several branches which have been stripped of their leaves.

Please give me an advice with magnolia scale treatment for a very big tree. Can I spray by myself and what product or I need to call professionals? The house is in Woodbridge.
Thank you,
Nina litvinchuk

I have been finding round eggs (about 0.5 cm diameter or smaller) on the soil in several planters and in the larger planter boxes (4 ft wide x 2.5 feet deep by 3 feet high) in the backyard. They are round, white to slightly yellow-green tint and sometimes more translucent on the under side. They also exist in the soil when I dig below the surface (4 to 5 inches).
I did try to look into this, I think they may be earthworm eggs, but these are perfectly round. I have seen flying ants around. I also thought they might be snail eggs but they are not in clusters and I don’t see a ‘slime trial’. The soil is naturally clay like in our area but I added compost to the larger planters (1st year rhubarb plants, cucumbers) and I use a soil mix for planters for the pots growing herbs and geraniums. We have a shady backyard facing north (lots of trees) but the planted areas get decent sunlight.
The eggs are also in the front flower bed (south facing) near the rhubarb plant I planted this year in the east corner. The front flower bed mainly has euonymus shrubs. We do have a few snails in the front flower bed which I try to kill when seen. Something has been eating holes in the new (precious!) rhubarb plant leaves. I think the rhubarb is struggling this year with the heat and might have a fungal issue.
Question: Are the round eggs a good bug or a pest I should be worried about? Do you know what they are?
Many thanks! You provide a valuable service.

I have a dozen plants in the garden which I don’t know the name of. Attached is one plant that got infected very badly. I am going to send them one by one online. Hope you can help. I am new to this.

Thank you.



Hi Master Gardeners

I have a smallish garden bed, part of a small deco outside my kitchen. It is planted with climbing hydrangeas.

A couple of weeks ago I put some cacao bean shell mulch (from Chocosol here in TO)
on n top of the soil here. This has managed to stop the squirrels from digging out to the roots but yesterday I noticed that the soil area was covered with these fine fungus (?) threads

It has been wet & humid recently. I don’t know if this explains what has happened. Do you think something was already in my soil or perhaps this came from the cacao shell mulch?

The soil is an AllTreat Multiblend (bought at Fiesta Gardens nearby.

The area is not full sun but partial – full in the mid to later pm

Thank you!

i have a very imposing house behind my property
i am looking to grow some fast growing cedars
i would like native plants to my region which is norwich.
22 minutes south of woodstock

climate zone is 6a
full sun most of the day
think its clay
wet or dry? not sure

thanks in advance

I am new in gardening only 3 years,
since last year i found the all vine leaf/ grape leaf have plenty of holes infected buy that insect shown in attached photo
any idea how to stop this insect from damaging my vine yard

I have a very shady front garden in central Toronto. In recent years, my hydrangeas have been attacked by what I think are spiders (I’ve never actually seen them) that make webs inside the hydrangea leaves so that the leaves curl tightly around the webs. See photos 1312 and 1313.
This year, the webbing has spread throughout the garden, especially affecting my English ivy, which grows as ground cover and also climbs up my very old silver maple. See photos 1307 and 1308.
Do you know what is making these webs, and how I can solve this problem?
Thanks very much for your advice!
Liz Addison


I live in Etobicoke and we have just done some work on our front steps. There is left over concrete, cinder blocks and brick. I was thinking of repurposing this material into a rain garden for my front garden (none of the plants would be eaten) however I’m just wondering about if I should be concerned about using these materials? If so, what are your suggestions for a rock/rain garden?

Dear Master Gardeners,

I got a couple of dwarf burning bush cuttings from a very nice neighbour and after two months of care, some of them have rooted. I want to know how to care of these tiny plants during the winter, can I plant them in a sunny spot in the yard and replant them in the destination spot in the spring? Will they survive winter? They are about 2-4 inches tall and they only have 2 to 7 leaves. I’d appreciate your help to

Our lawn is being sprayed with Fiesta Weed Control tomorrow morning. How long should we wait before reseeding bare spots?

I have some Japanese knotweed. But I’m not sure what type of this weed

I hired a gardener to design an area of my garden and one of the plants that were implanted was and English Lavender Super Blue (Lavendula angustifolia). There were 20 planted in rows in the border on either side of the garden. Despite careful watering (not over watering), one by one they started to shrivel and dry up and appear to have no green foliage. Of the 20, 10 have died and 4 are dying. Would you be able to identify whether they had some kind of disease that caused this? Thanks very much.

I have a large, well cared for and suitably potted and watered and fed, ficus. Over the last week (while I was away) it appears to have become “Ill”. It has a great deal of dead leaves still on the plant and a large amount of dropped green leaves. The soil is still moist. The one factor that changed is temperature. The apt has very large tall south facing windows. It can heat up. To counter this I left the A/C on low. But it was quite cool in the apt upon my return. Not sure of best course of action now.

Hi ,
My tomato leaves dry up at the top. The other leaves are fine .Growing in a pot with Potting soil.

Why is my pilea stem turn black?

How to stop blossom end rot. Can we use Epsom salts? Live in Etobicoke.

My Lily Tree was going to die. I took the upper part into the house, put it in a clear vase, left it on the window ledge. It now has fibrous roots as well as what appears to be 2 sets of leaves forming – one under water.
What do I do to help it become a lily tree?
I have another picture with more detail – how do I submit the second one/

The picture shown below is either growing out of my Rose of Sharon tree or another tree beginning – I really don’t want more trees where this one is – what is it – what do I do about it.

How to get rid of creeping charley

Hello there, please I am looking for guava leave, could you please guide as to where I can get. I need it for herbs.

I will appreciate any support you can give.
Thank you.

I searched your site for a solution but was unable to find anything. Do you have any suggestions?

how to get read of crab grass

I have very mature York Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis – York) plants that produce lot of fruit. I understand these are toxic and cannot be eaten raw. Is it okay to add the ripened or un-ripened (green) fruit of the York Elderberry plant to the compost bin? I am worried about the toxicity of the fruit and how it would affect the compost. The finished compost is used in my vegetable garden.

Is it okay to add York elderberry leaves or branches to the compost bin

Hi there – I’m not sure if this is the type of question you would normally answer, but thought I’d give it a shot. I’m planning on replacing my grass with a pollinator/butterfly garden. My yard touches my neighbours so I don’t want to plant anything close to that dividing “line” that would spread too much or too aggressively. I was wondering if you have a few suggestions for perennials that would suit that purpose? The area gets a good amount of sunshine, soil is not too clay-like or sandy, and I’m hoping to use primarily plants native to Ontario. Thank you, Ashley

I want to plant perennial borders of Queen Anne’s lace or Baltic parsley, fox gloves, hollyhocks and cosmos. All of these plans remind me of England, and I Especially like the wild look of Queen Anne’s lace which reminds me of playing in English fields when I was a child. I’ve seen Queen Anne’s lace all over my neighbourhood in Toronto but I know that it can be unruly and spread. I’m wondering if there is a particular variety that is preferable to plant in a flower bed, perhaps Baltic parsley instead? I Have full sun, partial sun and shade areas in my garden. I am fine with the wild look, but don’t want to completely crowd out any other flowers. Also not sure about whether these plants will do well in Toronto.I would be grateful for any and all input! Thank you for helping me create my English cottage garden :-)

We have 5 Cedar Trees, they have not been pruned for 15-25 years and have suffered from a lack of water for many years as they are located right next to a Locust Tree and the cement staircase of an adjacent property. Last few years they have been well fertilized and had deep root fertilizing. They suffered from small scales a few years ago.
We live in Rosedale Toronto and have Clay soil but have added pebbles and compost to the soil.
One can clearly see the trunks through the foliage, they were not visible a few years ago. Our Questions (1) Do the Cedars look too thin and spindly to stand up to a light pruning in the hope of encouraging the cedars to thicken up? (2)Could this safely be done with electric tools or are we better to do this by hand? (3) How much should we remove (4) When is the best time to do this? Photos follow by EMail

Hello. I have a chain link fence that backs onto a mini ravine/natural type area (zone 6) that I’d like to cover up in the least expensive way possible. The length of the fence receives at least 6 hours of sunlight, apart from shady spots under the tree (I timed 4 hrs). Ideally I would love an all season flower garden that would also be a covering but I’m limited to a depth of 2 feet (my co-habitants would like to maximize lawn space instead). Is it possible to plant a hedge inside a raised bed that will be placed against the fence that will be 6” -12” deep but 2 feet tall? Or am I better off just planting the hedge in ground and then salvage whatever space I have left in front with annuals?

Hi there,
We planted a mature Katsura Japanese Maple in our front south facing yard about 5 years ago. It is currently about 12 feet tall and 5 ft wide. It initially thrived with lots of new growth, but in the last two years, it has been dying slowly. We loose 2 to 3 branches every year. It seems that in the spring, the leaves start sprouting but by mid April, the branch grows a green scale (see photo) and the leaves start turning brown and the branch dies.

Any idea what is causing this? Can we save the tree? I’m afraid we’ve lost too many branches at this point.

Please help! Thank you.

My orange tree is about 15 years old, just over 3′ high, and thriving on my downtown Toronto roof terrace. After a hugh flush of flowers earlier this year it is loaded with small oranges. Today I discovered that an animal (squirrels are common on my terrace) has removed the bark from the soil line up about 10″ to where the first branching occurs.
Bark from the first 4 inches is removed completely around the trunk, then the bark removal is about half of the trunk surface. for the rest of the 10″ or so.
What should I do to remedy the damage, if that is possible? Of course I need to deter the animals but for right now my concern is to try to prevent any insect or other infestation.

Thank you!

Hi there,

I’m having a sudden and quickly spreading issue with my tomato plants this past week or so that I haven’t been able to identify (and respond to).

I grow tomatoes in pots and in a layered raised bed. A couple (one in a pot, one in bed) started to show blight (I think and not septoria spot, but I’m not an expert) and so I started spraying them, and a couple others that developed the yellowing (two other pots on opposite side from first two and in new soil), with Safer’s sulfur dust (mixed into a liquid). I was doing that about once a week without result, and the blight/yellow spotting was spreading. So I thought I’d try baking soda, as I’d read it works well. I mixed a small spoon of oil, again as I read it helps to keep the mix on the leaves. I sprayed the affected and the not (visibly) affected plants a couple days in a row in the evenings on not scorching hot days. From that point on, every single tomato plant started to look diseased and then dying. Predominantly, they developed black spots. I thought maybe that was the oil, but it then seemed to spread. In the last week my plants have gone from really green and healthy to having entire leaf stems and sections shrivel and dry out. I’m attaching a picture of what it looks like across stages (on some plants it looks like a sandy brown like here, but on most it’s black spots). It hits leaves first (particularly the ones on the fruiting stems), they dry out and shrivel up their little leaf stem and then that proceeds to the entire stems which becomes pencil thin. There is no yellow colouring on these, it’s green to black/brown to dried out entirely to dead. I should note, none of the tomato fruits themselves are affected, nor do the main stems.

Do you know what this is, and can I do anything about it? I stopped spraying them with anything out of fear/confusion. I feel like I somehow spread something when I sprayed (?). I spray my sheers before using them on each plant, so I don’t think it spread that way. The plants/pots were spread out and now I’ve moved them so that no leaves are even touching. Most are in new organic soil (the original blight ones were not so I wasn’t entirely surprised there). I was pruning the affected leaves and stems, but I stopped out of concern of over-pruning/no leaves being left. Should I cut it all off? And if it continues to spread? Your help in identifying and guidance on what to do is greatly appreciated. I can send different pictures if needed. There are still a lot of small green tomatoes growing on these plants and I’m hoping they can be saved.

Also, may I ask – I like to harvest seeds (I did that for the first time last year, many of these plants I grew from seed). Depending on what this is, will it affect the seeds (assuming the tomatoes get to that stage before the plants give out)?

Lastly, if I may, the original blight-affected tomato plants, the yellowing is moving up very quickly and I can’t keep up (barring pruning almost all its leaves.. it’s almost there now). The hardest hit is a roma with dozens of green tomatoes on it still, though without any leaves I wonder how they’ll ripen and taste. Do you advise continuing to prune, or should I stop and maybe spray again? (or give up?).

I know there’s a lot in this message, and I thank you for your time and your advice. I’m hoping I can do something to save these plants as there are potentially still a couple months of growing season left.

Hi there: each year on my global cedar I get extensive spider webbing on the bush. The other day I saw the spider and tried to capture it, but it got away. It is not spider mite webbing. I have been hand picking it away. Is there anything else I can do. Thanks so much

Good day!
I am starting this late, and I am in search for joe-pye weed, goldenrod, and really any other flower that can still blossom this year and help the bees. I have a big garden. I’ve tried to find seeds for the past hour or so and have been unable to locate any. Could you please advice?

thank you

Just starting to consider a small greenhouse for a sunny spot in my yard in North York, ON. I am looking for a good store to visit who might have ideas and patience for a no nothing guy.

I have several potted hydrangea and hostas on deck. Should I plant them in ground before winter or wait till spring?

Hello. I would appreciate some advice. I live in Hamilton, Ontario. My Saucer Magnolia tree has scale and I’ve been reading lots online and had an arborist out for a look. He suggests two applications of insecticide, then dormant oil spray in the fall. That seems to make sense to me based on what I’ve read. However he’s also recommended a deep root fertilizer to support the tree because it’s currently under stress. While I understand that in theory, I’ve been reading that fertilizing actually increases the scale problem. I’m thinking of doing everything except the deep root treatment. Do you agree that I should not do the fertilization? Also, if you do advise the deep root treatment – how late in the year can I do it before winter for it to help. I greatly appreciate your time and expertise! My tree has sentimental value and I want it to survive.

I live in Leaside and this invasive weed is encroaching on to my garden from my neighbour’s backyard. I would like to know the name of this weed, so I ask for your help.
Thank you.

Which chemical I can use, to kill the Japanese knotweed. And where to buy. I’m in Canada Ontario

Hi Master gardener,
Some cucumbers in my garden look like dying. The leaves became all dry although I water them regularly.
There are cucumber beetles, but I have them under control. The leaves look like they are infected with some diseases. Please help.

i have a very imposing house behind my property
i am looking to grow some fast growing cedars
i would like native plants to my region which is norwich.
22 minutes south of woodstock

climate zone is 6a
full sun most of the day
think its clay
wet or dry? not sure

thanks in advance

Our twenty year old red oak is dropping small branches of 6-20 leaves all day and hundreds of acorns. Is there a problem I should be dealing with? Thanks

I planted silberfeder in containers in the spring and they have flourished. The clumps I bought were already a few seasons old so I had significant growth this year. I planted in a 3 in 1 and topped with mulch. I’m a little surprised that it’s already mid-august and no plumes are growing. I’ve read that this could be due to a possible excess of nitrogen and that adding mulch could help. Would I just be adding the mulch on top or should I try my best to mix it in around a little deeper? Could there be any other reason the grass isn’t going to seed yet?

Hi, a few weeks ago, I asked this question:
I have a very shady front garden in central Toronto. In recent years, my hydrangeas have been attacked by what I think are spiders (I’ve never actually seen them) that make webs inside the hydrangea leaves so that the leaves curl tightly around the webs. See photos 1312 and 1313.
This year, the webbing has spread throughout the garden, especially affecting my English ivy, which grows as ground cover and also climbs up my very old silver maple. See photos 1307 and 1308.
Do you know what is making these webs, and how I can solve this problem?

I was advised that I probably had spider mites. However, these webs continue to plague me (and many of my neighbours) and they’re not just on plants but on everything else in the garden, including furniture, pots, and many other non-living things. Concluding that they’re not spider mites, I opened one of the curled-up leaves on my hydrangea and found a small whitish spider – about 1/4 inch and much bigger than a mite. (photo of the squished spider attached). Do you have another guess as to what it is?

Thanks again for your help.

I need to replace the hydrangea that I have in a planter on my covered front porch (house faces south) by another plant. I was thinking of a Begonia, since they do well in that spot in the summer, but since we’re already at the end of the summer I was wondering if there’s some other plant that may last beyond that. Thanks

I recently cut down a buckthorn very near a cedar hedge. I would like to insure that it does not come back. I don’t think mechanical removal is an option. Any suggestions?


I’d like to get/grow
1. Areca Palm,
2. Sansevieria Trifasiata, and
3. Epipremnum Aureum

and I’d like to do it cost effectively.

My questions are:
1. what is cheaper
a. getting pot and seeds and grow it or
b. buy it from somewhere

2. where can i buy these plants cost effectively?

3. what is a reasonable price to pay for each of these?

Thank you!


We recently moved and brought some succulent cuttings with us. These succulents came from succulent plants that grew out of my wedding bouquet so I would really like to preserve them and for the plant to grow again. I cut the succulents almost 3 weeks ago, on August 3rd, and even though the cuttings have calloused, they didn’t form roots. I am very worried and scared about just planting them as is, so I would really appreciate your help. Despite being cut 3 weeks ago, the plants still seem firm and healthy (some leave started to dry out), I am attaching pictures of what they look like right now. Could you please advise me on how I should proceed? Thank you very very much!

Is this an invasive insect in Vancouver? Never seen him before
Antennae appear ungainly
Unsure footing of back legs on leaf edge

Handsome black and white
May be able to fly

this is my first year planting perennials in my garden and I have some questions.
I would like to plant some hostas, should I plant them now in the fall or next spring?
I have a nice big rose bush, ambrose? I am not sure of the name, when do I prune it and when do I feed it?
The grass in garden is not nice at all, I would like to plant something I should not have to mow the lawn any more, please advice.
I put some of my interior plants outside, should I wash them before I bring them back inside? please advice what product to use to wash them.
Should I plant more perennials now or it is better next spring?

I really appreciate your help,

Thank you very much

Are there any flowers, shrubs, grasses, ferns, etc. that can grow under Norway Maples? I’ve 2 in back garden which is surrounded on 2 sides by 6′ fence = total shade. No flowers survive, some Hostas do survive but even some shade Hostas don’t. 1 in front garden, grass underneath with flowers around. Grass is spotty but flowers are OK -they are further away from the tree but still within the drip line. Front yard has a fair amount of sun but still a lot of shade during the day. Both gardens have water sprinkler system installed.


Do you have advice for planting Yorkshire Roses and Jasmine plants from seeds Can both these plants be planted indoors ? The Jasmine are the the large white ones .

Hello, I looked at the Gardening Guides but can’t find a “Weed Identification Chart”. Can you create a section for this along with how to best get rid of each particular weed? Also, can you identify what weed this is? I’ve been pulling it all summer and more seems to grow back than what I pull ! And how do I get rid of it. Thanks

I planted to Boston ivy plants in big planter about two months ago (I added some begonias to fill the planters), and they have both grown nicely since then, except for the fact that one of them is growing downwards, not upwards. I would like it to climb over the fence behind it, as well as the shed to the right of it in the photo, but the shoots are all staying down. Is there anything I can do to guide the growth upwards? Thank you.

Need information on how to lightly trim back a Gingko tree that is a bit too close to a structure. The tree is healthy but a small part of it is beginning to strike a wall which may eventually damage some branches. The tree is about 20 ft tall and 15 feet wide and is evenly shaped.

Hi there
We are dealing with a very bad ant infestation in the lawn all around the house. Any exterminator we have called cannot treat lawns and interlock and any landscape company we have found have lawn pestocides but cannot treat for ants.
Is there anyone you can recommend who can do this? We worry it is just a matter of time before the ants make their way into the house.
Thank you.

I purchased five Torenia annuals in 4″ pots from a greenhouse. They were all planted with fresh container soil in clean hanging baskets. Of the five only one has bloomed. I have fertilized with Miracle Grow 15-30-15 bloom booster monthly. The attached photo shows two plants in one basket, only one bloomed and even it has not been prolific. This basket is under the eaves facing north west and gets late afternoon sun. Last year my Torenia plant under a cedar tree was unbelievably beautiful with never ending bloms with it almost reaching the ground from a six foot hanger. I am wondering what if anything I am doing wrong this year.

I have a ornamental Siberian pea shrub about 5-6 feet high. Last year I noted it lost some leaves early before autumn. This year the problem became more serious. Many branches lost leaves except a few branch close to the house. (Our house is facing southwest.) Sou is pretty clay type. This year we did out in some top soil but it didn’t help. We live in Markham.

Vines have struggled this year. Started slowly, I think due to a cool June in Kitchener area. Some vines shrivelled and died. Wasn’t from lack of water. Didn’t see any striped cucumber beetles this year, which I know do spread disease. Some vines have flowers; may still get some fruit. before frost. What do you think may have gone wrong? Have had success in previous 4 years. I do rotate where I grow them.

I have a crab apple tree that gave a bumper crop of apples this year so I was very concerned to see rows of holes in the trunk – what are causing these and should I be concerned? Thank you!
Jo Mather

Can i make tea from the petals of a Perennial dinner plate Hibiscus.

Hey everyone,
I have an area surrounded by pavers that currently has a pyramidal european hornbeam in it. Its 5b zone, very compact clay soil, minimal topsoil due to the pea gravel for the pavers and everything seems to now drain into this hole. I’m pretty sure I’m drowning this thing.

1) is there anything I can do to save it without moving it?

2) what tree would grow in this compact clay & standing water location?


Good Day,
After pruning my first set of flowers in June/July I found that that new growth became blind shoots. No buds
Please help.
Also i have had peonies in my garden for the last three years. they get the morning sun. Lots of foliage, but no flowers. Why?


I found your Pollinator Garden page very helpful for plant suggestions and info. I live in downtown Toronto and now have an open balcony terrace (no roof above) and want to plan to plant for next spring. How high up is common for pollinators to visit? I’m on the 9th floor. I am south facing with lots of sun all day and there is some shielding from wind within the balcony but would be windy with taller plants.
So far, without plants, the only visitors we get are wasps.

Is it worth planting pollinator plants up here? Will bees and butterflies come up this high? I hope my details above are helpful!
Appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!


Which chemical I can use, to kill the Japanese knotweed. And where to buy. I’m in Canada Ontario

Hello, I am fairly new to gardening, had some success so far with buttercup squash, but they are taking over my garden. I planted some in my flower beds and they are thriving trellising along the rock border. Could I just plant individual seeds in small plots alone outside of a garden, and leave logs astound t=for them to trellis? (resident of Ottawa) Thanks.

I am looking for cladrastis kentukea in 50mm caliper.
How much is the cost?
When can it be planted?

I will be attending a celebration of life next month and I am looking for a plant, shrubs ,tree or house plant either with the name Joan, White or Wilson in it. Preferably I can get it in Toronto.
Any help would be very much appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
Thank you in advance.

Hi. I have a large old crab apple in the front yard. Normally it is covered in pink blossoms in the spring. This year it had maybe 10 blossoms. What would be the cause of not flowering at all? Then to add insult to injury a squirrel built a nest at the top of it and has been “harvesting” the crab’s twigs and leaves all summer to fortify it’s nest so now the top of the tree is quite bare of leaves. Is there any worry for the tree being stripped of leaves like this? There still are some and I know it may stimulate growth for next year but part of me wants to evict the squirrel and the other part just wants everything to take it’s natural course. Love to hear your thoughts. I have no pics this unfortunately.

I have a nice phlox plant that looks heathy but it never flowers, despite watering, fertilizing. It is in full full most of the day. What can I do to finally see it bloom ?

This little rhodo (PJM?) started this year with really yellow leaves. I’ve had it in the yard for over 10 years. I live in Mimico, base of Etobicoke, Toronto, near the lake so it always a little more temperate in the winter. I gave it a dose of nitrogen in the spring but nothing changed. I have almost 40 other types of rhodos and azaleas and no other plant has this issue. Any idea what is going on and what I could do about it? Could it be winter damage? It was surrounded by burlap (on stakes surrounding it, not on the plant itself) so it was protected from winter sun and wind. Love to know your thoughts.

I live in Mimico, base of Etobicoke, really close to the lake, so it’s cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter – a micro-climate if you will. I planted a Fairview Juniper about 25 years ago. It is now about 20′ tall. I’ve noticed that as it grew and got to about 10′ tall, the “feathery” look of the foliage suddenly became tight “balls” of foliage. Now the new growth of the top 10′ and end of some branches is back to the expected “feathery” nature of a Fairview Juniper. There are a few holes in the trunk like a wood pecker was at it looking for bugs. Did the tree have some kind of infestation/disease that effected the foliage and caused it to “ball”? If it were to be infected/diseased, and we know what the infection/disease is…is there something that I can use to cure it and would the “balled” foliage return to the “feathery” foliage?
Love to know your thoughts. Thanks.

Dear Master gardeners,

I am looking for a flowering, non-fruiting, drought-resistant native tree which can tolerate clay soil. Ideally something which will not grow much larger than 5-6m tall. This is for a rental property that the client does not want to take care of. I already have a spice bush as part of the plan. Do you have any tips for me?
Thanks for sharing your time and resources!

Many thanks!

The city referred me to you. We are having a tree cut down & I understand you are able to replant one for us. We are interested in a white birch tree but it has to be 50 mm caliper. Can you please advise on the cost for this & how I arrange for this to happen? We are in etobicoke. Thank you

We have an infestation of, what I have googled and identified as, mediterranean red bugs, in our garden eating our plants. They are multiplying. What can I do to get rid of them permanently? Will they resurface in the Spring or die off when it gets cold?

I have a Supertunia, Royal Velvet Pentunia hybrid and a Superbena Red Verbena hybrid in a pot. Now that it is getting close to fall, can I keep them, maybe in my garage, and keep them watered to bloom in the Spring? The Red Verbena and a few Petunia are still in bloom.

My old apple tree has apparently become infected with Orchard Toothcrust (photo attached). The growth is in the centre of the tree, well shaded. It has been a particularly dry summer. Before I prune the limb, it was suggested to me that someone might be interested because it is an apparently rare fungus species.
Have I correctly identified the fungus?
Is anyone interested in recovering any spores? Do you have any suggestions as to how to protect my old tree?

I have two dappled willow trees that were planted 2 years ago. Now that I feel they are too close together and wonder if it’s still possible to move one of them. They are the dappled willow shrubs that were crafted onto a tree stem. The stems are 1 metre high now, and the branches are about 3-5 feet long. They grew fast this year. I don’t know how extensive their root systems have grown so far. Certainly don’t want to damage or kill them while transplanting. I’d like to hear from experienced gardeners whether it’s ok to move one of them. Thanks!

We have two Degroot Cedars approx, 8 ft (2.4 m) high. Both are separating/splitting into two near the tops of both. Is there any way to prevent this other than tying the two parts together with string? I live in North York. Please see attached photos.


I live around the East York area and have recently bought a Lily of the Valley from a nursery which I am trying to keep as an indoor houseplant. It is currently beside my orchids and my peace lily, and is located in my living room where it receives bright, indirect light. Additionally, it is currently in basic potting soil (humus, peat moss, sand, and perlite). I only water this plant when the top soil gets dry, and it’s in a plastic pot with several drainage holes at the bottom.

I have noticed after about 2 weeks since I’ve brought my plant home that brown spots have started to appear on some of its leaves. I’m wondering what may be the cause of this. I have looked up online for possible causes and most sites say it’s from the humidity which results in bacterial or fungal infection. If that is the case, is there any way I can save my plant and if so, how?

Thank you so much for your help!

Good morning,

I have a corner lot and I have many patches damaged by chinch bugs. Any solution? It looks awful in many spots. What can I do? Is it right time to ask lawn care company to spray next week and does it work? I am worried about it if I have to replace as it is an area of 10,000 square feet,
Appreciate your answer.


Do you know of any online gardening-related video chats, liked the ones you had earlier in the summer, to keep me motivated, as I clean up the garden through fall? Trca has some nature related events, but it seems Garden Ontario hasn’t converted their in-person events to virtual ones.
With flowers and no vegetables, there’s really no harvest, and it seems like a matter of weed control and community until winter.

It appears I just missed one, at the Woodgreen Seniors centre, on Au 31.

Thank you

I’m moving to Orillia in early October and want to take my peonies with me. Can I dig them up in late September and put them in large pots, then plant them in the ground 3-4 weeks later?

Hello, can you suggest a dense, flowering shrub for beneath a south facing window. This is to replace overgrown evergreens that provided insulation below the window. Looking for structure and colour in bushes that can be maintained at about 3 or 3 and a half feet tall. Thank you!

I bought Clematis last month. 3 Plants they were not in good shape. Yellow leaves and they do not look healthy but I bought them anyway. I planted them since then. They did not die but their leaves is yellowish and new leave also yellow. They still do not look health. What cause the leave to be yellow and then leave also yellow and how to fix that. Thank you so much

Kindly see attached image. 1) a leafy tree affected by burn-like marks. 2) a blue tree, not sure it it is a cypress or a cedar which has some of the branches and leaves becoming yellow close to the center.
I will appreciate any guidance as to what can be done to treat them.

Ants are all over my rose of sharon buds, I think they’re ruining the flowers at the tips, sucking the life of the bud. There’s no sign of aphids that I can see, just these ants. When the flower had bloomed there were holes in it! Please let me know why I’m having this problem? I tried blasting them off with the hose but they’re back. They are on the monarda below the RoS too but only the RoS buds look bad. I do have patio stone near by the ants go thru the cracks. I know ants are good but this is not good! please help! Can it be aphids that are so tiny I can’t see them? Thanks!

HELLO i have a cedar hedge 1.5 years old .planted in the sun
did great in the summer but i have noticed that some have become a bit thin.also it has produced a lot of seed clusters
i would like to know if thinning is normal before the fall/winter please advise
thank you

What are some considerations, if an older building is considering creating a rooftop green-space? What are the structural requirements for the roof? Are there long-term costs vs. short term costs? What are some of the benefits to a rooftop garden?

I would like to ask you about pruning and overgrown honeysuckle bush but I live in Waterloo, not Toronto. Will you accept a query from me about this with one or two attached pictures?

Hi, my house located in Richmond Hill (Elgin Mills & Yonge) and front yard is facing east. We have a maple tree (red and green leaves mixed) in the front yard. Some bark is peeling off and there are dead branches. I am not able to upload photos as the files size is big. please advise if there is other email address i can forward the rest. Thanks.

Is it too soon to move daylillies?

Hi, I have a shared driveway with a neighbour, and wanted to cut a two foot trench through the driveway on the property line, and plant a swamp cedar hedge. So asphalt on both sides. Will they survive? Thank you

I have a wall of these emerald cedars in my backyard , I would like to plant two more but the problem is that area is a bit shady and r more likely to die because lack of sun , is their a chance it can still survive since the others have and if not what other cedar can I plant in shady area besides black cedar

I have a small backyard with very active neighbours that run a daycare. While i do have a 6ft wooden fence…its almost like not having one when my deck is 3ft high. Im trying to find some small trees that wont take over my yard.. but give me some privacy up top (see attached photo).. i would prefer evergreen but i wont be choosey.

So I bought both a tropical passion flower vine called clear skies and a passion fruit vine (unknown cultivar). the passion fruit vine was a small plant in a 4 inch pot. it has been planted up in a beautiful planter with an obelisk trellis and has since grown alot. how do i over winter it? I have heard they can go dormant. how do I do this? I have a cool dark basement. I really do not want to kill this plant. also when do I cut it back? do the two passion vines have the same winter care? I have included a picture as well. the one on the right is tropical passion fruit vine in the black pot and the one on the left in the grey pot is passion flower clear skies.

Hi Master Gardener,
I have attached a photo of my maple tree. It seems that it has some disease. Would you please let me know how it can be treated? Thanks a lot

This started growing early summer near my Maple tree in my backyard

I saw this plant in my pot and am trying to identify it

8yr old Rhodo, planted by porch near overhang. Dry clay soil. Sun late afternoon. Leaves are turning yellow with brown spots. Same thing happened last yr. Fertilized it 3x and sprayed with no wilt and it rallied. Bloomed and grew new leaves but 7 days ago the yellowing started again rapidly shedding leaves.

Can manure and/or compost be added now in Sept. to a 20 or so year-old boxwood or should it only be done in the Spring?
Live in Erin, Ontario between Georgetown and Rockwood/Guelph areas in zone 5b.


I live in Toronto (Bathrust and Wilson) -zone 6

I am wondering if you can give me some advice about this rhododendron.

There are 2 planted right near each other, they are healthy plants and about 5 years old.

As far as I know the drainage is good, and similar for both of them. They get plenty of water. I don’t know what the soil type would be called but it has good top soil and more was added this year in the spring.

On one plant around each bud, the leaf cluster seems discoloured/yellowing and a bit shrivelled.

There is a second rhododendron plant near this one that is green and happy.

Suggestions would be appreciated.

Perhaps it’s a mineral deficiency, if so which one, and what is best to use to to treat.


I have two everblooming lilacs which were progessionally planted last year in a large planter on my terrace. This spring they had lots of blooms and were lovely. They now however look bedraggled and did not bloom again. Their leaves have white borders , white spots and a whitish film. Some of the leaves are also drying up. They are watered frequently but they do get a lot of wind since I am near the lake. Suggestions?

Have an open space of 30’wide X 12’Long what perennial bulbs can I plant now. Prefer lots of colours and lots of variety with low maintenance. I am disciplined to water as required. Appreciate your response.

I have a lot of boxwood hedges and they are not doing well and after a lot of research I discovered we have box tree moth and I purchased BTK the biological insecticide. I was having trouble determining when to spray. The pupa are hatching now and turning into moths how long from now should I be spraying? I read anywhere between September 1st and the 15th. My husband sprayed yesterday because I thought the pupa were caterpillars ready to hatch but in fact now I know the pupa is morphing into moths.

My rhubarb isn’t doing well. The soil is sandy with natural compost and store bought top soil. The plant started out well,but the stems got week and have fallen over. Leaves haves turned yellow. The plant get sun and shade and is planted with a Virgina Creeper.

thank you answering how ever you did not answer my question as to why my cedars are thinning at this time of year .i asked if this is normal seeing as they are under 2 yrs old
pls advise

I have a raised wood flower bed (lined on the inside with garden fabric). In it I have planted lavender, blanket flower and seedum. Im not sure how to prepare this container for winter…Should i cut back the flowers? Should i wrap the sides or top of the container in burlap. This is the first winter for the plants. Im in zone 5….near toronto. This planter is mostly sun…shade late afternoon. The potting soil stays most…and i rarely water the plants as my moisture meter always reads moist/wet. Please help!

Live in Toronto. I took this photo at Edwards gardens 5 days ago. It was the only one there amongst large green leaves. Of the (2) green houses, it is the west one. An employee said it was an African lily but I don’t know if he was qualified. The plant looked about 4″ in diameter. I have googled it both as a lily & a rose but nothing close turned up. I received your email today saying you would like more info but I’m afraid that’s all I have. I used plantnet to determine the species, wrong now you tell me.

We live in the GTA and our 20 year old cedar hedge is turning brown in spots. It gets full afternoon sun on the south side. It has been a hot dry summer but we have never had this issue before.

Last summer I transplanted a Peony bush, but it didn’t bloom this fall.
The attached photo shows the transplanted stalks as dried and white, under the metal tripod with reddish metal suports.

Should I just wait another season to see if it blooms, or try another transplant, since the previous location isn’t as fertile after the new neighbour planted flowers in place of a previous deck structure, making the adjacent beds less fertile, as the last 20 years.

I have Bella Palm for a couple of years. Used to be very good but it turned yellow (and even kind of white at the centre of some leaves) in the past two months or so. I applied plant food spike (13-4-5) two weeks ago but it didn’t help. (I repotted another Bella Palm a month ago but it didn’t help either.) Plant is placed in north-facing windowsill. What goes wrong? Does Bella Palm have a life span?

Three Jimson weed plants have invaded my garden. I understand this plant is toxic and dangerous. How can I get rid of it safely?

I have moved my Boston fern indoor. They have grown too large over the summer. Can I cut them back?

I have several tomato plants although the fruit developed beautifully, all of a sudden Some of the branches turned dark, leaves died and dropped off and some of the fruit turned brown near the stem and fell off the plant. What can cause this. The plant is otherwise healthy with lots of fruit but the problem is expanding to all the plants.

Hi there,

My Virgina creeper has started to look odd. I think it’s fungus but not 100%. I’ve been looking searching online and haven’t been able to find an image of an infected vine that looks like this. Are you able to tell me if this is fungus or not? If it is fungus, should I cut off the infected leaves? At least half the vine looks like this.

Hi there. I planted 10 sedum tetractinum ‘Coral Reef’ along my front walkway last year and they have done very well until recently. Nine of them turned copper-coloured at the end of July, while only one remained green. I believe they should still be green at that time of year. Any idea what’s going on? They are all in a mostly sunny location and receive the same amount of water. Clay soil, Zone 6b.

How do I get rid of Creeping Charlie without illegal weed killer?

This plant was planted about 7 years a go, so its mature size is 18 inches in height and about 12 to 15 inches in spread. It is growing in a dry shady spot, under silver maple shade. The soil is clay. It is in south Etobicoke.
Can you please help identify by this photo, I have no idea what it is and want to plant more of it.
I did try some apps for plant ID but had no luck.

I have a cutting from a forsythia that was started in a jar of water in early spring then it grew a lot of roots and I potted it in soil in a small container 3 weeks ago. Should I let it overwinter outside or bring it inside the house by a window? Thank you!

Hello! I planted 5 different varieties of dahlia this year but put them into the ground late and only 2 have bloomed. Should I overwinter even those that did not bloom this year? They have all become plants, just 3 did not produce flowers. Thank you!

Could you tell me if the plant in the attached picture is Ragweed. As a sufferer of seasonal allergies I would like to stay away from trails where I see this plant.
Many thanks for your help.

I did two naughty things with my Euphorbia Cushion Spurge this year. I planted it under a Honey Locust through which there is a dappled shade (I have since discovered it should be in a more sunny locale) and I did not cut it back after flowering in the spring. It is now sprawling all over the bed, limply. Would it be a disaster if I were to cut it back now, or should I wait until after flowering next spring?
Your kind advice is appreciated.

I see someone was looking for the Himalayan dandelion not sure when but I have plants and seeds if they want to get in touch with me. Rhonda Braun. Thanks.

I have a large mugo pine in the front yard that is starting to grow out and over the sidewalk. I need to prune it back so it doesn’t impede on pedestrian traffic. So I pruned the ends a bit this past spring and I’ve noticed that it back- budded quite a lot. My question is when can I cut it back to the new budded areas? Now or spring? Do I also need to let the new buds get a bit more mature before I prune or is their current size fine (see the photo). Love your thoughts.

Is it safe to plant vegetables in a garden which had peonies grown in it for 25 years, but the peonies were recently dug up and vegetables Just planted where the peonies were. Is this safe for humans to then eat these vegs.?

Last year I planted about 25 Phenomenal lavender that I bought in plug tray. The plants were very small and I planted them around 10-12 inches apart.
This spring they grew very fast and had plenty of flowers about 2 feet high. I harvested all the flowers and all of the plants looked healthy but had some yellow leaves after several days of rain. I think they’re too close to one-another and need more space in between. So I should transplant them with a larger gap in between, may be 2 feet apart. I’d like to know what is the best time for transplanting, can I do it now or is it better in the spring?
Also I’d like to know if I plant different species of lavender in the garden, will they affect each other? Cross-pollinating and possibly affecting the flowers? Because I harvest the flowers for culinary use.
Thank you in advance!

House in King City, ON. I am planning to plant Brandon Pyramidal Cedar on the North side and South side of the backyard. End goal is to create a lush evergreen privacy screen.
Total area to plant is105 ft on both sides.

My question is are Brandon Pyramidal Cedar a good choice for tardy level 5b in King City? Also how far apart should I plant them to create an even privacy screen

Hi, When will a bleeding heart usually start to bloom given healthy conditions in Toronto? When should a new bleeding heart plant be planted. I’m thinking around May 1. Is that right?

I live Near Bayview ave and Sheppard ave. 6 years ago we planted an emerald cedar hedge which is doing very well. However, this summer I noticed a silky web growing at the tops of the cedars. I sprayed Bug B Gone which seemed to work for a while, but then the webs returned. At the back of the hedge, there is a semi private hedge and over the hedge, there are tall honey locust trees.
My question is: what insect is creating these webs and do I need to spray an insecticide. If I do need to spray, what should I use?

I would like to know if I can fertilize my beech hedge early November 2020
and how many times a year?

Downtown Toronto
Sunny location
7 feet tall beeches
Were planted in August 2019 by nursery
Did not fertilize as of today.

Thank you very much for your cooperation

I bought several pots of dragon begonia last year and more or less successfully over wintered them until we got that blast of cool weather this spring which set them back. Once outside in summer, the straggling stems eventually took off and at this time in early fall, I have one very healthy full pot of begonias which I hope to over winter again.
Is there anything else I can do besides placing them in a sunny location and underwatering in the winter season that will help them survive till spring?

I planted a JM June – 2020 and it has done well until a few days ago when I noticed the leaves are wilting on some stems and a few bare stems . The plant is about 4 fr in height with a spread of about 5 feet in a area that gets sunny in the late afternoon for about 1-2 hrs . It has Hostas around it that thrive well . There are evergreen shrubs on either side of it , about 2ft away that are well established.
I would appreciate your help with this problem
Thank you kindly

Trees. Apple, pear, cherry, zone7a I believe, Full sun.
Toronto. I have good topsoil about 24” to 6-12” of a light clay then loose rock and gravel.

Mostly trying to find more information on self pollinating vs pollinator partners.
How much space each tree should have?
A good place to purchase the trees that’s not a big box store.

I live in Toronto, and have an avocado plant that I sprouted from a pit ten years ago. It’s about 1.5m tall and very leggy. We have no direct sunlight inside our apartment. This spring I decided to bring it outside on our back porch to give it some extra light, and it sprouted a new branch with a bunch of huge beautiful leaves. Clearly it liked it out there. I’ve brought it inside again now and I am wondering about pruning away some of the long sideways “branch,” (which is actually the leader) with its withered old leaves. I should also note that there’s a second, smaller avocado plant sprouted separately also in the pot.

I’m wondering if it matters what time of year I do this (can I do it now?) and where I should cut it back. I have read that you should prune at the base of a leaf node, however I would love to shorten the long sideways branch. Is it safe to cut it back further than where the leaves are?

Any advice on helping this plant flourish would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

I want to plant an Emerald Cedar hedge at the back of my yard, soil is clay and I’ve heard that there is a mushroom rhizome that is very good for the cedar’s roots – if possible could you please give me the name of that rhizome and advise where I may be able to obtain it? Thankyou!!

Hello, back in June I planted two Boston ivy plants in their respective planters (see photo — I added a few Begonias for colour, and they’ve grown a lot). I want to make sure the Boston ivy survives the winter, so I would like to know what to do to prepare them – I have heard I should wrap them when the temperatures drop, but when would that be, 5 degrees at night or so? Should I remove the Begonias when I do that? And what do I use to wrap them? Should I trim the branches on the floor and/or around the planter? Thanks

Hello, I planted two Boston ivy plants in two planters in the spring, they have done very well but I have noticed that some of the leaves in one of the plants show a reddish colouration around the leaf — is this the Fall colour showing up, or something else that I should worry about? I do not see it in the other planter. Thanks

What would cause a whitish ring inside tomatoes? The outside is nice and red, plants appear to be healthy. These are grown in a greenhouse.


I hope you are doing well.

I was wondering if you can help me with a bit of a worry I have. Last week I was pulling some salad (I believe escarole but not sure) from my garden as I have been doing all summer and I noticed these little critters on the leaves. Some were tiny and black while others were slightly bigger. I believe I saw one that looked partly orange as well. I have been gardening several years now and I don’t ever recall seeing these although I suppose it’s possible I just may have missed then in years past. I was wondering if you might know what they are. I have taken some pictures of them and although they are the greatest pictures I’m hoping you can see them and might know what they are. I am really hoping they are not ticks but I don’t know and was hoping you might know or maybe you can provide some information on where to send these pictures to someone who would know.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and stay safe.

Keep up the great work.

I have several peonies. Several, but not all, are covered with white mildew. Will this weaken/kill the plant.
What can I do to prevent this. I have cut off the deceased stalks and cleaned up the area from any debris.
Why are some affected and not others. Please advise.

As well as the usual acorns we are finding large numbers of very tiny seeds, apparently falling from our 80′ oak in our back yard. These seeds look like bird seed. Also a larger seed, enclosed in a furry coat is falling, apparently from the same oak.
I’ve never seen these before. The tree had a bumper crop of acorns which the squirells have pretty well stripped clean.

We live in the Beach in Toronto, sandy, well drained soil, many very old oaks and maples.

I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thank you

Hi masters ,

I have searched everywhere with no luck for an olive tree that I can grow indoors !
Can anyone guide me to a nursery that will definitely have an olive tree.

Hi there!

I will be moving in November (but will have access to my new home in October), and want to take a few of my fave plants with me to plant in my new garden: peonies (just planted this summer), Virginia creepers, lavender astilbe (have had VC & LA for 3 years) & dahlia tubers (planted this summer).

Will they survive? Can you please share tips?
Thank you so much

to find a solution for use in Toronto. Suggested treatment is for application of iron chelate but Sheridan Nurseries does not carry any and doesnèt know of any sources. Need a source of iron chelate or another product that could help this problem Thank you.

A year ago I was given a calla lily. In the fall I cut it down and put it in the cool, dark basement and just left it until spring. Brought it out in the spring and it was beautiful. It has grown large. I would like to split it. Should I do that before I put it in the basement or wait until I bring it back out? So, before it goes to sleep or after it wakes up?

We have a problem. I hope you can give us some advice We have a 25 year old 6 ft cedar hedge between our property and the neighbour The neighbour wants to build a 6ft fence up tight to our hedge (there is minimal room between the houses) Will this kill or damage our hedge

Am getting rid of a nannyberry. Many little shoots all around.
How to get rid of those, or will just taking down the main tree do the job?

Raspberry diseases. I have had a large south facing bed of ever bearing raspberries for over 30 years. It has always fruited well and has had a second crop later and in the year. I live in Thornhill At the beginning of the growing season this year the bushes had raspberry borer – white leaves and the distinctive two red lines lower down the step. I cut all the bushes back below the lines. Initially I was going to ask you what to do next year but I now see little insects on white looking fliwers- pictures attached. The bed is south facing against the side wall of the house. The bed is watered regularly by unground sprinklers. What do you advise. Thanks for your help

Is it okay to prune a sugar maple tree during its early years to try to prevent the canopy from becoming too dense as it grows?

dry-moist ravine, shaded conditions, rich soil

planted cherry tree seedlings in pots for the summer and they grew well…
We planted cherry tree seedlings in pots for the summer and they grew well Now winter is coming and wonder what to do with them. We live north of Toronto. Should we leave them outside covered or should we bring them in the house.
We plan on planting them next year at our cottage in the Ottawa valley

Hi master gardeners,
I have 9 Green Twister echinacea plants which I planted last fall. They all came up just fine initially, with the flowers looking as a normal coneflower should. However, in the last couple of months or so, I’ve noticed that the flowers on most plants are coming up distorted, with some green and red/green growth sprouting from the cone centers. I have been cutting off those blooms as I’d find them, thinking it was an erythroid mite issue (I have cut off MANY emerging blooms so far, as nearly all of them would show those symptoms). However, for the past few weeks I’ve left the blooms to fully form, to see how they turn out. Some of them have emerged with petals, and some without, and some with abnormally small, rounded, and green-looking petals, as you can see in the picture I’ve submitted. The leaves on the plants seem normal green, with no yellowing. My question is: do my plants have either Aster yellows, or erythroid mites (or somethingelse entirely?!), and what should I do regarding treatment? I am reluctant to remove/destroy the plants, but will obviously do so if you think it’s necessary. Please help!

1. Can i plant now (sept 30) ? or can I wait till November?
2. is it OK to plant deeper than bulb label suggests ? I’m trying to foil the squirrels
3. Should I add bonemeal in the planting holes?
4.Should I use chicken wire on the surface?

My yucca has four separate balls, all connected to the main root. Can I separate one or two separately without killing the mother plant or the separate parts?

Thank you.

I need some info/assistance in fighting our condo board who has decided that planters should not be allowed on terraces due to 1/weight loading and 2/that all planters close to any terrace or balcony wall poses a risk as it “reduces the effective height of guardrail (aka railing). This would mean that no balconies anywhere could have planters over 6 inch high near a balcony railing/wall. I can’t imagine this is the case am looking for info to dispute this. They also mentioned the load of wet earth being a problem and am wondering if I can present to them some stats on lighter versions of soil – wet potting soil or wet soilless mixtures. Not sure if you can help in any of these areas but i would hate to lose all the greenery on balconies in our city. Thanks.

There are 3 of these, recently planted. The outermost one has some browning. The other 2 are good. There is on drainage hole in the pots and they’ve been watered weekly. Also, looking for the best fertilizer for potted cedars as now is the time to fertilize. And burlap-wrap for the winter or not? They face East as I mentioned and are also in a courtyard.

When some workmen were doing a job in our garden, their machinery ran over and mowed down my raspberry patch. Will the raspberries come up next spring or should I order some more?

My birds of paradise sits by my east window, soil type is well drained.
I’m wondering how I can help the plant as it’s getting brown and yellow unhealthy tears. One leaf also has brown and yellow dots around it. It’s very concerning for me. Hope you can help.

As a side question, how should I prep my birds of paradise soil.
Half potting mix, the other orchid mix and perlite ?

I live in Toronto and every summer I put my 25 year old, 5 feet tall croton on a porch where it thrives in 6 hours of sun. I usually spray it with soap and water, then rinse and bring it indoors. This year I rinsed the roots and the leaves in liquid hand soap and water, and repotted it in new potting soil which I sterilized in the oven. As you can see from the picture, its top leaves (the newest, tender ones) are wilting. I am very upset, as my mother gave this to me just before she died. Can you help?

Hi there, I planted 5 Dawyck columnar green beech trees this spring to form a hedge. One of them was the most beautiful and the biggest (50mm caliper), came with hundreds of buds and the buds started to open as the weather got warmer after planted. However the buds never fully opened before they started to dry out. This process took a while for about 2-3 months. In the meanwhile, I don’t think I did anything wrong. I regularly water all of them. I did have someone to spray soap on them twice as they all had beech blight aphids and I’m pretty sure they were brought in from the nursery where these trees were sourced. The other 4 trees seem to do well except this one. Now I can see that this tree’s branches are changing into a bronze color gradually and the branches are dying back. Is this tree dying? Is there still any hope? I can’t figure out what went wrong with this one. If I wait until next spring, will it have any chance to recover?

Many thanks!

Is there anything I can do now to help the peony plants
we live in the neighbourhood just north of the TPB. Soil type is 3-in-1 mixture.

I have a 52 year old maple at the south side of the house in full sun- the tree is healthy looking, however, what I believe to be moss is growing on all sides of the trunk and the roots are emerging at the base of the tree. I have been speading bags of soil around the base for a few years now, but not sure how to deal with this issue. Soil type is typically clay few feet below with sod and 3-in-1 and organic manure added each year. Location of tree is close to our driveway on one side. I’m worried about any long term impacts to the maple and really appreciate your advice.

These look like eggs of some sort. Have you ever seen them before or know what they are – possible slug????

A climbing vine that originates on the property line is growing on trellises the neighbours have attached to the joint fence along the property line.
The vine is growing beyond the approx 4 ft high fence, up the trellises and onto my evergreens and wood sculpture near the property line.
May I trim back the vine from my evergreens and wood sculpture? To what extent may I cut it back without damaging the vine?
Thank you.

I have a willow that had a large branch break off over a year ago. I’ve been spraying with pruning paint but a Large fungus started growing over the summer. Can it be saved? I’ve been told to carve off what I can and spray a mix of Clorox bleach in water. Pictures below.

I planted muscari bulb 2 weeks ago or a bit more. Now they are coming out! What a surprised. I thought they would come up next spring. Why they are coming out now? They are like 1-1.5 inch high. Are they going to die? Will they come up in Spring? Did I plant them early? Thank you very much

Hello, I planted a hinoki false cypress this Spring and it looks about dead. Brown all over. Can you tell if it’s due to not enough water or rot? I planted with triple mix and watered (maybe more frequently versus deeply) and did use a 5-15-5 fertilizer when first planted. I did see some white fungus on the surface with the mulch which I read was potentially a normal part of the decomposition process…it also seemed like the roots were close to the surface as I saw some when moving the mulch to the side. Assuming this plant cannot be salvaged in it’s current state? Any idea on the diagnosis for its fate?

Can one plant dahlia tubers in the fall, as I would plant tulip bulbs now, living in Toronto?

Hello,I planted three trees together five years ago. The tree near the house is very different from the other two trees. The beech tree near the house now has few leaves and the leaves are yellow. The whole tree has no vitality and feels very weak. I am worried that the tree will die. I don’t know how to improve the condition of this tree.
Thank you very much!

I had an issue with aphids this year on my squash, cucumber and lettuce in particular. I have pulled all the plants out of my garden and have added some compost. Today I noticed the aphid “trail” (clear/sticky substance) on the soil
My concerns/questions are:
1. Can aphids overwinter in the soil?
2. If so, what is the best way to get rid of them now? (I have tried nematodes so far, didnt seem to work)
3. I am unclear about mulching my garden before winter. On one hand I read that you can use leaves to mulch and on the other hand it is said that this can create habitat for aphids… I’m not sure what to do, but would like to rake my leaves into the garden if possible.
Thanks for the help!

Hi there,

I have bamboo at about two years old. It grew nice and healthy, but recently I noticed its leaves became very big (and ugly). Besides, some of them are turning yellow and brown at their edges. What do you recommend to trim it, and fix the issue with the leaves?

I live in Toronto and I got my house with beautiful grapes vines already growing and producing wonderful grapes. I love the canopy so much too! But rats have come and found the grapes and are grossing me out! I have used an exterminator but was told they will keep coming back to the food source. I don’t want to lose the vines but wondering if there is a way to prevent them from bearing fruit? I see lots of info on reviving old wines so maybe stop pruning? Anything else? I really don’t want to lose the wines!

I bought 4 small Autumn Joy plants, 2 of which I planted in the ground. The 2 in pots have a white splotchiness on the leaves. What is this and what shroud I do about it?

I planted two week ago and watered them regularly. Two types of trees: one big and heavy root ball local pyramid shaped and the other BC grown slim tall ones with the dying tip issue. They were planted in the same conditions, triple mix on the bottom and compost on the outside, saturated with root rescue. I am watering to keep the root soil damp, 2 time a week faucet spraying. I am worrying the slim cedars may be dying from the top. What is the cause and how to rescue? When I buy the slim tall tree from HD, some show withering sign on the top already in fact. However the heathy ones become withering on the top branch tips.

Hi there,

Thank you for your response, here are more details about my lucky bamboo. I grow it in a bowl of water. I only use distilled water for them (actually there are three of them, only one of them has big leaves and turning yellow on the edge of some leaves). There is no insect nor any other pests with them, and they have enough light (no direct light, but in a bright corner of our house).

if I cut the yellow leaves, does it hurt the plant? They are the top leaves (lower leaves seem healthy).

Hello, I have a Bush that is dying. It started to get brown on the tip of one branch and now two big branches are dead . I’m afraid it is spreading. How can I save my Bush.

It is in full sun, clay.

Hi, I live in Toronto, ON. I have a rather small backyard (40ft x 25ft)

I would like to plant a deciduous tree(s) as a privacy hedge from the neighbour. I would like something that has non-invasive roots to protect the fence posts from shifting/uprising and the same with patio interlocking pavers. My preference is columnar type narrow trees with foliage above the fence line. I have a 3-4 feet gap between the fence and my patio. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks for your help!

I have been given some Cana Lily roots. Will they survive if I plant them in the ground now, or should I store them until the Spring.


Thank you

I just cut all the branches of my tree. Will it grow new branches or have I killed the tree.

Eight years ago, built garden to avoid mowing steep-sloping, east-facing front yard. Sun is an issue. I planted Kitten’s Eye iris, daylilies, siberian iris and Brilliant sedum, along with some creeping blue-flowered veronica, variegated hosta and ground phlox at bottom to “hold” the soil on hillside and minimize erosion (have also shored up with some large rocks to this end). The plants mentioned above and rocks have worked like a charm, as have tall phlox added later. But other early plantings, such as coral bells, peach balloon flower, flowering sage, tall speedwell and persian bellflower, have lost out to competition and changing (declining) sunlight, as neighbouring trees grew and competing plants matured. Now wondering what else I could grow here, particularly flowering plants that will grow low to ground rather than getting too big and tall and shading/crowding adjacent plants. Maybe I just have to be more ruthless about dividing and controlling the plants I already have? I put a white compact japanese anemone near bottom of hill to fill a space and add fall interest. It is growing into a clump and blooming nicely in its second year there, but starts blooming at end of September, thus far. Doesn’t leave much time for it to show its stuff. Should I move it, or give it a couple more years to mature and gather steam? I notice a lot of neighbours also have hillside gardens, so some articles on how to plant and maintain slopes, especially with flowering plants with strong root systems rather than groundcovers, might be useful to many Torontonians.

I have one giant Emily Carr-worthy pine in my back yard. The lawn and borders nearby have been bombarded with falling needles in the past few very hot, dry summer months and the acidic soil is thinning the grass and cause some previously-happy iris and other flowering plants to grow less vigorously and bloom less profusely. I bought some pelletized lime for lawn and spread some in a patch of grass as an experiment but it did not seem to dissolve, just sat there over the course of that summer, clogging up the roots. Should I try again and allow it more time? And is it safe to scatter some in the flowering border? Thanks for any information about how long liming takes to be effective when you are unable to dig it into the soil.

My partner and I are from Vancouver.
We recently visited Edward Gardens in North York.
We fell in love with the Crab Apple trees, and wish to have one in our garden.
May you please let us know where we can obtain one?

S and D.
English Bay Vancouver.

I got a mix of wild flowers and I am wondering what this is and if it is an Ontario native. Thanks!

Hello Gardening Master,

What plant is this?
Can this plant survive the winter in Toronto? Is it perennial for Toronto’s climate zone? Since this is my first time owning a Prickly Pear Cactus, I would appreciate your advice on how to grow, care, bloom flower and propagate this plant.

Look forward to your kind reply.

Many Thanks

I have 2’ between my property line fence and a concrete pad… The concrete pad has a 5’ tall swim spa on it (Master Spas Trainer 15D). I need privacy from terrible neighbours. I would like a hedge to surpass my 6’ wood fence. Would you recommend planting a hornbeam hedge in this area? If not, what would work well in this space. This area currently has 5 inches of mulch, which sits on top of soil. With the swim spa now on the concrete pad, this area is mostly shaded, however any type of planting that is greater than 5 feet in height, would benefit from the partial shade, partial sun of this area.

I am a gardener who has given up her garden! We are now in a condo on the 9th floor in the beach area of Toronto, Kington Road and Victoria Park – overlooking the lake (maybe 8 blocks away) We have a south facing terrace that gets steady light from dawn until about 2 pm. I have four planters – 18″ by 18″ by 18″ lined with landscaping fabric (and on wheels!). and would like to plant shrubs that will overwinter – is this possible? Can I plant bulbs too? If it is possible to grow shrubs – what would you suggest and what soil mix would be appropriate. In my garden just a few blocks from here I grew plants up to zone 6a – I am assuming up where we are it would be around zone 5? Thank you for your help – I look forward to your reply.

Hello Master Gardener,

Is it possible for the Epiphyllum Anguliger/Fishbone cactus to bloom flowers and bear fruits in Toronto? How to grow and care for this plant for it to reach this potential in Canadian weather? How long does it take to mature and flower? How to properly prune and propagate it if needed?

Many thanks for your valuable information!

I have green shepherd peppers still in my garden. I live in Mississauga. I know they will not turn red any more. They are firm. Are they ok to eat green. Raw or cooked

Climate zone of 6
Compost like soil dark holds water to some extent some sun lots of shade

Dear Master Gardener
I recently had a Amelanchier Alnifolia planted in my garden that our tree maintenance people bought from Dutch Nurseries. I wanted this particular serviceberry because I want to achieve a kind of “grove like” look and I understand it has multiple suckers. The tree they planted is the species I asked for but it has just the single stem at the moment — it is quite tall (about 10 feet) and I am wondering if it can still put out offshoots at the base to promote many stems — and if there is anything I need to do to assist it. Many thanks for your help!

What is this disease? Should I compost the plant or dispose in yard waste? How to prevent next year?
Alan Lawrence

Hi, I email you earlier for a deciduous tree for a tight space and thank you for your advice and recommendations!

Hi, I live in Toronto, ON. I have a rather small backyard (40ft x 25ft)

Do you have any low maintenance conifers as a privacy hedge from the neighbours? I would like something that has non-invasive roots to protect the fence posts from shifting/uprising to protect patio interlocking pavers. My preference is columnar type narrow trees with foliage above the fence line. I have a 4ft gap between the fence and my patio. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks for your help!

this plant occurs sporadically around the garden as a single stalk but one that gets quite woody if is older. I have looked online but can’t seem to find out what it is.
Also can roses that are watered by an automatic watering systems suffer root rot if its set too frequently?

I have several tuberous begonias which I planted in my patio containers early this spring. They have done so beautifully that I would like to try to save the tubers over the winter. Can you tell me how I can do this?

I live in Oshawa on the 10th floor facing mostly north and a bit west. I get sun in the late afternoon until sunset. What plants would do well in planters or pots? i am planning for nest spring.

I have photographed the plants about which I have the most concern. I would like to send you the photographs I have taken and explain my concerns.

My beautiful lawn died within one week, so did my neighbors’ on either side as well as the neighbor to my rear. The whole lawn, not just small areas. In addition to the dead lawn there seem to be some sort of fungus/blight attacking the leaves of the cosmos, coneflowers and peonies. The bottom leaves turn brown/black, then the plant dies. In early spring after the forsythia had finished blooming I noticed some leaves were curling and these I cut off and disposed of. I might mention that my friends in Scarborough has had the exact problem with their lawn. I live in the City of Toronto Zone 6. The front lawn does not have the problem.

I desperately need your help, I do not want to reseed if there is fungus in the soil.

Help please

Hi Master Gardener,

I recently received and rooted these beautiful Epiphyllum Oxypetalum stems. May I ask how to properly grow, bloom and fruit these new plants in Toronto’s weather condition? Also, how long do they take to mature before flowering and fruiting?

Many thanks for your valuable information and guidance.

Hello Toronto Master Gardener,

I recently got this lovely plant but I cannot find a lot of information about it. Is it ZZ Zenzi plant? How different is it from the normal ZZ plant? How to grow, care and propagate it properly in Toronto?

Many thanks for all your guidance and information.

I started them from seeds on January 2, 2020. I planted them
out end of May, 2020. Some of them put up a flower but some
did not. According to the information these are perennials that
flower in late spring early summer and then in July the leaves die
Well, mine are now, October 22, 2020 very green and lush in
the leaf department.
What’s going on?
I hope they will come roaring back in 2021.
Same as the Foxgloves. Some of them have flowered and
are still doing so, some did not. But these are biennial.
Started from seed at the same time as the poppies.

If you could please suggest some plant ideas for this planter box…I would like height (to hide wall behind) and perhaps some colour. The box is 3 ft x 5 ft
At first I thought 3 Degroot cedars…then I thought some yews. … I have 8 annabelle Hydrangeas Along the other side (not shown in photo) …..please help! I would like to plant now if possible. I know it is late in the year. The plants would receive Mostly full sun

Are you able to identify the bug that has infested my Linden tree and give advice on how to get rid of it if it is harmful to the tree or garden?

I have two cherry trees in my backyard. The eldest is quite large and is probably 40-50 years old but still healthy. The problem is that the younger one (maybe 10-15 years old) had developed gummosis. I’ve searched the web on treatments but everything I’ve found pertains only to the branches. In my case the gummosis appears at the base of the tree and therefore impossible to prune. It has also spread around the entire perimeter of the base so if I scrape off the unhealthy bark I’m afraid of girdling the tree.
Is there a way to treat it in this location or am I going to lose the tree?

Dear Master Gardener,

What is your thought about this plant? How old is it and how to take care of it so that it would bloom in the next few months? In general, how to grow and take care of Disocactus Ackermannii properly in Toronto? Is it similar to German Empress Epiphyllum in terms of growth and health requirements?

Thanks for your information and guidance.

Hi there, I had an inquiry before regarding a dying dawyck beech tree. To clarity, the tree never grew leaves after it was planted in early May. I heard from a local garden centre that the tree may be just taking its time to establish. An arborist told me that the tree does look dead from all he could see. I was still curious to know why (it’s not watering issue, not environmental, then it’s the roots or it was a bad stock) so I started digging the root, and what I saw shocked me. There’s no sound root system, just a few 3-4 inches thick roots cut short, no feeder roots at all. I have attached a photo here. Would it have any chance to survive?
Much appreciated!

Hello Toronto Master Gardener,

What do you think of this plant? How old is it and how fast does it grow? Is it strictly an indoor plant for Toronto? When is the best time to propagate/prune it? How to make it bloom? How to grow and care for it properly in Toronto? What kinds of pest is it susceptible and what are the treatments? Is it the same as other succulents in general?

Thanks for your guidance and advice.

I have been feeding the birds & squirrels sunflower seeds throughout the spring & summer. Consequently, I have accumulated a lot of seed shells ! I am about to plant my bulbs for the spring. Should I turn the seed shells into the soil as added compost ? Also, once I have planted the bulbs, should I cover the beds with the fallen leaves from our maple tree ? Thanks for your advice !


I hope you are doing well.

I was wondering if you can help me with a bit of a worry I have. Last week I was pulling some salad (I believe escarole but not sure) from my garden as I have been doing all summer and I noticed these little critters on the leaves. Some were tiny and black while others were slightly bigger. I believe I saw one that looked partly orange as well. I have been gardening several years now and I don’t ever recall seeing these although I suppose it’s possible I just may have missed then in years past. I was wondering if you might know what they are. I have taken some pictures of them and although they are the greatest pictures I’m hoping you can see them and might know what they are. I am really hoping they are not ticks but I don’t know and was hoping you might know or maybe you can provide some information on where to send these pictures to someone who would know.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and stay safe.

Keep up the great work.

Hello. I’d like to plant a few lily trees on my balcony. I am on the 5th floor facing south. There’s quite a bit of sun during the winter and a bit of wind cover from the west.

I have a White Hydrangea tree growing for the last 5 years. I wrapped it nicely in the winter and it comes back every year. My question is if when I should plant the lily bulb? Most suggest that I plant them in the fall. Some say in the spring. Would the bulb survive the winter in Toronto?

Dear Master Gardener,

I came across these plants and am wondering if they are healthy. If they are not, how to treat them to recovery? Are they Haworthia cuspidata? How to grow and care for them in Toronto?

Thanks for your valuable advice and guidance.

I brought in my basil plant from the balcony a few weeks ago. Its thriving and doing fine but since I brought it inside. It’s been deteriorating. the leaves are dropping, some are turning brown. I placed it on the window silt facing south with lots of lights. I water it daily to make sure the soil is not dry. How (if) I can bring it back to life?

I planted my babe last May. I took proper care over all this time. Now it is time to cross fingers. I live around High Park In Toronto. I also read that mulch and a Bilbao May help to take care of it over the cold season, but I would like to make sure about it asking a master gardener. Can you please tell me what should I do to take care of it over winter?
Thank you

Good morning,

I have grown, Fireworks Fountain Grass, Pennisetum setaceum ‘Fireworks’ all summer in a pot on my patio. It still looks beautiful.

I would like to overwinter it. Online I am reading conflicting information on keep it in the dark, keep it by a window, water regularly, don’t water, cut it back, don’t cut it back.

If you could please advise me as how to overwinter this plant that would be great. I have put it in my east facing window and attached a pictures. The lighting doesn’t do it justice

I live north of Barrie and DO NOT have a heated garage and my cold room is only about 5 or so degrees colder than the rest of the house. I do have a dirt crawl space under my house but would worry a bit about mice?

The windows in my house are fairly low light areas as we have alot of trees and the south facing windows do not have any spaces for plants.

I appreciate any advice you might be able to provide.


(PS I realize they only cost about $14 to buy a new one each year but it would be really nice to have a bigger plant next year that I could split for multiple pots or even to accent in the garden.)

I have a large jade plant, that has been in a clay pot for about 12 years. At this point, the soil is so hard, that I can barely insert a sharp paring knife into it.
It clearly needs to be repotted, but the plant is so brittle, that I can’t really lay in on its side to pry it out of the pot and jade doesn’t like excessive water, so the idea of soaking the soil to try to be able to wash/ pry the plant free of the soil doesn’t sound like a good plan either.
What can I do?

Hello. You have a fantastic website! I was reading up on pruning hydrangea standards for the winter. Your site referenced a web site for additional info but the link doesn’t work.
Would appreciate it if you could send me a working link. Thank you. Joan – Kingston, Ontario

Dear Master Gardener,

I have this christmas cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) plant for over a decade. Its mother plant is at least 30 years old. I remember that for the first few years, its leaf segments were plump and luscious-looking bright green but no blooms. Then, I start to give it a summer vacation until the first frost and it has been giving us blooms every year for at least 3 years now. However, it’s leaves are no longer good looking as shown in the photo. The whole plant looks like a weeping willow. I just pruned and repotted the plant this summer – its look still remains the same. How to take care of this plant so that I can have both blooms and green plump leaves – overall, a good-looking and healthy plant?

Many thanks for your guidance and information.

Hello, I recently ordered a few bare roots from an online store in New Brunswick and they are only expected to arrive today or tomorrow. Is that too late for planting? I had ordered them in the summer and the store stated they would be shipped out in early October and it’s now early November!

I’m here to ask for some professional feedback on my potential garden when the season comes for my school project. Do you think the crops are too close to each other? Or is there too many in one spot? Should I have another tree in my backyard because I read on the internet that there should be another tree for pollinating purposes? Do I need to change anything specific? Remove anything? I don’t have specific measurements for the plant since this is just a plan, but any meaningful feedback helps!

I need proof that my garden was reviewed and critiqued by a professional. Whoever is answering my questions (first of all, thank you for your time!!!), if you don’t mind, may you tell me your contact information (email or phone number), name and your education?

Thank you very much for your time once again!

Best regards,

– Dwarf apple tree, cucumber, tomato, basil, dill, mint (loamy soil)
– Blueberries, broccoli (sandy soil)
– Plant hardiness zone 5
– Climate: let’s say the climate is perfect for the crops
– Sunny condition

I don’t know what to do with my 2 overgrown evergreen shrubs. They are very large, about 6 feet wide in diameter and about 5 feet 5 inches tall. They are very beautiful, left to grow without any pruning at all – large round half spheres, at least 25 years old. However, their size is becoming a problem, covering the driveway and walkway. Is there any way to reduce their size without harming them? I fear they have grown too big now and it is far too late to reduce their size – I think if I trim them to the size I want all the green would be gone and only bare branches would be left – would the green grow back? I don’t want to kill them. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank You!

I received a quote from an arborist in the summer to trim large white cedar hedges. They are about 40 years old. Last few years we have been unable to prune them professionally, so they are overgrown. The neighbour on the opposite side also cut them on her side to the trunk! Bald! The health of the trees on my side look ok. After receiving a quote and confirming trimming and taking down two feet off the top back in the summer, the work now is being planned for in early November. We couldn’t have it done earlier as they were busy.

My question is, given the mature trees, is November too late in the year to prune and reduce it’s height? We live in the Greater Toronto Area. I am concerned it may be too late this season to cut them, but I do want them to thrive next spring and get them in better shape. Thanks.

Hello and thank you for reading my question.

I planted a Paperbark Maple 18 months ago, so this is its second autumn with us. It is planted in almost full sun – it probably gets about 7 – 8 hours of sun. It seems quite healthy. I was a little worried about it last summer as many of the leaves were curled, but I think it was from the shock of the move and the planting. This year, the leaves were perfect. Until now. I am really bummed that the leaves are not turning colour AT ALL. They are still extremely green, if perhaps a little more dull than in the summer. Why is it not turning the fabled glorious orange/red that I have been looking forward to??
Thank you in advance for your help.

Hi Master Gardener,

I live on the north east side of Toronto and I just bought a purple leaf sandcherry bush (prunes x cistena) during the end of season sales at a home hardware store. I hope to plant it in a full sun area in my yard but right now it’s still in its 2 gallon nursery pot. It’s a little under 3 feet tall. I have a few questions…

1) Since it’s already November, should I keep it in the pot outdoors or should I plant it? This week it is double digits so the ground I figure isnt frozen over yet. Would another option be keeping it in its pot indoors until the spring?

2) Is this the right time to prune it? It is quite scraggly and I would want it to grow bigger and fuller. Would this answer vary depending on if it is planted outdoors or kept indoors?

3) If I am to prune it, how would I do so? I’ve read some that say prune it all the way to the base in the autumn, and some say right above where a leaf grows after flowering in spring.

Please help! Thanks!

I have 2 questions to ask you regarding pruning.

1. I have several clematis growing, primarily Jackmani. I usually prune around this time before frost sinks in. Is this the correct time? They grow beautifully and see solid flowers during June and July, but I wonder if the timing of pruning bears a relationship to the length of time they blossom. I would like to keep them in bloom all summer if possible.

My 2nd question involves pruning of grape vines. I have a 4 year old rescue vine. Last year It produced an ‘honourable’ amount of grape clusters. This year I had a very measly 1 cluster! I think I was too aggressive in my pruning last spring and cut back too far. It did produce lots of branches and shoots and leaves but only one embarrassing cluster! Any thoughts? Is early spring the right time or fall? If I’m supposed to cut back this year’s growth, how far back should I go?

Dear Master Gardener,

I find lithops very cute but I have been informed by the seller that they never last as they die after their flower blooms. The literature tells me otherwise. Can you please tell me how to take good care and propagate these unique stones so that I can enjoy their beauty for many years in Toronto? Also, how to make their flowers bloom?

Many thanks

I have a Bletilla striata orchid, which is a hardy orchid, the tag says hardy to -23C. I have a glass greenhouse where the ground inside never freezes in the winter. Do you think the orchid would survive if I planted it in the ground in the greenhouse? Thanks, John


I have a neon pothos and recently noticed that occasionally there is a drop of water at the tip of the leaf or base of the leaf where it meets the stem (but usually the tip. I previously had a tropical develop honeydew so I want to make sure it is not that! Sometime is see a subtle white staining on the leaf. In the picture you may notice what looks like a bit of soil on the odd leaf and I’m not sure it it’s that or soot if this is honeydew. And if it’s not – is my plant just expelling pure water and it’s not sugar based? Many thanks – can you tell I’m a rookie?! Stephanie

I have potted a rose of sharon from a wild rooted plant this spring 2020.
Should I plant it into the ground now before the ground freezes or can I keep it in the garage over winter and then plant it next year? I don’t know yet where exactly I want to have it planted. Does it need to be in a sunny location?
Thx for your response in advance.

would you say that a wisteria is an autochore?

Hi, I am in Leaside, Toronto and two years ago put in a new plant bed, with soil and compost additions, at the north end of the garden. Sun is at least 6 hours per day, the garden is naturally clay with poor drainage.
Two trees – Liquidambar ‘Slender Silhouette’ and Cornus ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’ are not doing well. Yellowing of the leaves of the gumtree this summer suggest that soil ph is a problem. The cornus had one flower, few leaves and mould. I spread compost around the trees each Spring and wathered regularly this summer. This fall I used a a tree service. They added granular elemental sulphur and organic feed.
Other trees in the area are an old swamp cedar hedge, A black locust, and a thriving ‘Maackia amurensis ‘MackNificent’ planted at the same time.

My question is: is it possible to amend soil sufficiently so these lower soil pH-requiring trees thrive in Toronto soils or were they just a bad choice for the garden. Unfortunately I this time leaves have fallen and I don’t have any useful pics.

Gardening Friends,
I have planted a hardy cyclamen this year and it grew nicely. I am worried about it dying this winter what precautions should I take? Covering it with leaves?? Making sure it is always covered with snow through winter?? We live in Georgetown. ( Just a little cooler than you in Toronto!.)THANKYOU for your time and valuable knowledge!

My neighbour has a wonderful, large maple, and it provides shade most of the day on one part of our lawn. I have successfully planted various dogwoods on my side of the property, and would like to add another smaller tree beside them that will work well in shade, but also stay small (10ft or under) so as not to interfere with the maple. (See photo – I’m looking at the grassy area that would be across from my neighbour’s sheds) The trunk of the maple is about 10-15 ft from where I hope to plant this tree, and the tree would be under the canopy of the maple. The soil is not clay, and drains well. Something columnar that might add interest and stay compact is ideal. Evergreenswelcome! Thank you!

Hi! I am a grade 11 student from Bur Oak Secondary School in Markham, and I was wondering I could get some expert feedback on my potential garden. I am working on a project that requires me to research crops that grow in our area (zone 5b) and create a gardening plan using those plants. Assuming that the climate and weather is perfect for the crops, is there anyway that I could rearrange my crops differently to achieve the best results? Also, is there anything I could change or add to the garden? For reference purposes, can I also get the name, education, experience and contact information?

I have a copper beech tree which is about 16 years old. It normally holds much of its leaves during winter. However last night many of the leaves fell which has never happened before. Is it because of the unseasonably warm weather or is something wrong with the tree?

I have been given a sweet briar rose and I live in the Beaches. Our soil is sandy and I have planted it close to the front of the house which faces west, and we do not have a property in front of us. I’m worried about a cold west wind and wondering how to protect it. Plus I want to plant more and have them grow up along the house. When should I plant? How should I overwinter? Do these thrive well in Toronto? Thx

Sandy soil – shade (evergreen bush)

I have a cluster of beautiful pale blue/mauve iris. Should I trim the long leaves off before winter, or leave them to serve
as a blanket for the winter months?

I’m in Toronto. I have a big, old enormous that grows like a vine up a front porch brick column. I gets plenty of water and sun and grows so vigorously that I’ve been pruning it twice a year. I often wondered why it doesn’t have the orange “berries” on it in the fall like some eponymous do… until a few appeared this year. My question is… have I, by pruning twice a year been cutting off the little flowers thereby pre-empting any chance of berries? How should I prune next year to ensure it is covered in them come late fall? Should I hard prune in the spring and then just let it go all summer? Then maybe prune back in the late fall when I see what has berries and what doesn’t?
Love to know your thoughts. Thanks for your time.

is the end of November too late to plant emerald trees that are in pots and are 5 feet tall. Location London Ontario on well drained sandy soil .

Good morning, we want to plant emerald secar along our backyard fence. We would like to know if it’s better to wait for next spring or if there’s still time to plant now.

A disposal bin full of industrial waste sat on a portion of my lawn in west end Toronto, during the warm spell we had from november 3-9, with the tires creating an eight foot long, 3 inch deep impression. Since it was after the frost, and the lawn wasn’t great in beginning, is there anything that I should address immediately? The closer unattractive grass was originally cement, and I didn’t replace it with lawn, since I wanted to mirror my neighbour’s native plant portion, but it was dropped from my ever-lengthening “to do” list.
I thought of uprooting the lawn at some point, but landscaping isn’t a priority yet with some critical reno loose ends to deal with.

Hi, I’m in UK but buying a gift for delivery for my cousin’s birthday who lives in Brampton Ontario. She loves gardening. Any ideas or suggestions please and I know you have much colder winters that we do in the UK. Any advice appreciated and good places to buy online. Thank you

I have a yellow bamboo plant I’ve had for at least 10 years it’s around 6′ tall. I leave it out every summer, this year I divided it and put half in my green house for the winter. The ground in the green house never seems to freeze. Do you think it will survive ? I saw one growing in downtown Toronto beside a brick house on the south side. I’m in Aurora, just north of Toronto. Thanks, John

I live in Toronto and have a question about apple trees. My hobby is bonsai. I have a field apple tree that I collected from a cow pasture in Peterborough to make into a bonsai. I’ve been told by experts that my field apple will not produce blooms or apples like an orchard apple tree (MacIntosh etc.) would. I was told that orchard apple trees are all grafted onto a strong, hardy base… and that base is most likely similar to the field apple that I have. So I was advised to graft branches from the type of apple tree that I want onto the field apple that I have and then, over time, I will have an apple tree that flowers and produces fruit like the orchard apples. I want to try to do this so I was looking for trees where I could cut some small branches to act as scions for grafting. Because I’m creating a bonsai I’d prefer smaller fruit. In my neighbourhood there are a lot of old apple trees that must have been in orchards way back. Now they are trees in someone’s yard. Also there are tons of crabapple trees in the front yards of a lot of homes. On a walk the other day I found a tree in someone’s yard that produced apples (see attached photo) that look like orchard apples but are very small, perfect proportions for bonsai. The tree’s trunk had a definite graft… very straight trunk, then a swelling and then the new trunk. It looked to be fairly old. I googled “small apples” to see what type of tree it was and was surprised to see that it could be a crab apple that is producing these fruits. I always thought that crab apples were really small and either red or yellow… but never “real apple” looking. I also didn’t think crab apple trunks were grafted. So, after that long rambling set up my question is… do you think these small apples are crab apples of legit apples?

Dear Master Gardener,

May I know what is this lovely succulent? Is it graptopetalum paraguayense, echeveria santatwe or something else? What are its natural characteristics? I am not sure if the yellow leaf is part of its charm or is actually a fading leaf. How to grow it properly in Toronto?

Thanks for your advice and guidance.

Help Master Gardeners.
My partner has this Jade plant that was given to her by her grandma before she died. The plant really perks up out side, so I left it outside for the summer, and it was doing well. It was looking lovely but I thought I should bring it in because it was getting cold. 10min later it went from a beautiful upright plant to dead – I think it was frozen. Is there anything I can do to salvage it? HELP!!

Hi there,

I am wondering if I need to wrap in burlap my boxwood – mountain green – over the winter.

Also Korean dwarf lilac and Japanese cotoneaster.

Also, should I position them together and in a protected area. I have a large wrap around balcony. One side faces west and other side north. Thank YOU

Dear Master Gardener,

I hope you don’t mind me submitting another picture of my mysterious pink orchid cactus here. I am curious to know its proper identity and how to take proper care of it in Toronto.

Many thanks for your valuable information.

Greetings – we have a 60-year-old Camperdown Elm residing on the front lawn of our home. Both my husband and I have been reluctant to prune it for fear of damaging the tree. However, it appears the tree is getting out of control and I would very much like to ‘bring it back’ to a more suitable shape.
In this regard I have included some images – one in particular where you will see a red line. This is the question…would it be alright for me to cut the branch back to this point – which I would do in March,not wishing to harm the tree in any way by inviting pests in the springtime. Any guidance you can provide in this regard would be very much appreciated.

I seeded lettuces and spinach in a cold frame. It is protected all around with straw, Should I put a blanket on top when temperature dips below 0*C , or, at what lower temperature? We live near Markham ON

I’m hoping you can help out our school with some gardening knowledge. We have just received a bunch of native Ontario species of trees and shrubs to plant including maples, oaks, birch, cedar and raspberries. They are all VERY young and small. It being the end November which would give them the best chance of winter survival:
a) pack in grow bags, but in a sheltered place next to a building, insulate with straw
b)plant them in the forever growing places on our school property

Any advice you can share would be greatly appreciated.

Chi Miigwetch (thank you in Ojibwe)

Hi, you posted about replanting your Christmas tree but didn’t respond to my Facebook comment clarifying if it’s one w the root ball still intact or this is actually possible w a cut tree.

What are my chances in growing this guy in the summer and putting it in the ground in my greenhouse for the winter? It would grow good because I have a damp and shady garden in Oak Ridges. Plan #2 bring it in the house for the winter ?
Thanks, John

Hi. I live in Guelph (ie practically a suburb of Toronto) Ontario and was wondering if I grow an azalea in a pot on my deck, can I overwinter it in my garage. The garage is not heated but does have a small window I could put it near for some light. Will it go somewhat dormant during the winter in the garage? Please and thankyou for your reply

I have a miniature rose that spent the summer in a pot outside in a south facing area – tripled in size and had multiple multi-coloured blooms. It is now in a south facing unheated sunroom that never freezes and sometimes get up to 20 degrees on sunny winter days. How should I care for it over the winter? Can it be planted in the garden next spring? Does it need to be pruned in the spring like a full sized bush? Thanks in advance for your help.

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I wondered if you could help me to identify this tree (yellow arrow pointing to it) I have seen and admired.

Thanks very much!


I wondered if you could help me to identify this ground cover /low lying shrub (yellow arrow pointing to them) I have seen and admired on my neighborhood walks.

Thanks very much!

The city just planted a sugar maple tree on our lawn (November 26) and we were informed that we need to water it. How long should we water it at this time of the year?

Can someone tell me the variety of Petunias we see in planters around the city they are usually pink and cascade all the way to the ground and flower all summer and if one can purchase seed some where

I had a 4 foot lily this summer, healthy and deep green suddenly it went yellowish and started wither up. I just pulled it from it’s pot and cut it back to about 8 inches. I’m going to let it soak over night and replant it in new dirt tomorrow. Any idea what happened and do you think it will survive. Thanks, John

Hello, this juniper looks healthy, but its trunk is being covered by white stuff that is getting larger. It appears as if it is a fungus, but I would like a confirmation from you and, more importantly, recommendation for treatment if any exist.
Thank you,

I have raked up some leaves that have black mould on them. I want to keep them in a paper leaf bag until spring and let them decompose and dig them into the garden in the spring. Would thismould be harmful to the soil if I were to do so?

Can you please check the photo and let me know what is causing the tree branches joint to dry.

Hello! I live in Toronto and we had 15 European Beech trees planted along our backyard property line for privacy in May. We get about 5 hrs of direct sun per day in the spring and summer and have an irrigation system in place to provide proper watering. It was my understanding that the leaves of these trees dry and turn copper in the fall and most of the leaves are retained throughout the winter, shedding when the new buds are ready to bloom for new spring leaves. That didn’t happen! Our trees are completely bare and we now have no privacy until the Spring hits again. Is there any way I can encourage the leave to remain? Fertilizer? Anything? I’m not sure why this happened. Thank you!

Hi Master Gardeners, as the Winter Solstice approaches, I look forward to settling down with all my delicious plant catalogues and planning my garden in Toronto. I get my catalogues from Canada (Ontario), the US, and from the UK. The plant descriptions usually include the plant’s hardiness zone. Could you please explain hardiness zones to me and tell me what Toronto’s zone would be under the three systems? Many thanks.

I have a flowering echevaria which has a diamond-like appearance. I wonder what is this structure?


I am hoping to store my potted peach tree inside at room temperature over the winter. No direct sunlight. The leaves have already dropped. Will this interfere with its cycle?

Thx so much!

Hi. I know that poppy seeds can be sown in the cold but is it too late to sew the seeds now in Toronto? If so, when would be a good time to sow?

Hello, I have a couple of potted plants (philodendron) indoors. There is a consistent film of white fungus all over the potting soil. I have tried scrapping it off, as well as repotting in different makes of potting mix, without any success in defeating the fungus. Some leaves have brown patches. I water, sparingly, once every 10 days. The indoor temperature is maintained at 68oF. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

hi im looking to buy j. maples seedlings and im having a hard time finding them would you have or know who doea sell j.maples in ont

Hi. I have a small field apple that I collected from a cow pasture to create into a bonsai tree. It doesn’t flower at all so I want to graft crab apple scions onto it to see if they take or not. If they do then I would ultimately remove the field apple branches and allow the crabapple branches to develop.
My question is when is the time to do this? I would think spring but read some stuff online and am now totally confused. Also, is there a width to the scion that is ideal?
Love to know your thoughts.

Hello! I live in Toronto and need help finding the right trees to create a living privacy wall in my backyard. We would like the trees to be as fast growing as possible and to cover the entire fence line from corner to corner (40 ft). The trees need to provide coverage all year and at planting be as tall as possible. 15 to 20 ft in height would be ideal at planting and the trees need to grow up to 30 – 40 ft. at maturity. Our yard is not very deep so as narrow as possible is needed. We get approximately 4 to 5 hrs of direct sun in the Spring and Summer and have irrigation in place. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions! Thank you.

My room window is south facing, meaning in the summer when I got the plant it was doing really well. I fed the plant with a 16-8-25 fertilizer that I had been using for my aloe and it seemed to do good, then I began to notice brown patches appearing on the leaves. After some research, I guessed it was do to fertilizer so I reduced the feeding but nothing changed. I pinched those leaves off and tried to water less, but patched developed on the new leaves. Currently it’s winter so I stopped feeding the Pilea completely, and water much less frequently but it seems like its dying now. There’s black/grey spots on the edges that slowly take over each leaf. I’ve taken off maybe 5 or 6 leaves now– which may have shocked the plant, but I’m not entirely sure.

The plant is currently in a two inch ceramic pot, potted with my own potting mix that seems to drain fairly well (regular soil, perlite, and small pieces of what looks like orchid’s bark).

Any help at all is greatly appreciated, part of me thinks its already too late to save. :(

I am excited to start vegetables from seed this winter/spring. I was wondering if a seed starting mix exists or can be made that uses neither peat moss nor coir? Coir seems like a great, sustainable alternative to peat moss, other than the distance from which is must be shipped in order to reach our coconut-free city of Toronto. Can a mix be made without these materials? Any help here would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your time,

Hello, all the best to you for a happy new year and great gardening season in 2021. This is a longshot but I saw a gardening video of a tulip container arrangement (from Denmark, close in zone to ours in Toronto? LOL) and so far I cannot figureout what the chartreuse leafy plants may be. I assume a perennial (too tall for heuchera?) that has been grown out a little early? Would be too cold for lime green coleus in April. Any suggestions appreciated! FYI video is here: Thank you!!

Hi Master Gardeners, I have a spot in the front of my house that is south facing. However, two large trees cast so much shade that the garden bed only gets 4 hours of sun a day. I am looking for annuals that can tolerate shade and will provide a nice burst of colour during the summer. many thanks.

Hi – I’m a member of the TBG and would appreciate some advice on choosing a fast-growing tree or shrub for privacy (primarily) and shade – about 15 ft tall. We recently lost a Sea Buck thorn in a snow fall.
Southern exposure, between a 6 ft fence and a patio. The soil is regular north Toronto soil.

I have a Japanese maple tree. Looks like an animal (raccoon possibly) scratched off the bark at the base of the tree in the Spring on 2020. It grew zero leaves.

Will it return or is the tree dead?

Hi there, I’m thinking about planting a Pencil Point Juniper at the edge of our front yard as it would fit size-wise (about 8-10 ft tall, 3 ft wide) and has a much desired conical shape. The front yard faces south and receives full sun; however, in the warmer months our neighbour’s honey locust tree provides shade. My understanding is that this juniper likes full sun but I wonder if the shade cast by the tree will make it unhappy particularly during the summer and fall months. What do you think?

I live in North York, and I am currently trying to plan the plants to be planted along a new 15m lattice fence. I would very much appreciate if you could give me some advices.
The fence is facing south, but lies along a row of Chinese elms, which are old and high (about 10-20 cm behind them). The trees make the soil pretty dry and create dappled shade beneath them. There is also a big magnolia and a big cedar in front of the fence (about 6-7m in front), which also increase the shade. I was initially planning to plant only ornamental plants and climbers, but while searching for them I came across many web sites urging to plant native plants only. Now, I am thinking to plant some ornamental and some native shrubs and climbers. Later I may add some native ground covers, grasses, sages and flowers.
Regarding the climbers, which I would plant right next to the lattice fence, i.e., right next to the Chinese elms, I was thinking to plant:
1. Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. Petiolaris)(2 of them)
2. Schizophragma hyd. ‘Rose Sensation’
3. Clematis virginiana (native plant) – if I manage to find where to buy it, or Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’
4. Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’
5. Lonicera periclymenum ‘Scentsation’
I did not want very aggressive vines nor Virginia creeper, since I have the latter one in three places in the garden already. I would appreciate your opinion about these plants – whether they can grow well in the environment which I described to you. If you would have any other suggestion for a climber for shade and dry soil (or a different variant of the above plants), especially if it would be a native one, that would be great.
Regarding ornamental plants, I would plant them about 1- 1.5 m in front of the climbers. I am currently thinking to plant the following plants:
1. Picea pungens ‘Glauca Slenderina
2. Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’
3. Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’
4. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Strawbery’
5. Thuja occidentalis ‘Jantar’ (3 of them)
6. Hosta “Humpback Whale’
In the corners of the garden (at the two edges of the fence) and orthogonally to the fence I will plants some native shrubs, such as serviceberry, elderberry, winterberry, nannyberry, etc.
Please, let me know what do you think if these plants can grow successfully under the Chinese elms and in dappled shade. I am particularly worried about Picea pungens ‘Glauca Slenderina. Do you have any other suggestions which you think would be better.
Thank you very much for your help. I would really appreciate it.

I have just seen (January 17th) some beautiful Hellebores for sale, and they are in full bloom. If I purchase them now, where do I store them until I am able to plant them in April. Will they re-bloom in April once planted, or will I have to wait until next year for flowers.


I looked through the ‘find it here’ and didn’t see this asked previously and am therefore seeking advice.

We have large yew hedges on each side of our yard. As we inherited them with the house I’m going to hazard a guess they’re at least 10 years old. About 5′ deep and 10′ tall, run a length of approximately 12-14′ long.

They are quite healthy and we enjoy the privacy they give us as well as providing a home for numerous sparrows!

The drawback is they are getting much too large and are taking over useable yard space. I know these are resilient plants and I understand that if I prune hard one year the hedge may appear bald for a year or 2.

However can I be a bit ruthless in cutting these hedges back? I was going to take in one vertical side about 1.5 – 2′ one year and take down the top 2′ the second year. I was thinking mid March is when I would do the pruning. The 2nd vertical side faces the neighbours and those sides have been well maintained so I don’t need to worry about those!

As well, due to the sheer volume of the hedge, and the diameter of some of the larger stems can I use a chainsaw?

Any advice on taming these lovely yet much-too-big hedges?

Much appreciated!

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture to show the full scale of the hedges but hopefully this gives you an idea.


I’m very much interested in getting into growing bonsai trees. Are there any specific plants you would recommend based on cultivating in a condo and in Toronto’s weather patterns?

Hello, We inherited (from a previous home owner) an Arctic Kiwi. Initially didn’t have a clue what it was, but it’s now 20 years with us in Newmarket (GTA-Hope this is ok…?) & producing an ever growing volume of berries every year. The size has increased from pea sized berries to start with 18 or so years ago to ones that are as large as the end of my thumb now. We are thinking of moving & want to either try to do a cutting, or possibly digging them up to take with us. Would you, could you, advise us of how to proceed. Or should it even be attempted? Regards, Patricia C
P.S. It has gotten so large that it took over a full grown, but dying apricot tree next to it that we had to finally have removed, so would also like advice on pruning.

I live in midtown Toronto and have a small, west-facing front lawn about 15 x 25 feet in size. The lawn gets plenty of sun in the afternoons.

The lawn covers an area that used to be an interlocking brick patio, and it seems that the contractors put in the lawn by simply pulling up the bricks, putting down a thin layer of soil, and then laying sod on top. (Digging through a small area of the lawn very quickly reaches gravel / screening.)

For the first couple of years the lawn did okay and was fairly lush. Since then, though, it doesn’t look as healthy, especially when compared to my neighbours’ lawns a short distance away — mine is pale and somewhat ‘thin’ in large areas (there are some patches of more vigorous growth), it goes to seed quite early in the summer, and while weeds are not a big issue, I don’t get good growth of the actual grass — no matter how careful I am about watering.

I am sure that the tiny amount of soil underneath the lawn is a major factor. Grubs (which tend to be an issue in our neighbourhood) may also play a role.

What is the best approach to improving the health of my lawn, given these circumstances — short of digging everything up, putting down a ton of topsoil, and starting again?

I was wondering if you would be able to help me…I’ve had my money tree for just over 2 years now. It’s never given me any issues but I’ve noticed this winter that the tips of the leaves are browning and some of the leaves are turning a pale green. I tried reducing the amount of times I water it but I don’t know if that’s making a difference. I leave the soil to dry out but then I don’t know if I should water it because I’ve read online that brown leaf tips can be caused by overwatering. However, I still have new growth shoots coming up still.

Hello, my one bird of paradise (I have three) continues to have curled leaves. I use a moisture meter for all my plants, which works extremely well. My other 2 birds are very healthy but this smallest one continues to have it’s leaves curling. Everything I have read states curling leaves mean not enough moisture. As you can see on the meter it is reading wet. Any suggestions how to fix this? Also on the one leaf there is a series of small holes, like a pest problem? I’ve never seen this on any of my plants before.

Hello, I have a beautiful, very healthy wisteria, however in 13 years it has never bloomed! I am so disappointed as I know how stunning the flowers are. Do you have any suggestions on how to get her to flower. I do trim it back as required. It is on a beautiful pergola and gets sun from 1- sundown.Thank you so much.

My friend has an in home worm compost and she gave me some soil for my indoor plants I noticed these really tiny red bugs and I can not seem to find much information about them and so I wanted to know a few things actually, first can I still used the soil for my potted indoor plants? Second will they stay in the potted plants pot or will they end up all over my home, third if I put the soil that she gave my in a plastic container with some air holes what will happen and should I do it? I do believe there are 2 or more worm castings in the soil what should I do? Thank you

Hello, I prefer to grow my seeds using the direct sow method in the garden. I have been successful with direct sow for cosmos, zinnias & calendulas. I have limited indoor window space. Is it possible to successfully grow lobelia and petunias seeds using the direct sow method. Or should I only start them off inside the house. Is there another edging plant that you would recommend for direct sow. I live in Toronto & my garden is mainly full sun. thank you

Hello –
Could you suggest trees and vines that can survive winter on my balcony using pots. I live in downtown Toronto, one side of the balcony faces east and the other south. Do insulated pots exist or are there tricks of the trade you could share?
Thank you so much,

Looking to try gibberellic acid as a promoter of better and quicker seed germination. I see it offered in a number of on-line places, in various quantities, at various concentrations. I know, from a response here, that Ontario isn’t keen on its use as a pesticide, but, I’m a chemistry grad and a very old, practiced, gardener with a nice Gro-Op in my basement where I germinate and start most of my garden stock. Just for fun. Never thought of it as a pesticide. Can you advise on use of this product as a seed germination enhancer only. That’s my only use for it. Where can it be obtained? I might do 20 flats per year. How much is used? thanks and regards. Paul Nisbet. Castlefield Ave. Toronto.

My son gave me a potted blue spruce that he used as an indoor Christmas Tree this year. The tree has been indoors for 7 weeks. It looks healthy and has some new growth. I would like to plant it in my garden in the spring. How do I take care for it now during the cold months? I live in the gta.
Thank you.
Thank you.

We have a property with a large garden (approx 800 sq ft) that a Neighbour was using for years to grow extra veggies, a friend was using to sell heirloom veggies to restaurants etc. This year no one is able to keep it up.

Would you know of any group or anyone that would want a large garden plot to use for themselves? It’s great soil, and wonderful sun exposure. It’s At the Caledonia and Eglinton area. Or if you recommend another group/board to post this to? Appreciate any help

Good morning,
I am a home gardener and do not have a greenhouse. For the first time I have bought specialty primula seeds, see list below of genus species. The packages come with very little instructions other than to keep cool and cover lightly. I was hoping to direct seed them into my garden this spring. I would appreciate any information you have to share with me regarding successfully growing them. I would be happy if I got just a few plants from each pack.
Primula florindae
Primula florindae Orange
Primula denticulata best blend
Primula japonica mix

Hello, I had this (dracaena?) plant happliy growing outdoors last summer in the garden and it’s been inside a south-facing window at my workplace for winter. It’s visibly weaker of course with less light and the dry air, but I just noticed what look like tiny beads of sap on the inner leaves. Looks like tiny insects are taking tiny bites? Otherwise seems to be healthy. I’m going to try insecticidal soap as that is not so toxic for an indoor environment. Just hoping to keep it growing inside for a couple more months then I can take it outdoors on a sunny day and properly spray it. Any suggestions welcome. Thanks!

I live in Scarborough and have been reading a great deal from US sources about winter sowing for flowers such as bachelor buttons, alyssum, cosmos, etc. The hardiness zones of the writers seem to be comparable to ours in Toronto. Is this practice possible for some of our hardier flowers? I hear these plants can be more robust than those started inside.
Thank you for any advice!

I have my eugenia tree inside for winter, do I keep it trimmed during winter or leave it alone till it’s back outside.

Hello! I am new to gardening, a first time homeowner and am seeking advice on a tree to put in our front tiny narrow lawn- to add some curb appeal and some privacy (once the tree is mature). It is about 1.5-2.5feet by 6ft. It is facing north, but gets very sunny and hot in the summer, since there’s not much shade except the houses themselves. Since the narrow patch of grass borders our narrow driveway, I am looking for an upright tree that won’t be too short (so no issues getting out of the car, once the tree matures), but also won’t cause buckling in the driveway.

I really love Japanese maple but prefer the brighter cookies – I don’t love the burgundy foliage as much.

Any advice appreciated!!

We have a delightful vegetable garden. Each year I add compost and peat moss and then rototill it all in before planting . I am thinking of adding some well rotted cow manure, which I can pick up from a local farmer. However I have read that this can introduce undesirable bacteria which could have deleterious effects even to the point of food poisoning from the harvested vegetable. Is there any evidence for this is , is this correct?

My nephew past away and I am looking at making paper seed hearts (recycled paper shaped in hearts with seeds added to paper pulp) for my brother and sister in law to give as thank yous etc. I am wondering if forget me not seeds will be successful planted on this paper ( or if you have a better suggestion) and where the best place is to buy for get me not seeds. I want to make at least 75 hearts. Thank you.

Hi! I recently found these tracks on my orchid leaf. Could you help me identify the pest and how to deal with it, please? (I’ve attached a photo.)

Thank you!

My orchids which are on a West facing window on the window ledge used to re-flower regularly. Since replacing windows with very lightly tinted windows 2 years ago they have stopped re-flowering Is there anything I can do as I have no other suitable windows to put them.

Dear Master Gardener, We have a long, thin bed in front of our building that is south facing. On the north side of Sheppard avenue, Toronto. At the moment, there are weed grasses growing in it. We would like to start growing Ontario Native flowers in the bed. Could you please tell me the “best way” to get rid of the grasses to make the bed ready for planting? Since I am now in my 60s, I actually mean “the easiest way”, that will take the least amount of heavy labour to achieve this purpose. I would also prefer a method that does not take months and months so that we can plant the bed this spring/summer. Many thanks.

I bought this unique plant at a small plant store in Ottawa last October.
I was told that it’s a succulent that crawls and requires water.
Although it looked healthy and growing well until December. In new year, it seemed to be wilting even though I kept watering. Then I finally gave up…
It had been placed at the corner of the room but close to the patio door that was faced to south-east.


I live in North East Scarborough and I want to plant a tree this spring in my backyard. It seems to have low sunlight as the garden faces north and there is also a literal house right in front of the back yard. I also want a native edible fruit tree that blooms gorgeous flowers. We do not want it to be an extremely massive tree with roots that eat up any garden space since we want to plant many other plants as well. Are there any you can recommend?

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Thank you,

Is there a native ground cover that is less than 4 inch high and will grow in dry full sun? The location is in north Scarborough.

What kind of vine would you suggest to be planted adjacent to a pergola but near a 30 year old curly willow? I have tried the following: climbing hydrangea, trumpet vine, Halls honeysuckle but all have died. The location is north west of the curly willow but in shade. My shade plants such as Boneset and Ligualaria seem to do well in this location. Thanks

Where are Brunfelsia plants available in Toronto?

Why will you not provide a list of reputable gardening supply outfits? It is often difficult and confusing to find legitimate organic soil, amendment and mulch suppliers. I want to start indoor seeding and can use some help in locating decent authentic supplies. I live in Downsview-400/401 area. Help please

I love petunias and their gorgeous colours but what I DON’T love are the Aphids!!!! Every single summer, I buy petunias that look stunning up until August and then, the aphids ring the dinner bell and my lush beauties become scrawny and stunted and all the colour is sucked out of the leaves and worse…blooms. I have tried EVERYTHING from using a mist of weak dish soap to buying live Ladybugs and NOTHING HAS WORKED!!! Every year, they come back so not wanting to again just throw away $$$$$ on plants that won’t last the whole summer, I am asking – what can I put on an East facing balcony that will give me some COLOUR?!!!
Thanks! Appreciate it!

I need to buy 50 plants of olive, small size, can you grow and deliver to my address in Mississauga

I have a Norfolk Pine 8 foot tall it’s going on 9 feet it will not fit in my house anymore he’s very happy there are four stems the tallest one being the 9 foot I would like to know if I could chop it off at the bottom will the root system send out a new tree sprout ? I would hate to cut it down and not have something good come from it I don’t want to top it unless I have to I would preferred to just cut it off all the way but not if it’s not going to send out a new sprout. I was looking for a new home for it but no one wants a 5 foot round plant that is 8 feet tall. The only class I see out of cutting it and it not sending out to shit is it won’t be 5 feet round anymore.

Dear Sirs,

I hope this email meets you well.

I live in Denmark but I found your webpage very useful.
My assumption is that Canadian and Danish weather may be comparable to a certain extent.

If you could consider answering my question, I would like to ask whether I should prune roses when frost is predictable but at the same time all my roses are already growing visibly. The buds have opened into small leaves already for most plants. Nevertheless, temperature will go below 0 Celsius in the following nights.

In your webpage you say to prune ” just before new growth begins and as the buds begin to swell.”

Could you recommend what to do ? Should i wait for warmer temperature or should i prune now?

Thanks in advance for your kind guidance.

Best regards

Hi, I am interested in purchasing a honey babe peach tree for our property. I wanted to ask if this type of tree will do well in Etobicoke, and also is you have any leads on where to purchase one? I tried Sheridan Nurseries, but had no luck.
Thank you for your help,

Hi there,

I purchased some Pink Pampas Grass seeds and have since received/found conflicting messages about whether they are okay to plant in the Toronto area. I know that in a moderate climate like California they are considered invasive but that they don’t do as well in harsher climates. Does that mean it’s okay to plant them in your garden? Is there a similar plant that would be preferable?
Thank you,

Last year the calla lilies which I wintered over, sprouted early, grew very tall and leggy and when I planted them, did not bloom. This year they have begun to sprout(Feb) and I wondered if there is a way to slow down the growth. They sprout even though they have been in the dark. Please help.

For some reason my birds of paradise getting getting these dots on the leaves and it appears burnt on the sides. It’s placed in a bright sunny room with facing west side.

I live downtown Toronto in a condo and have a 750 sq ft terrace. I would like to know what is the best tree to grow in a 30 x 30″ planter. Partial sun/shade.

Do you think it is safe to start replacing Boxwood after last year’s blight???


I’m looking to plant several small trees/shrubs on my north facing balcony that gets a fair amount of indirect light. I’m wondering what options are best for looks, privacy and low maintenance ie less pruning.

Lastly, any tips on how to plant them in order to survive winter?

Thank you

I am requesting alternatives to boxwood
Do you think there is a more resistant species ?
Any chance
My boxwood will come back after last years devastation?

This vine has spread over 2 small cedar trees and seems to be impeding their growth. I have cut it back a lot. Should I dig it out?

Hi .. this look appears to be broken….looks like it is a great post …

Good Morning,

I have the opportunity to garden on my neighbors lawn this year. The area is 30×25, so I am planning on having 5×30 inch beds separated by walkways.

The only problem is that I just got permission now, and it is currently all grass and weeds. Because the area is quite large, I think getting cardboard to smother the grass is out of the question. I don’t have a tiller and prefer to not till.

My neighbor told me I should spread a 3 inch layer of wood chips and then top it with 6-8 inches of a soil and compost mix because that should be enough to smother the weeds and still allow me to plant this year.

My worry with this is that the fresh wood chips will have too much carbon and will also rob the soil/compost of nitrogen. Is that correct thinking?

Would 6-8 inches of topsoil and compost just right in top of the grass be enough to just plant in this year? The soil is clay.

Thank you so much for your help,

Despite having fertilized my back lawn and overseeded over the past few years and aerated and watered, the individual blades of grass seems to be getting thinner and more wispy, There is a large honey locust in the yard, Any idea what is gong on? The ground seems to be getting harder although there is not much foot traffic . ..sorry your site would not accept my photo

I am looking for vine for my pergola. Location is full sun.

Should I add sand to an existing veggie garden bed?
Some recommend peat moss, sheep manure and compost. What is the best ratio?
What type of ingredients should I add to a new veggie bed? What is the best ratio?

I have never pruned my climbing hydrangea. It shares some lattice work against brick wall with a New Dawn climbing rose that was planted at the same time. the hydrangea has taken over the wall. I am currently pruning the rose but I am wondering if I can still prune the hydrangea, or wait until it blooms this year. It has also grown through the lattice work and pulled it away from the wall, so I have to replace the lattice work this year. Should I cut the stems that are behind the lattice work? Or should I not bother replacing the lattice work?

The photo I am submitting is of an apple tree in a corner of a courtyard in downtown Toronto where I live. I gets lost of sun. It’s semi dwarf, probably close to 15ft in diameter and about 12 ft tall. It gets adequate water and the soil is pretty good. The tree has a duel purpose: I pruned it to be a climbing tree for chldren as well as a fruit bearing tree (apples are really delicious!). Unfortunately the local cats love using it as a scratching post;( I have repeatedly topped it to keep the height manageable. Problem is I have a huge number of water sprouts. Under the circumstances is it possible to prune the tree in such a way that it does not keep producing more and more water sprouts? Because of the angle I had to take the picture so you could see the branches against the grey sky it’s hard to get an overview of what the tree looks like unfortunately.

Hi there,

I live in North York in the Clanton Park neighborhood, just north of Wilson Avenue and west of Bathurst Street. My property is covered with various plants and trees which have flourished over the years except in one area. The curved garden bed (see attached file) between my patio area and my neighbour’s chain link fence hasn’t provided for good plant growth. The area is shady but does receive dappled sun throughout the day and full sun starting at 5 PM. The issue however is not the shade. Even shade loving plants like coleus and hostas don’t do well in this area because of the fine mesh of roots and intermittent larger roots from my neighbour’s trees on their side of the fence.

Thankfully the largest of these trees was a hazard to fall and was just cut down which will relieve a lot of the issue, but there are still 3 young maples on the other side of the fence. Initially my thought was to place some barrels above ground and grow things in them but I’ve decided I’m not keen on that. What I want to do is dig out the entire bed to a depth necessary to ensure whatever I plant will have ample room for healthy root growth over time – I’m guessing 4 feet will be enough? I won’t be planting trees, just various perennials, hosts, and some annuals like coleus.

My idea is to create a barrier on the bottom and sides of the bed so that new tree roots don’t grow into the bed but allow for drainage at the bottom so my plants don’t rot. I guess I’d be effectively creating an underground flower pot with drainage.

I thought of laying down 2 by 4’s on the bottom, putting plywood or hard plastic sheet on top of the 2 by 4’ s, drilling drainage holes in the sheets, lining the sides of the bed with same bendable plastic sheets, then filling the bed with soil and planting. By putting the 2 by 4’s down first there would be an air pocket separating the bottom of the bed from the soil underneath so no tree roots could grow in, though maybe this would be important to do around the sides of the bed too. My general contractor recommends just lining the bottom with garden blanket or weed barrier material but I wonder if that would stop tree roots from poking through over time.

Any guidance on how dig to deep, what you’d recommend I use to create the barrier, or any other ideas/expertise would be much appreciated. Again, I’ve attached a pdf which includes a photo of the area as well as dimensions and a quick sketch of my idea.

I would like to buy few birch trees and tilia tree .
Do you know where I can find them . Last year it was almost impossible to buy anything .
Please let me know – thx

I have two rounded garden beds in the middle of my backyard, one on the left and one on the right. the right is a bigger one with upright Japanese maple as the center piece, I am looking for a center piece for the flower bed on the left which is about 2.3 meter in diameter. Would you have any suggestions? I am looking for something that is no more than 2 meters. I am also open to any garden decorations as a center piece. Thanks so much for your help.

I planted 3 black tulip magnolias. They seem to have wintered well and also seem to have many buds. I wrapped them with burlap over the winter. When do I unwrap them? They are in a sunny, south facing, sheltered location. I live just south of Thornbury and we seem to have a nice micro-climate here. It’s very warm now but also early. I don’t want to leave the winter protection on too late, nor to take it off too early. Help?

I have grandchildren 2-5 years of age. Other than plants that attract butterflies (milkweed), are there any particular plants that are fun for children 2-5 years, to grow outdoors and indoors? Thanks for your help.

Hello, We live near Avenue Rd and Eglinton. Our backyard is south facing, clay soil, 14′ wide x 32′ deep, and well shaded by huge neighbouring maple trees, our 2-story shed (previous owners built it), and our slowly dying Mountain Ash Tree (we might remove it this year). Last summer we removed a kids climber and put down a layer of soil, then sod. The sod died, dried up by September (like hay dry), and now that section of the yard is just brown. Rest of yard is gardens & flag stones. My plan was to lay more soil and shade seed mixed with white clover seed – and keep my fingers crossed! (1) If I do that, can I just put soil & seed on TOP of the old sod or (2) do I have to remove the sod first? (3) Third question, am I better off doing something totally different and give up on grass seed and clover seed (I can return it to the store). If so, any examples of what to do?!?!?!? Picture attached. Turf is not an option, we’d like to keep it natural, we spend much effort planting for bees and butterfly and the fruits of our labour are the beautiful Monarchs that come and lay eggs every year – we have pics of their whole cycle! What fun it’s been! We have 11 & 12 year old kids and would also like to entertain adults in the backyard. Any insight would be much appreciated. Laura

I would like to give my roses away as I will be downsizing but I also have a terrible infestation of Japanese beetles.
How can I be sure that I don’t send any beetles or grubs along with the plants?

The diameter of the rosettes is about 1.5″ and the diameter of the pot is about 4″. I

I am going to re-pot my now-6.5′ Cedar trees on my open patio. I have – somewhat unbelievably! – managed to keep them alive in small pots for 4 years!!
I have now got them big plastic planters (37cm*37cm* 57cm depth).
1 – the quetsion is what is the best soil for the pots? I have got “100% organic potting soil” which ingredients are: “aged bark, ephagmum peat moss, perlite”.
I have repotted 6 (out of 16) trees so far, and it feels like the soil holds on to the moisture a lot; like the soil is consistently damp whenever I touch it. Will this cause a problem , i.e. root rot, specifically in winter time? (I live in vancouver and it rains a lot here almost year round – maybe except for summer, when i myself water my tress regularly then.)
Should I get some regular soil and mix it with the potting soil I have?
The potting soil looks dark brown and not heavy at all. please let me know if you need to see a picture of the soil.

2 – Also shall I put small rocks at the bottom of the pots to provide some space for water to accumulate/escape? the pots themselves have uneven surface at the bottom which i believe helps with water drainage.

3 – how about putting the trees browned needles at the bottom of the pots? does that help with drainage?

Thanks a lot!

I live in Toronto. Looking for a scented geranium for container growing. Where can I find one? Thank you.

both links on the page dont work any way you could send me the correct url ? then fix up the link or whichever way you find best be well

Good morning. I live in Toronto and I received a potted Tree of Enchantment as a gift. I understand that the plant needs to be pruned once it has stopped blooming. I have gone to different sites but each one tells me something different. Can you please tell me when and how to prune this unusual plant

Hello, we just downsized from a house where we had a large sheltered vegetable and herb garden to an 8th floor condo. The place has a 400 square foot east facing full sun terrace and wanted suggestions for what we could grow. Thank you.

Hi folks, my lawn died last summer immediately after putting down a new grub repellant product…at least that’s how I account for it. I reseeded in late September
( fertilized in Oct) and what I believe is a patchy tall fescue now covers 70% of the lawn. Do I try to kill the fescue or do I kill the other grass and now plant the more unsightly fescue for the sake of uniformity? (photo will not fit)


I have done some research and even talked to a nursery and have received conflicting advice so hoping you could offer a perspective. We are looking to put some trees along the side of our backyard for privacy. Our landscaper suggested European hornbeams. I researched them a bit and found that there are many different types! I want to keep to a smaller columnar variety as this will be around the edge of our small city lot and I read about the Frans Fontaine which seems like a good choice. Our landscaper suggested it isn’t actually smaller than the standard though so I was confused? I then read about the Lucas variety that seems to be even smaller and maintains the columnar shape that the Frans Fontaine has. The landscaper had not heard of this variety so I called a nursery and they said it was even bigger than the standard Hornbeam and not a good choice. I am confused so hoping a Master Gardener might have some insight.

Thank you in advance,

Hello we used to have a beautiful birch tree on our corner property (no sidewalks) which was stunning but was eventually overcome by borers. Some options that were suggested: Redmond Linden, Cucumber Tree or Kentucky Coffeetree. We personally like the Japanese Katsura. Any suggestions?

I have a 3 years old Lemon plant that I grow from seeds. Some white thing ( like spider nest) appeared on branches and some sticky drops ( honey like) also can be seen on leaves.
Please kindly let me know how I can rescue my plant.


My monstera is right by my north facing window where it gets just enough light but no direct light. I’ve had it for about a year and it’s been doing great with a lot of new growth! I recently decided to repot it after it started showing the black spots and yellowing leaves. But after about a week even more leaves started to turn yellow w/ black spots. The soil was a potting soil and peat moss mix. I did some googling and saw that it could be root rot so I took a look at the roots and cut the roots where they had gone soft and brown. But I still haven’t seen a difference to my monstera after a couple days. Although it’s only affecting the lower leaves right now I’m starting to see the larger ones about to grow the black spots. I’m not sure why this is happening and how I can stop this? Any advice would be much appreciated!

We have some mature cedars along the borders of our backyard that are withering. We want to fill in some of the “bald” spots, which are shady, with new 5 – 6 feet cedars. When is the best time of year to plant cedars? What type grow best in shady areas? And what should we do in the first month or two to help them grow and thrive? Thanks

Hi there.

I’d like to know if there is a way to safely reuse outdoor container soil. Last year we grew a number of vegetables in containers in our small greenhouse and around the backyard. The soil was purchased in bags from a nursery. At the end of the season, the soil from the containers was dumped from the containers in one location for the winter. (see photo)

With the exception of a couple of watering and location issues, the vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, various herbs, beans – all did quite well. We did not seem to have any significant, disease, blight or pest issues, nothing that we had to treat for.

We’re assuming that we will have to purchase some soil, compost, fertilizer, etc. however, we’re wondering if we can re-condition last year’s soil and fold it in with the new. We’re trying to keep costs down.

Do we need to worry about sterilizing the soil and if so, what should we do? There’s a lot of soil so oven or microwave cooking would be a huge chore but not impossible if necessary. I am interested in whether solarization is something that we should look at considering or if it even works in this climate. As of now, we have an empty greenhouse so it would be easy to fill bags of soil and put them in there until May.

Any information you can provide would be very helpful.

Thank you and cheers,


I am volunteering with my condo/townhouse association which is made up of 150 units, each backyard is enclosed by what I believe are white spruce hedges. My committee was established to provide recommendations to the condo board and other residents regarding the hedges. The issue is whether to replace the hedges with fences or try another type of hedge or try to save those current hedges that aren’t doing well.
We live in Don Mills (Zone 5? i believe). Some of the hedges are dead, thin or, in some cases, thriving. The units face different directions, I believe there is a lot of clay in the soil.
One issue with the current hedges is that if you put something against them the hedge dies in that section. There is also an issue with residents not watering the hedges and as I said before they face all directions.
I’m wondering if you can recommend a type or types of coniferous hedges that might be a bit hardier and fast growing. We’d also like to know what the long term care is for each recommended species.
I would also appreciate it if you could give us some advice on how to care for the current hedges.

Thank you

Where do I buy fertilizer 3 1 2 or 3 1 3

What is the PH value of peat moss? Some people say Canadian sphagnum peat moss is very acidic with a PH of 4 while other peat moss is PH neutral or between 6 to 7. Are they true? Is Canadian sphagnum peat moss too acidic for vegetables when added to the bed? Thanks.

I would love to learn more about no-till gardening and naturally boosting soil health with my backyard veggie beds. I have not been tilling for a few years and I have the beds covered in straw/leaves.

My question is how do I add compost to the beds without tilling? I have homemade compost.

Do I remove the straw and just leave it on top of the soil and re-cover the straw on top?

Should I gently rake it into the top layer of soil?

Should I sift the compost to make it easier to spread or leave it as intact as possible so as not to disturb the microbes?

thank you!

What are the differences between compost and manure, in terms of the effects of amending soil? Most gardeners recommend using compost or make your own compost, but for someone who don’t want to do it by myself, I find compost can be very hard to find in garden centres, while manure (cow/sheep) is widely available. Is manure equivalent to compost? If I can only find manure, what else do I need to add in the soil to increase its quality?

I have a climbing hydrangea that doesn’t flower. I’ve had it for 4 years. Is there anything I can do to promote flowering? My soil is clay and it gets morning sun. . I have endless summer and annabelle hydrangeas. When should I cut back last years growth? I left them over the winter. Thank you.

what type of soil would you recommend for raised vegetable bed ( both existing and new bed) using traditional growing method?
I would like try square foot gardening technique . What type of soil would you recommend?
I would also like to try intensive gardening. What type of soil would you recommend?
Thanks a lot for your help.

I would like to do a simple DIY soil earth worm counts in my vegetable garden beds. What is the best time in the year to do this test? what should the temperature of the soil be when performing this experiment. Some people recommend using mustard powder for this test. Is it necessary? Could you please recommend an easy way to do this test?
Thanks so much for your help.

Some gardeners recommend using aspirin when growing tomato. I would like to know whether it is safe. What are the benefits of using aspirin? How much should it be diluted? How often should aspirin be applied?
Thanks so much for your help.

Last year, my cucumbers were attacked by cucumber beetles and they all died. I was wondering if I should stop growing cucumbers this year. Are there any ways to prevent this problem from happening ahead of the planting season?
Are there any specific pesticide I could use?
Thanks so much for your help.

I recently built several hoop tunnels over my vegetable bed but I am not exactly how to grow things inside. I was wondering what type of vegetables should be planted first inside. How often should the plastic be opened to allow air to flow in? There are 6 mil, 8 mil, and 10 mil plastics on the market, Which one is best fit for Toronto’s weather?
What is the best time to transplant cucumbers, tomatoes and bitter melons inside? Could I start flower seeds inside the tunnel? Would you recommend some resources for growing veggies under the cover?
Thank you so much for your help?

Can I eliminate the lawn by just using black landscape fabric over it and bags of mulch?
What low lying evergreens, that take minimal care, would you suggest as I am away alot.
Soil is essentially clay.

Hi, I started to dig my compost out of the bin to lay on the veggie bed and it was muddy, wet and chunky and very smelly like poop. However there were gazillions of worms! Is it good to use on the veggie bed or do I need to throw it out?
Thank you!!


I have sap suckers that have damaged a section of my autumn blaze maple. the maple is dripping sap down its trunks and I can see a number of wholes in the bark at about 10-12 feet above ground. the tree has been in for 3 years, and is growing well. is this just part of nature, or is it something to be concerned about? I also have two types of woodpeckers that could have started the holes, but it is sapsuckers that I see around it now.

My jade plant appears to be dying. The branches are shrivelling bit by bit. I am attaching a picture of the plant.

Some people say vermi compost has more nutrients than other compost or manure. Is this true. What is the N P K value of vermi compost? Compared with other composting methods , is vermi composting more expensive ?
Thank you so much for your help.

We continue to try to get new cedars to grow in an area where other cedars have been tried many times, what could the problem be? The area is protected, shaded, well watered, holes redug. We are north of Toronto. What other evergreens would you suggest to mix with other cedars.

Is it safe to plant Brandon Cedar trees under the Black Walnut trees?

I have 2 croton plants – both are about 30+ years old. One is in a large bathroom with a skylight and is very healthy. I don’t think it has ever had seeds. The other is in a sunroom, facing west. It grows sticky seedy things quite often, which I always snap off. It is very sad and losing lots of leaves. The sick plant is about 3′ tall and about 3′ in diameter. The healthy one is about 3.5′ tall and about 3.5 feet in diameter. I water both of them thoroughly once a week. Can I save the sick plant?

Hi there, I’m hoping to plant some tall evergreen greens that will block my neighbour sight-line into our backyard. Her deck is raised about 4 feet off the ground so she can see into our yard. We live in Port Perry Ontario. We are somewhat rural and have a septic tank and bed. The location of the trees is about 8 feet from the septic bed, so I need a tree that doesn’t have powerful or invasive roots.
Thanks so much. Heather, I suppose the trees don’t need to be evergreens, but something that grows fast for privacy is narrow and doesn’t have invasive roots. Your assistance is greatly appreciated. The location is near our gate, so the trees can be overlly wide.. max about 4 feet.. thanks

I have had this pothos in this same pot for 6 years. I noticed this winter that many yellow leafs were appearing on a daily basis. It was possibly due to my over watering and it basically sitting in water. So I pruned it, removed the leafs, cleaned the stems which were covered in over fertilizing residue and white crusty bits. Then put it in bright sunlight for a few days and this has now appeared. Is this a disease, pest or sunburn? Please help!

Hi There!

I’m looking for some advice on opening up my garden for spring. Many of the bulbs available at garden centers (e.g. Peony Bulbs) as well as several guides for opening up suggest waiting until the last spring frost to plant them or take action. The last frost in Toronto (apparently) is in Mid May, is that accurate?

I would like to know:
1) When should I plant bulbs that say to wait until after “the last spring frost”
2) When should I remove burlap / winter coverings from my least hardy plants (e.g. hydrangeas)?

I’m sorry if these answers are on the website – I wasn’t able to find it specifically! Thank you in Advance, Dan

What is the best yellow rose to get for a Markham home, which is just above the 401 and Main St Markham. The area the rose might be planted will get mid day to evening sun. Im looking for a rose plant that is not too bushy or tall. Zone 5b or 4 I think. The rose will need to be planted in a large pot due to the back garden getting too much rain water, ( run off and draining is bad ).

Can you please tell me where I could get the above-noted flower in Ontario, which I read about at the website below? I live at Bathurst/Steeles with 5-6 hrs sunlight at least. (zone 6?) I have contacted Monrovia nurseries in the US which informed me that they do not mail/sell seeds. At least 3 nurseries in the GTA have told me that it is not available for sale in their stores.

I live in east Toronto and have a small backyard with about 30 feet of cedar hedges. I’ve tried to lay sod twice and each time it “takes” for a while and then dries out and dies. There is a small slope where I’m trying to lay the sod, sloping away from the cedars. I’m thinking from what I’ve read and experienced it is the cedars that are robbing the nutrients from the grass, but have am only guessing. From what I’ve seen ground cover is recommended, but am unsure of what to plant and honestly how. Creeping Jenny has been recommended. I’ve attached a picture and would appreciate advice.
Thank you Nancy

Hello! I live in the east end of Toronto and and I’m looking to plant my very first garden. I would like to plant a bunch of white hydrangea in the front garden of my house. The garden gets afternoon sun but quite a lot. What type of white hydrangea should I buy? Also, any tips if I should plant it alone or with another type of flower? Thanks so much!

Hi, we have a backyard pool in the Toronto area. We’re very exposed to the house behind us which sits on a higher grade. Along the back fence, we have pretty wet soil (if you dig down a couple of feet there is usually water pooling). We had planted mature cedars which unfortunately died – the landscaper did not use crushed rock or anything to prepare the bed. Also I now see from your site they should have removed the burlap from root balls and they did not. Can you recommend a specific evergreen that can survive these conditions and also provide guidance on the correct way to plant? Also, to avoid the wet soil issue – can cedars be planted in containers along that fence and survive the winter? We are looking for something that will grow quickly to give us privacy within a few years. Thanks!

My Japanese maple’s skin is peeling off. Is this a disease?

In my first question, I had asked about the shriveled branch of my jade plant (see photo below) and asked how to help the plant. I I forgot to include a photo of its leaves. I wasn’t able to upload the second photo, but it would show that the leaves are plump and full.

The answer to my first question suggests that there might be an overwatering (or under watering) problem. Since the leaves look healthy, might there be a different problem with the plant?

The height of the plant is 22” and the width is 23”.

It is facing a south window about 12” from the pane.

Thank you for your help.

Hi I currently have a garden project where I get the feedback from an expert gardener. I am in zone 6a, it is fairly sunny where I am. I would appreciate any sort of feedback that you experts have to offer.

Not sure if you can see what’s on this tree (and others): the gray, and some orange. Is it scale? or something else? will it harm the trees and if so, what should be done?
Thank you.

HI There,

I was given this cactus about 4 years ago and have done my best to care for it but I am very limited in my knowledge about plants. I try not to water too much (once a month maybe twice in a month in the summer) as I know they don’t like water. My cactus seems to be becoming more and more yellow as time passes on. It seems to me from what I have gathered it’s from over watering. Would it be wise to repot this cactus? or at least give it fresh soil? or would fertilizer help? or do you think that if I stop watering for a month or two it should solve the issue?

It sits in the window but I live in a basement so I don’t get a lot of (if any) direct sunlight. The windows are very old so they definitely have air leakage which means this area might get pretty cold in the winter. Should I move the cactus away from the window?

Hopefully it’s savable, I think it’s beautiful. It has always grown so the growth hasn’t stopped, hopefully this is a good sign.

Do I HAVE TO clean off any dead leaves from last fall on my beds before I add good new compost
Yes Im lazy and very old and creaky
thank you

Can i plant in soil where rosemary bushes grew?

We are looking to plant Ivy on a high chinlink fece. See attached picture of the fence to be covered. We have a couple of questions and they are the following:
1- What is the best Ivy to survive our winter?
2- How long would it take for the Ivy to provide full coverage?
3- Where can we buy it?

Is it too early to transplant tomatoes and cucumbers to the hoop tunnel? What is the earliest day this can be done?
Thank you.


Is there a good time in spring when I can aerate my lawn?

This rhododendron is growing in Aurora Ontario and has lots of buds on it but something is eating the buds. What can I do to prevent more damage?


Do I need to cut one of these lilac trunks? They are crossing and rubbing, but I’d prefer not to cut one down.

Hello- I kill cactus so I need your expertise. I wanted to do a custom made Bamboo privacy screen to block just over 5ft across to minimum 8 ft heigh. A friend recommended I do a cedar hedge across instead. As I live right on the water we get very high winds and I get full sun as I face south west. I know nothing about trees or planters for cedars, or what type of cedar. What do you recommend planting strictly for privacy? What type of planter to carry the weight of a tree, what type of tree for full SW sun and high winds and how many trees to cover approximately 48-52 across. Do you plant in those square individual planters or find some large 50 inch across planter? Or do you not recommend this at all? Thank you

Hello, I live in Etobicoke North M9W 2B4. My backyard is on a ravine and has a steep Slope. Also I am a quadriplegic (paralyzed from neck down) I am looking for some ground covering and/or plants/shrubs to keep the slope stable. Also for flat areas of the backyard I am looking for no/very low maintenance ground covering. As I am disabled and cannot maintain regular sod. Thanks

I am looking for info on growing ‘Ruschia Nana’ but can’t locate anyone selling started plants in Ontario. Is it because it doesnt tolerate our climate? Saw it here on YT

I have two vines, a Blue Moon Wisteria and a clematis Jackmanii, growing on a wooden fence (they have been there for 12 and 14 years respectively). I’ve been advised that the wood is deteriorating and that I should get the fence rebuilt. When would be the best time in the year to do this, and how can I best save the vines so that they can re-establish themselves on the new fence, if that’s possible? The wisteria in particular has interwoven itself into the lattice at the top of the fence. I would appreciate any advice!

I have two oxalis inside my house about 4 feet back from a west facing window. The purple one is doing great but the green one has folded leaves and dry leaves. They are in the same pot. There is drainage. I was told that it might have peat damage- I cannot figure out what that is? Any suggestions?

I want to plant a privacy evergreen tree-hedge or shrub that grow up to 10 meters or 30 feet at the back of my small backyard to block views of my neighbor as they also have a small backyard. I live in the city of Vaughan Ontario. I’d appreciate it if you could help or guide me what trees are good. My backyard is fronting north but the side I am planning to have the trees are exposed to full sun for 6 hours.

Good evening. I am not a fan of commercial fertilizer, but I have heard that it is best to feed your hostas as they pop out of the ground in the spring. In the US they use Milorganite. I don’t think we get that in Canada. What other organic fertilizer can I use?
Also, I have also been told that you can use Miracle Gro tomato fertilizer on the leaves in the summer because it is high in Magnesium. Is that true? What other summer time fertilizer would you recommend.

Thank you

Hi Toronto Master Gardeners,
Thank you for looking at my inquiry.
Can someone identify what kind of palm tree this is?
Also, can someone help assist me with how to care for it?
(like how often to water the palm, how much water each time, how to create the best environment for it, what type of fertilizer to use?) In addition, would you have any idea how to create fertilizer or know any kinds or places to get low budget friendly fertilizer that I can get access to easily and regularly?) Thanks again and have a good one!

Hi Master Gardener, I seeded some nicotiana seed about 8 weeks ago. They eventually (2-3 weeks) germinated. But here is the question: They are simply refusing to thrive. They have stayed the same size since they germinated. They have four leaves, but the second set of leaves is as tiny as the first leaves. I have them under a grow light. I am beginning to despair that they will ever be big enough to put outside.

Good day!

My name is Marcela and I am looking for a place that will test my garden soil. Cole’s Notes – last year my tomatoes and cucumbers were horribly effected by “something” in the soil (that’s my guess) that caused them to grow, but wilt, produce fruit but at a much smaller size and the yield was not nearly as it should have been. My garden is a good size and none of the other vegetables were affected; sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, broccoli, garlic, potatoes. The other thing is this; I had the same problem the year before, again only with the tomatoes and cukes, but to a far lesser degree. Whatever is happening seems to have “spread” to the entire garden, and still only affecting said plants.

I don’t know if y’all usually assist with this sort of thing, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I would greatly appreciate any help you could offer! I want to fix the problem before planting this year. PLEASE HELP!!!!!! Where can I send my soil to be tested?

I live in North York and I have noticed new type of grass of weed that did not exist before in my garden. It is also present in many other gardens in the neighborhood. Patches are now of the order a meter or more, but are increasing in size and new plants are starting to form new patches. It looks very much as ordinary grass, but with wider blades, and much stronger root. It grows faster than the regular grass and is visible since it has larger number of dry leaves, especially in winter. I was unable to find such a weed on Internet. Is that some native grass, or an invasive species? Thank you very much

We live in Grand Bend, ON. We want to trim these large healthy pyramids cedars because they are obstructing our river views. Can they be trimmed? And if this can be done, how so?

Where can I purchase these plants in Ontario. I used to get them from Plant World until they closed down. I can’t find anyone who carries the true Balcon Geranium with the long trailing habit much longer than the regular Ivy variety

I live in Etobicoke surrounded by oak trees & clay soil. I’m new to gardening hence this potential mistake below. Last fall, a friend offered me mature hostas from her garden because she was making room for new plants. After replanting them in my gardens, she mentioned that slugs are a huge problem for her hostas. I have several hostas already established by the previous homeowner but have never seen a slug in my garden. Should I dig hers up and pitch them in case they start infesting my existing plants? I know that slug treatments can be applied but I don’t want to add another not-so-fun job to my to-do list when I’d rather be digging and planting.
Thanks for your help!

Hello and thank you in advance for your advice. I am wondering if it is possible to transplant the row of Euonymus Trees in the attached photo? The property they currently inhabited is in Toronto. The trees are approx. 5′ tall and receive full sun. They will be moved a few blocks away. Any advice on best approach, if possible, appreciated!

I have a 20 year old peony in my north facing garden in East York and last year i hired a gardening service that cut back the foliage in early fall before hard frost. This spring I’m not seeing the telltale heads peeping out of the ground and I’m worried he may have killed it. Is anyone seeing peony growth yet or is it still too early? What can I do to encourage flower growth in these circumstances?

Hello; I am looking to plant a native shrub and live in the city of Toronto. I would like one preferably that will turn red or yellow in the fall and have a mature height of no more than five or six feet.
I would like to ensure that the berries any shrub might produce will not be toxic to a dog. I was thinking of the Fragrant Sumac or Common Ninebark but am definitely open to other ideas. It will get mostly sun with some shade.
Could you please advise about some options?
Thank you!~Mary

I have a trumpet vine that needs pruning. Is that something your company would do?

We are planning on clearing a wooded lot this fall in preparation to build a house in the spring. There are quite a few wild trillium on the lot that I would like to preserve and replant on the same property once construction is complete. I realize there may be challenges, but I’m hoping to be able to transplant the trillium to a safer location on the same property. I’m looking for advice and resources to minimze the risk of loss.

I am looking to cheer someone up by planting some colourful, perennial flowers on his front lawn. He lives in Toronto, Ontario and the front of his house faces the west. I am interested in plants that are low maintenance and would thrive in this particular condition. There are several trees on the front of the house that provides some shade. Unfortunately, I do not have a green thumb so I don’t know what type of soil he has but I included a photo that may help. I’m looking for any recommendations on which types of flowers I should buy and plant out front. Anything bright, vibrant, and cheerful would be fantastic. Thanking you in advance for your help! Grace


We planted 3 cedars last August in the front of our property. They had plenty of water, plenty of sun and looked good going into the winter. This spring they look rough. I put in a few spike fertilizers around and have been watering them the last few days. I wonder whether they have a fighting chance or it’s best just to replace them now.

Thank you

Good morning
I pruned my summer blooming Spirea (Magic Carpet) 2 weeks ago. Attached is a photo of what it looked like on April 19. There is new leaf growth at the base but the taller branches look rather sparse. My question is whether i should prune it down to 6 inches from the ground now or is it too late in the season?

I’m looking for a seller in London ontario or can ship to my home address.
I’m looking for the one in the picture

I live at DVP and Lawrence. I believe Toronto is Zone 6a.
I want to replace an existing chain link fence across the back of my yard with a mixed hedge

-55 feet
– gate in the middle (we are on a pathway)
– close to full shade once leaves come in on the surrounding tall trees
– would like all season interest (and some privacy but not full needed in winter)
– height can vary but want 6 foot+ for most part

I do not know they soil type – how would I determine this? It’s currently just grass (it sometimes has moss in the grass so I think that means its acidic / clay like?)

I live at DVP and Lawrence. I believe Toronto is Zone 6a.
I want to replace an existing chain link fence across the back of my yard with a mixed hedge

-55 feet
– gate in the middle (we are on a pathway)
– close to full shade once leaves come in on the surrounding tall trees
– would like all season interest (and some privacy but not full needed in winter)
– height can vary but want 6 foot+ for most part

I do not know they soil type – how would I determine this? It’s currently just grass (it sometimes has moss in the grass so I think that means its acidic / clay like?)

I have a climbing hydrangea that I would like to plant next to my garage in the hopes that it will grow along the stuccoed wall. It’s currently tied (abut doesn’t appear to have attacked itself) to a small wooden trellis. I am was hoping you might be able to tell me how close/ far it should be planted from the wall and if I should remove it from the trellis (that came with it when it was purchased last fall). Your expertise and suggestions are much appreciated! Thank you, ~Meredith


I read through previous posts but couldn’t find an answer for my specific situation. I am looking for some advice regarding privacy hedges/vines. We have some mature spruces that were limbed up but was looking for something to cover the fence and gaps between. I would prefer something evergreen and fairly fast growing. Would want it to grow 5-6 feet tall or be able to be cut to this size. It must be at least somewhat shade tolerant due to the trees that are already there. I also don’t want any plants toxic to pets/children. I have included picture of area trying to cover.

I initially was thinking climbing vines like Boston ivy and honeysuckle/kiwi but they aren’t evergreen.
Then I was thinking purple or big leaf wintercreeper but it’s very slow growing from what I read.

Was thinking about Japanese euonymnus.

Also considering beech and hornbeams. Would prefer beech but might not be shade tolerant enough.

Also considering Holy.

Thoughts or any other suggestions.

I have been scouring the web researching for months attempting to locate (for purchase) a ‘strict weeping alaskan cedar.’ Any help, even pointing me in the right direction, would be greatly appreciated.

I have had this shrub for 50 years. I read that this might be the life span. However my husband and I are seniors and pruning was not done last year and/ or perhaps too late. Should or could I cut/prune it down. if so when and how much. Missed the yellow this spring. Thank you

Hello, I would like to grow an 8′ privacy hedge in a 85% shaded area. Is this the best plant for my requirements?
I am in Oshawa Zone 6A.
Thank You in advance.

My jade plant is struggling. Some stems are seriously withering (see photo below). I repotted the plant and checked the roots. They do not seem to be rotting. I have also been spare in my watering. The plant is in a south facing window. I removed the leaves that were spotted/curling etc. The plant is very spare now. What should I do?

Thank you for your help.

Hello, I have a dwarf Alberta spruce tree on the side of my house, about 6’ tall, and a technician from Rogers trimmed some branches without my authorization, leaving a huge hole on the tree.
I would like to get your feedback to know if these branches will ever regrow to close the hole and if the health of this tree can be compromised by this.

Hello, I have a dwarf Alberta spruce tree on the side of my house, about 6’ tall, and a technician from Rogers trimmed some branches without my authorization, leaving a huge hole on the tree.
I would like to get your feedback to know if these branches will ever regrow to close the hole and if the health of this tree can be compromised by this.

Hello, I have a dwarf Alberta spruce tree on the side of my house, about 6’ tall, and a technician from Rogers trimmed some branches without my authorization, leaving a huge hole on the tree.
I would like to get your feedback to know if these branches will ever regrow to close the hole and if the health of this tree can be compromised by this.

If I plant Ranunculus asiaticus in containers, in the fall do I still have to dig up the tubers or can I just bring the pots into my garage?

There is a very old rhododendron in my backyard. It is located near a pagoda dogwood, an eastern redbud and several evergreen shrubs. The soil is sandy and acidic. The area is well sheltered from strong winds.
I have noticed some red spots on some of the leaves. Would you know what is afflicting it?
Thank you

Some brown leaf spots have started to appear on the leaves of my houseplant. It is a syngonium growing near an east-facing window. Any idea what’s causing this and what I can do to stop the problem and treat the plant? Thank you.

My climbing hydrangeas has grown behind my drainpipe and is starting to push it away from the wall. I have tried to pry the vine from behind the pipe, but it won’t move. Should I cut the plant off at the base of the pipe so that that part dies? Thank you for your help.

Hi, I need help with my garden. I was wondering if you kept a list of gardeners who are looking for work. Thank you. Rachel

Any idea where I can buy these Geraniums? Used to be sold by Plant World but they are no longer around. Thanks.

Our old and healthy wisteria needed to be cut back for repairs on the deck and pergola. I cut it back be about half, keeping only the four main branches to a length of about 14 feet. The wisteria was cut back two weeks ago on April 9 (bad timing I know!). I have not yet seen any sign of new growth and am worried I have damaged the plant. How long should I expect to wait before I see some sign of life?

Hi, We have a tree lilac about 4 inches in diameter that was girdled by rodents last winter about 60% of the way around near ground level. We added a plastic protector this winter and the tree is doing amazingly well. The tree seems healthy but the damaged area has exposed dead wood in the interior of the trunk. There does not seem to be any rotting bark around the wound. Is there anything we should do to help the tree continue to survive and recover?

I leave at Etobicoke, Royal York and Eglinton
Every year I get a lot of Japanese beetles and Gyspy Moth.
I need your help as I have a nearly 1 Acre lot

Hi there. I just bought condo in Toronto with has a very large open terrace facing north. i have been told it does get hot in summer and very windy. There appears to be sun on terrace in afternoon. I have tall planters which came with condo (photo attached) and was wondering what plants would be suitable to withstand the wind and sun. I don’t have a “green thumb”!! Thank you.

I planted thyme beside the driveway in 2019.
Although I did not do anything for overwintering, it came back and even became larger with pretty flowers last summer.
Now it doesn’t look growing but I’m not sure if it’s still too early to judge..? (pics of 2019 and 2020 are taken mid of July)

Also as it’s located next to the driveway, where snow pile with salt stays longer, it might be harming the plants gradually. I think I’ll start placing mulch before winter. If I do every season, the area will be getting higher.. is that alright?
Any suggestion/ advice would be highly appreciated.

Hello! I just created a new garden bed in my backyard. I put in soil, cow manure, and another project. I have a few questions…
1. What kind of soil should I be putting in it and how much (how deep should it be)?
2. I put limestone screening under the bricks but also put landscape screening to hopefully keep it out if the garden. Is landscape screening enough to do the trick. I know limestone screening is harmful to plants but the garden bed is put in temporarily so I couldn’t use concrete.
3. I want to create privacy from the niebours with tall beautiful plants to block the view. What would you suggest that grows relatively quickly and has beautiful bloomage. It gets some sun but more shade will be created once the tree to the left starts blooming. I’ve just started to get interested in gardening so maybe plants that are easy to take care of could be good.
I was thinking maybe for Cynthia?

Hi there

I have this shrub about 7feet talltall 3 feet wide around the perimeter of my house. They have black berries in the fall. could you tell me the name and give me a suggestion of what to put at the roots. I have a lot of weed under the hedges I imagine because birds frequent there and poop into the soil a lot.

Also. One of the pictures is a picture of a plant that’s under the hedges. Got lots of it. Is it a weed. Can I rip it out.

Should I put a weed barrier down under the hedges.

My house is south facing.lots of sun.

I can’t upload pics. Here’s the link.


We have old Austrian Pines and a honey locust that will probably die within five years. Right now, there is shade and some privacy from their trunks. What shrubs or small trees can we plant in their shadow that would grow to give us privacy when they die?

I just bought some potted ferns i want to plant in a big long planter. The planter location is elevated and partially under shelter. Can i plant and leave them outdoors now? April 27. Lowest overnight temp this upcoming 14 day forecast is 2 degrees.
Or could they be covered for cooler nights like 2 degrees?

Hi, is these any saving a soggy water logged baby tears plant? The pot that it came in did not have proper drainage

Photo April 27, Don Mills, in my rockery. sunny
leaves like a crocus. red flower, very short stem. One flower per stem. Flower about 2.5 in across. It came up for the first time this year, beside tulips and sedum cover.

Today’s date is April 27. I live in Toronto. Is it too late in the Spring to prune back a well established spirea shrub to 6”? I don’t want to prune it so hard to not have growth and flowers. I plan to prune the dead flowers from the top and thin the shrub somewhat but there is a fair bit of new growth so I am hesitant to prune too much. Full sun, loam soil, water once a week with when there is no rain. May I kindly ask your advice for the best route to take with this pruning job.
Thank you so much for your time.

When to spray a cherry tree for good fruits

I have daffodils from a pot that I purchased in bloom in January. I fertilized gently and allowed the foliage to mature. The bulbs are now dry. Do I keep them until them fall,or,plant them now?

I am planting two pawpaws this spring and am considering where to plant them. I was wondering how far from other trees I should plant them. The reason I get a lot of squirrels and raccoons in my yard and am wondering if I should expect those animals to eat the fruit. Thanks!

Hello and thank you. I have a two year old spider plant that in the past four or five months has finally sprouted babies. In fact, the baby making has become quite prolific. I feed it with Schultz’s liquid concentrate at more than half the strength about every two weeks. It is also very thirsty so I am watering about every three days. The side of the plant with all the babies looks very healthy – dark, shiny, strong leaves. The other side of the plant is weak looking. Always droopy, paler in colour. I have tried turning the plant so the share of sunlight (south west facing) is balanced. Do you know what is going on? Thank you!


Our house has a beautiful well established Wisteria vine. We know it to be approximately 25-30yrs old as last summer the person who planted it (2 previous home owners ago) came by to show it to her now grown son who was a newborn when she planted it.

Last year I noticed that the trunk is showing some signs of damage and wondered if this should be cause for concern and how to best care for it. We share our house with another family and between us we have 4 young boys who have climbed on the vine. Could their climbing be causing this kind of damage?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as this really is an amazing focal feature for our backyard and hope to have the plant with us as long as possible!

I have pictures I can send if it would be helpful.

Thanks so much!

I live in Port Hope and have been told by the Nursery that I bought and had my Cedars planted from that there is an infestation of bugs killing Emerald Cedars due to COvid 19.
They can’t tell me what to use to protect my other Cedars. Originally I was told it was lack of water but I have over 40 trees and other than these 4 all are fine. What can I spray my Cedars with to protect them

Our house has a beautiful well established Wisteria vine. We know it to be approximately 25-30yrs old as last summer the person who planted it (2 previous home owners ago) came by to show it to her now grown son who was a newborn when she planted it.

This year I noticed that the trunk is showing some signs of damage and wondered if this should be cause for concern and how to best care for it. We share our house with another family and between us we have 4 young boys who have climbed on the vine. Could their climbing be causing this kind of damage?

I don’t know a lot about Wisteria so any advice would be greatly appreciated! This really is an amazing focal feature for our backyard and hope to have the plant with us as long as possible!

I planted alysums seeds, that said annual, in several pots and transferred them to sunny garden. They bloomed so beautifully and lasted until mid of fall.
This spring I planted the seeds again. Then I noticed that when they sprouted in those pots there’s same thing happening in my garden where last alyssum was growing.
Someone told me that even annual alyssum can come back when the condition is good.
Am I a lucky one? Or are they just similar weeds?

Hello, I have a short south facing slope at the start of my front yard where it meets the sidewalk, with two large old silver maples at either side. It is about 30 feet long and 4 feet wide [with 3 standard steps from sidewalk to the top of the slope]. The area currently has poor grass and weed cover and is impossible to mow. Once the tree canopy develops in spring, it gets almost no direct sunlight, though it is bright under the trees. It is also dry and usually only gets water when it rains. I would like to build a low maintenance, drought tolerant rockery here and would appreciate any advice. I understand I am asking a lot from the site. The neighbouring gardens mostly have Vinca minor [periwinkle] on their slopes and I was hoping to create a bit more variety in a rockery. Thank you.

Where can I buy cleopatra canna lily rhizome/bulb or plant? I’m willing to buy it in greater Toronto area or online

Why is our tree so spindly you can see right thru the tree. Why not thicker growth on the branches? Thanku

Do u think these spirea will eventually bloom once the warmer weather comes . Right now they are very spindly and I am tempted to put them out and replace them. Thank u for your help.

I’m sorry I have to post the same question as my previous one did not explain well and I could not receive the answer…

LAST spring I planted alyssums seeds (the tag said ‘annual’)
in several pots and transferred them to sunny garden. They bloomed so beautifully and lasted until mid of fall.
I planted alyssum seeds (the tag said annual) in several pots and transferred them to sunny garden. They bloomed so beautifully and lasted until mid of fall.
THIS spring I planted the seeds again. I noticed that when they sprouted in the pots, there’re similar shaped sprouts were seen in the spot of my garden where last alyssums were blooming.

Someone told me that even annual alyssum can come back when the condition is good.
Then I’m wondering if I’m one of the lucky ones? Or are these just weeds?

My tulip bulbs have been eaten by animals. I was wondering what animals eat them . How to prevent them from eating tulips. Thank you


We’ve had this Japanese Maple for about 5 years now. We planted it where an old silver Maple stood. The stump of the Silver Maple was ground down, but remnants of it likely remain below ground.

Growth on the Japanese Maple has always been slow and each year I try to cover the root system with top soil. At the end of last year, I noticed some dying branches near the top of the tree. This year as you can hopefully see from the photo, leaves are only coming out near the base of the tree. What would you suggest I do to bring it back to health? Thanks so much.

I have a Stella sweet cherry in my backyard (50 x 130 feet). I would love to plant a dwarf serviceberry Pumila but wondered if it would cause a detrimental cross pollination problem with Stella. Thanks for opportunity to ask this question!
I live near Sarnia, ON and can’t get an answer around here.

I have planters with combos of geraniums, petunias, and calibrachoa ready to go onto my balcony. I live in a Toronto condo, on the 9th floor. When is it safe to put my flowers outside?

how old are the huge willows in Edwards gardens.

Cedar hedge has grown thin and is brown in one spot that is located close to a black walnut tree. Is this type of cedar at risk from the toxicity of the tree?

I’m planting a veggie garden in an area that ids fairly wet and mucky right now. What can I put on top of the soil for my veggies to grow properly.

This is a typical design which I’d settle for, if I could uproot the front lawn, for minimal maintenance of weeds, watering.
When replacing a lawn for native plants, and with the large amount of snow that gets transferred to the lawn, won’t the plants be stressed, and flattened, at the end of the winter season, or can small plants which don’t grow withstand the weight of snow?

I planted some peace lily seeds last week and are starting to sprout, however I planted them in a small pot. How long should I waite to transplant them to a bigger pot.

Tree years the landscaper planted 3 Columnar Beech trees. Now I want to add 3 more Beech trees. However, the new landscaper says only Dawyck European Beech trees are available. Will all the trees look similar? or will it look strange having them all together in a row? Thanks for your help.

It was recommended that I use your site to get exact identification of small dark green bugs on new leaves of Viridis Japanese Maple. I noticed a several of these small dark green/black bugs completely covering new growth of Maple on May 2nd. There are hundreds of them. I live in east end Toronto. The tree is 5 years old. What should I do?

I have a west facing bed underneath a Scot’s Pine which is half goutweed. Is there a small to medium size pretty shrub that I can plant in it that can out-compete and survive in the encroaching goutweed?

I bought Marha Washington Geraniums at the Nursery in early May.
Do I have to wait until late May to put these plants outside.

Hi. Can you please identify this. Thank you for your help.

Where can I buy cleopatra canna lily rhizome/bulb or plant? I’m willing to buy it in greater Toronto area or online

Hi :)

I have a silver leaf dogwood in a container for many years over 8 that has done well for me. This year sporadic leafing this is current picture I did fertilize with 15-3-3 because I thought is was over due BUT it may have been a mistake. is it just slowly leafing I see I few more leaves today but still worried :) its my baby along with my Japanese maple :)

Thank you!

The links to how to get rid of violets in my grass show no answers are available. Please let me know how to get rid of them. They have taken over a very large part of my lawn.

Can I treat bronze birch borer on a silver birch tree myself?

My understanding is that there are native bees that hibernate in the hollow stems of perennials; therefore, one should resist the urge to cut these down in the fall, and should hold off until the weather is consistently warm e.g. late May. It bugs me that my neighbours look askance. Shouldn’t you be encouraging everyone to hold off for the sake of pollinators?

Spring garden clean up done RIGHT

Hello, I have a shaded courtyard of size 3 meters by 3 meters. The space is almost always shaded throughout the day with a slight sun in a small portion. I would like to have a Japanese style garden with Japanese maple, large rocks, and moss. Are there any other plants or flowers that would grow well in Toronto, in such a space that would match? Thank you.

I am looking to plant some colourful, perennial flowers on his front lawn. I live in Toronto, Ontario and the front of the house faces the west. I am interested in plants that are low maintenance and would thrive in this particular condition. There are several trees on the front of the house that provides some shade.

I am looking to plant some colourful, perennial flowers on his front lawn. I live in Toronto, Ontario and the front of the house faces the west. I am interested in plants that are low maintenance and would thrive in this particular condition. There are several trees on the front of the house that provides some shade.

Is there a map or other such visual detail of the various walks? Thank you.

I bought a hybrid tomato plant from Costco last year and saved seeds. I planted the seeds a few weeks ago and they are growing all right. Will these seeds grow to tomatoes that will produce fruits? Generally speaking , can we save hybrid seeds?
Thank you in advance.

I have a trumpet vine in a container on a second floor, south east facing condo terrace. The plant over winters fine. First year had exceptional orange red flowers. Last year impacted by an infestation that has returned. It stunts the growth of the bloom area. Tiny bubbly eggs are visible. I would like to safely treat the plant. They are sticky white and are spider web like with little white crystals. Please let me know what my options are. Photo attached.


I been having problems with my two pandanus veitchii plants these past months. Some of the leaves have been turning yellow and some have turned brown and shriveled up. I water then once a week and have placed them in a big bucket with rocks where they sit on top. I also add water to the bottom so that they get humidity. The water at the bottom does not hit the plants at all. I also once in a while mist them with water. Not too frequently. I just don’t know what is happening to them. I was just wonder if you can give me any answers to my problem as I don’t want to loose them. Thanks

I bought this plant last year and plant it and it is now blooming. There are not flowers but the top leafs turn yellow. It is not tall, around 10cm or less. It started blooming last week. I do not recall its name and I love to know more about it. I would appreciate your help. Please see attached picture and thank you very much once again.

My cedars are 10 years old and have had no issues until this year when I noticed yellow patches in the tallest tree. When I went to prune these yellow patches I also noticed some strange whitessack-material on the some of the branches. Is the tree dying?

Our backyard is overrun with Creeping Charlie and other weeds. I pulled out what I could by hand which left many bare patches. I put down topsoil, fertilizer, seed and lightly rolled. It’s been 2 weeks and nothing. We’ve had lots of rain. It has been cold where we live in Port Perry, not much sun. Is this why there is no growth yet? What are my next steps? Thanks.

We would like to plant an evergreen climbing vine up the side and top of our south-facing front porch that gets full sun most of the day. Ideally we would love something that has a flower and stays green all winter. I have been looking at some of the evergreen clematis varieties but are not sure if they will survive the winter or hold their leaves? Are there any other vine options you would recommend? We are on the west side of Toronto close to High Park and have sandy soil.

I am trying to locate nursery that carries this tree. Can you help? Thank you.

We were recommended to plant a Hinoki False Cypress in our front house landscape. We want an evergreen with ornamental or ‘architectural’ interest. In Toronto it is difficult to find a Hinoki.
Q: Can you suggest where we can find one, and is this tree compatible with our climate?
If it’s not an ideal choice can you recommend a nice alternative to plant in our garden against our 2 story home? Ideally a 10-14 ft tree would be preferred.

Hello There, in my Pyramid cedar hedge a ‘hole’ got opened and thus the screen is now void – please see the attached pictures. The ‘gap’ I want to ‘close’ gets only partial sun (from the front-Sout side); laterally too be shaded by the sedars to the left and right. Should I plant a Yew, DeGroot’s Spire Eastern Cedar, or what? Thansk! Tony M. 416/239-7479 — in Etobicoke, Toronto-Ontario

Hi there! I have a 6yo gorgeous Felix Leclerc Explorer Series climbing rose. Last year, mid-summer, it suddenly shot a thick cane out. The flowers and leaves look the same as the rest of the bush, and are not obviously suckers from rootstock. I don’t know if my bush was grafted or not, I know some aren’t.
This spring I see 2 more canes/suckers forming. What causes the canes to form? Is it healthy for my bush? Should I cut them back?

Thank you!

I had this climbing rose for 8 years. For the past 2 years it did not flower at all. It does not seem to grow. What should I do about it ? Thank you.

Hi. Four weeks ago I planted a number of cherry tomato seeds into small pots an placed them under grow lights. They sprouted one week later and they have been growing nicely ever since. I started with three per pot, and one week ago I thinned down to one per pot. However, a few days ago I noticed that some of the leaves were beginning to curl on themselves, and now some leaves on some of the plants are turning yellow on one side and/or reddish on the other side, and even falling off. These plants continue to have other healthy leaves, and the stems have lots of thin hairs and are thickening nicely and look healthy. But still, the discoloured/curling leaves are worrying me! I have attached a picture of some of the leaves that have been afflicted. Can you suggest what the problem might be? (Overwatering, underwatering, not enough airflow, too much light, not enough light, fungu, etc. — the internet is full of possibilities, but nothing is concrete!)

Thank you for your help.

Our backyard is overrun with Creeping Charlie and other weeds. I pulled out what I could by hand which left many bare patches. I put down topsoil, fertilizer, seed and lightly rolled. It’s been 2 weeks and nothing. We’ve had lots of rain. It has been cold where we live in Port Perry, not much sun. Is this why there is no growth yet? What are my next steps? Thanks.

In the past I’ve always sprayed my lawn with soapy water using a hose-end sprayer. Since grubs don’t like the soap, they come to the surface where the birds can eat them.
Would this method work with Japanese Beetle larvae too?
And, when do Japanese Beetle larvae hatch?

Hi, I live in Mississauga close to the lake. I have a small place on the east side in my back yard between a tool shed and house approximately 14 feet long. The place has 4 hours morning sun. I would like to plant a not big size Japanese maple. My favourite one is fireglow but not sure if it can survive Toronto severe winter as it is zone 6 and we are zone 5. What is your opinion? Many thanks.

Our backyard is overrun with Creeping Charlie and other weeds. I pulled out what I could by hand which left many bare patches. I put down topsoil, fertilizer, seed and lightly rolled. It’s been 2 weeks and nothing. We’ve had lots of rain. It has been cold where we live in Port Perry, not much sun. Is this why there is no growth yet? What are my next steps? Thanks.

Here is a photo of my infected wolfberry. What might have caused the problem and how to treat it ?
Thanks so much for your help.

Hello, I don’t know what is going on but my birds of paradise has a host of problems and I don’t know what to do.

The room condition is bright room with no sunlight- is that okay ?
Climate zone 6.
Looking forward for your help.
Thank you

I live in Etobicoke Ontario and my Boxwoods are clearly all infected with both moth and leaf minor. The infestations seem to be quite extensive on all plants. What is my best treatment option at this time? or should I consider replacing them ( any recommended species? )
many thanks

I am wondering what the best climbing rose to grow in this area is? Thank you!

With my neighbour, we share a small lawn which is about 20 feet by 30 feet. I’d like to buy some top dressing, and a video suggests using a special levelling rake. Our lawn is level, so could I use my fan/leaf rake, since the rungs of the rake are close together? I’ve added the link of the fellow promoting the need of the specialty rake, where he is applying top dressing to a sloped lawn.
Thank you

Hi, i planted a Concord grape vine last year in a planter 17″ high x27″x 20″ using potting soil. It is now May and there does not seem to be any life. I used a planter because we have a neighbouring Black walnut tree. The vine root is about 15 ” down. What should I do, pull it out and start again. The tree is about 45 feet away but is 45 feet tall. I am worried about the Juglone. Should i try to plant it in the ground with a new plant. How far below the surface /grade should it be and i still want the planter around it (i made it myself)

Hello. I have three serviceberries planted in a location that gets full sun after 1 p.m. currently. The amount of sun will increase as the summer progresses. They are approximately 5 to 6 years old. I had the best blooms ever last spring. A huge number and I thought “Ah, finally, they are maturing and we can enjoy lovely blooms from now on”. How naive I was because this spring was very disappointing. Nothing has changed for these shrubs (in terms of what I have done) other than spreading pine bark mulch around the bed last spring to control weeds. I do not fertilize them and they are in a raised bed, so no fertilizer “accidentally” leached into their bed. Is it simply a matter of a very cold and wet spring this year? I question that because I have seen other Serviceberries in my neighbourhood that had plenty of blooms. Thank you for your help.

Found growing in sand in a school playground. Never seen them grow there before. We are in Alberta Canada

Found growing in sand in a school playground. Never seen them grow there before. We are in Alberta Canada

Last winter I planted daffodil and tulip bulbs in pots and overwintered them in my shed. This spring they bloomed nicely. I’ve removed the spent bulbs with foliage attached from the pots. Now what should I do, please?

Please identify this tree.

Please identify this tree.


I live in Toronto, and just dug out my small pond and want to make it a garden bed with flowers blooming from spring to autumn (not sure if this is realistic or just my dream!). The flower bed is under a beauty bush with plenty of sun during the day. I plan to plant some tulips. Is it possible to plant other bulbs, which will bloom during summer and autumn, in between those tulips bulbs? I heard that annuals can be planted on top of the tulips after they flower. Is it true? Do flowers from annuals last a longer time (maybe having several blooms) while that of perennials only last a week? Sorry for many questions at a time. Thank you very much.

I sent in a message last week asking your help to rid violets that have overtaken my lawn. Your website features the same issue from someone in Wasaga Beach (I’m in Toronto) but the website says the links to answers are no longer available. Please provide me with some ways of killing these violets without killing my lawn if that’s possible. Thank you for your desperately needed help.

My goji berry leaves are turning yellow. What might be the problem? How to solve the problem.
Thanks a lot .

I live in Thornhill, near Steeles Avenue West. The tree is about 4 years old (in my garden). The soil is not too bad and it gets some sun and some shade. It seems pretty healthy and has a diameter of about 3′ and a height of about 3′. Can it be pruned and how should I do it? I am a member of the Society even though I don’t live in Toronto.

Hi I am looking at planting 6 of this along a fence in the backyard aprox 6’ apart. There is a retaining wall 3’ away from the fence and these will be planted between the wall and the fence. There is also a swimming pool 4’ forward from the retaining wall. Was wondering if these have agreed roots that will push the retaining wall and/or damage the pool due to root growth. These also grow 30-40’ tall at maturity and span 25’. They can be pruned to keep them a desired size but was wondering if this tree is right for the area?

Hello, I’ve been trying to identify the small flowering tree I have in my backyard, but have had no success. I wonder if you could help.
I’m attaching a series of photos, and can add that I’ve never actually seen any fruit on this tree or on the ground.
Thanks very much for your help with this! Much appreciated.

When is it safe to plant cherry tomato seedlings in the ground in Toronto?

Can you direct me to where I can buy a 50 caliper yellow wood in Toronto?

There is something (blight perhaps?) killing our well established backyard plants. There appears to be small bugs all over our Mandarin honeysuckle but it is still doing ok, but the lilac bush beside it barely came back this year ans there is something all over the bark. Photo attached. I just noticed this same thing is all over the bark of a bush that died last year, and starting to get on our box woods as well. Any idea what it is and more importantly, how to stop it?

The leaves of my tomato seedlings are yellowing. What might cause the problem? How to solve the problem. Can I transplant them now or should I leave them in the pot until they become stronger .
Thank you.

I just bought lilac ludwig shurb from walmart. It is 1 feet tall right now. I wonder how fast it grows every year. the label says its height is 1.5 meter. How long I need to wait to reach that height? Thank you very much

Hi I bought from walmart “Veronica var. Georgia Blue Speedwell” plant as per label. I have been looking for “Turkish speedwell (veronica liwanensis)”. Are these 2 the same? Thank you very much.

I was wondering what might have eaten my plant. How should I prevent the problem?
Thank you .

I was wondering what might have eaten my plant. How should I prevent the problem?
Thank you .

What’s the best way to dispose of houseplants ( and their soil) when they are infested with scale?

I would like to plant a type of alliums that are colourful (a mix of colours would be great!) minimum maintenance, perennials, like shade to partial shade (my front yard faces west with a large shady tree so it gets afternoon sun for a couple of hours only). When should I plant them and how to maintain? Pruning required at all?
I am also planning to plant endless summer hydrangeas beside them. When should I plant these and how do I maintain them? Pruning?

Can you suggest what colour mix would be good beside white endless summer hydrangeas? Are these 2 flowering plants good beside each other?

Many thanks!! I look forward to hearing from you!

Hello. We keep growing garlic despite not being very successful. Classic huh? The bulbs get planted in the fall. We have rotated locations. The plants grow happily and we harvest after the scapes … we dry the product and start to use it. After a while the garlic is not good. Some of the cloves are rubbery, some are rotten some have sort of dried up. Any suggestions

All along the branches are “pom-pom” like clusters of petals. The leaves have not emerged yet.
I noticed young ones in Duncairn Park and very mature ones in Rippleton Park. The photo that I took with my camera(not phone) is too big and I do not know how to make it smaller

I just transplanted my hydrandrea, it looks like dieing.
What might cause the problem? How do I fix the problem?
Thanks for your help

I planted a store bought mandevilla that had some bloomed flowers and hung it at a sunny place.
A week later I noticed that new buds turned to brown and never blossomed.
Is this some kind of a desease or is there anything I can solve the problem?

Thank you in advance.

I planted a store bought mandevilla that had some bloomed flowers and hung it at a sunny place.
A week later I noticed that new buds turned to brown and never blossomed.
Is this some kind of a desease or is there anything I can solve the problem?

Thank you in advance.

Hello. We keep growing garlic despite not being very successful. Classic huh? The bulbs get planted in the fall. We have rotated locations. The plants grow happily and we harvest after the scapes … we dry the product and start to use it. After a while the garlic is not good. Some of the cloves are rubbery, some are rotten some have sort of dried up. Any suggestions

My Shanghai Bokchoi leaves are turning yellowing .
What might cause the problem?

I have a serviceberry in my west facing garden that is struggling. I am surrounded by a canopy of oak along the Humber river. The trunk has a blackened look, almost as if it has been burnt. I am wondering if you might know what would cause this? I also noticed that something has probably nibbled at the base of the trunk as some of the bark is missing. Any suggestions on what I could do to help this tree or should I take this opportunity to plant something new?

My dog has done his business and killed the grass, so I would like to replace it with ground cover, and 2-3 types of plants of different heights. It would be nice to have flowering, evergreen and/or edible plants, maybe a berry bush. The area is mostly shaded, moderately moist with a high pH of at least 8.0 (off the scale blue), and I have read that the dog urine leads to a very high Nitrogen content. The plants should not have an overly aggressive root system as it is close to both my and my neighbour’s front porch. The area is about 3′ wide by about 6′ long out from the house. The tallest plants could be in the range of 1′ up to 4′ tall closest to the porch. Note the spelling of my name in my email address (ii after the t is correct). Thanks!

My Shanghai Bokchoi leaves are turning yellowing .
What might cause the problem?

Hi, I have a shishigashira japanese maple planted in a south facing location on the side of the house. It is approx. 10 yrs old and has grown to almost the top of the 1st floor.
In the spring of 2020 there was a cold spell that caused the bark to start peeling. We went to the garden centre and they recommended we protect the exposed trunk which is the black substance you see in the picture. There are alot fewer branches with leaves this year and the branches that are green have pretty brittle bark.
Is the tree dying? Is there more that I can do to help it recover?
I have more pictures if that will help but this form only allowed me to attach one.

Good day,
I have a question re a small tree like plant that my neighbor has in his garden that is very pretty. I enjoy it from my garden. He wants to give me a little one that always comes up around this plant.
I have very nice borders in my backyard that slowly are covered in Creeping Jenny groundcover. Each year more and now they are becoming so much and stay longer before they dry up and are gone. I am afraid they will kill my perennials.
I am not so young anymore and can’t pull them out. What should I do? One tells me it’s good and another says to get rid of it.
I send you a picture of the treelike plant to show you. It’s not taller than maybe 5ft. Brownish flowers.
Thank you so much.

I was about to put down cedar mulch, but then saw articles that are suggesting cedar mulch deters pollinators-bees. Is this true? If so, is there a better type of mulch to use to keep the moisture in around my plants in the garden and keep the critters and bugs around also?
Thank you

We have a tree in our mostly sunny backyard in the Danforth area. Over the last couple of years it has started to look more and more sick. We enclose a picture of what some of the leaves are looking right now. A garden center suggested this was mealy bugs but we can see no bugs and that doesn’t seem likely to me. Should we get rid of the tree or can it somehow be treated ? The grass close to the tree also seem like it is sprayed with white chalk. Is that related.

Please see attached picture. I see fast moving look like flies flying around these holes and sometime I see them land inside these holes but very fast to catch or see how they look like. Any idea what are these? Should I be worry etc. Thanks a lot

I live in Windsor. I purchased beautiful geranium mixed planters 3 weeks ago. I kept them in the garage, watered and with a window for light, due to cool temps. I put them out yesterday and now they are wilted and pale. Do I fertilize now or will this add to the problem?

Found this in the neighbourhood. The height of this plant is about 18 inches and grows on the west side and has full sun throughout the day. It looks like phlox, but my tall phlox are taller and sturdier than this plant. My plant does not sway in the wind, but this plant does, so more delicate than mine.
Thanks for your help

Half of my Japanese tree does not grow leaves. What might be the problem?

Half of my Japanese tree does not grow leaves. What might be the problem?

Hi there. I live in Toronto east beach district. In 3 weeks I am moving to northern Ontario. The beach is a termite zone. I would like to take a few plants from my garden with me particularly my dads rhubarb. There’s also a couple of hosts and ferns, Solomon’s seal. Is there a way to safely do this? Could I wash the roots well and transplant. I know that’s a bit dangerous and may not grow. But taking a few of my favs with me would be such a blessing. Any help would be great. Thanks. Aeriol Nicols.

I have a very old, 15 years, white blossom tree peony that has become very leggy. It is now about 4 feet tall. This year it has 5 buds, the most ever. The graft peony at the bottom is very vigorous and gives me one or two blooms also but of a different colour. I would like to trim the tree peony back. When do I do this? And the stems are very woody…will I kill it?? Photo too big to send but could do so later if needed

I had a quick inquiry with regards to my hicks yews that were planted in the front of my house last June (front of my house is East facing, located in Etobicoke, and we get a good mix of direct sun and shade throughout the day). All the yews appear to have established well and had no issues throughout the winter months. I’m currently keeping an eye out for the soil to be moist, but not soaking before watering a few times a week since the change in temperature. As per the photos, I noticed the smaller yews surrounding the magnolia tree are consistent in look and pace of sprouting of new growth (lime-green ends). However, the slightly larger yews that run along the wall don’t all seem to be sprouting with the same consistency, but if I look closely, I can see tiny buds on the branches that don’t have the same lime-green growth. In a few of the yews, I am also noticing some slight browning and thinning of needles closer to the base. I just wanted to confirm if all this is okay and if I should expect them all to eventually have the same lime-green growth throughout the remainder of spring and into the summer months, or if I need to address the ones that aren’t quite sprouting at the same pace.

I am asking about disease in an old shrub 8 ft tall, identified on Picture This and on I Naturalist as Prunus, or Plum Cherry. It had prolific white blooms on either side of and close to the stems this spring and now has almost no leaves with some dead ones that seem to be left from last year. It was not healthy last year and had fewer flowers and a few more leaves. I sprayed with a fungicide which may have helped a bit. One of the roses about 15 ft away has a similar problem this year. Do I spray this repeatedly this year and hope or is it probably a lost cause.

I dug up the Dahlia root ball in the fall.
I would like to divide it before I replant it. Any tips on how to divide the root ball.
Thank you

Last week I bought a large and very vigorous-looking delphinium. The pot ‘s diameter and depth are both 85 cm. / 8.5 inches. It’s about to bloom in a burgundy colour. The leaves are strong with a dark green colour.
However, I just noticed that all the leaf veins are a pale yellowish colour which does not extend into the neighbouring leaf tissue.
I have not encountered this phenomenon before.
What, if anything, does it portend for the future?
Should I do anything now by way of prevention?

A rabbit is causing considerable damage to plants in my fenced backyard. It appears to prefer natives and has nibbled woodland phlox, bellwort, black-eyed susan, and sensitive fern down to the ground. It is a master at hiding and, as I can’t spot any hole in the fence, I think that it is trapped in the yard. I’d appreciate any suggestions for catching him and/ or deterring feeding on my favorite plants.

My Clematis leave all dried up? What might have caused the problem. Will this spread to other plants such as lily?
What kind of soil is good for clematis. I added some wood ash to the soil, is woo-dash good for clematis?I have attached a photo. Thanks for your help.

My Clematis leave all dried up? What might have caused the problem. Will this spread to other plants such as lily?
What kind of soil is good for clematis. I added some wood ash to the soil, is woo-dash good for clematis?I have attached a photo. Thanks for your help.


I puchased a beautiful hellebore at Canada Blooms in 2019. I planted it in my front garden, and it seemed to do very well. It came back on April 2020, it had lots of blooms and seemed healthy. Over the summer, one by one all the evergreen leaves turned brown and died. The plant is dead, and there was no sign of life this spring. Heartbroken that it died! It was so pretty. It gets sun in the spring before our maple tree grows its leaves and after that gets shade or at the very most some dappled sun during the summer. The soil drains well, so sogginess wasn’t an issue. Can you tell me what went wrong with the hellebore? I’ve read they are tough plants, so I’m really not sure what happened. Would love to know what to do/not do if I buy another. Thank you!

My pepper plants are inside a condo in downtown Toronto. They have many flowers but just fall on the soil, I use Q-Tips to sort of pollinate them but no results. Any advice or suggestions on what I can do to help them become fruits?

Also attached is the bamboo plant which I’m not able to grow and the leaves keep getting yellow. How do I properly care to make it grow? Thank you so much.


Hi, I grow a rootop garden. Full sun all day, close enough to the lake that there is at least a constant breeze and sometimes it’s quite windy. I have an ornamental garden in containers. Last year we added two lilac bushes in 18” containers purchased from a garden Center. The bushes grew to be 3.5’ high last summer but did not flower. They survived the winter well and have come back to flower this year. But they have only flowered moderately. There are 5-6 bunches of flowers per plant. I like to grow organically and stay away from synthetics. Is there a supplement that I can give these beauties to increase the number of flower bunches for next year. Thank-you!

I have twelve beech trees lining my property. This morning I noticed holes in the leaves, and after investigation I saw very small worm or caterpillars. They are approximately 10 feet apart and approximately 17 feet tall. What can I do to get rid of them? Your advise will be greatly appreciated

My eggplant leaves have been eaten. What insect might have eaten them? How to get rid of the bugs?

My bamboo leaves have been yellow since the winter. What should I do about it?
Thank you!

We have many Hills yews and they are all doing well except one. They were planted 4 years ago and where about 12 inches at the time and in pots. They are in the Danforth area of Toronto on the north side of a wood fence. The yew in question has been doing well over the years but about 2 weeks ago (early May) it started to go brownish. They are all on planted in the same soil and bed. Any idea what is going on? Should we remove it? Cut it back? Add something to the soil? Help!


I planted an Amber Ghost Japanese Maple Mid Summer last year. It was almost green for most of the summer season until the Fall colour change. This Spring, I was thrilled to see the leaves in Spring growing out as the coral colour I expected but now it looks almost completely green (with red vein). It currently gets about 3 hours of morning/midday sun and then some a couple of hours of dappled sun in the afternoon. Is it green because there is not enough sunlight? I had also used 5.15.5 fertilizer when I first planted it last year but my understanding was that was not too much nitrogen…Do I need to move the tree to a sunnier spot to get the peach colours I was looking for?

Is this a good bug or a bad bug? I have never seen it on my roses before and I would hate to kill it if it is a good bug.

Hello – Thank you for reading my question. I recently planted a young Stewartia, it is only 2m high at this time, but has a nice low branching system off the main trunk. I then planted a Dwarf Blue Spruce and a Snow Queen Oakleaf hydrangea on either side. They are each about 8ft away from the tree and 4ft forward from the tree centre. My husband thinks it’s funny they’re so far out, but I was planning for the tree’s and shrubs’ full sizes, with the idea I could fill in gaps with perennials which I have started to do. I would much rather just have the tree and shrubs and not have the additional work of the perennials in this spot, but I don’t want to be moving the shrubs away from the tree in 10-20 years or be forced to limb up the tree. I want to measure twice and plant once. (I planted a goldmound spirea halway between the tree and the hydrangea, but even four feet from the tree seems crazy to me!) Am I overthinking this? Thank you for your time.

Should I prune after first bloom or will that affect/ encourage second bloom


I have a massive spider mite infestation around 20 emerald cedar trees that I planted. How do I get rid of them?

I would like to use a ground cover in a sunny part of my garden instead of cedar mulch. I would prefer a native plant. I have sweet woodruff cover in my shade garden. Will it grow in a sunnier spot? Other suggestions please? I am in the city of Toronto, climate zone 6 a, have loam with clay underneath, watered most days in summer. I have yellow and orange Austen roses, a yellow Itoh peony, a white rose of Sharon and some mauve rudbeckia in the sunny area where I would like to put the underplanting, as I am always weeding it. This sunny area abuts an area with a large native yellow senna bush, lily of the valley, forget-me-nots, etc., and tall blue spikes of flowers against a fence (name escapes me). Your help is appreciated.

I love colourful geraniums but I don’t think they are pollinator friendly are they? I wonder if there is a similar colourful flower which would be pollinator friendly? I have an east west exposure and partial sun. Thank you.

I was wondering what kind of containers are safe for growing vegetables. I heard about some numbers for plastic containers.
Are those number labeled on the container? I can’t find any numbers on my containers?
Are ceramic containers safe?
Also how do I know whether the containers are wide or big enough for growing different veggies?
Thank you in advance for your help.

I now live in the city with only a balcony to grow plants. I greatly miss the peonies I used to grow in my country garden. The soil was a mixture of clay and loam.
I never lost a single one and they didn’t protest when I transplanted them. Winter temperature sometimes went below 30 degrees.
What would happen if I planted one in a deep pot, following the rule to keep the root near the surface and tried to winter it. On the balcony I use a loose potting soil which would not work for peonies. What soil should I try or is this a completely idiotic idea anyway?

Toronto, Hemlock tree approx 25’tall spreads 15 d’y at widest. Was very happy until recently I noticed browning in scattered places on mostly east and north east and and a bit west side of tree. The back (south isn’t browning. There is lots of new growth. The other two trees which are set a bit back (south) are unaffected. I can’t find any pests, it’s watered regularly, I see no standing water. 3 years ago I installed some shrubs and an irrigation system but the browning only just started this year. I wonder if there is a bore hole or this is just a scar from a beach that may have snapped off. I wonder if it’s due to extreme heat/sun exposure before the maples surrounding it had leaves but why is my most eastern hemlock spared? Thanks

Are you able to recommend a dwarf ornamental tree possibly weeping varieties resistant to wilt. I have lost two Japanese maples. The space faces south, gets 65-75% sun (large maple provides some sunblock) and sits in front of a cedar hedge.

I am looking for a shrub that will grow in a very shady spot. There is a little dappled sun/light. The area would be protected from harsh winds. I would prefer a bush that does bloom. I live in the city of Toronto. Please advise.

Hello, I recently noticed tiny orange eggs smaller than a poppy seed (by which l mean the kind we eat in banned goods) all over a young Birch tree (I think it’s a Birch, l didn’t plant it). The next week, which is today, l see what l think are green aphids everywhere. I also today see tiny caterpillars about a 1-2cm long. The leaves are covered in sticky sap. Should l be concerned? The tree appears infested

How do I get rid of them?

Yesterday I noticed what i think are rose budworms infesting some of my rose bushes in my garden in Toronto. They are green caterpillars or worms, not more than or not much more than 1/2″ long. They gnaw a hole in rosebuds and eat the bud from the inside. They leave behind a black stringy poop that seems to stick to the rose stems and petals, and also it seems they sometimes leave a little bit of webbing.

I did squish a lot of them, but I think quite a few have pupated as no caterpillar/worm was to be found at some of the damaged areas.


I sprayed two mugo pine shrubs (about 4 foot diameter, 4 3 feet tall) with dormant oil in the early spring. They’re now mostly orange, but the spring ‘candles’ have emerged. Is there anything I can do to revive these lovely shrubs? Will they survive?

Hello, we have two columnar beech trees in our yard and one seems to have a sticky white chrystaline material, mostly on the underside of the leaves. The leave seems quite fuzzy too, but so does the tree that doesn’t have the crystals. Any ideas of what I should do? Many thanks

For the first time, I have found Oak Leaf Blister on this spring’s leaves of my ~25 year old Red Oak. The tree is healthy, located in central Etobicoke, in the back garden. There is a large Norway Maple adjacent that has been plagued by tar spot over the last few years.

Is there any treatment or action I can take now? Research on the web suggests only removal of fall leaves and spraying a fungicide in the spring before leaf out. Are you hearing of other Red Oaks affected this year in Toronto? It has not been a wet spring!

Thank you

I have a few roses that were infested by some worms or organisms. There are silk like tents coverings the buds. Can you tell me what the problem is and how I can deal with it?

P.s. our neighborhood is infested by Gypsy moths. Seems it is not Gypsy moths though.

Are you able to recommend a dwarf ornamental tree possibly weeping varieties resistant to wilt. I have lost two Japanese maples. The space faces south, gets 65-75% sun (large maple provides some sunblock) and sits in front of a cedar hedge.

Is it safe to use rain water collected using rain barrel to water vegetables?
Thank you.

Hi there,
Curious to know why the leaves on my geranium phaeum (“raven”) are completely crumpling and curling in on themselves.
I do have leaf tiers on my hydrangeas and monardas but there is no visible bugs/silk/caterpillars on the geraniums. They simply seem to be recoiling and curling in.
They’re in a spot where the sun will hit them in the morning but by 2/3 they’re are in shadow. The soil is dry & Sandy.

It got a disease and is dead. Can I pull it out and just replace it with new boxwood plants – is the soil safe.


I have a serviceberry tree that was planted about 6 yrs ago. It’s growing and flowers very well in the spring, however, I’ve had 2 concerns with it:
1) the base/roots still appear to not be fully established. It still moves a bit when I push or pull on the trunk
2) although it flowered beautifully just the other week, the fresh leaves have already started to dry up and turn brown along the edges of most. This is my main concern.

It gets a good dose of light, although it can be fairly shaded from my plane tree and a large neighbouring silver maple. It’s been fairly dry the last 10 days so it’s not over watered. The soil is fairly compact and can be clay heavy.
Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated.

We just added this beautiful woven willow to our garden this spring. The heat wave last week fried and dried out two of the woven branch bunches. They will now not sprout new leaves but had small new spring growth before the heatwave.
Is there something I can do to prompt new growth on the woven branch bunches?

Hello, first thank you very much to the person who answered my question yesterday about a young birch tree with an aphid infestation and now the appearance of tiny caterpillars about 1-2cm long. In the photo I sent yesterday it was hard to discern the caterpillar’s details — also my camera is not that great. Here is a shot of only the caterpillar. Any idea what it may be? The previous Master Gardener couldn’t see it well enough to confirm, but thought it could be a a gypsy moth instead of a beneficial caterpillar. I cannot see any red dots or marks on the caterpillars, nor any spiny hairs, at least not with the naked eye. From a brief internet search I understand that those are trademarks of gypsy moth caterpillars.

I saw an article that some non gmo vintage irises are becoming rare and need help to preserve. If this his true and I have them, how can I help?

Toronto, Hemlock tree approx 25’tall spreads 15 d’y at widest. Was very happy until recently I noticed browning in scattered places on mostly east and north east and and a bit west side of tree. The back (south isn’t browning. There is lots of new growth. The other two trees which are set a bit back (south) are unaffected. I can’t find any pests, it’s watered regularly, I see no standing water. 3 years ago I installed some shrubs and an irrigation system but the browning only just started this year. I wonder if there is a bore hole or this is just a scar from a beach that may have snapped off. I wonder if it’s due to extreme heat/sun exposure before the maples surrounding it had leaves but why is my most eastern hemlock spared? Thanks

I would like to identify

My son has a wonderful veggie garden (in Crete), but his cucumber plant doesn’t look healthy! I said I would ask you, as I am a Toronto gardener.

Can they be planted to the right of the existing maple and spruce within 2 to 4m of them without interference of the established roots systems?

What kind of fertilizer should be used for veggies growing in container? How often should they be applied?
Some fertilizers contain 4-6-4, some has 20-20-20. Is 20-20-20 stronger than 4-6-4.
Should we use half the strength of fertilizers when applying them to the soils in the pot?
Would you have any resources to recommend for using fertilizers?
Thanks a lot.

Here is a picture of my peony. The flowers were small, then they stopped growing bigger . This happened last year and this year. It is in full sun and sheep manure was added and it was watered and fertilized .
Thank you

Hi Can you help me here. I believe I have some sort of stem scale on my Blueberry plants. If so should i cut it back now or wait until winter. How do i prevent it in the future. How is the best way to test the soil pH. I bought a meter to test moisture, pH and light but the pH readings do not work well if at all.


I have been seeing a lot of conflicting information about the hardiness of crinum lilies. I assumed that they would be tender and need to overwintered indoors. I have come across some resources claiming that they can be left in the ground over winter and will return as perennials. If this is not the case, what is the best way to overwinter them? should they be planted in pots so that they can be moved indoors as houseplants over the winter or can they be lifted and stored like a dahlia tuber or elephant ear corm?

Thanks in advance!

What renewable resource would you recommend to make soil more acidic? For example, I am growing blueberries in pots and have added inkberry to my garden, both of which like acidic environments. Thank you in advance.

I’m planning to propagate some boxwood cuttings this year but have many questions before I get started.

1. Is it possible to do the entire operation outdoors? I have no greenhouse, and limited space inside.
2. Is it possible (and advisable?) to root and plant out the cuttings all within the same year? I’m picturing taking the cuttings in mid summer, establishing roots, then planting out in early autumn. Does that timing make sense?
3. If the above are not possible, then can I use my indoor LED grow light setup (usually used for seedlings) to overwinter the cuttings?

Please let me know if there are any other considerations I may have missed.


I’ve used various plant apps to try and identify this plant, but they id it as either brown-eyed susan, a variety of coneflower, or a really invasive weed. I have a lot of it so I either have to get busy and dig it out, or sit back and enjoy.
I do have black-eyed susans, and coneflowers but not with this leaf.
(poor soil, partial shade, grows in clumps, approx. 6″ tall at present, stalk is also green)

Would you recommend an emerald cedar to be planted in the garden near the entrance to our front door

Would you recommend an emerald cedar to be planted in the garden near the entrance to our front door

Everything I have read says Hydrangea macrophylla blooms on old wood. I have a three year old Hydrangea macrophylla 130-12-01 ”White Adora”. For the past two springs it sent up new leaves in the spring from the ground (new growth). Zero growth at all on the old wood. In fact, the old wood is completely dry and snaps cleanly in half. It looks dead to me. It has not bloomed since the first year I had it (when it was in bloom at the garden centre).

Advice gratefully accepted.

I recently heard about spraying fertilizers on leaves. I was wondering what kind vegetables and plants need fertilizer to be sprayed on their leaves? How often should fertilizer be applied to leaves? Can leaves absorb the nutrients like roots?
Thank you for your help.

We have a 34 year old wisteria that is usually full of blooms. This year it was not and we think it needs major structural pruning. We would like some professional guidance with this. It is getting too big for the arbour and the supports at our front porch. We live in Leaside. Thank you, Jennifer Welsh

We have a 34 year old wisteria that is usually full of blooms. This year it was not and we think it needs major structural pruning. We would like some professional guidance with this. It is getting too big for the arbour and the supports at our front porch. We live in Leaside. Thank you, Jennifer Welsh

Hi there,
I’m almost positive I have identified dogwood sawfly as the culprit eating the leaves on my cornus alternafolia. I’ve never found caterpillar/larvae though I look. I have found webby things on the undersides of some leaves. But just now I found a few flying insects landing on the leaves and they sure look like mature sawfly images from web. Looking for possible ID of what is eating them and if it is dogwood sawfly, how to treat safely? I’m in Scarborough.

I live in Toronto Canada.
Can Hardy Hibiscus (perennial) be grown in containers instead of in the ground?
If so approximately what size should the pots/containers be?
Thanks so much.

Hello. I live in Mississauga Lorne Park (QEW & Mississauga Road). My garden is alive and well with a pest this spring that is eating hosta, hydrangea and coral bell leaves. If you could help with identification (as per attached photo) and suggest a management strategy, I would most appreciate it! Garden is in shade for most of the day (gets morning sun) and our soil is sandy. With thanks.

Hi there. I have searched your forums and am not sure I’m seeing the exact answer to this. I’m wondering if you might be able to advise on an attempted fix for some junipers that are not doing well in our clay-like soil. Before planting, we did research and understood that these trees needed good drainage to thrive – we thus took advice from many gardening websites and added good amounts of peat moss and topsoil before planting, but a few years later most of them seem to be dying. We think there may be insufficient drainage. Some websites say that adding builders sand or organic compost may help to bring them back to life – ar either of these things likely to help, or is there anything else you can suggest? Thank you in advance for your guidance/advice!

I know I have read to cut string and pull down burlap a bit when planting… but you still have all that burlap under there interfering with roots to spread…isn’t better if I can completely remove the burlap?

How do you divide and replant poppies? The oriental poppies have become quite large.
Can I also cut them in half and remove one section, leaving the other in the ground, undisturbed? Will this affect the symmetry?

I was just wondering when I can put my Pandanus Veitchii plants outside and when I should bring them back in? Also, can I use Schwatz Plant Food to fertilize them? If not what product would you recommend?



I transplanted peonies in the fall of 2018. They are growing but not blooming. I was not aware at the time that I needed to plant them so that the eyes are 1 1/2 inches under the soil. 2 of them are not in a very sunny spot. They are all definitely growing bigger. I’m wondering should I dig them up in the fall and replant them at the right depth? Is there a way for me to check if I planted them too deep before digging them up and replanting them more shallow. Thanks

How do you divide and replant poppies? The oriental poppies have become quite large.
Can I also cut them in half and remove one section, leaving the other in the ground, undisturbed? Will this affect the symmetry?

I have a small conifer standard in a dappled shade position in my Toronto garden – planted in triple mix 9 years ago. There is what looks like white mold where all the twigs join the stems. It is slowly turning the needles brown. I can find no bugs inside the ‘mold’. Sorry I can’t remember what kind of conifer this is. I pressure washed the mold off with a jet of water but it came back. Should I spray it with something chemical ?

Hello, I am located in Toronto and I’ve just transplanted a Miss Kim Dwarf lilac into the garden. I have been watering the plant daily since transplanting. Initially a few days after transplanting the plant into the garden, the flowers on the plant slowly bloomed however the flowers turns yellow and dries out after 2 days. The rest of the blooms on the plant have not flowered and instead they “dried” up. The soil initally was very sandy, we’ve added some compost to it prior to transplanting. The rest of the plant is lush green. I am wondering why the flowers are not blooming and why are they drying up. Is it a sign that it is not getting enough water?

How do I side dress tomato , cucumber and eggplants?
When we use fertilizer to tomatoes growing in containers, should we reduce the amount of fertilizers used by half ( compared to tomatoes growing in the ground)
Is 20,20 , 20 fertilizer stronger than 10, 10, 10

Is it possible to plant a Katsura in a raised bed with limited soil depth?

Hello: I just planted a Silver Lace vine beside my shed and have it supported up the side. I would like it to grow up and over the roof at the front and was wondering what is the best support on the roof. Also is it best to cut it totally back to the ground in the late winter as I want it not take all season to regrow. Thanks you. I live in Zone 5, I have amended the soil so it is loam.

Hi! I brought a perfectly healthy and flowering Gardenia last fall. It was healthy all winter and then got way over watered in March. It grew white mold on the surface of its pot soil. The leaves turned yellow and they dropped 50% off. I removed all the visible mold, dried out the plant and used cinnamon in the pot to combat any fungus. Now the plant has still not recovered even though outside. New leaves grow in mal-formed and any flower buds get crispy and black and break off. There is new growth and the plant is surviving but I can’t figure out how to cure its problem. I’m guessing it’s maybe root rot of something like that? Pls advise:) Thank-you!

I have a perennial garden in need for pruning editing and replacing. Is there a service or individual in Toronto to assist. Thx

Test question re photo size

Last year we bought Mona Lavender in 4″ pots (see photo) and planted the garden in late May. It was very happy and grew to about 60-70+cm and flowered all summer. We brought it into the house in October and had a good spot, lots of light in the window. As time went by it became less happy but survived and it has now been planted out again and seems happy.

How do we get it to flower again?

Your wisdom will be appreciated.

We live in Rosedale, Toronto.
We planted a Wisteria about 15 years ago, it faces South and seems happy, we try to follow recommendations as regards pruning etc.

This year was the best ever for flowers and we got about 80 blooms. (see photo) BUT the flowers lost their intensity of colour after about 6-7 days and then faded rapidly and were gone in 14 days. We wonder if this is normal or if a lack/excess of water caused the problem?

Your wisdom will be appreciated.

Hi. I would like to put a Yew shrub and some other various shrubs into our flower bed. I live in the Niagara region. The soil has a lot of clay in it and gets afternoon sun. Is it ok to do this now that the weather is turning hot and humid? Should I wait until the fall to do so? I would appreciate hearing from you on this subject. Thank you for your time.
Best regards, Lina

Where could I buy a yellow wood tree here in Toronto. This is for my front yard.

Hello, I live in Toronto and have an area next to my house with hard compact clay soil, which does not absorb rainwater. After each rainfall, I have a puddle of water for many days. I would like to remediate this area by removing 18 inches of the clay soil, and replacing it with good topsoil. My question is whether, after I take this action, will the 18 inches of good topsoil be a good spot for me to plant hydrangeas.? My concern is whether the 18 inches of topsoil will generally absorb typical water during Toronto summers, or whether the fact that there is hard compact Clay directly beneath this area, will that still mean that I have a problem with “poorly drained soil”, in which case I should probably not plan to hydrangeas there. Please let know you’re thoughts. Many thanks!

Hi. I would like to put a Yew shrub and some other various shrubs into our flower bed. I live in the Niagara region. The soil has a lot of clay in it and gets afternoon sun. Is it ok to do this now that the weather is turning hot and humid? Should I wait until the fall to do so? I would appreciate hearing from you on this subject. Thank you for your time.
Best regards, Lina

We have a large area with full sun but very sandy soil. We would like to plant a moderate sized tree but are curious on what type would grow well in our sandy/full sun area. We would prefer something that does not require much pruning to keep healthy and if it would be nice if it is a flowering tree to add some colour to the property.

I transplanted peonies in the fall of 2018. They are growing but not blooming. I was not aware at the time that I needed to plant them so that the eyes are 1 1/2 inches under the soil. 2 of them are not in a very sunny spot. They are all definitely growing bigger. I’m wondering should I dig them up in the fall and replant them at the right depth? Is there a way for me to check if I planted them too deep before digging them up and replanting them more shallow. Thanks

Hi, I live on the 28th floor of a condo in downtown Toronto. I have 2 large hardy kiwi vines that are currently starting to flower. My male kiwi died a couple of years ago and the replacement has not flowered yet. Does anyone know of any male hardy kiwi growing in the Toronto area where I could get a few flowers or a small branch to pollinate my flowers?

I only recently learned of the toxic properties of foxglove.

I have a small garden where I keep veggies in pots (for the most part – some are in the ground) and mix with flowers between. I recently planted a bunch of foxglove seeds between a few tomorrow pots. I have dogs and a child, and when I learned foxglove was toxic I began to worry quite a lot. The seeds have not germinated yet, however I am wondering what is advisable as I want them all gone. Should I remove all soil that might have these seeds as all is in such close quarters or wait to pull seedlings once they come up? Is there a chance that any may come up next year if I miss them this year? Without knowing how toxic the seeds may be, if there is risk any may have wound up in or near the veggies should this be considered a risk?
Very random question but wondering what advice might be given? TIA!

Do u have mountain ash tree



I am planting morning glory seeds along my fence. It is a privacy fence with 5 inch wide vertical wood slats that are 1/2 inch deep; the slats are staggered with about 1.5 inches of space of depth in between them. Will I need a trellis or will the wood slats be sufficient support?
Thanks in advance!

Hi there, I’m a newcomer to gardening, and I have been given been seedlings to be grown in a container on my balcony. The plant receives 6-7 hours of sunlight and I have planted it in commercial miracle gro potting soil. While my other plants seem to be thriving and growing steadily, I’ve noticed that my fava bean plant has large white spots and holes in the leaves. I have been trying to diagnose the issue, and yet, I seem to find no exact match for nutrient deficiency or disease. The white spots seem to be prevelant on old leaves and may have spread to the new leaves as well.f Could you please tell me what is wrong with my plant, and if I should replace the soil and plant something else in the container?

Live in Collingwood. Brought in my Gerberra plants last Fall, they flourished all Winter. approx 5 weeks ago they developed spider mites, which I treated and slowly acclimatized them for outdoors. some leaves have browned
and the new flowers are appearling crooked? Please advise me

I found some very small black flies on tomatoes leaves and stems. (Please See the circled area in the photo. ) I also saw small small holes on leaves. What should I do ?
Thanks for your help.

I have a fairly new tree, about 3 ft.tall and abut 3 ft. wide – the top of the tree is not round and not filling in to make it round – is that usual or could that be a problem?

Is it good to water plants with banana peel water. And if yes how long do I soak the banana peels?

I have powdery mildew all over my itoh peony. After it blooms should I just cut it to the ground? Do I need to spray it once I do this(with what?)? Will cutting it in June effect next years growth? Does it matter what time of year I cut it to the ground? I have never had this problem before. It is 6 years old in full sun and I do not water it. There are a lot of tulips near it in the spring -but they have also been there for 6 years with no issue.

Plants, same pots now as last summer. Purchased separately, planted in 3 pots. Sat in a North window and blossomed
all winter. Spider mites treated with dish soap in a gal. of water, thorough spray then showered off. Roots seem ok. leaves bright green then turn brown, 1/2 developed flower(?)

I have been searching for a yellow flower perennial that stands at about 24-30 inches tall, preferably a spring or early summer bloomer, to fill a specific spot in our garden.
Unfortunately all found so far appear to be invasive.
Any suggestion ?

I would like to plant a hydrangea tree. I have read that the best times to plant are early spring and fall. Since we are already coming into summer and the weather here in the Niagara Peninsula is hot and humid, is it still possible to plant at this time? My garden has been recently torn up and is empty and needs plants and I don’t want to wait till fall to plant. Would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank for your time. Lina

Hello, I live in the city of Toronto, zone 6a, and have a small rock garden on the slope of my front lawn edging the sidewalk and facing south. The soil is loamy. At the top of the rock garden, are three polyanthus roses and a rugosa. This year, even though I prune spring and fall, the growth has overshadowed the flowers on the slope. When do you recommend pruning again? The roses are massively blooming now!

I would like to plant a hydrangea tree. I have read that the best times to plant are early spring and fall. Since we are already coming into summer and the weather here in the Niagara Peninsula is hot and humid, is it still possible to plant at this time? My garden has been recently torn up and is empty and needs plants and I don’t want to wait till fall to plant. Would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank for your time. Lina

I would like to plant a hydrangea tree. I have read that the best times to plant are early spring and fall. Since we are already coming into summer and the weather here in the Niagara Peninsula is hot and humid, is it still possible to plant at this time? My garden has been recently torn up and is empty and needs plants and I don’t want to wait till fall to plant. Would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank for your time. Lina

Hi. I purchased 2 dappled willow shrubs last week. I realize this is not the ideal time but they need to be planted and not left in their containers too long. I will be watering them daily. Is there any thing else that you can suggest I do? I look forward to hearing from you. Lina

Hi there,

I’ve read your other posts (as well a lot on the internet) to try to figure this out without success. I recently purchased a gardenia plant from a local garden center. There were a few of them that didn’t look too healthy, lots of yellowing, partiallyl eaten leaves, they looked like they had a pest problem. One however looked mostly healthy, 2.5 feet tall, green, and bushy with buds and an open flower – minus one bud that clearly had some bugs, some yellowing leaves on the inside, mostly near the bottom (new growth mainly), and a couple leaves with black spots at the very top. I thought I’d try to revivie it. There was no big flush of white flies flying off of it, nor can I visibly see any bugs on either side of the leaves or stems. The stems do look like they have hair on them, as though they were shedding. These seem to be the stronger older ones. I cut the bad leaves, the bud, and sprayed it thoroughly with insecticidal soap. It’s in the shade (as far away from my other plants as I can get it).

The black/brown spots, however, continued. They’re all in fairly mature leaves all at the top of the plant. I have cut them off, but I’m wondering what they are and if I need to do something else to prevent spread. What began as two, quickly became ten in a day (I wondered if it was because I sprayed? but then there should have been more). The original two started to curl (I think you can see one). I do not think this is sooty mold. It doesn’t look or feel different, and it’s quite shiny. It’s like a part of the leaf changes colour from within. A couple more today, same pattern – leaves at the very top, starting small (I’ll see if it grows). You can see in the picture an example of the few with the spots (smaller spots are more recent), versus the rest (I had just sprayed it so the small dots are liquid I believe). The yellowing leaves towards the bottome/inside are also increasing.

Any thoughts on what these issues are and how to treat? I’m hoping I can care for it towards health, knowing it wasn’t in shape when I got it.

Thank you!!

Is this a hydrangea by any chance? Faces southwest at front of house in Toronto east area. Thank you.

I am a TBG member.

If annual seedlings are growing in a tray that comes with a plastic top, or if you have a plastic mini-greenhouse, can you place them outside before the last frost date?? (Not plant them, but just covered/protected in their tray.) And if so, by how many weeks? (For either semi-hardy seedlings like larkspur/sweet pea or tender like cosmos/zinnia.) Toronto, Zone 6

My itoh peony is full of powdery mildew. It is beyond the prevention stage. I am worried it may spread to the phlox nearby. Can I cut it to the ground in June after blooming, or do I have to wait until fall? Will it effect next year’s growth if I cut it to the ground in June?

My Cherry tree has insects on it, which are eating up the leaves. How can I get rid of them?
Please suggest remedies.

Hello there,

I’m interested in taking the Master Gardener course, and was wondering how to go about getting more information on this.

Many Thanks!
Tonya Hunte

Just not clear as to when and where I would use either of these products?

i have several patches of these lilies , and every year after their short blooming period the green leaves begin to fade away to brown. is there any way to keep them nice and green … it leaves a challenging space every time? tks

Hello, I live up near Yonge and Finch and I was hoping to plant a climbing hydrangea along a western fence in shade, but I was unable to find any information on whether it’s possible to alter the colour of a climbing hydrangeas blooms (preferably I’d like blue if possible). Do you know if this is possible? Additionally, is it possible to grow climbing hydrangeas that have flowers closer to the snowball hydrangea rather than the lacecap? I saw pictures online of some but I’m not sure if they were Photoshopped. Many thanks!! Diana

Hello! I walk past this ever growing, ever spreading weed/plant on my walk to the library — is it an invasive? If so, do you know if I call 311 will they let the owner of the property know and then would the responsibility be for them to get rid of it? Thank you!

kindly see photo of lilac leaf

Our backyard is backing on to green belt and back of the fence we have bridal wreath bushes all along approximately 45 ft wide and spring will be very beautiful!! with whole fence bloomed with flowers. This yr after our flowers dried up and with the new buds I see aphids on them and noticed bit early as they just started I’m spraying soap water and spraying with my hose as it is very bushy and too wide I ‘m scared it might spread very fast. Please let me know how can I get rid of them on my plants as it is spread wide on my back fence. I’m attaching pic of aphids all over spreading on new buds. Please do advice I do not want to loose my blooms for next spring. Thank you.

Hi there,
I am looking for groundcover plants to pair with tulips that are not invasive species to Ontario.

My flowerbed is on the front portion of my lawn and contains a large magnolia on the Left side and a eunonymus and cedar on the right (with some japanese forest grass and one plant I don’t know). The patch in the middle becomes totally bare in the summer once I pull the tulips leaves out.

I tried to plant a hosta in the empty space in the middle but it’s doing poorly. I’m not sure if it has to do with too much sun (in the bare middle section), not enough sun/water (sun/sprinkler blocked by all the tulip leaves?).

The entire bed receives water because of the sprinkler system.

Any help would be greatly greatly appreciated by this clueless neophyte “gardener”! Thank you!

Hello. My zucchini leaves are being eaten by a pest. I cannot see any eggs on the leaves so am not sure what is doing this. If you could advise me on any natural spray to use, that would be appreciated. Also, should I remove the damaged leaves? Thank you for your time. Lina

It’s 2nd year since it’s planted.
I don’t remember how the flowers faded last summer, but this time after showing beautifully the flowers look just dried up.
Is this normal?

Location: 5a
Light: full morning sun, then late afternoon sun

Mallow alot in shady grass. #20ld amur privet hedge in sun,but these are sprouting out the middle. #3 can amur privat be propagated still to fill gaps? Using hormone powder advice thank you

I planted these several years in a row and had luck only in the 1st 2 years. I nicked the seeds and soak them overnight until the hard exterior shell softens, then peel them back and put in a window planter on my balcony. They always germinate and grow except this year. In one planter, none germinate. In another planter, only 6 out of 24 germinate and the germinated plants sprout a couple of leafs for 2 weeks now but not growing. It’s been hot and humid in Toronto for the last few weeks. Not sure if I am doing something wrong considering I had luck in my previous attempts

I have a Korean Spice Viburnum in my back yard in mid-town Toronto. It’s in mostly shade in good loamy soil and I dig in compost around it every year. Some of the leaves have spots and have turned yellow. I’ve had it a few years now, but usually the leave haven’t been turning all yellow. What is this and and what can I do about it?

Hi, we have several pine trees in our backyard that provide a sound barrier to the highway behind the trees. We hired someone to trim the trees but they cut way too much of the bottom branches off. Now it looks really bare. Will the branches grow back? If not, what should I do to fix the sound barrier and the bare look?
Please advise.
Thank you.

Hi is there anything I can do to help my weeping pussy willow that’s in transplant shock? It’s doesn’t seem to be doing well. We water it every day with a watering can. It’s in soil in the front garden. We add a bag of dirt where it was transplanted and on top. We have clay soil. Added mulch last night. When it was transplanted the temperature was in the 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. We also have a watering banned so we have been using the watering can every day. I’ve don’t a couple of diluted sugar water to hope it helps. The leaves are dry green and crunchy and rolled. Some of the branches are turning black on the ends and drying. We just added mulch around the base not touching the bark. Should we give fertilizer or something else? It’s in the high 80’s here. Really hope it survives…

I was curious if there are any existing resources or documentation on optimal soil moisture by plant type? E.g. A Peace Lily grows better in moist soil vs. a Cactus. I’m essentially looking for any documentation that outlines differences in soil moisture needs by plant type; either qualitative (soil wet/dry to the touch), water content in soil (volumetric water content or gravimetric water content), or matric potential in soil (kPa). I’m doing some research on optimal watering techniques by plant type and have been unable to find existing info on this. Thanks!

I am looking for plants for my front yard, to be planted in summer or fall once the driveway/walkway are completed. I am wondering what plants you recommend? Thanks

Garden Bed in front of house – area is 132 ” x 37″ & full/partial sun. height of shrub 53 to 59″ – prefer flower shrubs that are hardy, sharp color, grow back every year, low maintenance, and blooms throughout the summer season (preferably from spring to fall).

Hedges near property line – 1′ x 51′ & full/partial sun – prefer soft, short and hardy hedges that form a clean, dense, crisp line along the property line. I am ok if I have to trim it to get the crisp line.

It appears rodents have chewed through some of the openings on our existing plastic bins which are 20+ yrs old and were supplied by the City of T.O. Any advice or recommendations before we decide which replacement model to buy?

I AM 30 miles north of toronto –i want to plant some hedges and i see you suggest hornbeam —my site is direct sun on 25 acres –i am looking for wind break and asthetics –where can i get some plants ,,,,i am looking at about 1000 linear feet so say 500 plants ,,,, do they grow from cuttings,,,,how fast do they grow ,,thanks

Good morning, I am reaching out with a question to a potential plant disease in my garden and around my neighbourhood. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that my milkweek all of a sudden is developing curly, deformed leaves (these plants remain fairly small in comparison to same unaffected ones in the same area) and now notice the same on other plants in the garden (oxeye, basil) and weeds. In fact, I have been noticing the same walking down my neighbourhood (junction/Stockyards) – it seems like plants with bigger leaves are affected while others, such as grasses, lavender, etc. remain fine. I am wondering if this might be a virus and would appreciated any feedback or hint :) Thank you so much and kind regards,

Hi …place was doing well…a very old peony plant…but recently turning brown, even on flowers. How can I help my beautiful old plant? Thank you,

Hi. I live in Toronto. I put Bertie (not a very original name I know) outside in my south facing very sunny yard. But she just doesn’t seem to be thriving. I was watering her w distilled water when she was indoors over the winter and under a grow light. She seemed happier in the winter tbh but she’s been getting a fair amt of rainwater recently and topped w distilled.

Ive had her since xmas and she was a lot perkier. We have had to move her a few times tho from a south facing window indoors to a much less lightfilled space for about 2 months (that’s when she was under the grow light) but she gets a lot of sun in the yard. So i just dont know what’s wrong.

I just top dressed her a little w potting soil. She’s given up this beauty new leaf and has a couple spiky guys coming in but she looks sad and it’s breaking my heart.

She’s my favourite plant; any advice would be so so so appreciated.


Does anyone know how well inkberry plants (Strongbox variety) do in Toronto. I have a north-facing area with wetter soil (not well draining) that is not “dark shade”, but only gets about 3 hours of direct sun from June-September. I would love to speak with anyone who is familiar with Inkberry. Many thanks!

There is a stand of trees that I’ve never come across before. Royal Botanical Gardens could not verify what it is. They are located on Halls Rd…a rural road in Whitby, ON. I assume they are young trees because of height and because I first noticed them 2 yrs ago due to the fruit. Hers are my photos. The fruit is about 2″ long. I have photos of bark, leaves , the stand of trees and fruit cut open. Let me know how to send them all ..thank you, Bonita O’Carroll

I had a 10 year old marmalade heuchera approx 4×4 feet in a sunny spot. It was thriving. Noticed flattening of stalks and shock to find plant had been disconnected from soil. Roots black and appeared bitten off in spots. No visible insects on roots. Suspect weevils. How do I treat soil in area in garden bed for future planting or how do I confirm problem. Heartbroken. Thanks for your help

Some of the leaves on my large Dutchman’s Pipe have become shrivelled up and look like the front end of a conch shell
Can you please tell me what causes that and how to remedy it.

I live in the Annex in TO. Our front lawn is relatively small 9×13 feet. Our lawn is elevated, more than two feet above the sidewalk level. We have stone retaining wall there. I would love to plant a tree that has shallow, no-invasive roots, does not have a large canopy (the tree would be on the south side of our property, I don’t want to block natural light to our windows) and should not be a messy tree since we park our cars nearby. Would you please recommend some tree species?

This large tree, is located in our back garden in part shade and part sunshine. It had a white fine early spring shedding, and now has green leaves and red fruit. I would like to identify this tree to ensure that the fruit it producing is not toxic to my children.

I was wondering if overwatering tomatoes can cause blossom end rot? If it does cause BER , why?

I have a very old maple tree that seems to have caught some sort of disease this year. The leaves have developed some sort of Brown spot and they appears to be dying. Could you please kindly identity the issue and advise what I have to do to same the tree. I really love this tree and don’t want it to die.

Thanks a lot,

The gardenia seems healthy otherwise (purchased from a garden centre about a month or less ago); however, any new buds that appear, do not open, but continue to dry out,rot,fall off. It is in direct sunlight and the soil is watered but not drenched.
Any advice would be great! Thank you!

Last year we treated our magnolia for scale and this year there are white bugs crawling all over the tree. Are these scale?

Thank you

I trimmed back some excessive growth on a climbing rose in late winter. Now those parts of the plant have come back with a vengeance. Can I cut them back again now (early summer) to control the size and shape of the plant?

Thanks in advance,

I purchased this combination a few weeks ago for my balcony and would like to know what these wavy wax-like tentacles are.

What is wrong with my tomato leaves? What might have eaten the leaves? Please see the attached photo? What should I do ?

On page
in the answer, there is a “click here” link. It goes to a 404 page.

In September 2020, I had a 50 foot long Eastern Cedar hedge planted by a professional company in my backyard. The hedge was planted in a 1ft x 1ft trench with soil/manure/fertilizer mix. The rest of the garden is clay. The company assured me that for the first year, the hedge will likely flag and it won’t look lush and green until the second season due to transplant shock.
Over the past month, I have been noticing some mushrooms growing both around the garden (among the grass in the middle of the garden) and around the base of the cedars. The cedars continue to flag, but I’m wondering whether these mushrooms are root rot or just standard mushrooms one would find around the garden. The roots of the mushrooms seem to stem from a white powder. I have removed them and attached a picture of one of them, along with a picture of a piece of mulch with the white powder. I have found that these mushrooms tend to grow off of the mulch that I put around the cedars.
While I have not been watering the cedars, I do find that my water meter consistently tells me they are “wet” or “damp”. The hedge has been planted in clay, and I’m concerned I’m dealing with root rot.

Bullet Point summary:
– Newly planted Eastern White Cedar Hedge (Sept. 2020 planting)
– Water Meter showing “wet” or “moist” most of the time
– Clay soil
– Flagging
– No signs of white scale on the tree
– Mushrooms emanating from white powder stuck to mulch at base of tree and throughout garden
– Newly established grass seed throughout garden which did require localized watering around the grass.

Does anyone know if this is root rot, or simply regular mushrooms combined with transplant shock? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

The weed thrives in shade and the crevices of a pathway. It thrives with moisture but is heat/drought tolerant and propagates vegetatively with a flat and dense matting effect as shown. Fine roots are 2 mm in length. Spread/growth  is aggressive.

This large tree, is located in our back garden in part shade and part sunshine. It had a white fine early spring shedding, and now has green leaves and red fruit. I would like to identify this tree to ensure that the fruit it producing is not toxic to my children.

I have treated our oak with btk three weeks ago and all seemed well until leaves started disintegrating (see image). Help please.

Mulched privet lastfall…

Dear Graden Expert,

I greatly appreciate it if you can let us know two hardy climbing roses varieties in deep pink and deep red that won’t attract Japanese beetle and are disease resistant and flower profusely a few times a year that is long blooming.

I tried Lincoln ad several floribundas and they wrecked my garden with beetle

I am attaching the roses in my neighborhood that seem to be doing well. What are these?

(A Gardner near me guessed them as appear to be John Cabot and Martin Frobisher (soft pink). How about trying John Cabot (deep pink) and Alexander Mackenzie (deep red)).

Can you please suggest the best roses I can plant to get the brightest stunning pink and red colors and that flowers profusely and several times a year, is disease resistant and asp won’t be attacked by Japanese beetles, and the petals won’t be easily shaken off by the wind and rain!. We love roses and are trying not to give up on our desire to have roses in our garden. I am attaching the front and back gardens in our home (both get evening or morning sun in a fair amount).

And where and when I can get them and the price?

Thanks so much

Have a great day

Wondering if anyone can help to identify the bugs I captured off of my emerald cedar trees. The branches seem to be drying out and dying off in sections / limbs of the tree.
I applied Cygon to the trees 2 days ago and seeing these still feeding. I was pretty sure of spider mites prior to this may be in addition to the mites.

My Passion flower vine has many buds but very few actually open up although when one does it’s gorgeous! We’ve had the vine for several years and have been successful in overwintering indoors and summering outside. We’ll see multiple buds but few actually open. Please help! Thank you

My Passion flower vine has many buds but very few actually open up although when one does it’s gorgeous! We’ve had the vine for several years and have been successful in overwintering indoors and summering outside. We’ll see multiple buds but few actually open. Please help! Thank you

I was wondering if zucchini needs to be hand pollinated. Do zucchini grow better when hand pollinated. How long does female flowers open? What time of the day do they start to open? Would you share any tips in terms of pollination?

I was wondering if zucchini needs to be hand pollinated. Do zucchini grow better when hand pollinated. How long does female flowers open? What time of the day do they start to open? Would you share any tips in terms of pollination?

I have 2 European plum trees that produce a purple plum. They have been growing at our place for 15 yrs. Each tree is alway loaded with fruit. They get to be about the size of a pecan and are turning purple and then they all fall off. Never have any ever reached maturity. People said we needed another variety so we planted a yellow plum last year(European). It did not blossom at the same time and then we received a frost when it did so no fruit from it. I’m wondering if there is some other reason we are missing. Have sprayed them prior to blossoming 3yrs in a row to no avail. We have various apple and cherry trees growing and also peach trees. All produce an abundance of fruit without any spraying. This year we are dryer than normal. However Evan in wet years it dies the same thing. The trees get full sun. They are the edge of our field. We are in climate zone 6b.

I have some elegance ranunculus corms that I purchased in March 2020 but did not plant until this year. 9 out of 10 corms sprouted but only two are flowering. They are planted in large containers, in a sunny location, since I plan to remove the corms in the fall to overwinter them. Is there a chance more will bloom next year, or should I consider them lost and start a new next year?

We planted this beautiful Evergreen for years ago. If you can see in the picture there is a lot of dead material working its way through the tree. We have been watering it at the base but I am worried that we have lost this tree. Can it be saved?

We have a very old beautiful white Magnolia tree. It was blooming nicely and looks healthy so far. However on the base it is black and wet. We removed some dirt . But still it doesn’t dry out since a few weeks. See pictures attached. Is this something to be concerned of?

Test question

Testing testing testing

I would like to buy a flowering plant for a West facing apartment patio. Something that will flower in Summer and can be brought in to overwinter for the following season.


This is my first year gardening. I built a couple of 4×8 raised beds in my small back yard. I planted bell peppers and ground cherries in the same bed, not realizing how massive ground cherries got! They have almost completely covered my pepper plants. Can I move the pepper plants to pots in the path?

They haven’t grown much, and I have read that they like heat (and it hasn’t been too warm), but I think the ground cherries are shading them too much.

Thank you,


Trying again. This weeping evergreen was planted about 4 years ago. We’re noticing a lot of dead branches at the base of the plant and in the middle. Should we be worried? What can we do to help this plant. Thanks for the help.

Wondering if you could help identify this bug I am seeing on our cedar trees.
They are kind of long and skinny, almost shiny whitish silver, but also have black lines horizontal on their body- darker on the rear. Are these a concern for damage?
Thank you for your assistance!

I live in Agincourt and would like to plant something in memory of my mother who passed away in September at the age of 100. Her name was Clarice (Clare) Swann Brayton. Is there a rose or any other plant you could suggest that might have Clare in the name or maybe a reference to 100 years. She was born in Yorkshire, so that might be another option. I have a large back yard with both sun and shade, clay soil, but easily amended. Any suggestion gratefully received. Thank you so much. Linda Brayton Rogers

I have a north facing property. No direct sun. In front of of porch I have Japanese Yews that just don’t seem to flourish. I’m thinking of replacing them with RED BALLOON VIBURNUM. I don’t know what soil to plant them in or if they’ll fill the space (see picture). I would like them to be about about 31/2, 4 ft high. I need a no fuss shrub that will offer some coverage of my porch front and give some beauty to the space.


Thank you for taking the time to read my message.

I have a few questions regarding a variety of indeterminate tomatoes I have growing in my raised bed:

Some basic information:
– Full sun
– Approximately 1.5 square feet per plant
– About 18 – 24 inches tall at the moment
– Rich substrate with black earth, perlite, peat and fertilizer (blood, bonemeal, potash)
– Supported using cages made from poultry wire and staked down using u-spikes

The questions:
1. How far in advance of the frost date do you recommend “topping” indeterminate tomato plants? Or at what height?

I have found conflicting information regarding pruning.
Pruning foliage near ground level is universally recommended to avoid pathogen exposure and increase airflow. Aside from that:

2a. Given the robust support system, can I allow the suckers to grow into multiple mains to increase my yield, even if the fruit is smaller? Does our climate preclude multi-stem plants?
2b. Is it direct sun irradiation or the sugars from photosynthesis that ripen the fruit? To that end, is denser healthy foliage better with multiple main stems, or sparser foliage for more direct sun exposure?

Thank you in advance,


Hello, I have a couple questions on the care of my newly planted tree, a serviceberry, amelanchier canadensis. I live in the upper east of Toronto, right at the edge of Rouge park. The spot where my young tree (the trunk is only almost 0.5 inches, more like 0.47 inch) is planted is sunny, it gets a minimum of 6 hours of sun. The soil is clay, it seems compacted. The tree was a container tree. I followed a guide that said that I must dig a hole 9 inches longer than the height of the container. Then add about 4 inches of gravel at the bottom and then backfill the hole. The rootball itself should be about 4 inches above ground and covered with mud for extra drainage. Was this the correct way to do it? Now, my main question is, how do I water this very young tree in clay soil? I know new trees need about 10 gallons of water per inch but how often should I water it? Especially since clay soil intensely retains the water and can suffocate the roots or promote disease… How often should I go about watering it? And is the amount of water I said right? I would also like to ask how I can protect this tree during the winter? These are all the questions I have at the moment! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and provide knowledge.

hello I have planted 3 purple beech (fagus sylvatica dawyck purple )about 8 feet apart. The distance to the house foundation is 17-14 feet (it is angular space). I am considering buying a 4th one that distance to the house would only be 10 feet. I would still be able to space it 8 feet from the other trees. Would this be a bad idea? |I see these trees planted all the time right in front of peoples homes. When I research it out it I find 15 metres is recommended from foundations….noone has property that big?

Do these pepper plants seem to have pepper mottle virus? They’re in pots, are growing well and fruiting well (7 inches or so high, 5 peppers growing and the fruit looks healthy and smooth). However, the leaves are growing out mottled yellow and green, and some are developing dark brown spots.


I am growing Dahlia’s for the first time in midtown Toronto, they were doing quite well until heat spell and a recent deluge of rain. Now one plant has some yellowing along the leaf veins, looks mottled (possible DMV? plant type is bride-to-be). On a few others I see some small yellow spots (cafe au lait). Other Dahlia’s planted in the area look fine. I’ve looked for aphids but haven’t found any. I have seen some examples of either slugs or earwigs chewing on leaves but I’m not using pesticides as I have a young child who plays in the backyard. I am wondering if I should rip out the plants that have the yellow on the leaves as it is likely a disease or if this was more likely related to the recent weather stress. Photos attached.

Thank you so so much!

My zucchini was hand pollinated, but it did not grow big and it was rotting . I would like to know and how to prevent this from happening. When we hand pollinate female flowers, at which part of the stigma , the sides or the top, should be pollinated?

Thank you!

There is some white spots on my zucchini leaves. I was wondering if they were infected by powdery mildew. How can it be treated?
Thank you so much for your help!

I am new at veggie gardening and we have had some major leaf chewing going on with our tomatoes, zuccini, sunflower…any ideas? I see no bugs on the leaves.

We live in Thornhill

Hello, for years I have smelled this wonderful light, lemony fragrance late at night or very early in the morning in Toronto. I have never been able to identify the tree or flower it comes from. Can anybody suggest what this is? Thank you!

Hello. Currently, we have a type of pine tree (can you identify the variety?) in our front yard (west-facing) landscape. It does not get much rain as it is mostly covered by the eavestrough and gets sunlight in the afternoon. It is a small space- maybe 1.5-2 m in length and 3/4 of a metre wide. Beside it is the exhaust valve for the dryer (which may be able to be turned away).

The plant is over 25 years old and we would like to remove it as the back side of it is dead and it has overgrown its location. We are looking for another plant that could be put there that won’t cause a mess as it is right next to the garage door entrance. Something that would look good with the front landscaping which has an umbrella tree, two other pines, some coral bells and a hosta. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! We know that living environment- low rain, afternoon sun, and not a lot of space makes the options limited. Preferrably- anything with some colour? We live in Toronto.

The Autumn Blaze maple tree in my backyard is shedding bark at its base. There is no obvious evidence of insects. This started in 2020. 3 years ago two neighbours had trees taken down because of their bark loss. Does a treatment exist that might help it recover? Thank you!

Many of my vinca ground-cover plants are dying back. These plants have been healthy for many years. Symptoms include: black stem, yellowing leaves that turn brown and fall off. I am hoping there is a way to reduce the spread. Thanks

Is there a method to eliminate crab grass at thie time of year, other than pulling the plants manually?

I cannot for the life of me figure out why some of my Gerberas are dying while the others thrive. They are in a rectangular plantar box beside our front stairs. They get full sun (south facing) and are well watered (as needed).

They were planted at the same time. They have been fertilized every other week using the solution from Sheridan Nurseries.

The soil was well tilled before planting. And was topped up with some triple mix from Home Depot.

This hydrandrea s grows in a pot. Flowers fried up and leaves turning brown. What ‘s going on with this plant?
Thank you for your help.

1. I planted two moffat blue rocky mountain junipers three weeks and am watering them every other day. I am noticing some greying of leaves at lower bottom. Can you please guide me on if this is an issue and also what’s the best way to care for these plans through the year

2. Can I trim and keep New Dawn, Graham Thomas and Alexander Mackenzie roses to around 4.5 feet every year? What’s the best way to care for these roses through the year?
Thanks so much

I have observed that my flower plant has brown dots on its leaves and after a short time the leaves are turning yellow and die, please advise how can I get rid of them to have a healthy plant and eventually flowers.

This hydrandrea s grows in a pot. Flowers fried up and leaves turning brown. What ‘s going on with this plant?
Thank you for your help.

I would like to request for your guidance.
So I live in Vaughan ON and my backyard, when ever I plant anything. It doesn’t flourish or they just die. Could you suggest somethimg please. I am submitting pictures, if I am doing anything wrong. My strawberry plant died too.Plz let me know.
Thanks so much

Last September I divided an old clump of Siberian iris and moved the new clumps into a sunnier spot in the garden. This year, neither the old or the new clumps flowered although the leaves look beautiful! What should I do? Thank you, Jane

Hi! I have some tree saplings that I’m starting in containers with the intention of transplanting to viable sites when they are a little older and stronger.

How do I protect them in the winter? Particularly, should I be worried about soil freezing/watering?

THank you!


My landscaper planted a coral bark Japanese maple (Sango Kaku) and an Euonymus standard in my front lawn, about 1~2 feet away from the house foundation. I am wondering whether this could pose a threat to the house as the trees mature?

Hi can you please tell me whats the best season to transplant honesuckle, what’s the best way to prune them and clamatus and any general care info for both. the ones i have grow very messey and i don’t know what to do with them. thank you

Hi there: now that I have collected and drowned hundreds of the caterpillars, where do I dump them. Thanks Bayla Hernick

Hello, I’ve been growing Mandevilla on my south-facing, mid-town Toronto balcony for five or six years now, and am curious about the following: Most summers when I have grown the Mandevilla by itself in a pot (starting it as a small, 6″ to 12″ plant from the garden centre), it has flourished, reaching as much as two or three feet in height (see photo). But whenever I have included smaller plants in the same planter around the Mandevilla’s base (e.g. Ivy, Creeping Jenny etc., to add visual interest), the Mandevilla hardly increases in height, although it stays fairly healthy throughout the season with lots of blooms. I’ve noticed large and attractive planters containing Mandevilla as the “centrepiece” in public places around the city, also with ivy, Creeping Jenny and much more around the base, but with very tall and flourishing Mandevillas! What could be causing this “height challenge” in my balcony planter? Is it possible that these “filler” plants somehow “compete” with the Mandevilla for the nutrients in the soil? And if this is the case, should I just remove those plants and let the Mandevilla have the whole planter to itself? Or is there another approach I could take?

Thank you for your assistance and best regards,

The plant is in a big outdoor container mostly in the shade with Coleus and Mona Lavender. The Lipstick Plants leaves are being chopped up into funny shapes and some are being eaten.


There is a spot in my garden that requires something for year-round privacy.

I was thinking of planting a cedar (as the spot has partial shade), either Ontario white or Emerald. There is already a mature (approx 4 inch stem) wisteria about 2 feet from where I need to plan the cedar. Would this be too close to the wisteria? And if so, could you suggest an alternative.

Thanks in advance for your help.

All the best,

The second year when my tomatoes start wilting. Starts with a branch then the whole plant looks like in the picture.
I made cutting to see what is inside, nothing, and I don’t see any major bug invasion on the plant. The soil is sandy, I water it properly, I think,
Thanks for any suggestions that would save my tomatoes.
Rozália Tóth és

hi there, i have tried growing several types of clamatus and found most of them to be small flowers , light colors and not flowering often. Can you please recommend a few clamatus that have large flowers that are bold colours (stunning) and flower profusely several times in the year. thanks so much.

My neighbour has a enonymus tree. I believe it is a enonymus planted grafted onto another tree. The tree is constantly sending up shoots from the bottom of the tree and also from roots away from the original tree. How is the best way to control the shoots/sprouts?

This plant erupted in my garden, about 6 weeks ago, almost under a large hydrangea and beside a 5 year old lilac tree/bush. It is currently about 8″ tall with the spiked head bending. It is a cool green. My friends thought it was lily of the valley before the flower head bloomed! The soil is good old North Toronto clay with lots of attempts to fertilize. It gets dappled sun most of the day only because of its position under the hydrangea. The garden is on the east side of our property.

Something is eating my Dahlia foliage. I cannot catch it to describe what it is. It is some sort of insect or bug I guess.
Can I spray the plant with a soap and water solution? Are there other treatments for the Dahlia plant?
Thank you
Benita Ann Gallina

Please let me know what kind of tree it is?

This is another photo relating to the previous question. Please let me know what kind of tree it is?

Hello – I got this amazing bird of paradise plant for my birthday this past March – it had a new leaf coming in which unravelled itself in April – no signs of new leaves since. I’m not sure how often they should come given that it is already close to 6 feet now. It is in a SW window – I’ve heard some people have a bop that loves being outdoors in the summer but mine does not, even in very indirect sunlight outdoors the stems start to droop and then when brought back inside to it’s window it straightens up. Some of the leaves are curling slightly.
BUT it has always had this spiky thing in the top of the pot which I am wondering if they are roots – they are dry and don’t appear to grow – but make me worry that it should be repotted (which terrifies me slightly)

One periwinkle in flower box size 3” x20”x 6” deep. Full growth with 8” branches. Roots starting to come to surface. Can I trim or have to replant. Not sure what to do

Hello, I planted impatiens in window boxes for a shady balcony. I changed the soil to new potting soil, thinking the Downy Mildew fuss was over. They started growing OK, but now I am getting speckled blooms, some withering and lack of new buds. Attached is a photo. Can you please tell me if this is Downy Mildew, or Powdery Mildew, and if it can be treated? Many thanks.

One periwinkle in flower box size 3” x20”x 6” deep. Full growth with 8” branches. Roots starting to come to surface. Can I trim or have to replant. Not sure what to do

One periwinkle in flower box size 3” x20”x 6” deep. Full growth with 8” branches. Roots starting to come to surface. Can I trim or have to replant. Not sure what to do

I have 3 nice cedars in a back garden that was overrun by goutweed. About a year ago, I cover all the goutweed with tarps to hopefully kill it off. I need to move the cedars and wondered if i can safely move them to a new spot right away. I had read that it is best to put them in a temporary container for 3-4 months to make sure the goutweed doesn’t grow back before putting in a new spot. I am closing a large pool and the new area won’t be available for some time anyway…so a few questions here. Many thanks!

Would you be able to recommend a flowering vine that I could use on my Belgium fence (diamond shape wire trills) which is fastened to a wooden fence. I am looking for a vine that has small leaves and small flowers, the fence area is approximately 16 feet wide by 7 feet tall.

Where I plan to plant the vine the soil condition is mostly clay with some sand. The area receives the morning sun until about 1pm and then shade for the remainder of the day.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

last year same variety, same spot plants grew very well this year alive but have not grown at all
maybe because of early frost 2-3 week May I cannot figure it out
thank you

I live in Belle River, Ontario. The plums in my back yard are green; when they turn red the plums have worm holes and other bug holes inside is all rough.  What can I do?

Help! My neighbour has stained his backyard fence a strong shade of dark red — the kind you see on country barns. Not great. We live in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood. I would like to obscure the view next door by planting a fast-growing evergreen along our mutual fence. My back yard is tiny, sunny (west-facing) and sheltered all on sides by buildings and wood fences. I have two trees in my backyard: a honey locust and a small serviceberry. I’m thinking about planting a Green Spire Euonymous, which is rated Zone 6. Would it survive our Toronto winter? If not, any other recommendations for tall, narrow (with an emphasis on “narrow”) evergreens?

I live in Toronto and have recently found a strange orange and black bug in my back garden. It seems to prefer my herb garden and seeks shade, although the bugs run around in full sun too. I have identified it as Scantius aegyptius, known as red bug, an invasive species in North American that seems to have first been found in California. I have not found any mention of it being in Canada. It appears to be reproducing, as the size ranges from tiny to about 1 cm max. I want to avoid using insecticides in my herb garden so am looking for other ways of getting rid of it (I have been squashing as many as I can). I’m assuming it arrived in either a plant or bags of mulch or compost I’ve bought, since I’ve never seen it before. Also does anyone know if its bites are dangerous? Thank you for any information you can provide.

Dear Master Gardeners,

I have a plant in my front yard that mostly hugs the ground except for one section that has been growing more vertically (possibly due to lack of space). I reckon the spread is about 1.5 meters. It’s growing in partial shade. Could you please let me know what this might be?

(it is the plant in the foreground with round leaves)
Thank you kindly.

Hello, our young pillar oak has been showing signs of leaf chlorosis for two seasons. I applied Aluminum sulfite last year with no visible improvement, and earlier this season I sprinkled two applications of chelated iron. Is there anything else I can do to help this tree? Thank you.

I have a long rectangular garden bed that needs ground cover. I have selected two Anemone Canadensis/Windflower. Because they spread, do I plant them at each end of the rectangle and hope they spread inward, or do I plant them in the middle of the rectangle, and hope they spread outwards to the ends of the rectangle?

We have 5 spruce trees Ali go our fence line and for some reason that are all dropping sap. Seems to be coming from the needles but has been going on for weeks now. Earlier in the spring I noticed lots of the new growth has broken or eaten off. Any suggestions?

Hi! We planted 3 cedars this year. They are growing nicely. Given recent strong rain, it looks like the branches are getting “heavy” and one of the cedars in particular seems to be losing a bit of its shape. My questions: (1) Should I be concerned about this? and (2) How can I help my cedars keep a nice conical shape as they grow? [eg, someone told me to tie the branches together at the core of the cedar]. Thank you!!

Dear MASTER Garder
I have planted red creeping thyme (Thymus coccineus) along my frt yard by taking out the grass. They are super ground cover. I put them in a year and a half back and they have taken over the whole place, exactly as I imagined. They are a key spectacle in early spring when the bloom and there are purple flowers – it’s a large carpet of purple and the neighborhood shows up to take family pictures. I have a problem now. There is a certain invasive grass that is begins to take root in one part of the creeping thyme patch ( there is a bird feeder in that area and seeds drop off and I have seen birds and squirrels pecking). It seems the grass is killing the creeping thyme in that are a nd I am afraid if it will spread. What can I do to get rid of the grass? Should I take out the bird feeder – is this the cause? Also what’s the best way to nourish and fertilize the creeping thyme to power them up for super growth? Can I put cow manure and water?

Can you please let me know what are the required courses from Guelph that are required by your association in order to become a master gardener.

We have a mandevilla plant on our outdoor balcony (above
ground level) that shows a number of little cotton wool-like balls at the point where two stems intersect. I suspect mealybugs. We are located in North York. Could you kindly advise as to how to treat the plant and get rid of the problem before it worsens?

Thank you very much.

Arnold Golomb

My beautiful goldfinch Leucanthemum superbum was blooming beautifully in a sunny spot (full sun) and then some of the stems and blooms turned brown and died. Any idea what might be the cause? And how to fix it and prevent from spreading. The plant next to it is doing week and sending out new buds. Too much rain?


This is a condominium townhouse and I’ve enjoyed growing vine on the fence since we moved in (2014).
The management office has recently requested to remove the entire vine. Which was all of sudden and made us upset.

– “During inspections it was noted that you have a large vine growing on the common element fence the condo is responsible for. You may not be aware but vines growing on wood fences can prematurely rot the wood by holding the moisture. Furthermore, the vines impeded the corporation from fulfilling their responsibility to maintain common elements, the contractor was unable to stain the fence. You are requested to remove the vines from the common element portion of the fence within 30 days or the corporation will remove and charge back the expense. “

I live in zone 6. Clay soil, that has been amended with manure worm castings, compost and balanced organic fertilizer. My cucumbers have had a few leaves like this one in the photo. I am not sure if this is a disease verticulum wilt or something else. This bed was new, but had a tree growing here that had an issue before we moved here. This year I had alot of cucumber beetles also. Do you think this may be a disease. My cantaloupes are beside this cucumber. One plant has had a few curled or leaves. I have a pic of that also. It does not look like the one in the picture though.

If I want to aerate a small lawn in west end toronto, can I bob my bow rake up and down across my lawn and my neighbours’ lawn? It just cuts down on my clutter, and I just want to vent. I realize it doesn’t pluck out soil like the specialized garden tool. I did a great job aerating the soil getting rid of dandelions, and get better every year. Thank you.

Yesterday – the blue spruce in cemetery has turned brown instead of blue. All the needles on the tips are gone!!
A previously healthy tree.
What to do ? Internet says “Saw Fly” & to spray with soap and pyrethium ? Your advice please with MANY THANKS.

For west end Toronto, and the coming rain, following a week of humidity and rain, would it be better to spread compost on a lawn when it’s drier, on a couple of small lawns totalling 400 square feet when it is drier? I obtained Toronto city compost, although it’s not as fine as I wished, and will use this video with a couple of rakes, but sturdy footwear. I love the idea of a “breakfast buffet” for the grass.

I’ve purchased a plant of the thyme, as noted above. I now want to fill in a much larger area and am looking to purchase these seeds from a supplier in the GTA, Ontario or even just within Canada. I’d be looking to purchase about 5g, so larger then the standard size, if available. Otherwise, I’ll just purchase the size available.
I’m hoping you can help me out. Thanks so much.

I planted an eastern redbud last year. The tree was doing well until one morning when it looked like an animal (raccoon maybe) tried sitting in it and broke off the lead branch. I cut the branch so it would be a cleaner cut. Will my tree still grow tall? Is there anything I need to do to help it grow up since the main tree branch broke at the top?

I hope you can help me save my 30-year-old dwarf blue spruce.

The new growth is bare, and I am wondering if it is the fungal disease called tip blight?

The spruce is growing in full south sun in Richmond Hill (York Region), in amended clay soil. It has thrived for 30 years so I don’t think it is related to how I look after it. It is more likely a disease. If so, what can I do to stop the spread?

Thank you in advance for your advice.

How much should an eight foot Norfolk Pine be worth It an indoor plant in a pot. The picture I have is too big for the upload.

Could I plant allium seeds in the fall? How deep should they be planted? Will they flower next spring?

For the 400 square foot lawn space, how are the grass roots stressed by composting? My biggest concern was smothering the plant by using too much compost, when I do schedule composting. An aggressively pruned city European Beech tree has been absorbing much of the hydration on a 400 square foot lawn, not including the 50 square foot space the tree has claimed. I’m trying to contain my enthusiasm around stressing the established lawn any further. I could easily water the lawn after a light sprinkling of compost.
Also, how is compost ideally stored, since I know it will settle and clump for early fall in the containers? If I harness my pent-up pandemic enthusiasm, by
covering the compost in a garage, since “out of sight is out of mind”, I can deal with it then. It’s hard to believe fall is only 70 days away, so weeding looks like it’s on the agenda with all this rain.
Thank you

The bark of my crabapple tree seems to be dropping off – should I be concerned? It is a mature tree freestanding on my front lawn (south exposure)

One of the plants in the pot @ finally flowers. What is their ID? Are they Pinguicula Emarginata X Weser? Can you please edit that link with the right ID if they are not giant butterworts? Many thanks

One of the plants in the pot @ finally flowers. What is their ID? Are they Pinguicula Emarginata X Weser? Can you please edit that link with the right ID if they are not giant butterworts? Many thanks

I have a severely leaning mulberry tree in my backyard and wondered if there are alternatives to cutting down such as Japanese tree crutch? Is this available in Toronto? Unfortunately your form won’t accept my photo

Don’t seem to have much luck with a second season of fritillaria bulbs. They appear to rot after one season. I have just dug up the bulbs and have already noticed some rot. What can I do to stop the rot?
I’m in Ontario Canada
My soil is mainly triple mix with some sand.
It has been a wet summer so far.
They were beautiful this spring but I want them to come back next spring. All previous attempts have failed so this year I dug them up in hope to stop them from rotting.
Suggestions please.

Cathy Kozma, one of your active members / TBG past board member etc, met with me today to suggest I offer/give a presentation later this year. It would be centred on pollinator gardens , habitat restoration for biodiversity, and other fusion garden aspects. I am co-founder of Project Swallowtail. My cell # is 437 248 4565

I was able to review this response to know that something is amiss with my AC, since I’m not seeing water in the laundry tub, as I did when I posed the question. I’ll have to deal with this, although I am getting cool air. The temps are rising in west end toronto though.

I’m looking for native plants that spread quickly for a high clay content backyard in Toronto. Both sunny and shady areas are under consideration for this. My preference is for low-growing however this is not structly a requirement.

Dear garden master,

I am growing tomatillos for the first time this year. The plants have been doing well but I recently noticed abnormal leaves: mainly that the new leaves are significantly more yellow, and there are some white drying spots on the older leaves.
The plants are about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. They are in a raised bed with full sun but experience a lot of rain recently.
Could you let me know what is the cause and how I should treat them? Thank you very much for your help and time.


I am considering planting orange trumpet vine on the trellis on my balcony. My balcony faces southwest and get mostly afternoon sun. I know trumpet vine is well known for its invasiveness. I am worried that the roots may spread out to the wall on my balcony. Would planting the vine in a window box or a large bucket limit its growth? What kind of planter or container should I use?

I have two 5 yr old, 6′ high boxwoods in 3’x3′ containers on the rooftop – full sun. I’ve just noticed patches of brown dead leaves throughout the bushes. There appears to be mini cobwebs and little specs but no movement. The bushes have always been strong and healthy. What is this pest and what may I do about it? Thank-you!!!

I have a jasmine plant that is losing its blossoms within a day or two. Do you know why this is happening? Do I require a special fertilizer? Thanks

Could you please let me know what went wrong with the pepper leaves? Please see the attached picture.

Could you please let me know what went wrong with the pepper leaves? Please see the attached picture.

Hi, this Euphorbia trigona seems to be growing well but the stock above where the finger is pointing in the attached photo is quite soft. It stands on its own but is bending slightly because of the softness. Is the softness normal just because the stock isn’t as thick as the older growth?

I have a Jasmine plant that was supposedly an annual, but I brought it indoors in the winter to try to survive it. It has survived 3 years now and I love the small scented flowers. Unfortunately, the flowers drop within a few days. Is this common with Jasmine or do they require special fertilizer. Thanks


We thought that our burning bushes were mysterioiusly dying this year, however, I have seen several other bush’s in the same condition around Toronto? Is there something in Toronto that is causing this? Are they dying or sinply just changing months early? Can I save them?

Hello, I live up near Yonge and Finch and I was hoping to plant a climbing hydrangea along a western fence in shade, but I was unable to find any information on whether it’s possible to alter the colour of a climbing hydrangeas blooms (preferably I’d like blue if possible). Do you know if this is possible? Additionally, is it possible to grow climbing hydrangeas that have flowers closer to the snowball hydrangea rather than the lacecap? I saw pictures online of some but I’m not sure if they were Photoshopped. Many thanks!! Diana

My zucchinies were doing well for the past month. Recently leaves turn yellow, flowers had rotted before they opened. One zucchini has not had flowers and new leaves do not grow. Watering is on repulse basis and fertilizer has been applied accordingly. There are cucumber beetles in our garden but they are under control. What kind of damage can cucumber beetle do to zucchini?
Thanks for your help.

Why do my pumpkin flowers rotted and the fruits did not form. Only one pumpkin grew bigger, the rest fruits did not.

Today I took this picture at edward’s gardens and I cannot find the exact identity. Can you help me?

these little yellow with black stripes beetles are killing my zucchini and pumpkins. Please help with suggestion to control. Right now I’m hand picking. Thank you.

Hello – We planted a pagoda dogwood tree in the spring. It’s in part shade on the bottom of a gentle slope in a sheltered location backed by pine trees. It’s been doing very well. About 6 feet tall. Topsoil and compost in the hole plus a kind of a sandy gravel soil all around covered by periwinkle (previous owners’ idea). I’ve mulched to retain moisture and can see the trunk base (it’s not underground). But in the last two weeks the leaves have turned red. It’s very pretty, but concerning in July! Do you have any advice? Are we in an early fall? Is it possible heavy rains have overwhelmed it since the slope has been on the drier side before recent rains? I’ve read it can handle more alkaline soil than other dogwoods, so haven’t tested the soil. Should I move it before it dies? (A nearby oakleaf hydrangea, rhododendron and ginko are doing great.) Thank you so much for reading my wordy question. I want this tree to grow old with me :)

If I wish to buy some compost for the lawn, do I have to wait for the middle of September? Will storage in an old garage make cause the compost to lose its constituency of being light, consistent, well rotted, if I purchased the compost now?
For the compost which isn’t suitable for a lawn, for a nine year old European Beech tree, which was just pruned by city staff, is there a guide to using the compost for the tree, since I have mulch as well? The mulch is older though, and finer, and I’m in west end toronto.
In the background of the attached photograph, is another tree, which has a bag, which I imagine is used to nourish trees. What is that called?
Thank you.

Hi, I had a deck built around a flowering dogwood tree last year. The tree was previously at ground level but appears to have sunken a couple of inches. Is it possible to dig the tree out and raise it to the level of the deck or is there another course of action you can recommend? The tree was planted 3 years ago in amended sandy soil and has been growing well.

Hello – We planted a pagoda dogwood tree in the spring. It’s in part shade on the bottom of a gentle slope in a sheltered location backed by pine trees. It’s been doing very well. About 6 feet tall. Topsoil and compost in the hole plus a kind of a sandy gravel soil all around covered by periwinkle (previous owners’ idea). I’ve mulched to retain moisture and can see the trunk base (it’s not underground). But in the last two weeks the leaves have turned red. It’s very pretty, but concerning in July! Do you have any advice? Are we in an early fall? Is it possible heavy rains have overwhelmed it since the slope has been on the drier side before recent rains? I’ve read it can handle more alkaline soil than other dogwoods, so haven’t tested the soil. Should I move it before it dies? (A nearby oakleaf hydrangea, rhododendron and ginko are doing great.) Thank you so much for reading my wordy question. I want this tree to grow old with me :)

Hi, The attached picture of two leaves have very unusual markings. They were found on a play ground. I am curious if they were created by an insect.


Hello, why are my coneflowers are wilting and drying up. I’ve attached a photo. It seems to be happening section by section as you can see some stems are still fine. I live in Scarborough. They’re planted in a flower bed at front of house where they get full afternoon sun, sandy soil, quite dry as they’re under the front window which has an awning. I water every other day, I’ve fertilized with MiracleGro and there’s mulch to help keep the soil moist. Thank you.

I planted 6 calla lillies bulbs in 2 pots a year ago and had a profusion of flowers. I over-wintered the bulbs in the same pot and this year I had 1 flower instead of 50 but lovely foliage. What happened?

I am hoping you can help.
I live in Eas York and planted a cedar hedge last year on the East and North Borders of my property.
About 3 weeks ago I applied a new layer of mulch (about an inch and half deep) and following the recent heavy rain quite a few of the trees have started to turn brown and also black on the branches.
In late June I also applied a cedar hedge fertilizer to the soil and was also planning to apply again at the end me of
I removed much of the layer of mulch in the last week, as I read that the roots may not be able to breath with all the rain, but the trees continue to turn a light brown at the ends of the branches.
The trees in the attached photo are between 5 and 7 feet high and on the east side of my property.
I would appreciate any advice you can provide on how to revive the trees and ensure the other trees don’t also begin to turn brown/black as well
Many thanks
Jeremy Gibbs


I’m planning for a visit. Can I bring my puppy with me?
Can she walk on the ground? or should I put her in her carrier backpack?


I live in the east end of Toronto, near the lake. My tree is on the front lawn and although it is on the north side of the house, it gets a lot of sun. These discolourations started appearing a couple of weeks ago – am unsure what to do about it. Can you help??

My tomato fruits are pretty big at the bottom, but they become smaller and smaller on the upper parts of the plants.
I would like to know why and how to grow bigger fruits.
Also How many fruits/cluster should be kept on the plants. When should I snip the top of the plants off ?
Thank you!

Hi, My boxwood is along a garage and faces south but has some shade because of a beautiful oak that is situated in our garden. At the beginning of the season there were some brown areas on the bush but they seem to be out of control especially along the back (garage side). I believe my husband used a copper spray in April/May but I would like an opinion of what you think we should do at this time. Many thanks

Is it normal for this maple tree to have yellow leaves in late July? If not what is the problem and how might it be addressed?

We planted these 3 spruce trees 16 years ago. 2 years ago the tips of 2 spruce started to dry out, see picture. We checked and found remnants of a wire basket at the roots, the wire clears the trunks by 6″ or more. What is causing this and what steps can we take to preserve these beautiful trees?

Andrea Kusters

What is the best way to get rid of sow thistles in the garden. Physically digging them out does not seem effective- they seem to multiply after attempts to manually weed! Roots seem to go deep, break off easily and branch off in multiple directions.

I checked the “find it here” about this issue and got either my tree is suffering from sun scorch or a fungus but I do not know how to tell which one it is so I am hoping you can help me. The tree is approximately 10 years old, faces southwest and is in full sun.

There are lots of earwigs in my garden . I handpicked them at night time, but there are too many . Is there a better way to control them ?

I have an Amarylis that has only one leaf. How to I get it to produce more and to rebloom.

Spotted in Southern Ontario, not far from Toronto. Medium tree – between 15-20 feet, wider than tall, compact. Very much resembled an apple tree, even the fruit had a similar texture and opacity to apples – but the blush-pink fruit grew in conjoined groups of 2-5 (mostly 2 or 3) almost like a bean pod. Could it be some weird form of crab apple?

Good day

I would like to move my absolutely favorite Hydrangea to corner where I have cedars. I know cedars have turpentine and acidic. Wondering if my Hydrangeas will be happy in cedar’s company ?

I am in Scarborough with clay soil. Planted New Dutchman’s Pipe this Spring and new leaves are shrivelling up and edges looking rusted as it is growing. The plant wasn’t looking in perfect health even when purchased, but it was the best we could find after searching for one at many nurseries. I don’t see any insects. Getting both sun and shade and enough water. Wondering what the problem is and what we can do. Would appreciate your help.

Good morning
I am the executive housekeeper for a very prominent family here in Downtown Toronto.
I am looking for a bonsai gardener as our bonsais are not doing well
Can somebody contact me please

Thanks so much for any help you can provide

A month ago I planted a blue spruce and now branches are turning brown. The tree has been water regularly. Would appreciate your input on the cause

Why does this tomato look so weird? Can I save seeds from it?
Thank you.

Why does this tomato look so weird? Can I save seeds from it?
Thank you.

A month ago I planted a blue spruce and now branches are turning brown. The tree has been water regularly. Would appreciate your input on the cause

A month ago I planted a blue spruce and now branches are turning brown. The tree has been water regularly. Would appreciate your input on the cause

My banana plant is dying, eventhough I put limit water and keeping it in sun…

Hello there,

I have recently moved to the Stouffville area (10th line and Main Street) and my backyard is extremely weed infested. We have tried a few methods and have failed. I just feel extremely discouraged and demotivated.

What we have tried so far:

– We have removed a ton of weeds with a deweeding tool (close to 20 bag full)
– however after a week or so strong weeds would come back stronger and taller than before (please see picture for reference)

I am very open and grateful for any idea you may suggest. I have a dream that one day I will have a beautiful lawn but until then I am hoping to get the chance to work towards one.

Best Regards,


Hi I have this Full sun echinacea about 3/4 feet tall and has been in this spot for about 3/4 years. Toronto north York. This year, it’s the biggest and fullest but either has asters yellow or mites of some kind? There is webbing with little brown bugs. Very hard to see even with my eye. What can I do to help this plant without throwing it out? If it’s mites I read I am chop it to the ground in the fall but the webbing is gross to see and I want to chop it now if it won’t negatively impact the plant (or maybe that’s just the best chance option?)

Anyways I just want to know what I should do and if it’s identifiable. Not every come head has the disease looking part (bright green sticking out of middle) but a lot of them do. And the webbing, which I’m not even positive is related because the webbing is newer but the green parts have been there since the first flowers opened.

Hi. Something has dug up a mass of irises in my yard. I’m not sure if it was an animal or if this is a sign of insect damage. There are small holes in some of the rhizomes. The clump was long overdue to be thinned.

I’m wondering if is likely raccoon (or skunk) perhaps digging for grubs? I’ve seen no caterpillars or grubs but have not inspected closely, yet.

A month ago I planted a blue spruce and now branches are turning brown. The tree has been water regularly. Would appreciate your input on the cause

A month ago I planted a blue spruce and now branches are turning brown. The tree has been water regularly. Would appreciate your input on the cause

In this link, the City of Toronto recommends using the drip line for composting/mulching, but I don’t understand how close to the actual West End Toronto tree trunk I should be, since it suggests going to the edge of the drip line. But how close should the compost be to the trunk?
In this link, your suggestion is about 2-5 cm from the tree trunk.
Did I get too close to the 9 year old European Beech tree trunk? I thought the grass will grow to the perimeter, since the tree took so much of the lawn away, before it was so aggressively pruned. I can pull the compost closer to the edge if that’s healthier, but I’m afraid crabgrass might be all that will grown in, given the lighter rainfall. It might look better too if I pull the compost out further. What do you think?

Hi I planted a healthy Bloodgood Japanese maple 2 years back and noticed the following issues this year – the top part of the plant has no leaves (see picture attached); leaves are a faded brown rather than the bright red colour; leaves are attached by Japanese beetle. is this tree dead? If not how can i restore this tree to good health? will it ever have bright red leaves? will leaves come back on the top. Thanks

Hi Can you please tell me the name of the bright red plant in front of the Edward Gardens ( see picture). Is this a perennial? Also i see that the sage plan at the garden has so much color, the one i planted does not have such color and does not flower well although at the time i bought it it had vibrant flowers. Thanks

My phlox leafs are going yellow what could be the problem?

Our backyard faces west full-sun. We had a grapevine over our pergola when we moved into the house. It brought many raccoons and wasps and we weren’t sad when it died. We decided to grow Boston Ivy over the pergola only to find that 4 years later it is a bee/wasp pollinating feast for 3 weeks of the short summer. We can’t go outside without stepping on, get hit by and hearing the loud buzzing during the flower season. We love our backyard and with small children and a dog we are looking to remove the Boston Ivy and replace with another plant shade option. Would English Ivy be a better option?
Our soil drains well. We do have some clay. We are zone 6.
Any suggestions are appreciated!

I planted a Redbud ‘Forest Pansy’ a few years ago (don’t worry, I’ve had them before and they grow great where I live… close to L. Ontario) and it was growing really well. It was about 12′-15′ high and the canopy was spreading nicely. I was away and came back to a tree that looked like a closed umbrella… about 50% of the top branches, both big and small, had been broken off at the trunk and were just hanging from where the bark was still attached to the trunk. I suspect, because they’ve done this before to other younger trees, young racoons decided to climb up and the tree couldn’t withstand their weight.
I’ve removed all the dangling branches but I’m worried about the open wounds in the trunk and the possibility of disease entering into the tree.
I have 2 questions:
1) Do I just leave it to heal or do I try to clean up the ripped bark and seal it with something?
2) The tree is totally unbalanced now so I’d like to remove some of the lower branches that didn’t get broken. When would be the best time to do that?
Thanks for your time.

Last spring my narcissus Carlton bloomed ,then no other daffodils bloomed until a few Narcissus Cheerfulness. Can you suggest a daffodil that will bloom in between Carlton and the later daffodils? Also a gardening book I am reading talks about the single yellow-cupped Poetaz narcissus- Do you have a name for this ?
Thank you

Why dis my cucumber leafs turn yellow?

I lightly circled my neighbour’s European Beech tree with compost on the weekend and had another question around the best texture of mulch topping the compost.
To determine that area to cover with additional mulch, I estimate that I would need 27 square feet of mulch. Having only 100 litres of fine cedar mulch, I think I can barely cover that area to a depth of only an inch, but I’d like to try it, just because I’ve never done this.
For a geometrical shape, what I see doesn’t seem to translate into what I think I can cover, as I discovered with the 50 litres of compost I barely circled the tree with, partly because the shape was an ellipse, not a circle. The 100 litres I have are pest-resistant, and aromatic, and makes some claim about spreading 30% more than other brands.
If the cedar mulch is too fine, wouldn’t it be better to purchase a coarser product which will last longer, and not blow away, in West end Toronto, coating the composted circle, and especially to a greater depth as suggested?
I expect a dry August, and the finer product will be watered weekly with the lawn.
I can even purchase a different colour of coarser mulch when I add more mulch on top, without any worry about mulch blowing onto the sidewalk. Thank you.

Can you help confirm if I have boxwood blight? The two pictures are from two separate hedges. If it is, can I spray now? I also would like a confirmation so I can report it to Landscape Ontario. I am in south Etobicoke. Thank you.

Hi This tree ( see attached) with broad green leaves stands in the ravine outside my house. the top seems to be dead or not growing but the middle is alive. Will this tree survive or is it better to replace it. also what tree is this? does it flower?

Hi I planted this sage (attached) a few months back. when i brought it from nursery it was fully blooming, then it lost the flowers and it does not flower. What should i do. Is there another version of the sage you can recommend that flowers all time profusely and in a vibrant color. thanks

Hi I have a beautiful small garden in a tight space in my backyard. I have not had success with Japanese maple as the accent tree. 4 years back I put a Japanese maple that did not survive. Last year I put this healthy Bloodgood Japanese maple that is also not doing well. its leaves are not bright red and the top looks dead. Is there a nice evergreen accent tree with short branches and a good design look that I can plant instead as the accent tree in place of Japanese maple? or is there a nice short beautiful tree that can go there? I am grateful for a few suggestions on how
i can put a nice tree (disease and Japanese beetle resistant) and make my garden shine. I am sick of experimenting with Japanese maple. the space receives over 5 to 6 hours of afternoon sun, I water and fertilize regularly

Hi I liked this red flowering plant at edward gardens. what is it called? is it a perennial? easy to grow?

Hello – Thank you for reading my question. I was hoping for your advice regarding this Downy serviceberry branch that I realize we should have wrapped when it was first damaged during some construction. It’s now a black gash and while the leaves up top are mostly fine minus some powdery mildew, I’m wondering if we should cut the branch off the tree before the rot works its way into the trunk (if it hasn’t already). I feel very badly about this. It’s a very graceful, 15-ft, vase-shaped specimen and this branch basically makes up the left side of the tree.

I have an Boston Ivy which is doing great in the summer beside my front door , I want to ask if my front door has a ceiling and Ivy is protected from directly buried in the snow , does it survive the winter temperatures in Toronto , and if so how often I should water it in winter when the plant is dormant? thank you ,,

Attached is my small backyard garden. the Japanese maple is not doing well, as you can see. can u suggest a few options for a nice all seasons blue evergreen or some tree that is colorful and there form spring to winter or throughout that grows to around 12 to 14 feet over the years and has attractive design and texture of leaves, is disease resistant and will survive, add a touch of class to the garden. great if u can suggest three alternative. merci

I planted this Japanese maple last year and after winter the top portion is not budding and there are no leaves. is this tree dyeing or can i rescue it by chopping off the top part?

this tree is outside my hoes ein teh ravine, its top is not growing. is this dead? what is this tree, does it flower? what should i do with it?

I have been watering plants for a senior neighbour, but neither of us knows what the plants are. Would you be able to identify them, and advise if they are toxic to animals? I have attached photos.

I have take to hand pollenating our zucchini for the past couple years. For some reason, the bees in our area don’t seem to know how to pollenate zucchini (when they know how to pollenate my other vegetable plants. This year I noticed something very odd …the male zucchini blossoms are lacking pollen. They weren’t too back for pollen in the spring, but now (starting towards end of July), the male blossoms are ‘dry’ …no yellow powder. At first I thought maybe earwigs were eating the pollen before I got to the flower, so I started to open the blossom before it totally opened up to insects …totally empty of pollen. Any ideas as to what causes ‘sterile’ male blossoms? I tried to send a photo, but it will not download onto the ‘attach a picture’ section. If I could have an email address, I could send it via email.

I am not a resident of Toronto, but from Waterloo Region. However, one of our business offices is in Toronto (containing Toronto residents), and we are into landscaping/gardening/plants in a big way. I have asked some horticulturalists already explaining my dilemma and they have no answers for me. Are you able to help me out?

I have been watering plants for a senior neighbour, but neither of us knows what the plants are. Would you be able to identify them, and advise if they are toxic to animals? I have attached photos.

What might have done this to my beans?


I recently bought a white panicled hydrangea bush but might have underestimated how much sun my North facing front yard receives a day. It’s mostly shade except for a couple hours of late day sun. Is that enough sun for it to live?

Many thanks!

Hi There, we have (had) a prolific Dutchman’s pipe vine covering part of our front porch and west wall of our 1924 home. We have been told it has always been on the home. Much to our dismay it totally died this year! We have owned the home 10 years and didn’t touch or prune it – it always grew back lovely and full. I have since pulled away all the dead vine and left the root in the ground as best I could hoping it will regenerate next Spring. What might have happened? Any tips on establishing a new vine? Our porch feels so bare. Our soil is a nice mix of clay. Thank you so much in advance.

WE have two japanese maples in our front garden that appear to be ailing this year. It is fairly windy here but the trees typically are very healthy. We don’t see any insects on the leaves but it appears something is eating them and the leaves are curling slightly and dying. Please see pics. for help. Thank you

Hi, I planted dwarf curly kale in a container (on our deck).
a) I wondered why the leaves are such a pale green and not a robust dark green
b) the very edges of the curly leaves sometimes turn a whitish colour
c) any suggestion to keep japanese beetles off kale
I live near Brantford (am I still allowed to ask) I put yes below, is that near enough to Toronto?

Thank you! Marlene

Is there a difference between Northern and Eastern white cedar? We live in Aurora, Ontario. We want to establish a cedar privacy wall. The cedars would be planted by one of the deck sides. We need dense conical trees.
Thank you.

I want to cover a chain link fence and perogala beside it with a dense vine that can thrive in a shady area. Any thoughts?

Hello, I have a maple tree in my backyard, in the southeast corner of the lot. It is about 8-10 years old. It gets full sun and for the last two years, since I have owned this home, has been flourishing. I water it twice a week at least. I went on vacation for three weeks and when I returned, I noticed that all of the leaves were dead or dying. I don’t see evidence of any rot on the tree. While I was gone, it was quite rainy, so I can’t imagine that it got damaged so quickly in just three weeks. Could you please assist me?

I live in Ottawa Ontario . I would like to remove 32 feet old dying hedges between two driveways ( separating my property with my neighbour ) and replace it with either Eastern white cedar hedges or Emerald Green Arborvitae ( Smaragd) ? The location gets plenty of sun and late day shade . Which one would be best to plant ? What is the cost difference between the two ? When would it be best to plant the new cedars ?


My small front and sloped garden produces zero growth to plants in general. There is a huge ugly pine tree planted that cannot be removed. None of the plants seem to grow at all and many have died. Petunias and others look as if they have just been planted. The soil is terrible despite my using many bags of fertilizer. This year I used black cedar chips on top. The water does not appear to penetrate. I am willing to install a barrier or anything else advised.
Attached are photos recently taken.
Thank you for your assistance.

While searching for uses of Skyscraper sunflower leaves, I found many sites that had several healthy food consumption uses. There was only one site that had negative info, saying not to eat them because of bad digestive and skin problems.
Could you help me clarify this discrepancy?
Thanks in advance,

Hi there and thank you for reading my question. I have yarrow that I planted three summers ago. It bloomed prolifically the first and second summers. This year? Nada. Nothing has changed in the bed it resides. Perhaps less watering this year than last year and the year before because more of its inhabitants are now established. The plant looks healthy and vibrant enough. I have not fertilized it, other than spreading composted cow manure in the spring. Any ideas why it didn’t bloom this year? Thank you!

Hi All,

I purchased two gorgeous Slowmounds in June. I waited until the weather was less hot to plant them in a pretty shady spot with good drainage and good quality soil (lots of good worm activity). Over the past several weeks of hot weather, I have been distracted by family matters and neglected watering them. They are now brown and brittle underneath and in the centre of the plant (looks nice and green on top, though which explains why I didn’t notice the die-off right away). I gave them both a nice deep soak yesterday. I know that overwatering is just as dangerous as underwatering. Can you please advise what else I can do to save them or at least prevent further die-off? I presume it is too late in the season to fertlize them. Any advice will be appreciated. Cheers,

Our old neighbors grew grape vines for over 40 years. They had them properly structured and took great care of them. They moved out 2 years ago due to their old age.
The house is now rented out and is not well maintained.
The new tenant appears to have 2 vines growing on our fence. We have asked that they remove it and plant somewhere else. However they claim it is a ‘special grape vine’ and cannot be moved.

Is anyone able to tell me what kind of grape vine it is so I can work with them on moving it off/away from my fence?

I am actually thinking it is a vine from the old neighbors in which case I would be willing to buy them a new one I’m case during transplant one is distroyed.

Best pic I have is attached.
There are no grapes growing from what I can see.

Thanks for you time,

Hello there! I have had this Jade for 3 years. She’s giving me lovely cuttings that I’ve turned into new plants. Although what was once a very full close leaves plant is not starting to stretch and lose leaves. I’ve kept the same watering schedule since I’ve had her and I don’t know why she’s dropping leaves! It appears as though 3 of the 4 I have outside are all doing this. One is healthy but she’s significantly smaller a small cutting I’ve had for 4 months. Are you able to tell me why she’s dropping so many leaves? This gift was given to me by my former student who lives in Toronto. Since then she has travelled back home to me to Miami Florida where I have had her since. Anything will help I appreciate the consideration!

Our old neighbors grew grape vines for over 40 years. They had them properly structured and took great care of them. They moved out 2 years ago due to their old age.
The house is now rented out and is not well maintained.
The new tenant appears to have 2 vines growing on our fence. We have asked that they remove it and plant somewhere else. However they claim it is a ‘special grape vine’ and cannot be moved.

Is anyone able to tell me what kind of grape vine it is so I can work with them on moving it off/away from my fence?

I am actually thinking it is a vine from the old neighbors in which case I would be willing to buy them a new one I’m case during transplant one is distroyed.

Best pic I have is attached.
There are no grapes growing from what I can see.

Thanks for you time,

Our old neighbors grew grape vines for over 40 years. They had them properly structured and took great care of them. They moved out 2 years ago due to their old age.
The house is now rented out and is not well maintained.
The new tenant appears to have 2 vines growing on our fence. We have asked that they remove it and plant somewhere else. However they claim it is a ‘special grape vine’ and cannot be moved.

Is anyone able to tell me what kind of grape vine it is so I can work with them on moving it off/away from my fence?

I am actually thinking it is a vine from the old neighbors in which case I would be willing to buy them a new one I’m case during transplant one is distroyed.

Best pic I have is attached.
There are no grapes growing from what I can see.

Thanks for you time,

I was wondering what went wrong with my cucumber leafs?
Could this be viral infection? Thanks.

I bought a fiddle leaf fig plant and didn’t realize that the top leaf was broken off until I got it home. What should I do with the broken main stem? Will it still grow?

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I have this distinct line in my front lawn that goes from driveway to the tree in the yard. I have never seen this before.

I have an odd situation with a red osier dogwood and am hoping to get the benefit of your expert opinion. The dogwood has lived in my tiny north-facing front yard in downtown Toronto for about 5 years. Over the years, I’ve pruned off dead branches and branches that extended over the sidewalk, without any attempt to maintain the red colour of the stems. The result now is that the shrub looks more like a little tree (approx 9 ft high x 8 ft wide) – photo attached. Although there’s no red colour in the trunk and main branches which is what most people seem to value in the red osier, the shrub tree is rather pretty and does provide a privacy screen along with the usual small white flower clusters and white berries. My two questions are: Does it make sense to grow the red osier dogwood as a tree (giving up on red colour) or does that go against the plant’s nature? Can I still return it to its normal shrub form by pruning? Thanks very much for considering my questions.

Hi there,
I will greatly appreciate your help in learning if this Dahlia is experiencing heat-related wilting or is it as you say in this post a fungal disease:
I really appreciate your help and guidance.
Thanks so much!


We are struggling to choose between the Dawyck Purple or Red Obelisk for our north facing fence. 6-8 hours of sun. We are not fussy on the privacy we just want something to contrast the river birch in the corner of the yard. Is there a clear winner or are either good? Thank you.

I looking for spray or how to get rid of bug I have seen on my Hydornga plants and on the PINE tree.

Please advise and help.

This is the first year I’ve seen this growing in the lawn. It starts out looking like a thin blade of grass. When it is about 3” tall, it puts out 4-6 tiny leaves that are approx 1/2” long and have a very distinct pattern to it. It’s green on the edge and looks like red lines towards the center. It then sprouts another 3” fine green stem. It’s spreading rapidly. The soil is very compacted and poor. It doesn’t drain well so it always damp. It’s a very delicate looking leaf but I don’t want it taking over the lawn. It pulls out easily but it’s everywhere. What is it and how do we eradicate it?

I am trying to figure out what’s going on with my tomatoes. I am a new gardener, have done lots of research, but I don’t have experience to compare it to.

I have several varieties of tomatoes in my bed this year – Cherokee, borghese, san marzano and Roma. My tomatoes are fruiting and the bed looked good- little yellowing, but no spots that I noticed on Friday.. over the weekend, ot became covered in greyish spots, not a lot of yellow, and at this point the fruit doesn’t seem affected.

I think it’s either late blight, verticillium or drought…

This is the first year tomatoes have been grown in this location. Clay soil, but amended with lots of compost, thick layer of mulch, and zone 5b I think

Lots of sun.

Thank you for your help!

Last year I noticed that I have sodworm infestation on my lawn. Therefore, this year in May, I put in sodworm nematodes and in June I applied BTK, then in mid July I applied insecticide. Now the end of August, I still have moth flying around my lawn. I just applied another dose of insecticide on my lawn. What else I can do to eliminate of sodworm infestation? Thanks for your help!

I recently planted a service berry tree in my backyard in may. It is abou 9’ high 4-5’ wide. It is in full sun, nursery had recommended I mix the loose soil in with the clay soil as we seem to have loose soil and further sown harder clay like soil… a package of recommended fertilizer was given. Tree seemed to be doing great until last few weeks where I’m noticing some type of holes in leaves and leaves turning yellow then drying up. I have more pictures as well….

I planted this shrub three years ago. It was about 30 in. then and has since grown to a little more than 4 feet. I fertilize it in the Spring, water it regularly and surround it by compost. It is in dappled or partial shade. It looks very healthy.
The problem is that it does not bloom at all. I searched for an answer and the only thing I found is that it might be due to faulty pruning practices.
The thing is that I don’t prune it.
Any clue ??


Hi. My J-maple’s leaves are turning reddish and brownish and are drying up and curling at the edges. It is in a shady spot next to the house, and hasn’t gotten much rain. I have been watering it daily.

Hi. My J-maple’s leaves are turning reddish and brownish and are drying up and curling at the edges. It is in a shady spot next to the house, and hasn’t gotten much rain. I have been watering it daily.

Hi. We have a big hydrangea in the backyard. It is about two meters high from the soil to the tips of its leaves. The “ball” of leaves and flowers alone is about 120 cm in diameter. The stalks and stems touch the soil inside a circle of diameter roughly 40cm. Unfortunately, this plant is in the way of what we hope will be a new deck extension! Can this plant be moved? How big a hole do you imagine we’d have to dig to safely extract this plant from the ground? Thanks.

This is the first year I’ve seen this growing in the lawn. It starts out looking like a thin blade of grass. When it is about 3” tall, it puts out 4-6 tiny leaves that are approx 1/2” long and have a very distinct pattern to it. It’s green on the edge and looks like red lines towards the center. It then sprouts another 3” fine green stem. It’s spreading rapidly. The soil is very compacted and poor. It doesn’t drain well so it always damp. It’s a very delicate looking leaf but I don’t want it taking over the lawn. It pulls out easily but it’s everywhere. What is it and how do we eradicate it?

I live in North York just about 10 mins away from the TBG. We have a 15 year old Japanese tree in our backyard. I recently noticed that a portion of bark approx. 10” by 4” has been stripped/eaten away, I presume, by an animal. Could be a ground hog, skunk, raccoon, smaller rodent all common in our neighbourhood. Chicken wire was put up to protect the tree from further damage. This year I have noticed, also, that the leaves on our tree have shrivelled and are curled somewhat. This has not occurred previously. I do regularly water the tree. Two questions: 1) What do I did not protect the damaged area of the tree. Any wound wrapping or other recommendation? 2) What is causing the leaves to curl and shrivel?

From: paniccia
Date: August 10, 2021 at 10:36:46 PM EDT
Subject: Hydrangeas pruning?

I would like to know to get the most blooms out of my hydrangeas ?
what month I should prune hydrangeas?do I prune them or leave them alone?
Do I dead head the spent blooms? I absolutely love flowers, particularly hydrangeas. In my garden I have 8 plants.
Pink mostly, darker pink, and only 1 blue. All of which, I’d say that I am having difficulty getting them to have lots of blooms. I cannot figure out whether they bloom on last years growth. Because if they do then my 3 with no blooms should have bloomed a lot as I did not prune them. These 3 plants are facing east and receive sunlight until about 11-12 with some filtered shade from a maple tree after that. On only 1 of those plants did I get a bloom!and same last year …I did not prune in fall or spring and last year I gave it more fertilizer early spring …but I did not start this year until May-June. I use acid soil loving fertilizer but have not checked my ph levels but figure it’s pretty alkaline since my flowers turn out pink.

2 plants are south facing with filtered sun from a magnolia. One had no blooms the other had about 5 which receives shade til 1 pm, then sun and shade.
3 others receive mostly sun. Those bloomed! With roughly 3-7 blooms on each but so again not many blooms either but enough I guess to get some enjoyment from them.
I just cannot seem to get the pruning right!
.please please tell me “when” you think that they should be pruned ? And In what month? I live in Toronto.
They are all the basic hydrangeas given to me for Mother’s Day.
Not sure about fertilizing them either – lots or less???
Thank you,
I’ve done some reading online but I am not quite sure where else to go.
I’d appreciate your help thank you so much…

My garden willow tree every year dies at this time due to growing a kind of black fungi on leaves
My question is this fungi the same as black fungi n
Recently killing people with low immunity due to covid-19 in India?
My wife got covid few month ago and I am worried about her safety

Could you kindly provide me with instruction on how to trim my rising sun redbud. It is too wide and I’d like to get some height. I’d like the tree to grow upwards before the canopy is allowed to spread. Can I prune the branch tips or will this hinder the canopy growth when it gets 12-15 ft. tall. Thanks

I live 18 inches from my neighbour and want to block out his wall. I have looked at numerous evergreen trees but need an expert’s advice. The tree should be of very narrow width, columnar not pyramidal, fast growing, sun and shade, and ideally 25 ft tall. Any advice ?

Is it possible to subscribe to your posts on this website? You have so much good info it would be an easy way to increase my gardening knowledge.


We were gifted a wisteria from my husband’s grandmother’s well established wisteria. We would like to plant it in the back corner of our yard and build a pergola with benches around it to provide a sturdy structure for it to climb. I have been planning on planting the wisteria in an open bottomed planter in the corner of the pergola so that the roots of the wisteria have full access to the ground underneath the planter. I was planning on having built in benches attached to the side of the planter. I was planning on building the planter 18″ x18″. Is this plan reasonable? Does the planter need to be bigger? I was a little concerned as a previous answer mentioned freezing as a problem with using planters but we were planning on having the bottom open to the ground.

I take care of this forsythia which is on a rooftop patio on the top of a low-rise building here in the city; it’s a super-sunny location. I was wondering if you could tell anything from the shapes of the holes in the forsythia leaves here. The holes have been appearing for years. Is there anything I could do about this problem?

Can any vegetable be planted from seed outdoors in raised beds for a fall harvest in the Toronto area?

We have a gardenia that was very healthy and blooming. It’s a cluster of some 4-5 stems, in a well draining soil (about a 12″ pot with lots of holes). It would have the occassional yellow leaf, but otherwise in good shape.

Last week, we noticed one stem where the leaves at the top started to curl and wilt, and the leaves from the bottom turned black making their way up the stem. I tried scraping it off (to see if it’s sooty mold) but the leaf itself appears more like it rotted. I tried to look for bugs, but couldn’t see anything, not even dots. There are some spiders (not mites) about the garden that weave between the pots, but none of the other plants, including another gardenia we have (same soil, same pot, same location) are affected.

We pulled out that branch, to protect the others and inspected the roots – they looked and smelled fine. Now, two other stems are doing the same, while the others continue to look healthy and bloom (you can see a dying stem and a healthy one in the pic). We are worried about the rest of the plant. Any ideas on how to save i?

Which deep green or purple foliage perennial would be feasible, perhaps thrive happily, in pots at the front door?
Thank you.

have a 2-year-old Bloodgood Japanese maple that is around 7 feet tall. i notice that its leaves at the top are bright red but at the middle and bottom they are burgundy and green. will the tree become bright red as it grows? my family is eager to see a bright red tree. pictures attached

Hello, I’d like to plant a row of dappled willows about 9 ft. out from the foundation of my house. My plan is to keep them trimmed to a height of about 6 ft. If so, do you foresee any potential risk to the foundation? I know that full-size willows are a no-no where houses are concerned because of the aggressive root system.


live in Toronto have 6 Rose of Sharon have flowered. Now have many green “closed” round bulbs. Should these be cut off for winter? Do not want to cut twigs/branches on which the bulbs are attached. Thank yo.

Will ferns grow under these conditions?

My small front and sloped garden produces zero growth to plants in general. There is a huge ugly pine tree planted that cannot be removed. None of the plants seem to grow at all and many have died. Petunias and others look as if they have just been planted. The soil is terrible despite my using many bags of fertilizer. This year I used black cedar chips on top. The water does not appear to penetrate. I am willing to install a barrier or anything else advised.
Attached are photos recently taken.
Thank you for your assistance.

-Yellow-wood tree planted (by the City) in October 2020 is about 8-9 feet tall. It’s in a very sunny spot (south and west exposure). The soil is sandy.
-Today I removed the protective guard around the bottom of the trunk and saw that the bottom 2 or so inches of the trunk doesn’t have any bark (see photo).
-Though the most of the guard is loose and barely touches the trunk, it does curve in at the bottom and contact the trunk there, though not very tightly.
-The tree, though not seriously declining, doesn’t seem to be thriving – the leaves are yellowing in places and have brown spots. This has been happening for about a month, gradually getting worse.
-It’s watered once a week slowly for 4-5 hours. It has mulch (wood chips) around it, which sometimes end up by the trunk, but only in a thin layer. I’ve also added compost a couple of times (shoveled away the mulch first, then put it back).
-Is the lack of bark at the bottom of the trunk of concern?
-Should the bottom bare section of the trunk be covered up with soil, i.e. should the soil level be raised?
-Should the guard remain off the trunk or be reinstalled? Or should a different guard be used?
Thank you!

This tree is 6 1/2 feet tall and grows in a partly shady area. It is in good moist soil and we are in zone five. It has miraculously sprung up from the middle of our flower bed and has no berries or flowers on it yet.

Our B Balm has been a great success this year and attracted a lot of attention from Bees and Hummingbirds.
Now most of the petals on the flowers have gone. Should we remove the flower pods? Would this strengthen the plants or should we leave them untouched and will they then spread seeds for next year?

Our Culvers Root has grown to about 5ft high and bloomed. To strengthen the plant for next year should we now cut off the top/head or should we leave it alone to die in due course and might the seeds propagate for next year?

Would like help with identification of grapes at new home. Grapes growing in full sun and some shade – east facing backyard. The soil is pretty normal Toronto backyard clay?- not sure about zone – we are at Dufferin and bloor. Soil is pretty dry also.

I have a weeping Mulberry. This year, I noticed a lot of “baby” mulberries growing around it. I pulled one out that is about 10” tall and put it in a pot. I want to plant it. What I am wondering is: Will the babies from this plant also be small, weeping mulberries or will it revert to the original, full-sized tree?

I have an overgrown shrub that I would like to prune by 1/3 to 1/2 it’s current size – approximately 10 ft high with spread about 6 ft. Can this be done in the fall? How should offering maintain unnatural shape? It is growingThank you.

Hi there,
I planted my first ever rose this past spring. It is thriving and has grown quite a bit in size. It is a climber and I planted it next to a fence but the fence is not easy to tie to, so now that it is starting to flop over I want to build a support for it against the fence. I researched online and am planning to screw vine eyes onto my fence posts at 30 cm intervals from the ground, them string wire horizontally between the wine eyes. My question is, did I but the right hardware made out of durable enough materials (see photo attached)? And do I need to use tensioners or can I forgo this? The staff at the hardware store did not inspire my confidence, and I am now worrying that I might build something that will fall apart later and be tough to replace when the rose is mature.

Thank you!!

Hi there! We have a maple (variety: autumn blaze) in our front yard at Dundas and dovercourt. It was planted about 7 years ago and reaches about 15 feet high. Every year it has done so well and I believe it is well established. This year it did not have many leaves. I confess I didn’t water it as much this year, relying on rain. I believe this is part of the problem and I promise to water it more next year. In the meantime, I am wondering what I can do this late in the season. Is there anything I can do to prep it for the winter?

Many thanks,


I was wondering if I can get some advise on landscaping my frontward. I have the design but wanted help with foundation plants to select


I have a question about shallow digging near a large cedar hedge and damage to the roots and cedar itself. How far from the hedge does the lateral root network go, and can a cedar sustain some lateral root damage from this shallow digging?

I live in Toronto and have a nice large established cedar hedge (25 year old emerald I believe). The hedge is healthy. I want to put a shed base near the hedge and I need to dig about 6 to 8 inches. I attached a picture to show the dig site and it’s position to the hedge. The dig line is 8ft from the hedge trunk line and 4 ft from the dripline.

I would appreciate your expert opinion.

We are here in Hamilton Ontario close to Toronto Ontario.
We had an ornament Korean Lilac tree but it was topped up last year from the snow storm. we removed the tree left the stump, however this summer right from the tree stump we got an weird looking plant or shrub . Please help to identified the plant. Thank you

The plant has holes in the leaves but i cant find any bugs in the soil

We have 4 multi stemmed phantoms
about 5 feet apart , western exposure under filtered light from deciduous and pine trees..They are 5 years old. I’d like to prune them. Could I cut branches close to main stems in order to encourage new shoots in the center of Bush ?

I have a row of 4 boxwoods along a fence- East facing. I had planted different Iris – as I thought the spikes of the leaves might make an interesting contrast. They don’t, and they are crowding the boxwoods. I’m looking for a native alternative that might be more symmetrical – perhaps little blue stem (Schizachyrium scoparium) or a non-native – like sedum. I have added compost & soil to the garden, but there is a lot of clay.

How unusual is this hibiscus bloom? Has bloomed all summer on deck facing lake near Fort York and this opened today!

I have been seeing posts on FB groups (Ontario Gardening eg) that Vinca is invasive and not local and should be eradicated. Is this true
If yes, what ground cover would you recommend?

I found this plant growing at a neighbours house on my street in Riverdale.The spot is south facing and the attached photo shows that it is about 18″ tall, perhaps 12″ spread. The soil on our street is quite sandy as the photo shows. It is blooming now – early Sept – with clusters of white flowers at the end of the branches.

I have two quesions about my Pinky Winky, a hydrangea tree.
It was planted in summer, 2016/ fertilized well in spring.
Since the original tree was heavier at one side (see the pic: left one is younger tree with more branches toward the south – left hand-), I replanted after turning about 180 degree this spring after enrich the soil. (Right pic: September 2021)

1. I believe that the replant was successful, but I’m not sure if the tree is growing in a great shape having branches more evenly than now.

2. Every summer the flowers showed beautiful gradation, but not this summer. Entire tree looks much darker. (dark green colored leaves and wine-red colored flower with less gradation) Why? Weather condition? Watered too much?

I have been reading Doug Tallamy’s books. He suggests we determine the “keystone” native plants for our area that support 75% of insect life such as caterpillars that so many species depend on. What are the keystone plants for Toronto? I believe Goldenrod is one of them since it supports way more species than some of the other native plants. Thanks!

I have two quesions about my Pinky Winky, a hydrangea tree.
It was planted in summer, 2016/ fertilized well in spring.
Since the original tree was heavier at one side (see the pic: left one is younger tree with more branches toward the south – left hand-), I replanted after turning about 180 degree this spring after enrich the soil. (Right pic: September 2021)

1. I believe that the replant was successful, but I’m not sure if the tree is growing in a great shape having branches more evenly than now.

2. Every summer the flowers showed beautiful gradation, but not this summer. Entire tree looks much darker. (dark green colored leaves and wine-red colored flower with less gradation) Why? Weather condition? Watered too much?


I have a bed which we dug 2 years ago and added Anise Hyssop Pearly Everlasting and Virginia Mountain Mint.All of which is doing very well, but the soil in the bed has subsided and is now 4 ” below the adjacent lawn can I just add soil or do I need to lift and replant the plants- can I do it now, or do I need to wait until spring? I have soil I got for another bed so want to get it out of the bag!

Hi there, I’m looking for a mix of native trees that provide a large tree block to hide new neighbors house. I live an hour north west of toronto.

Hi Can you share names of two or three rose shrubs ( that I can trim and keep at around 5 feet height and 3 feet width) that is repreate long bllomenr wit bright pink or red flowers and is resistant to japanese beattle.2. How can i train my honeysuckle ( picture attached) to cling to top of my house? what equipment should i buy to help this and when is best time to help it climb 3. when si best time to transplant a floc plant and how is the best way to transplant from one location to another in the garden – what should i do so that it will grow well

Can you suggest three disease resisteat ( japanese beattle) repeat blooming shrub roses ( bright pink, or red) tgat i can trm and keep at around 5 feet hight and 3 feet width 2. how can i help steer this honeysucjkle to climb to top of my hom e ( picture attached) – what equipment should i buy and when should i install it and trim it so it can climb. 3. when si best time to transplant a floc plant in my garden, how to do it so it will survive – thanks

We have a small city garden with a patch of grass in the middle. Each summer the grass dies. It doesn’t go dormant. It dies, and if we leave it until spring, there is just mud.

We’ve raked and removed thatch. We’d added new soil with peat moss and grass seed. The lawn is lush by June, but then section by section, it dies. Just a few patches of clover.

Can’t see any signs of grubs. The rest of the garden around the grass is fine. I need a trusted source to come and analyze what’s going on. ANy advice is helpful.

I planted a river birch – Betula Nigra – in May 2018 – three stems forming a clump. it is planted in a small urban garden with mixed sun and shade – approximate height – 20ft – spread – 9ft) On one of the three stems, the leaves are small and exhibit brown edges and are curled at the edges. The other two stems do not show any similar symptoms. The two normal stems seem to be growing normally – the bark has a more pronounced brown colour – like the bark of similar clumps I have seen. The third stem (with the curled leaves) is significantly smaller in diameter and the bark colour is much lighter. The third stem has not developed as well as the other two. This condition appeared in the first year. I expected that if it was a blight of some sort, it would spread to the other two stems but so far they do not exhibit the same symptoms. Photos of the clump showing the bark condition (the pale bark is the affected stem (the third stem is in the back of the photo) and sample leaves from the tree is attached. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.


We are new to terrace gardening (we are on the 8th floor of a building at Bloor and Bathurst that faces east) and were curious about wintering our plants. We have four Royal holly plants in double walled planters and two Green Mountain boxwoods in formal square planters. We want everything to survive the winter and need to know what we should do. Should we wrap the plants and the planters in burlap? Suggestions on how to wrap them? Thank you for your help and assistance.

I understand snowdrops should be planted early, mid-September I am reading, but we are having such a heat wave (relatively) that I’m wondering is it too warm to plant them , or actually any of my spring blooming bulbs?
Thank you

I have several bushel baskets of well-composted bones -mostly chicken. The meat and marrow are long gone. When screening my finished compost, I get well-composted bones. Can anyone use these to build up the nutrients in their soil? I don’t garden myself but don’t want these bones to go to waste.

We planted what we thought would be nice, colourful, low-growing wildflowers in our permeable pavers. Instead, the pavers are filled with weeds that spread to our beds. They are not low growing so we have to mow it every week, which was not what was intended. (The permeable pavers are in our front yard and very occasionally we park on them.) Our neighbour said it looks like we’re growing artisanal salad! 
We’re hoping to start over with something more appropriate. Creeping thyme has been recommended, for example. How do we start over? Do we have to dig out the wild flowers/weeds by hand (which will be laborious as there are about 300 little holes in our permeable pavers)? Is there anything else we can do to get rid of them? Is creeping thyme a good option?
Thank you.

My oak leaf hydrangea is not blooming. Lots of leaves, plant is healthy other than a few bug. It is in a sunny place in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

I live in Fairfax, VA…zone 7. Our HOA is purchasing Norway Spruce trees. With global warming, are we going to be too warm for them to thrive?
Also will the female cones drip sap ( like the cones on a Pine tree does)?

The city is putting a tree in my yard (city property). I want something small. They suggested a Yellow Wood. Do you recommend this tree for a small space? I read that the fruits are smelly. Is that true?

Thank you,

Good afternoon. I have a single plant of Starry false Solomon’s seal. It flowers every year but this year it produced berries which are now bright red. I opened one and there are two beige seeds inside. Are they likely to be fertile? If I plant them, should I remove the flesh of the berries first? Thanks

I have 4 pots of North Wind Ornamental Grass that is 4-5 feet tall. I want to move them in their pots into our heated garage over the winter and I would plan on watering them and leaving the lights on in the garage. There is no natural light in the garage. Will they survive?

My Snake plant is in a crowded container and is not looking good. Can i plant it outdoors in the summer and bring it back in in the fall? Should i thin it out and get rid of most of the shoots?

We would like to transplant a poppy plant from our garden in Markham to a garden south of Parry Sound. We originally got the poppy from my father in laws property in Scarborough. It managed very well for 6 years in Markham. Our new home south of Parry Sound has a beautiful perennial garden with plenty of native plants. We don’t take possession of the new home until Oct 21 but are thinking that we would ask the current owners if we could plant it now. Can you advise us as to what we could do during the transplanting process to help it to thrive.

We planted a sonic bloom weigela (which came in a 8inch pot) 3 years ago and after its 1st winter it turned brown and the branches were mostly done. Then it sprouted a little bit in early summer and it grew very little with 1 or 2 flowers so we kept it until the next summer. Then it grew just a little before fall. This year it began life again in spring and then we gave it 10-15-10 liquid plant food fertilizer and it responded. We have been giving it fertilizer every 6 weeks and it has shown a little growth and its only leaves with no flowers.
Please advise what I can do to get the weigela to blossom with flowers and reach full growth by next year.

Hello, I moved into a new house in Aug and have mostly settled in by now (mid Sept). We want to expand the footpath and put in a raised bed in the front of the house. Is it a good time to do it now or in spring (Apr)?

Re: raspberries (Rubus), I see that you recommended removing one-third of the oldest stems each year in order to maintain vigorous newer productive growth. Have you recommended on your site making those stems available as nest sites for native solitary bees & wasps within the garden rather than discarding them? If not, please do.

Dear Master Gardener,
I need to plant (add) more tulips, daffodils and hyacinths to my current in ground garden, to make the display more fuller in the Spring but I don’t know exactly where these bulbs are in the garden. I was wondering if I can put these bulbs in a large container and leave out over the winter and when they start to grow, I can transplants them in early spring, thus knowing where the other bulbs are located. Will the bulbs survive in the container or do I need to protect the bulbs. Many thanks Lorrie

I started a tea plant (Camellia sinensis) from seed during the late fall. The plant is in a partly shaded, sun dappled location.

Over the last few months the new leaves have been getting lighter in colour. Thinking the problem might be related to insufficient soil acidity, I added a pH reducer about 1 month ago, however I see no change.

What do you think is causing the problem and what remedy do you recommend? Thanks.

This is in a friends backyard here in Toronto. They are wondering what it is and what they should do with it. The tree is an older cherry about 6 metres tall. It is close to a shed.

After a happy summer outdoors, my elephant ear plant has four seed pods! I would hate to see them go to waste. Would any of your members like them? I would be happy to mail them once they ripen.

Hi everyone. Does anyone know what is happening to my lilacs? A few weeks ago they started losing leaves like crazy. We planted them in spring and all summer we didn’t see any issues. Now the leaves look droopy and wilted and keep falling. Thanks!

Hi. Over the last 2 months, my apple trees have started to get branches where the leaves turn brown and the branch appears to die. Also, the apple fall off. I cut off the first few branches, thinking it was isolated, but the “problem” appears to be increasing, ie a branch every week or so. Any thoughts please? Thanks.

Hi, why are comments allowed to be made but then they are removed? Who is the Admin for the TMG FB page and what is the policy? I see some comments are allowed to remain. Cheers, Patrick TMG.

Four years past Rudbeckia fulgida Goldsturm was planted in a new front garden. From the second year on, they develop angular black spots on the leaves killing them ground up. I believe, without a microscope, this to be a bacterial infection. At first I thought it was fungal and tried sulphur, have always cut them back to the ground each fall and last summer tried to remove the leaves as soon as I saw the black spots. Today I removed the whole plants with roots after I noticed what I think is the spread to a hydrangea (cut this back)
My question is – if I want to replant Rudbeckia could I plant new Spring 2022 or wait; or, is there a similar plant – hardy full sun, natural – with ornamental grasses, day lily, purple coral bell – that is resistant to this bacteria?
With thanks for your advice.

Dear fellow garden masters,

As a novice gardener, I’m frustrated in deciding to keep my beloved Itoh peonies live or not. They are planted this spring, mid May 2020, were healthy when planting, but within a week, one (the top row of the attached image) showing signs of disease on its leaves, the symptom began similar to the bottom row of the attached image. Up to today, all its leaves are infected by the disease, and was weakened enough that it also caught powdery mildew and black spot during the wet summer of this year. I’m confused about the disease, as some of my neighbor said it’s rust, others said it’s virus. I’m worried about the latter, as the only way to deal with virus is to completely destroy the plant. The disease does seem spreading, as the bottom row of the attached image is the neighboring peony.

If it can be saved, then I’d like to transplant it to a better location, but I’m worrying about spreading the disease: shall I cut off all the leaves, and wash the root soil free when transplanting?

Here are some info:
my zone: 5b, Barrie ON
planting location: full sun (about 7 hours of direct sunlight); well ventilated (plants are 3 feet apart and the bigger/heavily disease one is about 2 feet wide, the other is only 1 foot wide), quite windy location.
soil: loam-sandy, very well drained; PH neutral (around 7)
heavily disease peony: Scrumdiddlyumptious Itoh peony, 2 by 2 feet in size; top row of the image
lightly disease peony: Bartzella Itoh peony, 1 by 1 feet in size; bottom row of the image

Thanks for your advice in advance,

I started a black pepper plant (Piper nigrum) from a cutting about 1.5 years ago. The vine has been outside during the summer in an area with stippled sunlight and is growing well.

I now see a small growth in two areas of the plant at leaf nodes. The photos shows one of these small growths. I was wondering what the small growth is (eg. air root, flower, something else)?

Thanks for your assistance.

Can I gently dig up tulips just as they start to come up in the Spring and transplant to another site in my garden. I have a mixture of colours and I want to put the same colours together, but now it is September and I cannot remember where these are. Is there anything special I should be concerned about eg. not blooming in the new spot? Thanks

I have seeds that I tried to sprout recently but have not germinated. Can I just plant the seeds into a pot to winter and then hopefully sprout in the spring? Planting them directly in the soil would be fine as well except that the seeds are black and would be hard to see in the spring. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hi, I am an avid gardener who has recently moved from a house with beautiful garden to a house with a tiny backyard with a nice deck, a cedar fence and a yard that is 95% astroturf and a very tiny, empty garden. If I owned the property, I would know what to do, but as a tenant for maybe the next two years, I am trying to solve several problems.
1. On the other side of our 6″ fence is a public pathway with a hill which means that everyone who walks by, looks into our yard. I am trying to find ways to add privacy screening above the fence.. preferably something that blends in with the surrounding trees but doesn’t take years to grow..
2. We have a very narrow strip of good soil, ( 12″ x 7 ‘) next to the house which gets part sun, part share. I am looking for something to plant there that will be substantial, but not grow bigger that the space. I am thinking of Hens and Chicks.

I would truly appreciate your advice

I live in Mississauga ON, with conditions of sun and shade, and clay in the soil.
Our lovely, hugely tall tree that we inherited full grown 50 years ago, has been dropping leaves and twigs all summer long. The leaves brown and curl. The twig has a fine brown inner ring on the cut stem. Not Oak Wilt, Please!!

Hi there,
I ordered a couple of Russian Sage bare roots in the mail and planted them at the beginning of the summer. I wet the roots with a hose but didn’t soak them prior to planting. I then watered them to keep the soil moist for the next two weeks but they never grew. Should I have pre-soaked them and is there a way now to revive them for next year?

I need to dig up tulip bulbs when they have finished blooming in the Spring. Should I wait until the leaves have faded and gone brown or can I dig up while they still have green leaves and transplant to another section of my garden immediately bulb with green leave attached. Thank you. Lorrie

My neighbour did some work in his garden the summer of 2020 and since then invasive vines have shown up in my side garden and middle garden . He hasn’t done anything about this and I don’t know what to do about it. I have sent a picture of the vine the location of which is next to my back deck I have more vines in my middle garden and side Garden and even popping up through my lawn.


I hope you are well. We are reaching out because we have an infestation of a weed. We cannot identify it. Our neighbour has requested we take care of it as it has spread to her yard and we’d like to see if we can reasonably do something about it.

Thank you

Where can I buy a lemon tree in Toronto?

Hi – About 3 years ago I planted 8 8-foot black cedars next to a wood fence. They are about 10+ feet now and relatively look healthy. Late spring I noted a few branches on 2 of them where the foilage tips are browning. I now see that on 3 of the cedars. All cedars have new growth and look full. They face south, it is not a windy area. The soil was native clay and when I planted it used clay and triple mix . I fertilize once a year in the spring but do not water frequently. When I do I use a soaker hose. Water does not puddle in these areas as I have landscape fabric around the front where excess water can drain. I do not see signs of little webs, black spot or bugs. Any idea what could cause this? Thanks for your help.

Hi There,
I hope this email finds you well. Can shrubs like boxwoods and perennials planted in pots survive Toronto winters?

I searched on the site and I kind find anything.
I’m right now spreading about 1 inch of spend grain on top of the
soil and then turning it in to The Claw cultivator tool.
What I’d like to know is how much can I amend the soil with this
material? Is adding this much enough or is it possible to add more?
I am also using coffee chaff and coffee grounds partly as an additive and partly for mulch. Are there any limitations to using this?
Composted cow manure will go on the top of the mixed soil and then the coffee chaff and ground up deciduous tree leaves will go on top of that.
Is this okay?

The location is in Toronto. It is a city allotment plot 24′ by 40′.
For the past 25 years this plot has been amended only with cow manure. Every spring it was rotovated. This is now going to cease.

One side of the plot is amended with chicken manure, bone meal, and composted sheep manure with cocoa hull as mulch. This side has not been tilled at all. The plants were cut down, weeds pulled by hand and a cover crop was planted. Unfortunately little creatures plucked out all of the Winter Peas and Winter Rye. The Brassicas are doing very well.

One half of the other side of the plot is being amended with brewers grain, coffee chaff, and a neglible amount of coffee grounds. This is the part that was disturbed with the cultivator and will have cow manure topped with coffee chaff.

Even though the coffee chaff is very light, it is staying in place.

The other half has not had any disturbance and also has chicken manure, bone meal, a layer sheep compost on top with coffee chaff as mulch.

The soil base is clay. The claw is only being used to turn in the amendments. It has not been used anywhere else. Some digging was necessary to remove bindweed. It was only very apparent that it is clay base when I dug down at least 8 to 10 inches to remove Bindweed roots.

Next year each side will have the same types of crops planted.
Peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, chard, garlic, onions, etc. The only fertilizer that will be used is the granular Promix Organic for vegetables.

My own plot is no till since 2016. I only apply chicken manure, bone meal, all the green leafy material at the end of the season, Fafard sea compost top dressing with cocoa hull mulch. The soil is absolutely fabulous. The place grows a jungle and is hugely productive. It is still full of green plants right now because I do successional planting. Each bed produces two to three crops.

The other plot belongs to my friend. I do not want him to do any tilling so the way things are, it’s an experiment to see what happens. Maybe I can convince him to stop rotovating.

My understanding is that the amendments will decompose rapidly in the soil and by next spring there will not be any visible sign of barley or anything else. It should just be soil. Because of the temperature now the barley did not smell bad at all after being left on the surface for a couple of days. The garbage bags, that’s a different story. They are now inside out to dry.

I entirely agree that destroying soil architecture is a bad practice.
Hopefully the amount of disturbance I am doing right now is the last of it. The soil is moderately compacted.

There might be space in the back corner to make a compost pile.
If I have enough leaves I’ll mix them up with barley and chaff, cover with a tarp and see what happens by next spring.

I will follow up next year.

I have eremurus bulbs in a pot. Every year they produce vigorous leaves but do not flower. I have brought them in for a dormant period; but, the following year, they still do not bloom. They are a dark leaf variety the blooms when I bought the plant, were pink.

I put in a weeping redbud 2.5 years ago. It has grown very strongly, and is now about 7′ tall and 3.5′ across. I want to move it next spring. Is it now too established to made that reasible?


I am wondering if it is too late in the season to divide hostas. Would it be better to wait until spring and, if so, how early should I do it. Thanks, Lesley

1. it is better to leave oak leaves in garden or remove.
2; for oak leaves not in garden I rake and shred, then put in compost… they are slow but do compost. Any problems with this?
3. Norway maple leaves from neighbors yard. These leaves often have black growth on them. Is it okay to compost.

We had white cedars planted as a privacy hedge in April and they have been so so well! Last week however, I noticed some trees were starting to turn yellow. The leaves are soft and moist but the color changed! Do white cedars change color in the fall? If they do what can I expect in terms of shedding and regrowth? If not, what could be the issue? They receive adequate moisture and have been doing very well to this point. Thank you!

Hi, I live in Toronto, in what used to be East York. I usually cut back a lot of the plants in the garden, although I do leave some for the birds.
Is Oct 11th, Monday of next week, too early to start this process?

I want to pleach some trees and am looking for help identifying someone with expertise in pleaching who could give me advice/assistance. Do you have any recommendations?

I have irises in my garden that are overgrown and surrounded with grass. Is it too late now to pull them up and replant them? If so, what is the best way to deal with them?

Thank you,
Janet Mannone

Dear Toronto Master Gardeners,
I’m currently taking AP Capstone: Research at Nixa High School with Mrs. Amanda Stoll, and I’m especially interested in your expertise.

I would like to learn more about your work, particularly your article “Companion Planting: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide”. My experience working with tomatoes and companion planting taught me how crucial your research is, so I am especially intrigued by the connections between companion gardening with tomatoes and their outcome. Is this something that I could explore with you? Are you currently accepting consultations with high school students?

If you have the time, I would love to discuss this with you by email or by phone (you can reach me at I am also happy to tell you more about myself and my background. I humbly request your service and expertise to serve as an “Expert Consultant” or on my AP Research project and Presentation committee.

Attached below is a screenshot of the advisor requirements for your reference, and I can email you my annotated bibliography and questions if you are interested.
Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Respectfully, Christena Berry
Nixa High School
AP Capstone: Research-Student

tree in mt. pleasant cemetery (toronto)
full sun, 30-40′ tall.

I was lucky enough to acquire a large beautiful Japanese themed, painted ceramic pot, from a lovely gentleman whose wife had passed away and who had loved this pot. I want to take good care of it. My idea, when I acquired it, was to plant a Japanese Maple in it and keep it outside on my flagstone patio in Toronto. However, it was used indoors by its previous owner. I am nervous about keeping the ceramic container outside with a tree in it in case it freezes and cracks. I have been brainstorming with myself on how to make this work because I think it will be a very beautiful element in my back yard. It just occurred to me that, perhaps I could grow the J. Maple in a plastic pot, inserted into the ceramic pot, so that no frozen soil actually comes in contact with the ceramic during the winter months. My question for you is, will the J. Maple survive, or better yet, thrive in a plastic pot? If you have any advice to give in this regard, I would be grateful to hear it!

Could you please identify this weed it’s quite invasive and spreads quickly. The soil is clay and it is growing in the shade of a cedar hedge! We have not seen a flower. It’s 1 foot tall and wide . It’s growing just North of TBG.

I have followed all the advice found on getting my vine to flower again, to no avail They thrive in rainy Dublin, growing among hedges and up hydro poles but not in Toronto. Ed Lawrence suggested the addition of coffee grounds for more soil acidity, ensure lots of water, shade the roots in the p.m. and less N fertilizer. Nothing. There is going to be a trick which, I will continue to search for and will let you know.

We have been living in our house for 4 years and the first year we had a beautiful bloom (cared for by previous owners) but since we moved in the blooms have been less than 25% of the first year. How/when do we cut mophead hydrangeas?

We have been living in our house for 4 years and the first year we had a beautiful bloom (cared for by previous owners) but since we moved in the blooms have been less than 25% of the first year. How/when do we cut mophead hydrangeas?

I have an orchid which has grown a “baby” on top – what should I do – separate it – leave it alone? Will it ever bloom?

This is the second year my Calla Lilly has grown “buds’ inside the spent flower. Last year I planted the whole thing as an experiment. Nothing grew.
What should I do with what looks like many small bulbs?

I have a Pagoda Dogwood planted three years ago that after the first winter has been experiencing die-off of successive branches. I have lost half the bulk of the tree with two of three remaining branches dead, dying or (so far) ok. Attached photo shows what may be a symptom – discoloured bark. The leaves begin to turn yellow on a branch and by the end of the season the branch is dead. In this photo the central stem is dead and the right stem is dying. You will see a central stem that I had to remove last year.
I suspect that it is too late to save the tree but would appreciate knowing what has infected it, and what this might mean for replacing the tree. Could I replace with another dogwood, or should I try something else, or will any other tree also have problems with residual disease in the soil? Thank you for your time and expertise!

Can we grow bamboo species (sympodial) in a hydroponic system? The bamboo is 2-3 month olds. If yes, can you recommend the suitable hydroponic set up.

I started a new garden with all new soil. All my plants became giants. A 2 yr old weeping redbud is now about 7-8′ tall and 5-6′ wide. It is clearly going to be too big for its location.
Is it too large to transplant? Can I still do it this fall?

We hired a contractor this spring to redo our yard, which contained a significant amount of backfill from an old renovation done years ago ( a mix of clay and garbage, rusted nails, broken tile etc). Removal of the contaminated backfill was a major objective of the project, but this was not done before other elements of the yard were constructed and the sod laid.
The shape of the garden bed was cut into the sod, but none of the clay full of garbage was excavated, the subcontractor just compacted it with his skid-steer. The contractor is telling me that 6 inches of top soil on top will be able to grow anything. My dream is to have a thriving native perennial shade garden in this space. The compacted clay and garbage layer is about 8 inches deep. After that it transitions into a very fine light colored sand. I am wondering what treatment you would recommend for the soil? I am thinking that I will at least need to dig out the garbage.
Further to this, about an inch of soil was raked over the compacted clay before the sod was laid. No tilling was done. So far the sod is growing well. Should I be concerned?
Thank you so much,

My 47 year-old grapefruit tree was moved 3 years ago and since then he has been unwell. His name is Bernard, hense a he. He was given a radicle leaf trim before moving ecause of his size. However, since then he looses leaves after watering. We tried requent watering, weekly and bi-weekly watering, lots of water, little water but he just looses leaves.
Also, I need to move again and upstairs in December. He’s super heavy and a thought I have is to take him out of his pot and move without earth and then trqansplant. Yet, worried he won’t survive.
Any and all help as to how to help him get well and survive a move is hugely appreciated. I planted him from a seed and he is very dear to me.

Are Yew trees toxic to people and animals? Is this one of those?

Hi there, we planted this shademaster honeylocust in the fall of last year but I think it’s just going to be too big for our year and too close to our pool (you can see the overdig of the pool installation.) Would you know where we could find someone who would be willing to take this beautiful tree? I am going to try to post on kijiji but figured you may have resources too. Thanks!

We had this Japanese Maple planted by an arborist about four years ago. It’s grown quite large and it is higher than the first floor of our house now. It is a Bloodgood variety. The conditions are favourable in terms of light and soil.
In the last couple of months, it has shown leaf browning and drop on about half of the tree. I’ve been told that it appears to be girdling but I’m not sure whether to proceed to have an expensive treatment done. Can you take a look at this? My feeling is that it may be too late to recover and I should just plant something else. Can you tell if this is girdling from the base of the trunk? What’s the chance of recovery do you think? I realize that you are dealing with limited information but any thoughts on the effectiveness of treatment for girdling would be appreciated The plan is to use an air compressor to remove the surrounding soil, cut roots and apply rubber mulch. If we go for fertilizer treatments,etc in addition to this, it will cost almost 1000.00 so we may just have the one treatment which is expensive enough!
Thanks kindly.

I have a bush that has many buds ready to bloom
at this late date. Should I cut them off the plant?
Or just leave them.
My second question is that I have a braided mini willow tree
I planted this year. Will it survive our winter? Should it
be sheltered from the weater?

I live in Scarborough. I displaced a two years old Cherry tree about 10 days ago. It’s leaves became dry and now are falling down.
I have attached a picture of the tree. Pleas guide me what to do.

Thank you,


I have a bush that produced only one flower this spring.
It now has about 20 buds on it. What do I do now?

We just planted about 30 emerald cedars (5-6 feet tall). We planted them in Sept. They get plenty of water and sunshine but we noticed most of them are browning on the INSIDE with a few brown branches sticking out but mainly it’s the middle trunk area and we need to separate the branches to see it. In doing research we came across the term ‘fall needle drop’ but not sure if this is how it looks. It’s affecting almost all of the trees in various degrees and we’re worried. The outside leaves/ quills are quite green and generally look healthy.

Hi. I have had an umbrella tree for about a year now. It was doing very well, and was full of leaves — now it looses leaves every day, and is looking quite naked. At first I thought it was because I was watering it too much, but I’ve since stopped, and changed the pot and the soil — however, I’m not seeing much improvement. It’s leaves are still falling, every day at least two or three fall. Is there anything I can do to bring it back to health? Thank you!

Please advise me how to deal with this green graft on my small Japanese maple tree. Shall I cut it off? I did not realize this when I bought it .

It also got a little overgrown with the cedums. I think I have to transplant it as well as it’s in a corner close to the stairs leading to my front door. When is a good time to transplant and how much sun does it need? Thank you,

Hi in zone 6b I am told. Full sun and wet! I was going to attempt planting all my spring bulbs in pots and was told maybe they would not survive unless in a unheated garage. I purchased 12″ diameter,!2″high containers and have some plastic larger ones. Is this a pretty risky idea if next to the house or on the earth under low hoops with a few layers of floating row cover? Thanks!

Can you please tell me what this plant is and if it is a perennial?

Thank you,

Can you please tell me what this plant is and if it is a perennial? My apologies for not including all of the information requested the first time.
Height – ~30″
Spread = ~30″
Sunny location
Growing in clay, so leaning towards moist

Thank you,

I found several of these very small plants blooming, if that is even the word, today on my backyard. They are very small and resemble seed pods, but are “growing”

Hi there, I am in zone 6b and have a clay soil. This year I had many diseases present in the garden, botrytis, blight, powdery mildew, maybe downy mildew etc. I am planning to plant tulips, daffodils, muscari, iris reticulata and crocuses. We may move in the next few years and if I move some of my bulbs, as well as my calla lilies, dahlias, bearded irises with meis there a way to treat them so that any soil diseases are not spread to the new garden? Also when is the optimal time to sow tulips, iris reticulata, crocus, and snow drop here?

30-40′ ft. tree (approx.), full sun, mt. pleasant cemetery.

We are looking for bushes that could break a fall in the event that someone falls from a balcony/window of a building such as an apartment. These bushes would be planted at the appropriate place close to buildings in the GTA area. This question is part of research for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design projects.

There was no growth on the dwarf lilac this year. No leaves. No flowers. However, there are a couple of suckers growing from the base. Is it possible they will mature to full grown lilac or dwarf lilac trees? Also, is it possible for the dwarf lilac tree to be dormant for one year and then recover the next?

I have an allotment garden in High Park. The soil is mostly clay with organic matter added over the years.
In the clay areas I regularly come across this worm when digging the soil. It is about 1” in length and 1/8th ” in diameter with a shell-like skin. I have never been able to identify it I wonder if you can. Thanks

Was wondering what type of tree this is. There are a no. planted on Heath Street West on the south side. Not sure if they are street or private trees. Robust deciduous with red/orange berries that attract robins & starlings. Did look online but didn’t find match as clearly not American Mountain Ash. Many thanks

Please help me identify the plant in the attached photo.
Many thanks!

Q1. Can I place cardboard on my garden during the winter?
Q2. I have many harvested pepper plants and leaves from the garden. Can I put these on the garden over the winter?

What is the best mulch for my rhodos for over the winter? I don’t have access to oak leaves, and I do have some pine needles (but not enough to make any depth of layer). Can I use cedar chips (from the pet store)? Would straw work? I think the soil is clay to loam, and they never get full sun. Thanks, Sandra

today moved four large hibiscus plant into a studio on my
two are like trees a main trunk jwith a braided overlay
several colour blooms and some are frllly

the other two are more like bushes and the blooms areprofuse and shades of pink

the bushes were repotted

the studio has a heated cork floor set today at 15degees
and the plants are in front of a large window with a ?northwest exposure
sprayed all the plants with safers and watered them
the bushes are still loaded with buds

any advice?
ive just moved in
its an experiment
but hoping to keep them alive
im in Stratford by the way
thanking you in advance

Question is from London ON. We have a fist yr euonymous (grafted) tree. Do we need to cover it or ???? this winter?

I have a new moisture meter and I am noticing that sometimes when I stick the meter in, it will show “Moist” but if I move over to another spot, it says “Dry”. So which one do I listen to and is there any way to get a more uniformed reading? I have a nice Monstera which had so many different readings today that I left it for fear I’ll overwater. Help please!

Hello fellow Gardeners,

I’ve been doing research about how to propagate foxtail lilies all over the internet but could not find any info. I just purchased 2 bulbs; one of them looks healthy with some roots, however the other one is a bit suspicious. The inside is rotten but there are some adjacent little protrusions that are kind of round? I was wondering if the main stem just died and bulblets are being created on the sides around the rotting centre or were they becoming roots but the stem already died so there wont any flowers from it? If anyone could let me know I’d really appreciate.

Thank you,

I watched your YouTube on cutting lavender. In the episode you mentioned screened lime stones that the lavender is sitting on.

Can you explain what exactly it is, how much was placed, quantity, age of plants that would thrive in that environment.

I have solid clay soil and must amend the space. I am always looking for how best to do it.

Thank you so much.

Can you tell me what kind of bugs are on the milk weed?

I live in Markham and have received an order if bare root peonies. Can I winter them in a bushel basket of soil or pots and plant in the spring? They would be in the garage over winter.

I have a few 1st year roses in containers. I have 3 choices to over winter them. Outside in a protected from wind area but they would get snow, in unheated shed where they will get some light from a skylight but where I can’t access them to water them infrequently, or in an unheated garage with no sunlight but where I can give them water if they need it. Which would be best to help them survive?

Today is Oct. 27 ( 16C In Toronto ). My neighbor has given me some of his outdoor ivy groundcover which I have transplanted already to a shady area .Most of the attached roots were kept intact in the soil which was extracted from his yard Should I be watering now ( if so how much) at this time of year or wait till spring and is it even necessary in the spring? Thank you for reading my enquiry.

I have 3 David Austin Roses that have developed rosette disease – how common is this in Toronto – how do I dispose of them? Do I have to remove soil?
I may have planted the roses too close together ? Can I plant again? Very disappointed

Thank you so much for your comments re eremurus. I will split up what is in the pot and plant it in soil with good drainage. Another quesrion: I know that eremurus needs a dormant period. I kept it dormant last winter. It grew well with great strappy leaves this summers; but, didn’t bloom. Is it better to keep it dormant this winter? Should I divide it into a number of pots now, or in the spring? I have a bright greenhouse.


I have two Burning Bush in front of my house; they are less than 10 ft apart. One is very healthy and the other one developed brown leaves last summer (2020). How can I save the unhealthy one? I live in Brampton (zone 5b). They are facing West and get sun from noon to evening. I water them once or twice per week. The soil is clay, but I add a lot of planting soil around. The unhealthy one is near the front step and I found a lot of ants around that area.

Thank you very much


I have two Burning Bush in front of my house; they are less than 10 ft apart. One is very healthy and the other one developed brown leaves last summer (2020). How can I save the unhealthy one? I live in Brampton (zone 5b). They are facing West and get sun from noon to evening. I water them once or twice per week. The soil is clay, but I add a lot of planting soil around. The unhealthy one is near the front step and I found a lot of ants around that area.

Thank you very much

I am resending this since the picture I upload was not good.
I have two burning bush in my front flower bed, they are about 7 feet apart. One is very healthy, the other one has sicky brown leaves look. It was started 2020 summer. I live in Brampton (zone 5b). I did scrp the bark as instructed. It is green. The plant is about 3 feet tall. I forgot how old it is. I would like to send you 2 more pictures. But the website only allow one.

Hi, I have a large gardenia in a container that I imagine I need to bring it in for the winter? It still has buds waiting to bloom (Oct. 31) but with the cold temperatures, I’m not sure what to do about cutting it back.Do I do that now and leave it outdoors until just before frost? Do I cut back all /some of the branches? When? How much? It’s larger than my indoor space will allow. If I cut back all the branches to 10-12″, will I be sacrificing next year’s blooms? Thank you for your help.

Hi. I’d like to keep my Dappled Willow Standard trees in large above-ground containers. For the winter, I’ve set each container on a wood base, and have wrapped the plastic pots in bubble wrap to provide some insulation. Will this be sufficient for the trees to overwinter? I’m west of Toronto, in Cambridge. Thank you.

Hi again,
I appreciate every time I have written in and I have received great advice.

So, what brings me here today? I am attaching a photo of my ten year old J. Maple. I just noticed that, on two areas of the tree, the leaves are looking “bleached”. They are not curled or dropping off, nor are there any web or cocoon-like substances on the leaves. I took a leaf into Sheridan this morning and the tree expert I spoke with (who is new to this location, due to the recent retirement of Amin, I think), told me she thought it was spider mites. But, as I said, I don’t see any cocoon like substances. She advised me to cut off all the affected leaves and to spray with remaining leaves with homemade insecticidal soap and water (I was going to use Dr. Bonner’s Castor-oil soap) and to clean up all debris under the tree. I started to cut off the leaves, and then looked at the “healthy” leaves. I am not sure what I am looking for, but it looks like even the healthy red leaves have teeny tiny beigeish spots on the undersides. Is that spider mites? I notice them on a J. Maple that is further down in the garden but that does not have the bleached leaf look happening. Perhaps this is something that all J. Maples have, I just never looked that closely before!
My question is, at this late time in the season, when the leaves will be falling off in a month, should I even bother to be cutting off the affected leaves, if the spider mites are going to freeze soon anyway (I hope)? What would you do at this time of the year if your J. Maple had these leaves? As always, I appreciate your wise advice.

Hi! I was wondering if you could tell me what these spots could be on my Bird of Paradise? This particular plant also gets scale when I bring it indoors, what can I do to prevent that?

Why give incorrect information. There is a MAJOR difference between the wisteria tree -Bolusanthus and the wisteria vine – Wisteria

I’m wondering if I can wait to plant my alliums and tulips next week when the weather is a little warmer for me to get outside or am I already late and should get them in the garden asap. Also, should I cover them in my unheated garage because it is so cold at night right now?
Thank you

Located in 5a, I have two different types of lavender.
a. ‘Essence Purple’ (pic Right) – planted on the ground that gets morning and late afternoon sun. Covered with burlap to overwinter. In spring I pruned a little, when it flowered I picked and made dried flowers. It became 1.5 times larger.
b. Possibly regular English Lavender (pic Left) – picked flowers when bloomed, still in the pot in the sunny place
Question about a: I want to move it to separate from rhododendron that’s also getting larger next to it. Should the relocation be next spring?
Question about b: How to overwinter it? Would it be fine if I planted it on the ground now (before it gets frozen) so I can cover it with burlap?

I also checked

Placed at the corner of dining room but closer to the patio door facing South/East, this yucca is loosing its great shape.
Bought 3 or 4 years ago. I gave watered once or twice a season.
Is there any solution?

Thankyou for getting back to me. You asked me to re-submit my question. Perhaps you misunderstood my question. About one week ago ( I live in Toronto ) we transferred some of my neighbor’s ivy groundcover to my garden ( roots and soil intact ).Because the nightly temps have been near 0C, I have covered the transplanted shoots at nite. Starting this weekend ( Nov. 6 ) and all next week the temps are to be well into the teens and the lows at nite well above the freezing mark. My question, starting this weekend, with the warmer temps, should I be watering the ivy in the daytime and how often and how much or do you recommend nothing until spring. Thanks. Ian

Several weeks after picking up some city compost, the tree I was going to amend seems to have a smaller drip line radius. Is it fine to add the compost, although it will probably be clumpy from sitting in bags in an unheated garage? Apologies for not providing a photo, but I couldn’t compress it beneath the 2.1 mb size. Thank you.

Last Spring, I grew Mexican feather grass from seed and planted in full sun outdoors. Will it survive the cold Toronto winter?

I just bought two Dwarf Alberta Spruce plants…which I intend to repot into planters that are 7”X7”X7”. I will be placing them outdoors on my balcony (they get south and west sunlight) asap.
I realize they require “well-drained acidic soil”… but I have never known what that is. The closest hardware store to us carries bags of “Alltreat Farms” Tropical Soil… IN CASE THIS HELPS: The info on the bag includes: “Ready to use straight from bag, no additives needed”’ “contains time release fertilizer…”; “Guaranteed Minimum Analysis: Total Nitrogen 0.08%, Available phosphate 0.24%, and Soluble Potash 0.08%.”
I am grateful for any help you can provide. I am hoping to repot asap.
Very best wishes,
Miriam email:

We live in Toronto and between our raised flower bed and the house it is 36 feet. We want to plant a hardy deciduous tree- dappled sunlight- not be more than 25′ tall. I have done a lot of research, talked to arborists. Native species are all too big. Full sun, good soil, moderate amount of water. Thank you.

I am beginning work on what will be a native plant garden in the west end of toronto. First I will remove a layer of asphalt and up to 12 inches of gravel. The soil underneath is sandy and the area is fairly shady. I don’t want to dump yards of triple mix or anything like it on top of the sand but to rather mimic the sandy soil already there. How would you suggest I do this? Any advice about what species would thrive in these conditions would also be helpful

I have four triple ball Eugenia topiaries that I need to overwinter. I live in zone 6B. Last year I brought them into the house and they died. That said, I simply do not have the room in my house to bring in four giant plants. As a result, I would like to overwinter them in my attached garage this year. My plan is to line them up in the garage along the side of the house. It will be the warmest there. I also have three windows so they will get light. I am wondering if they will go dormant and what kind of watering they will require. I bring lots of other plants into my garage (like my boxwood) and I only water them monthly. Should I follow the same protocol for these? I have had lots of success white overwintering all of my other plants so I am hoping for the best. The attached photo shows two of them in the far left corner.


First, I would like to thank you so much for all the help and knowledge you guys provide us with, it has helped me many times with my garden.

Now for the question, I have recently planted my serviceberry tree (amelanchier canadensis) in June of this year. It has been doing ok, no new leaves, in fact the leaves have been steadily falling, I gave it some fertilizer and compost but that only gave it some little leaf growth at the base of its trunk. I’m worried about winter for it. It’s pretty young, about 27 inches in height and less than 1 inch in diameter. I’m not sure if I have to do something extra for it during this winter or really how to go about preparing it to survive. I was just wondering what I can do and if there is any advice I can implement.

A little about the soil of my garden, the house is around 5 years old, it seems to be clay soil, I suspected it to be compacted but with the amount of earthworms I see around I think the soil is not that infertile despite it being clay. The house is located in north east Scarborough, if that would give any context.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope to hear from you guys soon!

I was hoping someone may be able to help me identify this problem with my Magnolia tree. I am in Toronto. The tree is about 30yrs old, 25′ tall and in a west facing backyard. Last year I noticed a few of these brownish looking bumps on one of the main branches that has a crack in the bark about 4 ft long. I didn’t do anything thing about it, hoping it was something transient. This year there appears to be more of the brownish bumps. Is it scale or a fungus and what should I do about it?
Thank you in advance for your help

Hello Master Gardeners,
thank you for providing an opportunity for people to obtain knowledge about plants.

My house came with this shrub (see pics attached) and we have had it for over 14 years now. It has grown significantly over the years however we trim it every year to ensure it does not cast shade upon the rest of our garden. This year for the first time I noticed dying branches, they have turned black and the leaves have disappeared. Upon further investigation, I noticed a strange beige coloured blight-looking infestation along the inner base of the branches. This is not a tree, but a shrub. In the past we have seen it retain its leaves even throughout winter. More pictures can be provided.

Please help us identify the name of this shrub and its condition. What is the recommended treatment?

Hi. I am surrounded by oak trees. I have a perennial garden with no grass. I have seen a number of articles suggesting that leaving leaves over winter is a good practice for insects and the garden. Would you recommend this?
Thanks! Linda

Hello, I live in Scarborough by the bluffs. I have planted a shady garden with many of hosta plants 2 summers ago. I use mulch as a way of weed control. The soils is mostly clay. My hostas thrived last summer. This summer, their leaves are full of holes. I believe to be the result of snails or slugs even though I found only a few snails in the soil. My questions are: 1. If the damage on the hosta leaves is not by snails, what could it be? 2. Is there any a preventative measure I can do this fall? I thank you in advance to answer my questions.

Good morning,
I have been battling this white growth on several plants this fall. It seems to be getting worse and spreading from plant to plant. There is now sticky stuff on the leaves and some leaves are turning yellow/dying. I’ve tried spraying with soap and water, but that doesn’t help.

We live in Toronto Rosedale and have a small 1/4 Acre walled garden. We have a Locust tree, a Norway Maple a Japanese Maple a Sugar Maple and a Verbena all mature. As you can imagine the garden is filled with leaves in Autumn, about half the leaves from the Norway Maple are diseased. We are concerned that if we do not clear all the leaves Mold could develop and especially impact our B Balm and Peonies next year. Should we clear all the leaves before Winter, leave them alone and remove them in the Spring or just try to remove only the diseased Norway Maple leaves (a very difficult job)? Would appreciate your wisdom

After the leaf drop occurs should the vines be cut back , if yes how much? Thank You

We live in Toronto Rosedale and have a small 1/4 Acre walled garden. We have a Locust tree, a Japanese Maple a Sugar Maple and a Verbena all mature. As you can imagine the garden is filled with leaves in Autumn. We are concerned that if we do not clear all the leaves Mold could develop and especially impact our B Balm and Peonies next year. Should we clear all the leaves before Winter or leave them alone and remove them in the Spring?
Would appreciate your wisdom

To: Master Gardeners
Subject: Arithmeum Plant

I bought a Mauve/Purple Arithmeum Plant near the end of the winter – it bloomed for a very long time. New leaves appear regularly. It seems to like the spot it is in as there is a large window not far from the table on which it stands.

How do I get it to bloom again?

Your help is much appreciated.

I bought a beautiful Azalea plant last year – possibly at the end of the winter – it bloomed beautifully for a very long time.

During the summer it was outside in a shady spot growing in shiny, healthy, new leaves. I’ve brought in in for the winter. How do I get it to rebloom?

My 6 ft. Rose of Sharon has now lost all its leaves. The tree faces west. (Toronto, Ontario Nov. 17 ) There are about 15-20 closed buds ( acorn size ) that did not bloom or open. Should I just cut off each bud now or wait till spring? Do I just cut off the buds or remove the entire branch back to the main stem? I want to encourage growth next spring.

I live in Pickering by Lake Ontario and want to plant ornamental grass. The area faces south. I would like something between 2-4 ft. I’m partial to the grass that has the lovely colorful feathery flowers in the fall.

How does one determine the ratio of browns to greens in compost? A bag of leaves is light and air-filled, whereas a green scrap container is dense. Does one compact the leaves to create the same density? And how so? Stomping on the bag? Smashing with a hammer?

My apartment building changed from under-floor heating to under-window radiators. (Residents cannot control the temperature or the amount of hot air blowing from the vents during cold weather.) Now although the pothos which is on the coffee table is doing well, my dragon dracaena, ZZ plant and snake plant which I used to keep on the windowsill are losing leaves or turning yellow. To reduce their exposure to the blowing heat, I moved them onto a table about 4 feet away the window, so they receive much less light than before. This is even more limited by a balcony overhanging their only (and east-facing) window. They are each potted in a mixture of 1/3 cactus/succulent soil to 2/3 Miracle Grow potting soil, so drain well after watering. I hope I don’t have to replace them with silk plants, but I realize that these conditions are atrocious for even plants which are tolerant of heat and low light. Do you have any suggestions to save my greenery? Thank you for any suggestions…


I am a novice gardener and have had a rough work schedule the last few years and have not kept up properly in the garden.

Goldenrod took over in my garden where there had been a 8×10′ patch of through which a stone path wanders. The goldenrod, in dry conditions grew extremely tall and stood upright most of the summer season and if I am honest some cut back the earlier year grew even hardier than the newest plants. In September/October the plants were cut to ground level and the debris taken away though some seeds were dispersed from pods and I expect there are rhizomes and strong roots underground. I missed digging out the roots in October due to work and a sore back. Now it is November and the temperatures are dropping (around 2-5 C at night), however my back is good and I am unsure how to proceed for the winter.

Where I live the soil is a bit sandy. I do not know if it is alkaline or acid or neutral – no soil tests done.

The goal next summer might be to have a hearty lawn again around these stones, perhaps with some other plants.

There is sign of moss in some areas of the garden where it is damp and shady and exposed.

There are worms visible in the top few inches of soil.

Frost has likely come once, but temperatures at night will be above 0 for maybe 2 more weeks.

Winter is generally partly grey/wet/cold and partly snowing with snow layering up to 20-30 cm.

Surrounding this area there are flagstones and the site’s rain runoff will naturally flow over this area.

I have a few above 0 C days now in November and have a tiller and shovel and pitchfork and trowel and weed removal tool and energy and motivation.

My options to fully get rid of this goldenrod (an admirable plant in many respects, but not desired in this location) *seem* to be… (thank you Master Gardeners, Landscape Ontario, City staff for your web sites!):

RE: Roots and soil
(a) Leave the roots until spring – with frost, it would be better to keep the ground compacted and not risk seeds getting deeper into the ground
(b) Dig out the roots ASAP – cold weather be darned.
(c) Dig out the roots and turn the soil and though it is late mix in leaves, green waste, manure, and/or compost matter
(d) Do something [?] to compact the ground so that it doesn’t erode in run off at spring thaw and provide covering matter [?] for bugs and wildlife to hibernate/feed

RE: Regrowth prevention for the next 10-12 months
(e) Cover the ground with cardboard secured with pegs, mulch and rocks
(f) Cover the ground with opaque black gardener’s cloth secured with pegs, mulch and rocks
(g) Cover the ground with black plastic sheets or tarp secured with pegs, mulch and rocks
(h) Cover the ground with clear plastic secured with pegs, mulch and rocks


0) What combo of options a-h above would you recommend? Or something else?

1) I am not clear what is the risk/benefit of digging up the roots now versus in the spring.

2) I am not clear what is the risk/benefit of turning the soil now versus in the spring.

3) I am not clear what is the benefit of cloth/cardboard covering up the ground now or in the spring.

4) I am not clear on what ground cover technique is best in terms of effectively killing the Goldenrod roots while managing moisture correctly and for a best impact on the worms, etc… (there are no other plants of concern)

5) I am not clear for how long to cover the area though understand that a period through the hot summer months might be warranted to restrict ‘sun and water=food’ to the plant and to apply heat to the plant roots and rhizome matter and any seeds not visible but possibly in the soil

6) I am not clear on whether the GoldenRod rhizomes or miscellaneous seeds can even be ‘killed’ at all as I think these might be quite hearty and designed to endure harsh conditions so they will require a dig out ultimately.

7. The ground is somewhat flat with a slight 5-8 (max) degree incline. What is the risk if the roots are dug out and there is nothing on the ground surface to prevent soil erosion?

I was told by a city gardener to dig up the roots in the fall and to cover up the area with opaque layers of black gardening cloth and just close up the garden normally — I don’t think he meant me to do it in mid-November.

I see value in different approaches, but there are a lot of things one could think about… Bear in mind I am a novice and there are no major risks here – just an anxious mind with questions.

What would you as a Master Gardener recommend and sorry for all the questions – they capture my best understanding of the various recommendations that people have kindly recommended.

And if this is one for a professional gardener, please advise and I will seek out someone at Landscape Ontario – just sort of rushing, because frost is coming fast! :)

With much respect and thanks,


[This is a 2nd submission on the same subject in which I updated my first paragraph to add the location, height, spread of the plant in the updated 1st paragraph – no other text was modified. – Sorry for the resubmit!]


I am a novice gardener and have had a rough work schedule the last few years and have not kept up properly in the garden.

Goldenrod took over in my garden where there had been a 8×10′ patch of lawn years back now gone dry and just weedy and bare through which a stone path wanders. The location is in the middle of a fenced backyard in full sun not shaded by any fencing at all surrounded by flagstone borders of raised beds. The goldenrod, in dry summer and dry soil conditions spread across the full area at 1-2 foot spacings and grew extremely 5′ tall and stood upright most of the summer season and if I am honest some cut back the earlier year grew even hardier than the newest plants. In September/October the plants were cut to ground level and the debris taken away though some seeds were dispersed from pods and I expect there are rhizomes and strong roots underground. I missed digging out the roots in October due to work and a sore back. Now it is November and the temperatures are dropping (around 2-5 C at night), however my back is good and I am unsure how to proceed for the winter.

Where I live the soil is a bit sandy. I do not know if it is alkaline or acid or neutral – no soil tests done.

The goal next summer might be to have a hearty lawn again around these stones, perhaps with some other plants.

There is sign of moss in some areas of the garden where it is damp and shady and exposed.

There are worms visible in the top few inches of soil.

Frost has likely come once, but temperatures at night will be above 0 for maybe 2 more weeks.

Winter is generally partly grey/wet/cold and partly snowing with snow layering up to 20-30 cm.

Surrounding this area there are flagstones and the site’s rain runoff will naturally flow over this area.

I have a few above 0 C days now in November and have a tiller and shovel and pitchfork and trowel and weed removal tool and energy and motivation.

My options to fully get rid of this goldenrod (an admirable plant in many respects, but not desired in this location) *seem* to be… (thank you Master Gardeners, Landscape Ontario, City staff for your web sites!):

RE: Roots and soil
(a) Leave the roots until spring – with frost, it would be better to keep the ground compacted and not risk seeds getting deeper into the ground
(b) Dig out the roots ASAP – cold weather be darned.
(c) Dig out the roots and turn the soil and though it is late mix in leaves, green waste, manure, and/or compost matter
(d) Do something [?] to compact the ground so that it doesn’t erode in run off at spring thaw and provide covering matter [?] for bugs and wildlife to hibernate/feed

RE: Regrowth prevention for the next 10-12 months
(e) Cover the ground with cardboard secured with pegs, mulch and rocks
(f) Cover the ground with opaque black gardener’s cloth secured with pegs, mulch and rocks
(g) Cover the ground with black plastic sheets or tarp secured with pegs, mulch and rocks
(h) Cover the ground with clear plastic secured with pegs, mulch and rocks


0) What combo of options a-h above would you recommend? Or something else?

1) I am not clear what is the risk/benefit of digging up the roots now versus in the spring.

2) I am not clear what is the risk/benefit of turning the soil now versus in the spring.

3) I am not clear what is the benefit of cloth/cardboard covering up the ground now or in the spring.

4) I am not clear on what ground cover technique is best in terms of effectively killing the Goldenrod roots while managing moisture correctly and for a best impact on the worms, etc… (there are no other plants of concern)

5) I am not clear for how long to cover the area though understand that a period through the hot summer months might be warranted to restrict ‘sun and water=food’ to the plant and to apply heat to the plant roots and rhizome matter and any seeds not visible but possibly in the soil

6) I am not clear on whether the GoldenRod rhizomes or miscellaneous seeds can even be ‘killed’ at all as I think these might be quite hearty and designed to endure harsh conditions so they will require a dig out ultimately.

7. The ground is somewhat flat with a slight 5-8 (max) degree incline. What is the risk if the roots are dug out and there is nothing on the ground surface to prevent soil erosion?

I was told by a city gardener to dig up the roots in the fall and to cover up the area with opaque layers of black gardening cloth and just close up the garden normally — I don’t think he meant me to do it in mid-November.

I see value in different approaches, but there are a lot of things one could think about… Bear in mind I am a novice and there are no major risks here – just an anxious mind with questions.

What would you as a Master Gardener recommend and sorry for all the questions – they capture my best understanding of the various recommendations that people have kindly recommended.

And if this is one for a professional gardener, please advise and I will seek out someone at Landscape Ontario – just sort of rushing, because frost is coming fast! :)

With much respect and thanks,


I have a Norfolk pine that I love very much but I don’t know how to trim it, it appears that there is another tree growing with it so I cut that back? I also live in Granbury, texas should l let it stay out in the winter months or bring it in I love this tree and don’t want to hurt or damage it. Her name is emerald

Hi Toronto Master Gardener! Any suggestions for low and medium height perennials that are great for very heavy clay soil in full sun? Also any suggestions for year-round colour?


What are the best conifer and deciduous tree species for a slope with dry soil erosion part shade to shade west facing?
Height of trees 15-40ft?
Thank you

Wondering if there is a solution for indoor plant storage in Toronto? We need to stage our home to sell, and need somewhere safe to store pan my many indoor plants…not having any luck finding solutions online – can someone assist with this dilemma?

Wondering if there is a solution for indoor plant storage in Toronto? We need to stage our home to sell, and need somewhere safe to store pan my many indoor plants…not having any luck finding solutions online – can someone assist with this dilemma?

If I have a 40′ Manitoba Maple cut to 15′, will this tree rejuvenate or do you think it will look a) ugly from the cut and b) take years to regrow? There are now large dead branches and the bark is coming off those branches, but the rest of the tree is vibrant. Is it worth pruning or do you think I should simply have it cut right down? Many thanks…this is like putting down a pet..heartbreaking. (Sorry, I live outside of Kingston but checked the box below for ‘Toronto’.)

Do you where I purchase horticultural sand in Toronto? I am trying to stop gnats from spreading that have started to appear from few hot pepper plants that I have brought in to overwinter. Thank you!

I love amaryllis but was told they are poisonous to cats. Is this true?

I have a problem with three emerald cedars planted last year. They looked beautiful until this fall when the upper half of each now have brown growth. Not certain what is happening and if they can be saved. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. See pictures.

Hello there
is clematis tangutica – yellow available during Spring/Summer in Garden centers in Toronto? I never seen yellow one. Thank you very much.

Can they be planted in cycles to have blooms for a longer period of the summer. With stratification before planting each time.

Thank you for answering and helping me in 2021 with my gardening questions.
Wishing you all at the Botanical Gardens a Happy Holiday Season and the best for 2022


Hi, I put this plant outdoors in the summer as it loves the heat. I recently noticed in the sunlight around it what looked like tiny specs of dust, but then I noticed they moved back and forth like tiny mites. Some of the leaves got brown spots which I’ve removed most of them and sprayed the plant with soapy water. It’s also dropping a lot of oranges, some of which are pictured. Some of the leaves are mottled. Now that it’s wet I can see fine webs on the plant. Is there a particular solution that will get rid of them, or is soapy water treatment ok to continue with?

Hello, when do the berries grow on privet hedges and do these plants attract a lot of birds and othet forms of wildlife?

Hello! I live in Toronto and want to know whether adding wood ash to soil will speed the germination time of onion seeds (i.e. the time it takes for a seed to sprout). I want to do this indoors. If onion seeds will not benefit from wood ash, are there any other plant seeds that a) do benefit, and b) germinate quickly (less than 14 days)? Thanks!

Hello, I had a gorgeous Elephant Ears in a patio pot over last summer, & it grew huge in a shaded area. I wanted to save it indoors over winter, but it’s now weak, pale and spindly, and the stems kink over when they reach a certain height. It does get some sun by the window. Should I have just cut it back to the ground and kept the root ball dry and dormant? I hear conflicting recommendations as to whether to dig and save the dormant tuber or to just bring the whole thing intact and indoors for the winter. I keep some clear plastic around it and I do mist it to keep it somewhat humid, part of my ongoing efforts to overwinter some of the larger plants, it seems such a waste to toss them in the fall especially when they look so beautiful by end of the season.

We saved this plant last Christmas, repotted in the spring and it became about 18″ tall. Did well, but now leaves are yellowing and curling. Too much water or not enough? Also had white bugs and I used Safer’s soap. Can this plant be saved? Can’t attach a sized photo Judy Miller

What are the best conditions (soil mix, humidity, temperature, fertilizing, lighting, house location (indoor/outdoor)) for growing and blooming Stephanotis floribunda/Madagascar Jasmine? Are its growing conditions like hoya’s or jasmine’s? Should I give it summer vacation outdoor? Can I cut off the peduncles after the flowers faded or will the new flowers grow from the existing peduncles like hoya? How to propagate it successfully – water, perlite, moss or soil mix method? what is the proper protocol? By the way, how to propagate a Jasmine ‘Belle of India’ successfully in Toronto? Thanks

Attended the Through the Garden Gate in THE BEACHES.(Toronto) Took a picture of a vine growing on a trellis. Have not been able to identify it. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Hi! I have received a Lemon Cypress plant and l am not too sure how to take care of it. Does it live long or it’s just seasonal?
Also, can l plant it in the garden in the spring?

Thank you!

Hi Please see attached photo of my small backyard garden. Its a small space and at both ends of the garden I had two emerald cedars, one of which started drying out ( I learned their root system is sensitive). Can you please help me with what evergreen I can plant instead that will grow to a max of 12 feet height and 3 feet wide, is easy to grow and wont dry out etc. I was thinkg of a blue juniper or some ornamental pine. Thanks so much. Can you give me three options please. have a good yar and thans for your time. Jospeh

Hi there,
Over the summer I picked up a Chinese Money Plant and have happily been watching it grow over the months. It seemed to be thriving on the sunny south-facing window ledge in my fifth floor apartment. In the summer, I was watering it about once a week with a spray in between. In the winter, I’ve pared it down to just went the soil feels dry, although I do still spray occasionally to try and offer some humidity. All was going well until about the last week. There hasn’t been any change of conditions that I can notice, but suddenly my Pilea has been losing her beautiful leaves! Even previously strong healthy ones will seemingly overnight droop, blacken and wither just at the base where the leaf meets the plant stem, and then fall off (see photo) It’s happened to about four leaves now and I’m worried the rest will go too. There’s still new leaves growing out the top so I don’t think it’s a total lost cause but it’s been devastating to see. Please Master Gardener – Help!!

Hello, I’m trying to germinate Pohutukawa (metrosideros Excelsa). I’ve tried for two years in a mini greenhouse in my hous and have had zero success. This year I’ve purchased heating pads to go underneath the seedling trays. I woud very much appreciate any other tips or tricks for germinating Pohutukawa or similar plants.

Please see image below. The needles are yellowing. Used to be all green. Do you know the cause, remedy and the name of the plant. Thanks.

We have a tiny townhouse patio area that is separated by a very old and non-performing cedar hedge that has over the years not been properly maintained. The hedge will need to be removed. My question is can the cedars be cut off at ground level versus removing the roots? This because I have many perennials, rhododendrons and a Japanese maple growing inches from the cedars and I don’t want to disturb the roots.


Happy new year.

I like to ask you a Hydrangea variety ,I couldn’t find the name ,If you can help me would be very apricated.

Thank you very much

thank you for your reply. I attached an other picture maybe you could help to identify.
thank you again.

I have been struggling to grow sweet peas (Lathyrus) here in TO over the last 10 years ? because of our summer heat.
Is it hopeless to keep on trying? If not please advise me on what varieties to grow and how best to plant. Any guidance will be appreciated.
Thank you.

What kind of perennial vine, part sun, would you recommend for a chain link fence. I want easy care , flowers if possible (like morning glory), and dense lealves for privacy.

Hello! I have a rather odd question. We live in a newly constructed townhouse with a very small backyard. We back very closely onto a rather unattractive 2 storey house. In order to provide a more pleasant outlook and to provide more privacy, I’d like to plant several blue arrow junipers along our back 6ft high fence line. Could I plant the junipers in a constructed ‘box’ (no bottom) 2.5ft deep and 2.5ft high along the fence? This would boost the newly planted junipers up and above the fenceline more quickly than waiting years more for them to grow to a decent height to provide the privacy we’d like. We’re seniors and might not have the time to wait years for the plants to reach an effective height! ;)
Thanks very much!


I’m looking for ground covers which are:
– flowers in summer (like Chrysogonum virginianum) or fall (like Solidago flexicaulis)
– white or pale pink / pale blue flower colour
– part to full shade
– no more than 1′ tall
– preferably native to Ontario and can be naturalized

Thank you,

I noticed that Vitamix just designed a composter for the kitchen. Would that product output help as a winter replacement for salt, near garden beds, or is it too dense, or does it depend on the products we discard? I haven’t purchased the composter, and don’t know anyone with one. I’ve tried used dolomitic limestone, and liked using that, but ran out, and have plenty of salt, which is toxic. Or maybe I’ve been shoveling too much snow.

Hello, I am interested in joining the Seed Starting Chat on Feb 9th at 12pm but I do not know how to go about it. Could you please let me know. Thankyou. Best, Kathryn Hodge

I’m wondering if you can help me identify this plant (I think it is an orchid). It has multiple flowers in a stem, the flowers are about 2cm in diameter and they smell like honey. It sits in a sunny window in the winter and I take it outside in the summer. It is set in a little pot in soil and I water it when dry- about every 7-10 days. It has roots that grow above the ground.

I am reaching out to share information about the upcoming IMGC in Kansas. Please pass this information along to others or please let me know if there is others I should be sending the information. We are excited to host the conference. Be sure to check our welcome video on our website for more information. We look forward to seeing you in 2023.

On behalf of the Johnson County K-State Extension Master Gardeners, your host for the 2023 International Master Gardener Conference in Overland Park, Kansas June 18-22, 2023 we are excited to open the call for proposals for breakout session and workshop speakers.
We are looking for a diverse lineup of topics and speakers. Please consider presenting at the conference and sharing this link with your colleagues. Proposals will be accepted through February 25, 2022. We are using Qualtrics for the submissions.
Complete information is included in the link. More information about the conference can be found at If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dennis Patton, Chair IMGC

A friend of mine has a Pothos (approx. 30 yrs. old) that has flowered and produced fruit. I have enclosed a photo for your information.

Hi You answered my first vine question. Now no 2. For chain link fence. Are the only vine plants that don’t require any trimming the ivies ie persian, english etc. I really don’t want to expend a lot of energy managing the vines. Ideally, I’d like a really vigorous vine that has colourful flowers, leaves that stay green all year and doesn’t require any maintenace. Great gardener eh!

Hi I live 18 in from my neighbour. I need to block his house with tall thick fast growing trees. I’m thinking of alternating Taylor Juniper or the fastest growing arborvitae on earth with a hybrid poplar. However the first tree would be near the corner of my house. The next 8 ft only have a land width of 32 in . Help! Don pls send ans to my email.

Hi there! I live in Toronto (South York) and have been looking through the Wisteria page for something that would help my predicament, but haven’t found a situation similar to mine.
I would like to grow American wisteria around a 35-40 foot established old Linden tree. The tree is huge and beautiful way up in the canopy but I would like to beautify the 20-something foot trunk.
I want to create a circle raised garden around it large enough for American wisteria.
Is this advisable?

One of our dogs had peed the lawn, and for the past 4 years there has been as bald patch in front of our flower bed. Instead of replanting the lawn, I would like to extend my 3ft flowerbed to a 6ft lower bed. Would I have to treat the soil first? Are particular perennials/annuals that will not grow there?

I had an area that is very shady however, the soil is moist as I have been adding compost and triple mix soil to the area. I am looking for a narrow dwarf conifer to plant. If you have a list of options that would be helpful. Thanks.

HI I’m really close to my neigb. house. I want to create a very tall fast growing priv. hedge (20ft) Thinking about European beech or American Pillar. Any thoughts.

Which pruning system is better for the following grape vines, cane or spur pruning?

1) Somerset Seedless Grape
2) Everest Seedless Grape
3) Sovereign Coronation Grapes
4) Mars Seedless Grapes
5) Razzmatazz Grapes

Where can I find recommended pruning system for table grape cultivars?

Thank you.

Got my ficus lyrata 4 days ago from lowes and leaves on top start to brown from the edges and from bottom side of the leaves, for today gray small dry spots all over top leaves.And I see it spreads all the way to bottom.Soil still wet as was at store.Pot do have holes but rather on sides that on bottom ( i think it can have water in it, but not sure).Plant has enough indirect light

Hello, I live in downtown Toronto (the annex) and have seen what looks like bamboo canes growing in someone’s front yard . This fall I noticed quite a lot of them on the front porch(cut off ) . Since I’m pretty much isolating this year I didn ‘t ring the bell and ask what they were. My daughter thought they might be called “hardy false bamboo ” . Any idea what they are ? I’d love to plant some in my back yard next to the back fence as a screen. I also like the idea of starting seeds indoors now to plant outside in the spring or summer. I realize this may be tricky but I’d like to try. So any suggestions about what this plant is or other bamboo or false bamboo that might grow here would be very helpful. Also places to get it. Thanks !

I can’t believe it’s due to deer eating the new growth only.

What else can I do to save them.

We are wintering our Abutilon. We have done it before successfully but this year something is different. In the attached photo you will see how the green bark has been stripped away and we do not understand if it is an insect problem (we did spray with Endall) but the plant does not seem at all well. Any ideas?

Sorry I do not have a picture because the rose is just a few bare canes right now. I bought this rose from Walmart 3 years ago. Now it has 4-6 tall canes (2-3 meters). It has big thorns. Judging from the height of the canes, do you think this is a climbing rose? If yes, how can I multiple it? by cutting small branch and plant it? When I can do that? Thank you very much.

We have a weeping pine tree that has been damaged in the lower branches by rabbits, will it have a long term impact on the tree?


Could you please let me know how I can have a lawn that does not need regular mowing, I have 2 standard poodles, I live in north york, I am old but I do not want to move out of my house, I like to have a backyard, Also I would like to know how to attract more butterflies and hummingbirds to my garden, please help. thank you.

I bought this mini pussy willow plant in my sunroom and the pussy willows bloomed and now there is new growth.

Do I trim the new green growth?

I bought this mini pussy willow plant in my sunroom and the pussy willows bloomed and now there is new growth.

Do I trim the new green growth?

I bought this mini pussy willow plant in my sunroom and the pussy willows bloomed and now there is new growth.

Do I trim the new green growth?


I needed some plant purchase advise, and I would really appreciate if someone can get back to me on this.

I live in a pigeonhole Bachelor’s Apartment in Toronto, which limits to begin with, adding to the complexity this place gets baking hot in summer. There are months when I can’t even open my curtains kinda hot and my only solution is to keep my air condition on.

So here’s the problem, this is a fixed air-conditioning unit at one side of the room which works fine as it blows over to the place, but there is an empty space between the unit and my bed and I would like to fill it with some plants, hopefully on a ladder.

Do you think, you have any plants, shrubs or trees which can stand the torture of continuous air from an air-conditioning unit in summer that I can keep on this bare side of the room?


Most of the leaves on this plant are infected. I don’t know if this is a fungal disease or insect damage. What can I do to save it? Thanks

Hi, There is an old septic system on my property wherein the tank was filled. Didn’t think that there would be a bed for it since it is over a hundred-year-old house and there is now a sewer hookup. Long story short, I bought a peach tree and planted it in what appears to be the septic field in November because it was getting cold and the tree would have perished. I realize after reading several websites that the tree was planted in the old septic drainage bed since there was gravel and it was wettish. Moving forward with my question, realizing that I have to move this tree again due to this, should I not eat any fruit that forms on it this coming year due to where it was stationed over the winter? Should I wash off the root system as well before replanting elsewhere? What should I use to wash it off? Will be moving it out to the front yard this spring. Any suggestions and help regarding this is appreciated. Thank you!

Attn ASK team, Trixie is testing the submission form. No action required. She will delete post once testing is complete. Thanks.

Hi, this is Trixie. I’m testing out a new setting on WordPress. Please leave this post in Drafts and I will delete when I have completed my testing. Thanks!

I bought this plant from walmart 3 years ago and they are around 2 meters high and the roses are pink (please see attached picture). I also bought another plant which I do not have picture of and now it is all just bare canes, this one is around 3 meters high and the roses are yellow. Can you please name both of them if you could. Thank you very much.

Do you know where in Canada i can buy different varieties..??

I removed all the soil and most of the leaves from my geranium plants boxed them and left them. did nothing to them e.g. water. took a boo at them recently and they looked deader than a door nail. question is are the dead or is there a chance that they might come back and when should I pot them up if there is a chance.

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I would like to thank you for all your help answering my previous questions. Thank you once again. I have a new one :) I just found that Walmart usa are selling a blue rose. Please see the link below. Do you have any idea about any blue rose can be planted in Toronto weather? Walmart usa are selling the seed as per the link below. Is it going to survive in Toronto? Thank you very much.

Thank you for dedicating your time
I just bought this plant and it was, what I didnt notice at first place, full of tiny spots on the leaves and the stalk. The leaves are not loose but they are doenward. What should I do

I’ve come across a variety of magnolia online called Rose Marie Magnolia. The website says it blooms for 6 weeks instead of the usual 2 weeks of other magnolias. Have you heard of this type? Can it grow in Toronto-Vaughan weather? If it can bloom for 6 weeks instead of 2 weeks I wonder why there isn’t more info online about it and why it is difficult to find. Shouldn’t it be very popular if it blooms that long? I’m debating between getting a saucer magnolia tree or trying to find a rose marie magnolia tree. Is it true that a saucer magnolia only blooms for 2 weeks in Toronto? Any thoughts on the rose marie magnolia?

Would a creeping phlox survive year after year if I put them in a container like the one in the link below and hang them somehow on my fence. Would their roots go deeper in the soil? how deep? Thank you very much.

Hi, this is Anna. I am sending you my intimate photos as I promised.

You may not remember but I had contacted you in the summer because my maple tree in my backyard (west facing) seemed to be suffering from particularly bad tree scorch. I had sent in some pictures and that seemed to be the diagnosis. I tried excessive watering and all the advice I was given, but come Fall, the leaves were shriveled up and never fell. In fact, it’s dead winter now and the dried leaves are still on the tree. I’m wondering…is this tree salvageable or is it dead? I have pictures I could share if it helps.
Thank you

North York Ontario, very sunny backyard garden, dry soil, some nutrients need to be added. That’s why i want to add some bulk soil and manure to my garden this year. I am looking for organic bulk soil and organic manure. What can u advise? Also i am looking for ladybugs kits for pests control and i couldn’t find last year. Any advice?

Please and thank u!

Wondering about persicaria (Virginia knotweed). It is native however growing vigorously in the ravine right behind my property . Is it currently on any aggressive/vigorous “watch lists?” I had originally planted as a shade plant but the ravine has become sunnier and ther persicaria is doing well. Maybe too well!

Wondering about persicaria (Virginia knotweed). It is native however growing vigorously in the ravine right behind my property . Is it currently on any aggressive/vigorous “watch lists?” I had originally planted as a shade plant but the ravine has become sunnier and ther persicaria is doing well. Maybe too well!

Wondering about persicaria (Virginia knotweed). It is native however growing vigorously in the ravine right behind my property . Is it currently on any aggressive/vigorous “watch lists?” I had originally planted as a shade plant but the ravine has become sunnier and ther persicaria is doing well. Maybe too well!

I’m sure this isn’t a usual question but I live in the Uk with both UK and Canadian Citizenship. I currently work on a private estate and have a Royal Horticultural Society Level 2 in horticultural practice but want to move to Canada to be with family. My question is if there are many opportunities for employment as a gardener in Ontario or even Canada as a whole?

Thank you very much for any help!

I overwintered some potato vine tubers and need to know when to take them out of the box,cut them into pieces and pot up. Also I saved a few plants in the basement with sunlight and some water over the winter. When do I start to give them more light and water and do I cut them back even if they only have 1or2 leaves or just leave them.
Thank you

Wondering about persicaria (Virginia knotweed). It is native however growing vigorously in the ravine right behind my property . Is it currently on any aggressive/vigorous “watch lists?” I had originally planted as a shade plant but the ravine has become sunnier and ther persicaria is doing well. Maybe too well!

Can you suggest a small specimen tree for a small Toronto front yard (semi-detached)? Approximately 12’ wide & facing west with no obstructions so lots of sun (even from the south). We had a serviceberry there for about 12 years but it never really thrived, then it died last year. Typical urban soil (on the side of clay), but I’ve been adding compost, soil conditioners from The Urban Harvest, as well as cedar mulch every year for 12 or so years. For environmental reasons, ideally I’d like something that doesn’t demand a ton of water to thrive.
Thank you!

Please note that our Peaches Fruit Trees’ Trunk just above ground has been damage by Rabbit/Mouse, can you please let us know if there is any thing that can be save/recover!! thanks appreciated your response have a great day

I looking for hybrid hibiscus from Hidden valley hibiscus or Logees south of the border. Would you be able to help..??

Hello, I have a small lilac plant in my garden. It keeps spreading its roots and popping up in unwanted places. I really don’t want the happy to give it to someone. How do I make sure when I dig it up that it doesn’t just keep popping up? It’s spindly, about 5 years 9th and 6 feet tall. Thank you.


We are planning to grow Karl Foerster grass in balcony planters for privacy.

We would like to see it reach it’s max height (4-5ft) – how deep (and wide) does our planter need to be?

Good morning.
I live in Toronto and have a 3-4 year old potted rosemary that I have been successfully overwintering indoors. Right now though, it is rapidly getting overcome by powdery mildew- worse at the top- and it needs immediate help. As I use the leaves in cooking I would like a non-toxic solution to the problem. I’ve looked at the info on your site, including Richters and U. of Illinois, and also on the internet in general and there seem to be a lot of different remedies. Because there are so many options I am wondering which one works the best one and would resolve the issue most quickly and in a harm-free way?
The pot is in a west facing window in the kitchen so it probably needs more light, but that’s the best I can do and it’s been managing. It gets some coolness through the poorly sealed window and also air from the furnace because of the vent below the table. I gave it a half-dose of 10-15-10 fertilizer a couple of weeks ago. Other than that, it’s just been regular tap water that has sat out for awhile. I’ve been fairly attentive about watering, as I find rosemary to be quite fussy and at risk, from either overwatering or underwatering. I amazed that I’ve kept this one going for as long as I have.
I love my plant so recommendations for getting rid of the mildew would be welcome, as well as any suggestions for prepping it for the warmer weather and a new season of being outdoors. I have never managed to get it to flower for example.
Thank you for your assistance.


I am interested in adding some witch hazels to my garden, mostly with the goal of having some fragrance in winter. I am wondering if Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) could tolerate Toronto winters? I haven’t seen it available in any local nursery.
If not, I’m wondering if any of the master gardeners could recommend or comment on the relative fragrance of varieties that I have seen for sale in Toronto? (e.g. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ or ‘Jelena’ or ‘Diane’ or ‘Arnold Promise’ or ‘Barnstedt Gold’? and whether anyone could comment on the relative fragrance of some of these compared to Hamamelis vernalis?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thank you,

Hello I have a south facing garden which is partially overhung by two large trees at the back – I am trying to do a landscaping project (sunken fire pit and pergola) with complimentary planting for a year round garden. The planting will be modern detailed aesthetic (the house is very modern in architecture) so thinking varied grasses around the features and lavender, white and pale pink shades, with splashes of yellow colour. Would love some suggestions for flowering shrubs, planting or grasses that last in Toronto climate with autumn/winter interest to help fill the perimeter beds and add volume as the beds are surrounded by a wooden fence and want to reduce that sense of being fenced all around. I am attaching the plan of the garden! Thank you!

Hello I have a south facing garden which is partially overhung by two large trees at the back – I am trying to do a landscaping project (sunken fire pit and pergola) with complimentary planting for a year round garden. The planting will be modern detailed aesthetic (the house is very modern in architecture) so thinking varied grasses around the features and lavender, white and pale pink shades, with splashes of yellow colour. Would love some suggestions for flowering shrubs, planting or grasses that last in Toronto climate with autumn/winter interest to help fill the perimeter beds and add volume as the beds are surrounded by a wooden fence and want to reduce that sense of being fenced all around. I am attaching the plan of the garden! Thank you!

We live in central Etobicoke and have a backyard organic vegetable garden of about 350 sq ft. The garden does not do well – many of our vegetables just start growing and then they seem to be stunted with very little growth and some just grow the leaves. We think there may be some insects in the soil that are affecting the plants.

Are you able to sort out what the problem is and provide an estimate to correct the problem? Thanks.

We would like to grow vines along a chain link fence. Flowers would be nice but our main requirement is to provide a significant amount of privacy from close neighbours. We’d like a vine reasonably quick growing that is evergreen or with dense enough entangled branches to significantly block a view even in winter. Density/coverage is more important than attractiveness in winter. Thank you!

We would like to grow vines along a chain link fence. Flowers would be nice but our main requirement is to provide a significant amount of privacy from close neighbours. We’d like a vine reasonably quick growing that is evergreen or with dense enough entangled branches to significantly block a view even in winter. Density/coverage is more important than attractiveness in winter. Thank you!
ps I forgot to ask – are there any vines that could ‘self support’ enough to extend beyond the height of our 6ft fence? Thanks again!

Hi there, I’m in Toronto and interested in growing Basket Willow trees as a privacy screen or hedge, and because they look great and grow quickly. I’ve read of their long roots and that they should not be planted too close to the house. I would be planting them about 12-15 feet away. Any advice would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

I wish to plant a pollinator garden in my front yard with native flowers. What will be the right month to plant the seedlings?

Thank you

I used to be able to find these at a local nursery although only in bag form but have been unable to find any source for this that is not in western Canada or the mid west in the US. (I’ve been looking for the last 3-4 years). Please note I do Not mean Cedar mulch. Is this product available in Ontario?? Closet I’ve come is Pine Nuggets but they are even hard to come by except in bag form. and sadly searching on the net keeps pulling mulch.

I would like to join your volunteers to assist work a few hours in the morning. Please enroll me.

I wish to plant a pollinator garden in my front yard with native flowers. What will be the right month to plant the seedlings?

Thank you

Hello, I planted some bare root peonies last November in an area that gets good sun. I didn’t mulch and only planted them a few inches deep. I am wondering when I should expect some sprouting? I am worried that they might have died over the winter. I am in Toronto zone 6a.

where can I purchase Spaghnum Moss in toronto. to use it for plant propagation

I bought this begonia in May 2021 as a tiny, 5 cm tall plant. It has lovely leaves but has never given a bloom. In winter it lives in a south-facing second floor window (the only sunny window in the house). It is about 30 cm wide and 24 cm tall. Is it supposed to give any blooms? Thank you.

I have seeds on my purple coneflower and black-eyed susans plants. Since it is mid march, may I just plant them into tiny pots and leave them beside the mother plant? Thanks

I have geraniums growing from seed under lights. My first time ever.
They are 2-3 inches tall with some having 3-4 leaves. What do I do next please!

Good morning ,
I work in a beautiful floral shop in Lindsay Ontario. We have a customer searching for a Bay Laurel tree . It will be in a green
house enviroment all year Hoping you have an Ontario source idea for me.
Thanks for any ideas . Helene

A lot of our plants some hydrangeas and some spireas have been even down by rabbits in the winter. Will they survive. I bought some of them just a year ago.

How can I protect my garden from rabbits eating my plants

I have creeping thyme. I planted them as ground cover 3 years ago and they have been fine. I do not recall when they usually start turn green after the winter is gone. Right now they look so brown or dead to me. Is that normal? I also fertilize them (very few amount) when the ground was went 2-3 weeks ago. I live in Toronto west. Thanks a lot for your help.

Do you have a repotting service or could you recommend one for 2 pot-bound Dracena?

I planted Tulips bulbs 7 years ago and they have been coming every Spring no problem. Last year, I planted Sedum goldmoss ground cover in that area. Right now, I do not see any sign of Tulips where the area is covered by Sedum; however I see sign of Tulips in the area which is not totally covered by Sedum. Can Sedum stop Tulips from coming out? Thank you very much.

Hello! I am living in Markham. I am planning to plant some food in my home backyard. And I plotted the areas where they would grow. I would appreciate it if you could give me some recommendations and guidance, or if you can tell me some potential problems.

I live downtown in the city of Toronto. In the spring of 2021 I planted 2 wissel’s saguro false cypress trees in my yard against my garage which is southwest facing and receives full sun. Since I received the trees in December of 2020 (odd timing, I know) the trees overwintered in their nursery pots which I placed in large tubs and insulated with foam and straw. I was so happy when they made it through the winter. They seemed to settle in well in their new home in the ground last spring and they put on a couple inches of healthy light green growth last year. This late winter/ spring (2022) I’ve noticed many of the tips are browning and there has been some shedding of some of the green needles as well as some brown needles along the trunk. The tree does still look generally heathy over all, you have to get close to notice these (possibly troubling?) signs. I did not wrap them in burlap over winter.

I did not notice brown tips last spring so this is raising alarm bells for me. Do you think I should be concerned? The soil is pretty good loam but it does have clay further down (maybe 1.5’). It’s obviously been pretty wet with all the snow and rain so I wonder if there is a drainage problem? We do not salt near the trees so that should not be an issue.

These are the jewels of my garden and I cherish these trees for sentimental and ornamental reasons. Any advice or reassurances you can offer is greatly appreciated!

Hello, we recently moved into a ’50s home with a barberry hedge that’s probably as old. We think it’s a Japanese barberry. We’re in a corner lot and the hedge doesn’t offer much privacy and we would like to plant some tall trees or a tall hedge.

Also, since barberry is an invasive species, we’re wondering if it would have an affect on our raised garden beds that we plan to set up this year.

How difficult will it be to remove a hedge this old? Do you have any recommendations on gardening / landscaping companies who can help?

Many thanks.

Hi not sure when to uncover dwarf alberta spruce trees. Also city line hydrangeas.

I cut them back to just above ground level in the spring. They grow very tall, 4 to 5 ft. and they flop in late summer. Staking is not attractive. Full sun. I have not able to confirm this on any website, although I believe that the growth can be controlled by cutting back in June without affecting the flowering. Any thoughts?

Please could you recommend a cluster of rose varieties and ideally well established ones, for a small border, with their stature kept below chest height, for sheltered part-shade aspect, USDA Zone 5b ? To compliment and boost the display, could you please suggest a handful of flowering perennial plants as their companions right through the flowering season that will still permit good air circulation? Thanks

Hi and thanks for reading my question. I have rabbits under my porch (evidence – rabbit scat, defoliated euonymous and chewed off serviceberry bushes on perimeter of porch. I have a garden with collections of plants that were expensive (dwarf evergreens, perennials, hellebores, ornamental trees etc.) that I have worked hard at to nurture. I love wildlife and cannot bear to hurt a living creature, but I am very worried about my collection of plants, given the damage they have already done. I know that babies are under the porch and the problem will only get worse. I have read about using rabbit and deer repellants in various forms – liquid and granular – whose smell drives rabbits away, supposedly to allow us to then make the porch inaccessible to them (after the babies depart) to prevent them continuing to “squat” on my property in East York. Have you or anyone you know had experience using these products to safely and humanely get rid of rabbits before they decimate my entire garden? I have read advice on this forum about companion plantings of anything in the allium/onion family that deters rabbits but I don’t have time to wait for those things to grow this spring!! I will keep it in mind for future, however. Thank you, I appreciate your advice.

My purple coneflower plants still have many seeds on the dead heads. Can I sprinkle them over pots of soil now and leave them outside? Or should I wait? Or should I don something indoors, which I would rather avoid. Thanks, Lydia

Toronto, zone 6. Sun and shade throughout day. Senior requires help to rid yard if encroaching weeds quickly taking over backyard.

Want to source panel about 58”x14” for broken door section that had been glass on small lean to greenhouse. What is the product called and where might I SOURCE IT?

We have an allotment garden and the voles really attacked my beet crop last year. Do you have suggestions for dealing with them? There is a product called PermaTill in the US but not available here that is a type of grit that works against them but I don’t see how to get it.

Hello, I inherited a ailing bird of paradise recently and am trying to nurse it back to health. All of its leaves including some new growth are dropping / folding downward. The plant gets a lot of light and I water regularly when the top few inches of soil are dry. The plant had a lot of fungus growing on the soil when I got it so I washed the roots, replaced the soils, and reported about 4 months ago. Appreciate any suggestions.

My Ming Aurelia seems to have tiny black flies in the soil. They fly around the apartment and are quite annoying. How can I get rid of them?

I will be having surgery soon … walking is part of the recovery program. I was thinking walking through gardens would be a fun way to do this and wondered if you gave suggestions on places to visit. Thanks.

Hello, I’ve been growing two varieties of strawberry plants for quite some time (one of them is a wild strawberry variety and the other is unknown) and I noticed that the flowers of the one wild variety never seems to produce fruit and doesn’t seem to have any anthers in any of its flowers, where as the other variety has very typical strawberry flowers that have obvious anthers and readily produces strawberries often. I have read that all strawberry flowers are “perfect” flowers so should have anthers and be able to self pollinate, but the one wild variety does not self pollinate and does not have anthers- why is this? Is it a strange variety of strawberry? I’ll attach a close up picture of the flowers of the wild strawberry plant that doesn’t seem to have anthers (it’s only letting me attach one small photo for some reason but hopefully that’s enough). I picked this strawberry plant from a forest about an hour north of Toronto. I would really appreciate if you could tell me why it doesn’t have any anthers/doesn’t self pollinate and what specific variety of strawberry you think it is?

Thank you so much for your help,


Hi, Master,
I bought some Clematis from local grocery store. When I opened bags, all of them have white sprouts already, length from 10cms to 25cms. Will these sprouts turn to heath stems? If not, should I remove them from the root crown and hope new sprouts will come out? I would plan to plant them in pot before last frost. Thanks your help.

We live in climate zone 6 and have a permeable driveway made of concrete pavers. I would love to plant a ground cover that will grow in between the concrete in fairly rich loam and green the driveway. It must be able to withstand the car’s weight and lots of shade. Is there such a plant?

Hello, I’ve been growing two varieties of strawberry plants for quite some time (one of them is a wild strawberry variety and the other is unknown) and I noticed that the flowers of the one wild variety never seems to produce fruit and doesn’t seem to have any anthers in any of its flowers, where as the other variety has very typical strawberry flowers that have obvious anthers and readily produces strawberries often. I have read that all strawberry flowers are “perfect” flowers so should have anthers and be able to self pollinate, but the one wild variety does not self pollinate and does not have anthers- why is this? Is it a strange variety of strawberry? I’ll attach a close up picture of the flowers of the wild strawberry plant that doesn’t seem to have anthers (it’s only letting me attach one small photo for some reason but hopefully that’s enough). I picked this strawberry plant from a forest about an hour north of Toronto. I would really appreciate if you could tell me why it doesn’t have any anthers/doesn’t self pollinate and what specific variety of strawberry you think it is?

Thank you so much for your help,


Is there any possibility of reviving a fallen redbud tree….we think it was bitten and gnawed by rabbits over winter. The branches are not totally dried up and can still bend. So I am wondering whether a bit if root simulant can help it root? It is about 4ft tall. Please advise.

Hello, I am in Thornhill and have flower beds in full sun and part shade. What is the best way to amend/improve the soil in these beds when they are planted with numerous spring flowering bulbs, peonies and other perennials without disturbing or damaging them. Thank you. Debbie Speyer

I have a jackman clematis in a partially shaded garden. I bought it last spring. At first it grew slowly. Then it started to grow along the fence and produced a lot of purple flowers. A couple of weeks ago I pruned this clematis. I may have made a big mistake. The clematis looked very dry, brown and dead so I cut it all the way back. There are stalks remaining but they very short. Will my dear clematis grow again? Thanks in advance for your response.

Good afternoon,
I live on the 4th floor of a high rise condo building. I face north (therefore quite shaded in the summer) and live above the parking garage. This allows residents on the 4th floor to have a patio and small garden area. The 4th floor is exposed to a lot of wind because the patio space is between the building structure and a long fence. This makes for a kind of wind tunnel.
I would like to plant a shrub/small tree next to the wooden fence which divides my garden area from the neighbouring condo. It can’t have deep roots and would need to withstand shade, wind and cold. I would like one that has more height than width.
Do you have any suggestions. Thank you very much.

I have had a 2 ft. potted Blue Spruce inside since Christmas, in a cool room. It started to grow new branches at the top, but now the bottom branches are losing their needles. I would like to transplant it outside this spring, and wondered how long I need to wait (in Toronto). It will be in partial shade.

I recently moved into a century home in North Toronto area. There is a pergola on top of a deck in the backyard about 20ft from the house. I’d like to have a wisteria there. However, I don’t want to risk the wisteria’s root work it’s way into the house foundation or lifting the interlock in the backyard. I want to grow it in a big planter near the deck (see picture) and train it to climb onto the pergola.
I have read that some Asian species are very aggressive and the roots might burst the planter in a few years.

Can you suggest some species that are not too aggressive, that can grow well in a big planer? Do i need to worry about fallen seeds germinating nearby?
Please suggest as many species as possible for consideration.

It would be lovely if you can give suggestions of other vines that can fill the pergola and lattice well. Something with white or light colour, fragrant flowers (bonus if edible). I am considering honeysuckle but i heard it’s invasive as well ?! And I believe the Northern bush variety suggested in your site here does not climb?

Many thanks for your help!

I live in inner Toronto (Ossington/Bloor). I am preparing Tomato seedlings right now (late March).
Question: When is the earliest safe date to plant the seedlings outside (backyard)?
Thank you,

Just bought 2 potted plants of hellebores at TBG today, Apr 8th and wanted to know when is a best time to transplant them to the ground? Should I do it now or later? If later, should I keep the TBG potted plants indoor or outdoor? This is my very first time to try planting hellebores. Please advise. Thanks.

Is it too late to prune wisteria? We are putting our house up for sale in May and the wisteria is out of control right now. I realize looking at a previous question i should have pruned late winter. But is it too late now? What will happen if I do prune it now?

Have used worm castings in Spring for several years. Concerned now because I’ve read they do contain worm eggs. With jumping worms and many native plants that do not benefit from worms in the soil I am now wondering if is a good idea t continue using the castings.

I have wild strawberry growing throughout my lawn in my backyard. It Appears impossible to get rid of as it grows underneath the grass and just creates an entire interconnected system. Once it has developed as it has is there anyway for me to remove it without chemicals and pulling up all the lawn. It seems no matter what I do it always comes back.

What does this look like and what should we be doing to treat this. We hope we don’t need to cut the tree down

My calamondin has a clear sticky residue on some of the leaves.
Just started. What is it? How do I treat this?

My calamondin has a clear sticky residue on some of the leaves.
Just started. What is it? How do I treat this?

What does this look like and what should we be doing to treat this. We hope we don’t need to cut the tree down

How do I sign up for upcoming event on April 13th, gardening on balcony?

I purchased this spider plant last year. It had at least 4 baby plants already (one branch had ‘twins’) When a new branch sprouted, I successfully propagated 3 babies.
It’s been over one year, there’s no new branch and babies plants seem to be too big for the entire plant.
To keep the entire plant healthier, do those babies need to be transferred or better stayed there?
What are some tips to produce more babies?

Thank you in advance!

Our boxwood plants seem to be suffering…brown leaves, sparse foliage this spring. I see others in the neighbourhood like this. Ours sit close to the house in a west facing garden, sun/partial sun situation. This is a mature plant approx 36″ wide and 44″ high. Is this just winter burn? I don’t see anything alive on it at this time. What would you suggest?

Hello, I got a boxwood shrub in a planter about a year ago and placed it at my front porch (gets some sun but not full sun). It now looks a bit brown. Do I need to something besides regular watering, or will it get better on its own? Thanks


I am trying to make a native plant garden however I do not know when to start planting these plants. Does it depend on the plant itself? The garden is located in north east Scarborough, the soil is clay, maybe compacted but wild strawberry ground cover and a native creeper rose seem to be thriving. The garden is north facing but gets enough sun to qualify for part shade in areas.

Another question I have is about the goldenrod in my garden. Coming out of winter it seems the stems are all hollow and dead, but maybe the roots are alive, should I do anything to help the goldenrod? It grew to be 5’3’’.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

Can I plant a baby blue spruce in o container( 40″w x 20″” h x 16″ diameter). It is a south eastern exposure, full sun and windy conditions.

Our front garden, north east facing, shaded mostly, had a 20 year old 9 foot boxwood hedge. It was tightly trimmed and followed the curve of our front walkway . About 2.25 feet high it balanced a 5 foot red japanese red maple at one end and armoustone boulder at the other.
It was recommended that it be removed due to a major infestation. Our garden now lacks the symmetry and year round green colour it had …what planting to replace this traditional yet versitile hedge. I have asked for professional and they recommend yews or box honeysuckle. Or should I just try another boxwood hedge. Look forward to your response. Thank you.

The container 40″ w x 20″h x 16″ across. Can I plant 2 hicks yews on an open terrace, east facing, with windy conditions from lake Ontario

I planted rhododendron in spring 2020. Last summer (2021) it became almost double sized with beautiful flowers. I put on burlap to overwinter (for 2 winters)
I’m not sure if the plant has been protected well as I see lots of dead looking leaves. Would it be alright if I just remove them?

Thank you!

What’s the difference between Sphagnum Moss and Sphagnum Peat Moss? And can Sphagnum Peat Moss be used for potting orchids?

Hello, I walked my new ficus Audrey home from the plant shop in January — it was about 8 inches tall — and it got severely frost bitten and slowly started dying. The bottom leave was okay so I chopped off the dead part of the stem and now it’s growing some lovely new baby leaves. Should I cut off the sole large leaf so that energy goes into new growth or leave it as it’s creating energy for the plant? Thank you!

This morning I found this hole in my lawn. Do you know what animal made it? Is it a pest that I should hire someone to get rid of? Thank you!


I am looking forward to planting my first rhododendron.

I am looking for one that will be an accent plant in the backyard. Height is an important consideration -mature height of 8-10 feet. Flowers colors- pink or purple. Low maintenance, hardy and disease resistant.

Is there any variety that you can advise? Most of the ones I see in garden centers max out at 5-6 feet only.

Thank you,


I am looking forward to planting my first rhododendron.
I am looking for one that will be an accent plant in the backyard. Height is an important consideration -mature height of 8-10 feet. Flowers colors- pink or purple. Low maintenance, hardy and disease resistant.
Is there any variety that you can advise? Most of the ones I see in garden centers max out at 5-6 feet only.
Thank you

Hi !

I am new to gardening and while reading about gardening I came across Toronto master gardeners website and it has been very helpful to understand some basics, do’s and don’ts. So thank you for that.

I am looking for suggestions for setting up my balcony’s a north west facing balcony in Etobicoke, 3rd floor of 20 storey building. Can you pls suggest any year around plants I can grow in my balcony ? Also any climber type plants for trellis setup pls ?

Thank you.

Hey, I’m in 5a zone and need 3 narrow trees for a full sun location near a fence for privacy. The trees will hopefully fill out the 15′ of space and create a screen. It is a residential area and don’t need them to be 50′ tall. Ideally 20′-30′ tall and by the math 5′-8′ wide if they grow into each other or I trim them. Any suggestions?

I planted a weeping willow in my field in fall of 2020 -we’re surrounded by farmland so very exposed to snow and wind. Location is south-facing and the tree gets full sun.

We had a very dry summer last year and the tree hand some water sprouts but we cut those and watered by hand even more frequently, it seemed to be okay going into the fall and winter. But seems to be worse for wear coming out of the cold this month. Hope the pictures are clear enough… the top branches look almost entirely lifeless but when I scratched it at top of trunk it still has green-ish life.

If anybody has any idea on best approach from here I’d greatly appreciate it. We planted two autumn blaze maples at the same time and those are doing just fine, it’s just the willow that seems to be having a tough go. Again, ANY thoughts/help would be greatly appreciated.

I have just installed permeable pavers on a slight slope from my garage to alley, which is in full sun, in the Annex in Toronto. I am wondering about Dymondia (margaretae), if it is the right zone, if it could handle once a day car passage, and if it could spread across pavers. Or another suggestion to green this area.

There’s a food cycler which Consumer Reports review with little support. Do you know of an indoor food composter which might be current, and has good reviews, since the Vitamix one seems more trouble than it’s worth. Facing major surgery makes me wonder how I’m going to use my green bin in Toronto, and drag it out. Ideally, I’d recycle my compost from the machine to a garden.

I’ve added the article from the magazine in a hyperlink.

I have a relatively large lemon tree in a relatively large pot (24 inch diameter x 24 inches high). After a few years of trying, I seem to be able a keep the plant relatively happy and actually bare fruit. (Blossoms smell awesome!). The plant is more of a bush than a tree. However the plant and pot is just too big and for our small home. Is it possible to repot into a smaller pot and trim back the plant size? Lots of info on repotting from smaller to larger pots, but not much on repotting from larger to smaller pots. Thxs

Some of my rose canes are black after the winter. Should I cut them off, spray with anti-fungal solution or just wait and see if they start to leaf up

Hi I have a nice carpet of creeping thymes that i planted in my front yard a few years back and they kust flourished and the flower carpet is beautiful in early summer. I noticed over the past few years grass patches coming up in some areas. Will they invade the creeping thymes or will teh thymes fight the grass out? What can I do to kill the grass in the patches and yet not harm the thymes

Hi Can you please suggest a few christmas trees that will grow up to maximim around 15 feet and 5 ft wide and maintain shape for long time like a hundred years, prefer things like colarado blue spruce. also si there a white birch i can get that will be sleek and not gt grow too wide. and lastly a pine trees with nivce needles that tree will not grow more than 15 ft and around 6 ft wide lng term. thanks

Hi, I have quite a large lilac bush that I am trying to save from my construction crew. The construction crew will be coming within a couple of weeks. Can I cut a branch off and try to root it? How long should the cutting be? I haven’t been able to separate it at the base.

Alternatively, I’m happy to donate it to the botanical garden, however someone will need to come and uproot it.

I have attached a picture from last May. It is about 6-7 feet tall.

Thank you

I have a plaza building behind my lot that I would like to block the view. The hedge would be planted along the East side of my property fence so that would be Western exposure. Does that mean I am limited to Hill’s Yew, Hick’s Yew or Hemlock? Would Green Giant Cedars work? Ideally, I would like it to be 25′ tall and a tree that would grow fairly quickly. The soil is loam and I have an irrigation system. What would you recommend? Thank you.

I live in the Junction Toronto. I have 2 hellebore niger, one planted in the front of the house facing west, the other planted in a raised bed in the back also facing west. These were transplanted from our country house 6 years ago. The one in the raised bed did not bloom at all this year and the one in the front has some blooms but not nearly as well as in the past. What can I do to help them along?

I have a plaza building behind my lot that I would like to block the view. The hedge would be planted along the East side of my property fence so that would be Western exposure. Does that mean I am limited to Hill’s Yew, Hick’s Yew or Hemlock? Would Green Giant Cedars work? Ideally, I would like it to be 25′ tall and a tree that would grow fairly quickly. The soil is loam and I have an irrigation system. What would you recommend? Thank you.

I have later summer blooming clematis I want to move out of the shade this year and into the sun where it will be happier. I now a good time to move it? I have read conflicting advice on the internet, some say now is good and some say wait until after blooming,
Thank you

Hi there,
I have a question regarding making hedge in my front yard.
Can I make my hedge as per the attached picture? ( Shrubs ) Appreciate
if you could share your experience.

We brought our mandevilla in for the winter.
It had few flowers over the winter indoors, and it has lots of green leaves now ,but very few flowers. We are now ready to take it on our terrace and was wondering how we can make it flower profusely like it did last summer? I did fertilize it every 2 weeks during the winter( 15-30-15) Sould we cut it right back ? It is the pink variety.
Thank you very much.


Located in Ontario, I sowed seeds of several herbs in small pots.
Placed inside the house – beside patio door (sunny until early afternoon) -, all of them germinated but dill look very fragile and most of them wilted in pots… Are they dead or recovering later? I’ve been watering well. But is there any tip I should know?
I’m going to purchase a raised garden. When should I move them to it?

Thank you!

I plan to plant two serviceberries in my backyard that has plenty of sunshine at my house at Markham, Ontario.

1) Among Robin Hill, Autumn Brilliance and Canadian serviceberry, which one is the easiest to maintain and doesn’t require moist condition?

2) When berries ripe, can we just leave them fall down without collecting them? Is there any adverse effect to the lawn or soil? Any unpleasant smell?

3) For privacy, can I plant the two saplings at 8′ distance apart? Would this cause any trouble to the health and growth of the trees?

Many thanks


I am wanting to plant some hardy small shrubs (maybe flowering) on my balcony. Zone 4. I have a dwarf lilac that seems to be doing well but the Japanese Barberrty . . . Any suggestions

I plan to plant two serviceberries in my backyard along the fence for privacy screening. I have no experience and can’t imagine how they look when they grow up.

1)  What should be the distance apart between them (both are single stem) that will give privacy screening?

2)  If I plant two serviceberries of the same cultivar, would that look dull?
Should I plant two, say Autumn Brilliance, one multi stem and the other single?
Should I plant  one Autumn Brilliance and one Robin Hill so that there is some variation? 

Many thanks

I have a lilac bush in a container. whicvh i had planned to put into the ground this year. but it is not doing well.. the other lilacs are way ahead with their growth and leaves and flower heads forming. what can i do. i took it out of the container and it appears root bound. can you advise me will try to send photo. thank you.

Hello, I live in Toronto and I have a big maple tree in my backyard — the tree bed used to be mostly full with euonymus fortunei. However, this year, after the winter, a lot of it seems to be gone (remainder is circled in red). How do I thicken that and make it spread (as it once was)? Is it all dead and have to remove it and replant?

Hello, I have had the magnolia tree for 12 years. It had blooms & a lot of green leaves. I’ve noticed in the past two years that my magnolia tree is not thriving some of the branches are dead and not producing as many flowers. It’s situated in the front lawn and has early morning sun for approximately 5 hours then its in shade the rest of the day. The soil is sandy & I water it regularly and I also add mulch at the base of the tree. I’m not sure if it needs pruning, fertilizer or its slowly dying,. Please help me to resolve this issue. I hope I given enough information. Sorry I cannot provide a photo. Thank you. Lee

I have a 100 foot line of property, and would like to plant my new 10 Japanese Ivory Lilac trees in Aline for privacy.
Can I plant them 10 feet apart to create a hedge like privacy barrier,

I have been trying for two years to turn a newly fenced patch of garden into lawn for the family to play, beside our small downtown semi, with limited success. The area was formerly mostly periwinkle, some irises, some Solomon seal and some sumac. We moved some of the plants and kept the largest sumac tree intact, but would like to turn the area beneath and around that sumac into a lawn (perhaps grass and clover mixed). the area is now a patchy mix of grass, Solomon seal, bare soil, a couple of rogue tulips, a patch of clover, etc. Our garden centre looked at some photos of the bare patches of soil and mix of grass and weeds, and advised that soil is compacted and suggested starting over: roto tilling the area, spreading new soil, raking and seeding. Do I risk killing the lovely tall sumac (20 feet) if I roto till all around it? How far back from the tree should I stay, to protect enough roots? Thank you so much!

I struggled to adjust the water sprinkler, and found the spray would bounce against the tree trunk, and cover the lawn portion to my liking.

Should water be kept away from a 9 year old tree trunk, since the following link shows a gentleman showing how a tree trunk is intentionally watered, which must be an exception.

I live in Toronto.
Can I trim limelight hydrangea by 1/3 now, May 8?
They do have some buds appearing.

Or is it too late? Should I wait until fall?

I would like to get someone to prune my grapes in the backyard, and don’t know where to find someone to do the job?. I am wondering if you could help me.

I need my front and backyards graded can I get some help please dont know where to start

Hello. I moved into a new (to us) home three years ago, where the lawn had been let go. I don’t use herbicides, so have been weeding manually and, where I can, replacing patches, but I just can’t get rid of this weed. Could you please tell me what it is and how I might deal with it? (I have other photos if they would help, but could only send one via this contact form.) Thank you.

I need my front and backyards graded can I get some help please dont know where to start


Are there any cane-hardy climbing roses that I can plant in Toronto. I’ve heard that many climbing roses suffer significant die-back during our Toronto winters.

I’ve heard that John Cabot and Therese Bugnet roses are good contenders. If so, are there any nurseries that you may be able to advise? I went to some of them, and it seems that none of the ones I have visited carry these two varieties.

Thank you,

What do I need to do to have a Eastern Prickly Pear patch?

Last year I tried planting a bunch of prickly pears and it quickly turned into a weedy mess. It’s not easy picking weeds from a cactus patch.

How do I prevent weeds from growing in my cactus patch?

The picture attached is how I tried to grow them last year. I got a couple pads of growth but way to many weeds for it to look nice.


I plan on growing vegetables in a raised garden bed this year and I am hoping you can tell me if it’s safe to use perlite in the soil. Is there a good substitute for perlite?

Thank you.

I want to find a Malus X Adstringens “Almey” which was Canada’s Centennial tree.
I hope that one of your members may have one on their property or know where there is one that has survived since 1967.
My hope is to be allowed to root 3-4 cuttings for transplanting as a memorial to my sister.

We have an ongoing extensive problem with this weed in my son’s garden. 3 years of hand weeding, much mulch and finally Roundup. Nothing has worked. Some of it is in shade and some in sun. The garden is in Stouffville. Black plastic cover could be applied in some areas? Identification and ideas for control would be wonderful.

Hello! I have a cherry tree (I don’t know the type) with lesions on the trunk and main branch. These are photos. Any idea of what/how this occurred?
You sent

I hope you are able to identify this daffodil for me, I planted Thalia but this isn’t Thalia! Is is a pretty little yellow daffodil with 2 flowers on each stem , the flowers are about 4-6 cm across with stems about 16 cm long , they just started to bloom a few days ago
Thank you

I hope you are able to identify this daffodil for me, I planted Thalia but this isn’t Thalia! Is is a pretty little yellow daffodil with 2 flowers on each stem , the flowers are about 4-6 cm across with stems about 16 cm long , they just started to bloom a few days ago
Thank you

I am in a condo in downtown Toronto. We have a long row of cedars that was put in about 4 years ago along the top / back of terraced beds of annuals. The cedars are now about 6′ – 8′ tall and look good. Our tree service has been fertilizing and doing a mycorrhizae inoculation every spring. I thought mycorrhizae inoculation was normally a 1 time at planting thing. It either takes or it will never take. Is an annual application standard practice in this situation?

Thank you for any insight you can offer.

Looking for an answer to question of whether it is better to top off flower beds with soil or with mulch. see that many of the $$ homes in the neighbourhood use soil instead of mulch, so wondering if there is something we don’t know.

I have a small hilled area in shade and Rhodes, ferns grow. Should I clean up all the dead leaves from my split-maple, or leave? Worried about bacteria. I am a resident of Mississauga.

I live in Thornhill. I very successfully over-wintered several pots of geraniums. Once this week turned warm and sunny I placed them outside, on the east facing steps of my house, where they had grown all last summer. After several hours they appeared as if a blight of some sort had hit them. Very scary! I pruned the damaged leaves and am hoping they will revitalize. This didn’t happen last year, and I also had success last year, drying and storing geraniums in the basement then replanting them in the garden. They thrived. About to replant the ones that weren’t in containers. Thank you for your consideration!

What is it.
Seems to be growing in a rather shady area.

I have two cedars in 16″ pots – they are not the emerald. They are the cheaper one, with sparser needle growth. They stand about 4 1/2 feet tall. This will be their third summer in the pots and they did very well last summer. I am sure I need to move them to bigger pots. I can’t plant them in the ground as my condo and patio/grass area is above a parking lot (therefore the soil depth is limited). Can you suggest the pot width I should get for each cedar? Also is it normal for them to have some brown needles as they are coming out of winter? I do face the north side of the building so I get less sun. However it is very sunny (no rain) all week. Should I be giving the cedars a good watering and how often? I have a photo but it is not being accepted.
Thank you very much.

My mandevilla has lots of yellow leaves falling. It has green leaves on the outside.
What should I do (fertilise) ? I am planning to take it outside soon.
It has a few flowers. What should I fertilize it with?
Thank you.

Can you please tell me where I would get the above sunflower called Sunbelievable brown eyed girl in Ontario> I’ve been trying to find the plant for the past 2 years and know that it’s available in the US and BC but not in Ontario.

Hello – looking for options to plant between flagstones in a west facing backyard with a large black walnut tree so quite shady. Planting area under drip line. Scarborough bluffs, so very sandy soil. Many thanks for your advice.

These flowers were found in the Brookbanks Ravine in Don Mills, beside the creek.

Any idea where to purchase persimmon trees? Have been looking everywhere, every site is always sold out.

my name’s Tony- I run a couple of small but growing gardening blogs.
I was browsing through your website, and was wondering if you accept guest posts?
I’d love to work with you and provide you with a well-written article on a topic that is relevant to your audience and something they will enjoy reading.
Gardening and writing about it is my passion. I’d be happy to suggest a few topics which could be a hit with your audience. Any content will be completely open for you to edit.
Please let me know if you’d be interested.
Warm Regards
Tony Manhart
Founder of

my son brought me a box of tulip bulbs from Holland. Looking online it seems that they should be planted in the fall. what should i do with them now to keep them safe from spoiling? I was wondering if i could/should plant them indoors now?
looking forward to your advice!
from a non green thumb.

What type of root system does the Moffett Road juniper have does it spread out or is it like a top route???? I would like to cultivate the ground around my trees but I do not want to tear up the roots???

I planted Frans Fontaine Hornbeam in fall of 2020. I live is zone 6 and the native soil is reddish clay. I used triple mix and compost to amend the soil in the planting hole. These tree get almost full day of sunlight. The trees are watered through a smart sprinkler controller based on weather and watering needs. The first month I was very aggressive with the watering and noticed leaves turning yellow which I thought was due to weather changing. Last year I noticed leaves wilting and turning yellow during summer and shed their leaves early. I recently noticed extensive branches dieback and dead branches have blackish spots on them. Can you please advise if this is soil nutrient deficiency or fungal disease?

For a tree which has an oval drip line with a 5 foot diameter, I added 26 kg of city compost. Is the reason one shouldn’t add shredded mulch that the mulch will smother the compost living matter? I guess that sort of mulch is ideal for a weedy area around flowers.

Our backyard is adorned with a few beautiful large trees. Because this creates a great deal of shade, grass does not grow well. So I have removed the grass and replaced it with a walkway and river stones. We still have a lot of room for flowers and shrubs near the trees. What types of flowers and shrubs can continue to grow in the shade? The ground is probably acidic due to the huge pine tree in the yard. Many thanks.

The trunk measures 24 inches average on the tree. How much mulch would you estimate could top that oval shaped drip line, if I just dropped 26 kg of compost? I’d do the math, but my covid-fogged brain, and the back stretch aren’t helping me do much these days. The good news is the local acupuncturist is making a living. It’s amazing how the tree sucks in the compost from last year!

I thought I saw a workshop online about shrinking a lawn. Can we ask questions ahead of time on that forum?

I can’t seem to find it on the website. Can you send me the link?


I found quite a lot of Scherber’s big red stem moss on my garden floor and would like to propagate it further in my garden. How can I do that? It seems to be growing only in the shaded areas, would it be okay in full sun or partial sun? Soil type is heavy clay and area is north east Scarborough. Also, I would just like to confirm if it is native to the area if possible.

Thank you for your help and advice!

We planted 2 European Beech in large pots last year.
One is leafing out, but seems to have tiny little mites/worms on the young leaves
Should I spray it with insecticidal soap?
Also the other tree is not leafing out yet.
What can I do to revive it?
Thank you.
Fareeda Maclusky

Hi, My name is Arthur DeRosa and I live in Huntington, Long Island and I have a try color Beech tree planted in topsoil/sandy clay with moist soil. the past three years something strange is happening. first of the three,onr or two branches produced a larger totally copper/brownish leaf and these leaves came out approx a week earlier than the rest of the perfectly shaped normal leaves. With each season since, the amount of branches bearing these leaves has increased and they continue to emerge early. is this normal or is there a condition that is causing it and can I correct it? here is a picture of tree
Thanks, Arthur DeRosa

I live in the Beach, my back garden is partial shade. I have a large white oak tree on the north side of the property. The soil is sandy, dry. The garden to be created is west facing, & approximately 8 feet from the oak tree.
Last fall we had our back deck replaced, I had to remove all plantings in a garden bed 10 feet long by 5 feet wide in front of the deck. I would like to recreate this garden but the soil has been compacted by the workman. Do I need to double dig, to create a new bed? Kindly advise.

I bought this plant and haven’t replanted it yet so I’m unsure which type of soil it is but there is lots of wood chips throughout and on top. I live in quite a dry and dusty apartment but we keep it at 69-71 degrees. I’ve recently been giving her 3 hours of morning light right beside the window at 8am-11am then close the sheer blind until the sun is past the building, open them up again so she can get the remaining indirect light for the rest of the day. I started doing this because I know they like sunlight but the first time I put her in front of the window I let her get too much sun exposure and she curled up her leaves and then got a little crispier on the edges. I watered her 3 times in 3 weeks and realized the water was really chlorinated. I just watered her again but this time left the water out for 24 hours and bottom watered her for 45 mins and made sure to feel her soil halfway down to see if it was moist or not. I’ve also been misting her leaves lately about 2 times a week because it’s so dry and dusty in the apartment. Should I cut off that stem that has the black dots on it? Is it going to affect the new growth or help it? Should I cut off any of the other leaves that have those black red and yellow dots on them? Or should I try to treat the affected leaves with a fungicide or an insecticide? I’m going to buy a moisture PH and light meter to see when to water her as well and what type of fertilizer to use as I haven’t used any on her yet.

Hi there,
our 4 year old river birch seems to have trouble leafing out this year. Some of the internal branches are missing some leaves so it looks a little threadbare. Could it be from my dogs peeing on it? Is there anything I can do to encourage leaf growth? the leaves are also a bright green colour this spring- is this normal?
Last year we sprayed it for caterpillars with Safer’s btk insecticide as well, not sure if that may have affected growth this year


Hi all,

I bought this from the plant sale at TBG. Whrn plant it over the weekend, duscivered that the blooms are white. Will they become pink later pls? Thanks in advance!!


I wonder if someone at Toronto Master Gardeners has experience growing Hoja Santa (Piper Auritum). It is a delicious tropical herb from Mexico. I have tried to grow it from seed with no luck. The seeds are quite small and wonder if they have low germination rates or require very specific conditions. It seems to not be grown or sold fresh in Canada, but perhaps someone here may know of other alternatives to source it.

Hi- I live in Toronto and have several evergreen trees on my front lawn (north side of property) that are approximately 23 years old. They have been perfectly healthy until this past month when several of them have turned brown. I am afraid that they may have been exposed to winter salt that I used on my walkway, as the run off may have seeped into the soil. Is there anything I can do to revive them? Please help and thank you so much for everything you guys do.
P.s. I was unable to upload photos, as the files exceeded the max upload size.

Hi there,

Could you help me identify if this plant is weed or ground cover? It grows and spreads very fast. It has extensive root system and grows even in the middle of other plants. Thank you very much

We are looking to plant a privacy hedge with our neighbour in our backyard instead of a fence but don’t know what type of hedge/ shrub to consider.
Preferably we want the hedge to have the following features:
1. Not get too too wide , the narrower the better
2. Privacy about 80% is fine
3. Get minimum 6 ft tall Preferably no more 12ft tall
4. Our sitting area would be right next to this hedge so would appreciate if you can tell us if there are any hedges that don’t attract mosquitos as we both have small children and cannot relocate our sitting areas.
5. This hedge would cover about 81 feet in length
6. Something nice and preferably something that stays green all year but if not at least from May to October
7. Fast growing preferably. We would want to buy it 5 ft tall initially.
8. Is this something we can plant ourselves or do you reccomend we get hired help

I live in a high rise condo and our grounds (Beds, lawns and patios) need to be rejuvenated. I am lobbying for exclusive use of native perennials, shrubs and trees. Are you aware of any commercial properties in the GTA that have gone that route that I could use as examples? Thank you.

my apple tree has a lot of bloom every year but no apples. it gets pollinated and apples start but then all get destroyed by bugs. I would like to spray an organic and non toxic bug killer but i am not familiar with the topic. is there anything you could recommend?
Thank you

The attached photo of this Forsythia plant is 12 years old. Since planting it has bloomed with the exception of this year. What can I do to promote blooming? Should I cut it down and replant cuttings?
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Hello! I am a new one owner of 3 juneberries. Here in Poland it is not a popular plant. I hope someone can help me identifying one problem. Trees have been planted this year, like 4 weeks ago. They are already 3 meters tall. It’s the end of May and some of the leaves are getting red and orange. I can’t see on them any spots etc. it used to have lots of flowers and I can see small green fruits already. What could be the cause of such situation? Many many thanks.

We have grubs in our lawn and veggie garden. I can’t find anything that says you shouldn’t use nematodes in a veggie garden, so I just wanted to see if you had any input on this. Is there any reason why I shouldn’t use nematodes on a veggie garden?

In order to decide how to improve the soil in raised beds, where can one get soil composition tested in Toronto/GTA in order to discover what is missing for optimum plant growth? Beds contain shrubs, decorative trees/ flowers/bulbs (not vegetables)
Thank you.

Do you have any idea where we can buy Swamp (White) Cedars in Toronto? Having trouble finding them. We have a hedge but need to fill in a bit.

I didn’t understand I could use any type of mulch, but went ahead with cedar mulch.

Good morning. I was wondering if you know of any local places/nurseries that sell annuals or perennials in compostable containers. Thanks

Our Rugosa Rose bush (I think this is the species) came up beautifully this spring and now looks like the attached photo. The green leaves and new leaf buds recently started to wilt and some are even turning yellow. We have never had a problem with this hearty plant before, it is always so lush every year and loves the spot we have it in. It receives a lot of sun and produces the most beautiful light pink/white roses. Any assistance would be helpful as we want it to survive!

I planted 2 Juniper bushes last year and I found that they had turned brown in some places. A neighbour said it might be from winter salt. Is this so and what do I do now?

Hello. Silly question perhaps, but I have dandelions growing in my yard: do you know of any stores (a grocery, an apothecary) that would buy them from me? Otherwise, I’ll just pluck them out and throw them away.

(Note: we don’t use pesticides in our yard.)

Thank you.

I planted 2 Juniper bushes last year and I found that they had turned brown in some places. A neighbour said it might be from winter salt. Is this so and what do I do now?

I have an inquiry with regards to my winter gem boxwoods located in the front of my house (front of my house is East facing, located in Etobicoke, and we get a good mix of direct sun and shade throughout the day). All the boxwoods have turned a nice healthy green in recent weeks, and I’ve given them a very light pruning. Unfortunately one of the boxwoods appears to have dried out and I tried trimming it back to eliminate as much of the dry/yellow leaves and stiff branches. Beyond that, I haven’t done much more, so I wanted to confirm what would be my best option at this stage? Is there anything I can do to attempt to revive it? Should I remove and replace it? Or should I remove it and reposition/space out the shrubs next to this one (without disturbing them and risk them dying) to fill the space out? Attached are some photos. I look forward to hearing back.

HI, my Wisteria plant is looking poor, It was planted in 2018. I have enclosed a picture to show the leaves.

Any guidance is much appreciated. we live in North York

Our ten yr old Japanese maple is in the front garden, southern exposure, full sun. We’re in Toronto. It’s been a beautiful plant, but this spring it’s only producing leaves on the outer branch tips. I’ve trimmed it over the years but never done a serious pruning because I don’t know how. Is that the problem with it, or is it something more serious?

All of my grasses( WARM) died this winter I find this mind bogging to loose them all at once Any idea why. Last year they were very healthy.

13 year old cedars. Fertilized twice per year with irrigation. I have looked mites, spiders and do not see any (including webs). Can you help me? Please reach via email, or phone at 416-930-4875. (I have sent two requests because I was unable to attach multiple photos).

13 year old cedars. Fertilized twice per year with irrigation. I have looked mites, spiders and do not see any (including webs). Can you help me? Please reach via email, or phone at 416-930-4875. (I have sent two requests because I was unable to attach multiple photos).

13 year old cedars. Fertilized twice per year with irrigation. I have looked mites, spiders and do not see any (including webs). Can you help me? Please reach via email, or phone at
416-930-4875. (Here is the second photo, thank you)

20 plus years ago I bought a David Austin rose – Constance Spry. It grew into a large and handsome shrub, but only produced two or three flowers over the years I had it. I don’t think the Montreal climate was suitable. When I was having foundation work done, about 10 years ago, the contractor cut it down, with my okay. A couple of years later, another rose appeared in the same spot. It is now enormous, a rambler-type which is covered with single white flowers for a short period each year. No scent. Could this rose be coming from whatever Constance was grafted to? Love it far more than Constance.

Our Sumac is more than 15 years old and has never been pruned. It is extremely tall and spindly. Can it be severely pruned back?

I had purchased these lilly bulbs and the first year I planted them, they were lovely. I have already tried 2 years in a row to get them to flower and they won’t. Their foliage is beautiful and it looks promising, but it just doesn’t happen. What am I doing wrong. Please provide the correct name of this beautiful lilly. Thanks

Good morning I was wondering if you could help me I have a climbing hydragenas that was taken down by recent storm and I would to try to save it … any help or assistance would be appreciated please see before and after photos unfortunately I cannot attach a photo to this website

My hostas were shredded by that storm yesterday. Will those tattered leaves remain all summer? If I cut them back, will new leaves emerge?

Dear Master Gardeners, I started some dahlia bulbs in February. They are about a foot tall now but still in their posts. I have had them outside on the deck, hardening off for a few weeks. There have been nights below 10 degrees. Their tips have become burned-looking. I am concerned that they are diseased, or that the cold has given them frost bite. If it is a disease, I do not want to put them out in the garden. Could you please help me? Many thanks for this help.

I have this plant in my garden which I cannot identify. Can you help me determine if it is a perennial or a weed?

I have this plant in my garden which I cannot identify. Can you help me determine if it is a perennial or a weed?

Please tell me what the bloom season and duration are for the above shrub?
What size should I buy to get the largest, most mature shrub?

1st question: Is it a good idea to use tulle to cover my greens (kale, swisschard, basil) in containers to prevent pests, ie. whitefly, slugs, etc etc. from infesting the leaves. I was thinking of using clips around edge of container to keep it in place. Do you think this is impractical?
b) I put a layer of newspaper and then about 6 in of pinecones in the base of those containers. I now just read on your website that no materials should be added and can cause more harm. Have I now set myself up for failure with these greens? I assume it is too late to get them out now?
Thank you very much, Marlene

Good morning!
I’m hoping you can assist me with this. I’ve topped up my container garden (photo included) this year with triple Blend/mix BC I wanted to beef up the nutrients for my vegetables–tomatoes, peppers, and melons/cucumbers.
Before I plant, I wanted to ask if I should add anything to the mix, such as more peat or coarse sand?

The blend I bought says it consists of: humus, sphagnum peat moss and compost

What is the appropriate time of year to spray for leaf miner and when is it too late to spray. I am in south Etobicoke.

Our European Beech tree was planted last year in a pot( 23″ h x 20″ accross-square). It is on an open terrace facing North East with lots of wind from Lake Ontario. We are on the 8th floor( top storey of condo)The tree started budding in the spring, but is not still leafing out. It gets morning sun for at leastg 6 hours a dayThe trunk diameter is 1.5 ” and I did fertilise this spring. When I scratch the stem it is still green and the pot does have drainage holes. We did burlap and mulch it over the winter. What can we do to help it bloom?
We planted the same tree in the same pot on the south west corner and it has leafed out.
the tree is about 7′ tall and it has not grown since last year?
Do you have any advice to help this tree survive?
This is my 2nd time asking about thed tree and hope that I have supplied all the relevant information.
Thank You very much.

massive 20-25 foot came down with recent storm was up against a brick wall
who is the hydrangea expert ? help appreciated to contact the ASK person

The above email arrived in my inbox. I do not know this person Morty. I have copied and pasted his question and have included his email address above.
I have replied to the gentleman and informed him that I have forwarded his enquiry to Toronto Master Gardeners.
Dorothy Smyth

Last September (2021) I planted a “Nova Zembla” Rhododendron in my Toronto front yard (zone 6/clay type soil) facing south with my house on the north side of the Rhodo. Rhodos were hard to find in Toronto last year (due to COVID etc) but I finally found one last September and although the garden centre no longer offered a refund on the plant that late in the season, (should the plant not thrive), the plant looked healthy. Before winter I wrapped burlap around it several times along with a white “insect and frost” barrier fabric as advised by my local garden centre. While protected on the north side by the house, the plant would be exposed to wind/elements from the west. However, this Spring when I unwrapped the plant, it was quite dead with the leaves curled and brittle. Could I have wrapped it too much? Should I put pyramid shaped wooden structure around it to better protect it from the west wind? One garden advisor asked whether I had watered it well right up to the end of November which I may not have done adequately. This Spring I planted another Rhodo– “Purple Passion” in the same location and followed the garden centre’s planting directions carefully re: providing acidic soil (worm castings, pine mulch, cocoa mulch and soil acidifier). I water it well and the plant is blooming and doing well. It gets morning shade, afternoon dappled light and western sunlight from about 3 pm to 6 pm. I hope that this plant will survive the winter better than the last Rhodo. Any suggestions for winter care or other care? Thanks so much, Linda

Hello, I live in North York. I have had a healthy lavender plant for several years and I have pruned it end of season as advised. This year it is all woody except for a a small amount of green leaves. Should I cut it right back to just the part that has new growth? I’ve attached 2 photos. Thank you,

Spring 2021, I saw some foliage of one Cedar Tree that came off one branch of the Cedar tree. Then in January 2022, I noticed on ground next to the same Cedar tree A LOT of cedar tree foliage that was tripped from the branches. Also, I noticed that the Cut made on the Foliage was ON an Angle for all the cut foliage very precise! please let me know who is doing this damage, also note that all the damaged is starting at the TOP of the Tree, also, please note that the Second tree is getting damaged too, in the picture you will see the foliage on the Grass where I found it, as well at the TOP of the Tree that has been pilled up!
Thank you very much, my trees are about 20 feet tale and big. I need help please.

I live in Etobicoke near Centennial Park, abutting a small ravine. I have just discovered a very large groundhog residing under my white cedar garden shed. It has eaten the blossoms off my Bachelor Buttons, down to the stems about 3 inches above the ground; also eaten the echinacea leaves and a few other plants. I would like to block the hole it has dug under the shed – can I safely use kitty litter to do this as I understand it is a repellant but is it a particular kitty litter. How do I deter him from eating the garden perennials? How do I safely steer him to the ravine for his burrowing and home; I had new sod put in last year and do not want to have it ruined. Thank you.

I’m in Toronto. For several years I have cut pieces of impatience and placed them in holes of green oasis. Within a week, all plants would have roots. Not finding oasis, I purchased a block from the Dollarama. All roots rotted. Is there a good oasis that prevents root rot and where can it be purchased?

I live in North York zone 6, this is the second year I have had these Issai hardy Kiwi plants Actinidia Arguta in dry clay soil but planted following instructions with compost loam etc. they are in full sun, with a watering system. They started out well but now they have a strange white mark around the edge of the leaves 3 of the 4 plants are effected

taken in nursery Toronto

shot taken toronto nursery

taken toronto nursery

Hello, Thank you for the reply to this question. I am still unsure how to proceed though. Do I leave all the woody branches intact and only cut the woody stems growing up out of the branches? That will leave my plant looking pretty strange but perhaps I do that this year in the hopes that it re-blossoms next year? Please advise. Thank you kindly.

I sawed morning glory seeds and modt of them have successfully geminated.
Now that we had heavy rain or storm, some of the leaves got slightly damaged probably by slugs…

*Are they still okay? Should I eliminate those leaves or entire seedling that has damaged leaf?

I’m planning to transfer them to planters (with stakes) and a hanging basket (to let it go down)

*When is the best time to transfer seedlings?

*Would it be fine to plant 4 seedlings in a 13-inch planter/ hanging basket? Or too crowded?

Thank you in advance!

We have an old (>20 yrs) calycanthus floridus thriving in our yard in part shade. We removed the front yard lawn and planted a native pollinator garden and would like to add a specimen as part of the planting design. Cant source one anywhere. How can I propagate from the one we have?

I live in Toronto and for the second year I find green caterpillars on my boxwood. Last June I picked up by hand at least 200 of them. Yesterday I noticed droppings underneath the boxwood shrub which was nearly denuded last year and which had just a few new leaves that now are nearly all eaten. Again I have picked up about a hundred caterpillars. Is there anything else I can do to kill them this year and prevent them from reappearing next spring?
Another related question: Some of my peonies had some of their leaves partly eaten up and now that they have unfurled look disfigured. This morning I found one of the same caterpillars (the smaller one on the photograph) that attacked the Boxwood on one of the peony plants. It looks like these caterpillars eat peonies as well.
I hope you can give me some advice, I have had the boxwood and the peonies for many years and I hope not to lose them.
Thank you very much
P.S. I am having trouble sending you the photos of the offending caterpillars, the fully grown ones are an inch long, green with a black head and with pairs of black dots facing all along their back. They also have white thorn like hairs along the body

Any chance where l can buy this plant in GTA ?

I took this picture in a nursery and the only ID I get is dalechampia aristolochiifolia which I’m not too sure about.
Can you please give me your opinion

Where to buy near Georgetown Ontario?

Scarborough, planted in large containers, in shade/partial shade, with good potting soil.
1. Approx. length of time to reach maturity of 12’x15′ ?
2. Will this plant perform in our hot Ontario summers ?
Most info available about this plant from southern USA States.

We have an old (>20 yrs) calycanthus floridus thriving in our yard in part shade. We removed the front yard lawn and planted a native pollinator garden and would like to add a specimen as part of the planting design. Cant source one anywhere. How can I propagate from the one we have?


I’ve noticed the at annual fleabane is growing in my garden and I am conflicted about what I should do about it. I am trying to grow a native garden and I’m worried that since the annual fleabane is an aggressive spreader it would outcompete my other native plants. Should I weed it out? Another question I have is about the eastern salt marsh aster, it seems it is native to parts of Canada but not Ontario, is that correct?

Thank you for all of your help!


I’ve noticed the at annual fleabane is growing in my garden and I am conflicted about what I should do about it. I am trying to grow a native garden and I’m worried that since the annual fleabane is an aggressive spreader it would outcompete my other native plants. Should I weed it out? Another question I have is about the eastern salt marsh aster, it seems it is native to parts of Canada but not Ontario, is that correct?

Thank you for all of your help!

Location Toronto, Etobicoke, north, away from the lake. Planting location west side of house partially protected by 9 ft purple beech hedge. See conflicting info on the shape. Is it a globe shape or columnar? Some tape show columnar while online it’s says globe? Would it require winter protection? Looking for an ornamental tree, not columnar to provide replace hydrangeas and provide some height and a bit of privacy to front window

Im trying to creat a big clump of Karl Foerster feather reed grass in my garden bed, right in front of an old overgrown globe arborvitae, and besides a smooth hydrangea bush which will mature to about 5 by 5 feet.
I have 5 feather reed plants in total, and the space for them is about 5-6 feet irregular shaped. How should I space and arrange the grasses so that they look like one big clump instead of a few individual ones with gaps in between? I currently put 4 there in a drifted way but wonder if it would get too crowded.
I have other perennials in front of the grasses so I don’t want the clump to be too big, but big enough to be about the same size as the hydrangea and cover a good portion of the giant globe cedar. I feel maybe 3 is enough but I’m not sure. They are not in their mature size yet so it’s hard to see how big they will grow. Also, how do I arrange them to creat an oval or horizontal tear-drop shaped clump instead of a round or straight line?

Im trying to creat a big clump of Karl Foerster feather reed grass in my garden bed, right in front of an old overgrown globe arborvitae, and besides a smooth hydrangea bush which will mature to about 5 by 5 feet.
I have 5 feather reed plants in total, and the space for them is about 5-6 feet irregular shaped. How should I space and arrange the grasses so that they look like one big clump instead of a few individual ones with gaps in between? I currently put 4 there in a drifted way but wonder if it would get too crowded.
I have other perennials in front of the grasses so I don’t want the clump to be too big, but big enough to be about the same size as the hydrangea and cover a good portion of the giant globe cedar. I feel maybe 3 is enough but I’m not sure. They are not in their mature size yet so it’s hard to see how big they will grow. Also, how do I arrange them to creat an oval or horizontal tear-drop shaped clump instead of a round or straight line?

Hello, I am in zone 5 Toronto. Would the Orpheus flower grow in dry shade or dappled sunlight? Where can I buy this plant?

I just today realized that the deterioration of my 10 boxwoods shrubs this spring is because of box tree caterpillar.
At this point they are about 30-50% decimated.
I see that there is an organic treatment called BTK available at Canadian Tire, but I am wondering if there is any point to try to save the shrubs at this point.
Should I just toss them out and make the decision to play t something else.
I am concerned about eggs in the soil around the shrubs.
Will these caterpillar eat any shrubs nearby? I have emerald cedars, deutzia, hydrangea, Korean lilac.
Thank you very much for any help with my 2 questions.
Best regards,

I’ve been enjoying the idea of growing potatoes from adding cuttings of potato eyes to my soil. Small potatoes grew from cuttings last year, and it looks like I’m on my way again this year. However, I’ve been told that there is a toxin in non-treated potatoes. After searching on this site, it seems potatoes shouldn’t be grown in an urban setting since it will likely attract an airborne disease.

Do you know of anyone who grew tasty potatoes in their urban backyard?

Do you think it’s a good idea to grow potatoes, generally, in a typical Toronto backyard? Or is it truly not advised, due to toxins / airborne diseases?

Thank you!

I broke my dahlia plant off at the ground level. Will it regrow this year? Is there a way to grow the top I broke off?

H. I have cedar trees that have dead branches only on one side. That is the side that is not exposed to the sun. The other sides look great and healthy. The trees are about 18 years old and plantes in front of the porch. Is it normal or should I hire a specialist to look into it?

Hi and thanks for reading my question. I have one set of two boxwoods that are about 4 years old that I transplanted from containers to garden bed and another set of three that I planted last spring. I have been treating both sets of boxwoods for Psyllid this spring and I have just discovered those awful leaf miners now in adult form swarming around the older set. I understand the only way to really get rid of this pest is to either harshly trim the plants (I don’t have a huge garden, so this will be very noticeable and ugly) or hire a pro to use neonics (I don’t even know if the pros can use neonics – but I don’t want them used in either event). My #1 question is, would you immediately remove the most affected boxwoods before they infect the other set of three? I am so mad because I did trim them up this spring and they all look so darn healthy and attractive at the moment! My #2 question is – can leaf miner infest any other plants, or do boxwood leaf miners only infect boxwoods? In other words, should I be worried about other specimens in my garden, in which case I will definitely remove the affected plants as I have too much $$$ invested in the rest of the garden! Thank you very much!

I broke my dahlia plant off at the ground level. Will it regrow this year? Is there a way to grow the top I broke off?

Is compost tea useful? I don’t have space to make my own compost, but can get a bit of compost from a friend to make tea. Worth it? Recommended recipe and application? I see multiple variations on the web. Want to do a simple one, not the version with fish tank motors, etc.

I was there last year and I saw these roses along the fenced area near the small “hut” by the Lawrence entrance. I didn’t see any identifications.

Can you tell me the name of that climbing rose and where I might be able to purchase them. Been to many nurseries and never seen them.

Also will these do well in a rock garden along a porch/awning.


I planted figs in containers last spring, kept them cool and dormant over the winter, but I didn’t prune them when I took them out this spring. Now they’ve grown long spindly branches and big leaves and I read that if I prune them now, they will “bleed” out a milky substance and essentially bleed to death. Is this true? Is it too late to prune them? Thank you very much for your help!

Hi there. We moved into a new home in Jan 2021 and have learned that the previous owners had planted a blueberry plant in the garden. Our neighbours have said that the plant bloomed and have blueberries in the summer prior to our arrival.
Unfortunately, there were no flowers in our first summer and this summer, the plant is looking similar to how it looked last year. The leaves are more red than they are green — not sure if this is normal for June. We live in the east end of Toronto. The plant sits beside a large evergreen but gets lots of sun. We added compost to the existing soil and added topsoil and mulch to it.
The plant is about 14” high and has a spread of about 12”.
I’m wondering what we can/should be doing to support fruit growth in this plant. Thanks in advance for your advice!

My gardner has purchased 2 of these maples for my front facing house (south exposurea) Google search websites
1) This Maple is max 4-6 ft however my gardner is telling me that it will grow taller as it will have space to.
2) Full sun or partial shade.
– My front has sun from 8am-3pm. Is that too much sun?
Please help with your expertise

We have a small serviceberry tree that over the last 4 years has an issue that is gradually killing the small tree. The leaves, when they come out shrivel. I am not sure if there is an insect inside the leaves but if you pull the shrivelled leaves apart, there appears to be a reminant of an insect.
What should I do? Can the tree be saved – it has impacted 50 percent of the tree? Your advice would be appreciated. Thanks

Our Wisteria hardly bloomed this year. I need to find someone who can properly trim and tie up the wisteria on our Purgola. Can you do that or recommend someone (I tried to use the web list unsuccessfully)?

I have tried to watch and follow u-tube pruning instructions, but don’t get good results and think that I am not doing it right. We had Davey inject/fertilize which may have countered blooming. I hope you can help me though i am in Hamilton instead of Toronto.

Hi, My white pine is showing what seems to be a fungal infection. First bark only on one branch turned white, but after a year multiple branches are white. I am very worried, since it is a beautiful and very big pine, and it would be very difficult to reach these branches. I live in North York.
Please, let me know how to treat this. Thank you very much.

Hi, I live in North York. I planted native Viburnum lentago last year and moved it a bit this year. It was doing quite well all the time, but after that big storm in Toronto I noticed that the very young leaves had drooped. I wonder if this is some infection, or could be a mechanical damage due to the strong rain. Two other viburnums dentago next to it did not show any problems.
What is your opinion. Thank you very much.

I recently was given a small Tsuma Gaki Japanese Maple. It is currently in a 15 inch pot, which it has obviously been in for a long time. It is currently 39″ high and 45″ wide. I would like to place it in a spot of my garden that is sunny. I have a watering system, so it will be watered regularly. I’ve read about this tree and it is slow growing but can reach 10 feet in height. I’ve also read that it can be kept smaller, which I would like to do, by keeping it in a pot. So my question is, how would I best keep it to a small size, say 5 feet in height max? Could I do this by transplanting it into a bigger pot (if so, how big) and burying it in the ground? Or could I do so by pruning it heavily? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as it is a lovely little tree and I’d really like to take care of it well but at the same time have it fit well into my garden.
Many thanks!

Can hybrid tea roses survive/flourish in a bed where lily of the valley is spreading?
Do I try to plant hybrid tea rose in this sunny location?
Is it possible for the roses to thrive surrounded by lilly of the valley?
Thank you.

Where to buy Ontario grown Brandon Cedars? I can’t find any

I want to add fence height by using climbing vines to achieve more privacy. Which one is least problematic but gives the best “topper” height and thickness.

I am dealing with bindweed in both my garden and my lawn. I know the only way to eradicate it is to keep cutting it off at ground level which I am doing in the garden, but not able to do in the lawn. I do pick the flowers off before they go to seed. My question is this – I have purchased garden edging that extends about 8 inches below ground. Will this keep more bindweed from creeping into the garden?

Not sure what is wrong with my tree. It’s growing from the trunk but no new growth on the top. It’s early in the season, but I’m concerned it will not grow this year at all.

Hi! I live in downtown Toronto on an 8th floor condo and it can get quite windy. We have a large balcony that gets a fair amount of sun and we’d like to place a few potted trees to provide more privacy as well as block the wind from the rest of the balcony. Would you recommend cedars, bamboo, or anything else? It would have to be able to survive the winter as well.

What products are available in Canada that kill cucumber beetles at their larval stage?
I’d like to kill them before they emerge from the ground.
Thank you!!

My garage organization need a new late spring cleaning. Finding a roll of grass sod, made me wonder how to dispose of it, since it’s dried out, from a week ago.
But can I revive it with the same TLC that a regular grass patch needs? If not, can I just turn it upside down and use it as mulch?

We have a white fluffy mass on the bottom of the leaves. Wondering what it is and how to control it.

We found this hairy mold on the bark of our pear tree. It was only in one spot. Can you tell me please what is that? Is it dangerous for the pear tree? Do we need to spray the tree?

We need Pink Chintz Thyme for our garden.
Do you have Pink Chintz Thyme?


Hi their, My Grape leaves tree start having white spot what should i do please and thank you

Dear Master Gardeners,

I have a wild cedar that seems to be infested with something that is making small (about 5mm) paper-like webby things on the leaves, and slightly bigger webs in cracks in the bark. One branch that has more of this and others has turned orange-ish. I’ve found this white stuff on many other cedars (including one I just bought from a nursery) but they don’t have as much. The closest match that I’ve read about is spider mites, but the photos I’ve seen show much bigger webs. The webs on leaves are all of the same size (about 5mm across) and very thin. They almost look like flecks of paper. What could it be? Thanks for your help!

Hi their, My Grape leaves tree start having white spot what should i do please and thank you

I live in East York ( Toronto) have 8 Yew hedges in a row- on both sides of a mature tree.
Under the hedges is Ivy covering the ground and growing up the tree.
Several years ago & again this year -2022- the hedges are running orange and needles falling off- interior of hedge almost bare

good day folks,
i’ve bought a couple of the above mentioned hedges and would really appreciate your opinion on how close to plant them together to make an effective hedge.
they are already about nine feet tall.
many, many thanks in advance and all the best.

Hi, My Dogwood tree seem to be dying top down. The leader branch did not get leaves this spring and the bottom ones that did are slowly wilting and possibly dying. The tree has two wounds on the trunk oozing waxy substance. I have not seen any borer on the tree. Wondering of its the fungal disease killing my tree and can it be saved at this stage. The tree is young, possibly less than 3 years of age. Its planted in my backyard in a mostly sunny location.

I live in Toronto and I’m wondering when is the best time to prune a beauty bush. I actually want it to grow tall, so don’t know if I need to prune it.

Best plants for growing in containers on balconies facing west with a lot of sun which will survive Toronto winters, zone 5/6. Balcony is on the 4th floor, one with roof , the other without.
What type of planters are best to use for plants to survive the winter weather?

Is it too late to plant a pollinator garden? Only in spring/fall?


Etobicoke (zone 6?) Seeking privacy solution that will also absorb some noise – located under evergreen that drops acidic needles. Well-draining soil. We have a dog, so toxicity is a consideration. Tnx

I had asked about the white pine bark infection, where bark became white on several branches. Thank you for your answer. I checked the site for White pine blister rust which you suggested, and it seems that this is not the what my pine has, since the white areas do not have spindle shape. I am now resubmitting the question, since the first time a server error was reported. Thank so much for your help and support!

I would like to take cuttings from my rose bush to give to my children but don’t know how to do it.

How do I get rid of nostoc on my lawn?

Planted 7′-0″ cedar as per requirements: dig hole twice the width of the pot,and plant 1″above grade, back fill, and slope away from the tree. Also the hole was watered prior to planting

Are there any trees , (ideally with thick foliage) that you can plant near a house in Toronto. By near I mean a foot and a half away from the foundation.

I am looking to grow and train a vine for a privacy screen between yards along the top of existing fences. I currently have 30ft of engelmens ivy that is trained along my back fence (photo attached). It is trained along a copper pipe that runs between pergola posts 8ft off the ground. I love the floating effect but don’t love the Japanese beetles that arrive each year. I’m looking for a similar effect without the bugs. Could you recommend a similar vine that would like the full sun that Japanese beetles won’t eat?

First of all I really appreciate your answer to my previous question:

As advised, I waited patiently for the temperature to become higher. And yes, it did start showing green new sprouts sort of randomly (some stems had them upper, some had just around the ground)! Even one old-looking bud was actually alive and had a flower. Which surprised my neighbor, too!

Now I’d like your advice again.. It seems to me that almost half of the entire plant (half stems) does look dead. What to do with them? Also do I have to remove all those hard brown leaves from the stems that had new sprouts?

Thank you.


I am trying to grow a native garden however I am conflicted about the salt marsh aster growing in it. Also my garden is located in North East Scarborough. Should I weed them out since they are native to Canada but not Ontario?

We recently moved from a condo to a house with a front and back lawn and deck. I would like to grow a beautiful garden but I dont know anything about gardening. Where do I start? Is it too late in the season to grow a garden? Any resources for really beginner gardeners?

I took this picture a while ago when traveling. Sorry that I do not have a better image. I would love to know what the white flowers are in the image if identifiable. Many thanks!

I have extensive damage to my euonymous plant this spring, I guess caused by winter weather.
Large portions of this mature shrub are brown leaved/dead. The bottom part of the shrub is fine; it’s just the top and middle.
Can I prune back the dead sections now? How far? Should I cut back the whole shrub t get it to rejuvenate for next year? If so, how much and when?
Thank you. It is very unsightly and I’d like it back.

I have large areas of white stuff on my yew bush which is about 9 years old. I also saw white bugs about 1mm in size, moving.
The needles are dying. Please identify and suggest remedies.
It is positioned in full sun, between pathways.

I am considering to plant my Emerald Cedar in the bottomless pot (I will cut the bottom of the pots out) which means the pot will be there permanently since the roots will grown into the soil. I need your advice for how do I insulate the pot for winter since it will stay outdoors. (my pots are weather resistant).
Thank you very much.

Dear any one, just a SOS call: One of my friend’s daughter ate these berries in one of the toronto parks. Are these poisonous? Thanks

Hello! I attended Through the Garden Gate in Wychwood last weekend. I met a lovely master gardener at one of the houses who advised me that commercial composted manure these days is of poor quality – that it is often filled with fillers like peat moss, and that I should look for compost directly from farmers. When I got home, I tried googling where to get some in southern Ontario but don’t know how to trust the sources. And is it bad to buy composted manure that has soil and peat moss in it? Can you share where the TBG sources it’s compost from?

Hello! I attended Through the Garden Gate in Wychwood last weekend. I met a lovely master gardener at one of the houses who advised me that commercial composted manure these days is of poor quality – that it is often filled with fillers like peat moss, and that I should look for compost directly from farmers. When I got home, I tried googling where to get some in southern Ontario but don’t know how to trust the sources. And is it bad to buy composted manure that has soil and peat moss in it? Can you share where the TBG sources it’s compost from?

I planted two Clematises Jackmanii Superba this spring. They started growing well and more than a meter high now and it seems that they will bloom, but both show some yellow spotty leaves on the bottom of the plant. One has more yellow leaves than the other, and that one has direct sun for only an hour per day. I planted them with standard compost. I wonder if this is some disease, or this is due to the lack of light. I had read that Clematis Jackmanii (not Superba) can thrive on north facing walls. This is an east facing wall, but the shade from the house also affects it. Thank you very much for your support.

Q: Regarding my Dawyck Hold Beech Trees…

We planted 14 last year, 7 at the back of the property (50% sun) and 7 on the side (100% sun). The trees in the back are growing very well while a few of our beech trees (3 or 4) on the side are looking thin in the lower and middle sections? Our landscaper thinks it could be too much water however within the group of 7 on the side half of them look healthly which is confusing to me…Any thoughts? FYI We live in Markham, ON is that helps with any info..

Hi.. We live in a small townhouse and have a tree and a couple green patches infront of the house. The tree seems to not be doing very well and I am concerned. Further to that, would be great if we can plant some bushes / shrubs in the green patches. I don’t knownmuch about gardening and thought I’d find some help.

My 20ish year old Harlequin Maple has about 20% of it’s leaves 100% white/yellow. They look healthy, the tree looks healthy but It has never had all white/yellow leaves before. Does it need anything??? is this normal????

When I first planted my mulberry I didn’t know you were supposed to cut off new shoots. I now have a sucker that has taken over my weeping mulberry and is a huge tree. It produces large amounts of fruit that stay white, while the originals still turn red and purple. Are the white safe to eat?

I am interested in planting little bluestem (the blues). They are non invasive but read that they are or could be “aggressive” self-seeders which would be undesirable since they are close to our lawn. I appreciate any help. Thank you

I am a published children’s book author and illustrator, currently working on a novel (fiction) for middle grade (8-12 years old). The main character is Japanese-Canadian. Her mother is an avid gardener, specializing in Japanese landscaping. I’d like part of their family garden to focus on Japanese plants, especially BAMBOO.

The location is a fictional small town in northern Ontario. I do not specify HOW far north, so some leeway re: hardiness zone is ok. And because it’s fiction, I also have leeway re: sun/shade, wet/dry etc.

I would appreciate any advice about what type of Japanese theme plants that my character’s mother might put in their back garden, given the general location of northern Ontario. I’d also appreciate advice re: type or types of bamboo that might be grown in the garden.

Advice appreciated, thank you!

My smokebush is a few years old, and has been doing well. It gets full sun, and is lovely, lots of fluffly blooms.

But this year, one side of it is dead! No leaves, no flowers. It tries to produce a few leaves, but they shrivel up and die.

The dead side is the one facing the sun. The other side looks perfectly healthy. Could it be getting too much sun?

Could it be bad pruning in the past? I did what I now know is called “non-selective pruning” at the desired height. I think I understand now how to do a better job, but could this have been the cause?

There was a chestnut tree in that spot a few years ago, and I still get some mushrooms coming up. Could there be some old roots interfering with my plant?

I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to do with the dead half, or how to prevent this from getting worse.

I have a yellow Itoh peony about 8 years old that had 18 blooms this year, none of which were visible! They hung head down inside the bush. The stems were all intertwined with leaf stems and not stiff enough to stand upright. Two years ago I moved peony to a much sunnier location and it became huge (about 3 ft diameter), but the stem problem remained. I am in zone 6a, in city of Toronto; soil is rich and loose (U. Guelph bark-based soil), amended with sand around peony, with a clay base about 6-8 inches down; full sun. What can I do to make stems strong? Thanks.

When my mom gave me this plant it had green leaves and blue flowers. For the subsequent 3 years it had no flowers and had brown leaves. Not fertilized. No manual watering. Soil is slightly clay. South yard with trees nearby. Likely 4-5 hours sun at peak summer. Other than that it is in the shadows of 15′ tall cherry tree in the morning (about 10 feet away) and very tall maples in afternoon (about 50 feet away). Plant is 3-4 feet high and about 3 feet diameter

These planters were doing well in the back of my house which has about 2-3 hours of sun. Then 3 weeks ago, not sure what happened besides animals getting in there in the night, but they seem to be dying/ dry, all the beautiful flowers on there are gone. I water the plantar 3 time a week.

Im not sure if it needs more water, less water, more sun, less sun. Can I bring this plantar back to life and what do I need to do?

I’ve had a hydrangea tree since 1968. It has not bloomed more than one bloom in a long time. Over the past 6 years I’ve gone through a lot including a major home remodel. The tree has been very neglected other than water for several years. Between moving it, the hardship of drywall dust and two cases of white fly my old friend is very sad. About 2 meters with pot, she has gotten very thin with no real shape to her remaining branches. I would appreciate any suggestions, at this point nothing is too drastic.

I just put this hydrangea in the brand new soil flower bed about a month ago, I am not sure what is wrong and how to take care of. It gets afternoon sun.

Hi, what’s the best practice to prune an overgrown privet hedge that’s over 70 years old? The hedge has grown fat and tall with most of the branches look dead inside, only the thin outer layer grow leaves. I have tried to prune a layer of exterior branches, but as the inside ones are so leggy they become top heavy and start to flop over. Online search suggests that a renewal (rejuvenation) pruning is necessary – cut the hedge down to 6 inches to a foot off the ground in early spring, let it grow back and then reshape it. May do it in phases as the work is pretty overwhelming. Is it the right approach?

I moved recently and my two previously happy (1 golden and one neon) pothos are now drooping and losing leaves. They’re in similar light conditions as before—bright indirect light. They get water roughly once a week when the soil starts to dry. I’ve tried repotting to make sure they weren’t root-bound, occasional fertilization, but no changes. Any help would be appreciated!

I hope to understand the difference between hill’s yew and hick’s yew to help me determine which one to choose for which site. Info I found from searching online is a bit contradictory, certainly not very consistent. Wonder if you know some reliable resources or have experience growing these two kinds of yew.

Does anybody sell exotic trpical hibiscus in canada. Example Hidden Valley Hibiscus and logess in the Unites States…??

I planted white clover in my backyard as it’s resistant to dog urine. It was easy to grow and looked great, until a cute wee rabbit discovered it. It’s having a feast on my clover! Will it recover after being chewed up by Bugs Bunny?

Greetings, gardening gurus! I have a large patch of False Sunflower ‘Bleeding Hearts’ Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra, which for the first time this year are utterly infested with tiny red insects about 1/32″ long. They are literally end to end and shoulder to shoulder on the stems of every plant. There also seems to be a sticky residue on the leaves. So far (touch wood) they have not spread to any other perennial in my garden. When I squish them (ewww) they are red. Any idea what these are, and what I can do about them? Many thanks in advance!

found in leaside, Toronto. about 18″ high, in an 18″ clump.

It is getting afternoon sun.

First, thank you so much for identifying the red aphids that are infesting my False Sunflower ‘Bleeding Hearts’! I’ve taken your advice and sprayed (all hundred million of them) with insecticidal soap, and hope you’ll indulge a follow-up question: what happens now? The aphids are still all over the plants but they’re no longer moving (HA HA!!) Do I need to rinse them off? Will they just fall off? I ask because I know I’ll have to repeat the treatment in a few days, and it will be easier to see the new culprits if the dead ones are gone. But if rinsing them off will risk reviving them, obviously that’s a non-starter! Many thanks in advance (and I’m sorry if this is a dumb question!) You guys perform such an invaluable service; thank you so much!! And Happy Canada Day!! – Barbara

Hello there, Im thinking of planting a trumpet and a rose vine under two pine trees in my yard, so they act as an arbour for the vines. Will the vines seriously harm the trees? Thank you.


Does this look like DMV? I have been comparing my dahlia leaves too many pictures online but the pattern of yellowing does not look similar to pictures of DMV. I could use some expert help. I have checked the relevant question on your website already but I’m still seeking answers.

Thank you,

I have a yellow Itoh peony about 8 years old that had 18 blooms this year, none of which were visible! They hung head down inside the bush. The stems were all intertwined with leaf stems and not stiff enough to stand upright. Two years ago I moved peony to a much sunnier location and it became huge (about 3 ft diameter), but the stem problem remained. I am in zone 6a, in city of Toronto; soil is rich and loose (U. Guelph bark-based soil), amended with sand around peony, with a clay base about 6-8 inches down; full sun. What can I do to make stems strong? Thanks.

Our red is tree seems
To be being eaten by something. The leaves are dying one by one. We do not see any insects on the leaves? What should we do?

Is there an outbreak of phlox this season? is it allergy time for phlox?

I have a self seeded Japanese Maple, about two feet tall. It is growing into another self seeded Japanese Maple which is much larger, approx 3-4’ tall. I would like to separate the smaller one from the larger one, and pot into a container. I would like to keep the tree in the container permanently. When would be the best time to attempt this? And advice on containers? Any advice at all, is appreciated. I am in south Etobicoke. Many thanks.

I live near a busy street and concerned about the vehicular pollution. Could you please advice on what trees I could grow along my property to reduce the impact. Thank you!

I have a self seeded Japanese Maple, about two feet tall. It is growing into another self seeded Japanese Maple which is much larger, approx 3-4’ tall. I would like to separate the smaller one from the larger one, and pot into a container. I would like to keep the tree in the container permanently. When would be the best time to attempt this? And advice on containers? Any advice at all, is appreciated. I am in south Etobicoke. Many thanks.

We have had some extensive landscaping done and had to raise up the rose of Sharon. It is now only producing leaves on the lower part of the tree. Should I trim off the branches that are not producing leaves? Start with a smaller bush/tree?

Planted mid summer 2020, my two painted ferns have struggled to grow, and are less than a foot in diameter now, and about 6 in. high. Admittedly I have not fertilized them to this point, but earlier this summer they received some general flowering plant food that went to their astilbe neighbours. They too are struggling a bit.

We planted five plants 3-5 years ago. The three on the left are large and bountiful and the 2 on the right are on the puny side. The yard faces East and get sun until approximately 3 PM.The soil is clay/sandy and usually dry.
We prune the plants in the Spring.

Is there anything a remedy?

Hello. I am noticing some of the leaves on my climbing hydrangea & potted ferns are turning a rust colour.
Not seeing any visible insects and am wondering if you might be able to suggest what is going on.


Can you please tell me what these bugs are? They are in my vegetable garden and I’m not sure if they are good ones or not! I’d prefer not to spray and treat organically if possible but need to make sure what they are first! Thank you!

My morning glory seedlings finally started growing.
I read somewhere “If you grow your own bedding plants from seeds, you’ll need to pinch them back while they are young. Pinch them when they have two sets of true leaves, removing the top one-half (1.25 cm.) to three-quarters (2 cm.) of an inch.”

Now please see the pic.

Pic-left) It’s already crawling… I’m not sure if I can still pinch out the top for a half inch

Pic-right) These seedlings are slow in growing.. then the leaves turned to purple… Is it sick or something? Should I pinch some out?

For the second year in a row one of my tree peonies has had lots of buds but they don’t open. Is there an explanation.

Also when is the best time to prune tree peonies and how.

my family bought this for me for father’s day a number of weeks ago and i have put it in some black soil/potting mix. the pot faces east and gets the morning and late morning sun. It was water daily for several weeks before I stopped, noticing the spots. The tree has now lost some leaves but more with holes that start out as white fungus spots. Is there a way to save this tree?

I have linked an album with two additional photos.


I live in Hamilton, Ontario and I would like to buy some Camellia flower plants. Would you please suggest where I may buy it?

Does it grow here outdoors planted in a garden or just indoors in a pot? I know it grows almost like a tree…

Thank you.

I’ve had full orange blooms on these lilies for approximately seven summers. This year the buds have seemed to dry up and I can see there will be no blooms (maybe one exempted).

Can you suggest what might have happened or what I need to do to correct this?
Much appreciated! Thank you,
Mary Nickel
266 Blantyre Ave

Windsor, ON. Jul.8th, I have one cedar. This was its first winter. 5 ft. Although it was wrapped in the winter, it suffered some browning. It is recovering with frequent slow watering. I understand to water into fall. My question is about fertilizing: I bought golfgreen 30-10-10 but it is hot, cooling at night over the next couple days. Can I fertilize if I keep watering regularly? soon it will be too late for fertilizing . Aline

I live in Toronto, 4 years ago I planted a trumpet vine, last year I started to see some flowers from it, but something was eating the flowers, even before it was fully opened, this year the same thing happen, I haven’t seem a intact flower since I planted the vine, please give me some suggestion of what to do, I didn’t see the bugs on it either.

This the addition to the first post I did earlier today, when I took a closer look, still didn’t see insect, but noticed the leaves are eaten too.


I have 2 boxwoods that are about 5 feet tall planted close to the foundation of the house. These have been planted by the our predecessors and were already there when we bought the house 3 years ago.

I have recently read that boxwoods’ roots systems can damage foundations over they years. There is no visible damage to our house’s foundation right now. However, I am concerned that the damage may form over the long term. They damage may also be hidden for a long time.

I am not sure if root barriers were installed…

Can you please offer advice on what to do? Should I consider having them removed? If I do remove them, what would be a good substitute that would provide the same height and presence as the boxwoods?


In Toronto my Cedars line losing leaves from base


I have 2 boxwoods that are about 5 feet tall planted close to the foundation of the house. These have been planted by our predecessors and were already there when we bought the house 3 years ago.

I have recently read that boxwoods’ roots systems can damage foundations over they years. There is no visible damage to our house’s foundation right now. However, I am concerned that the damage may form over the long term. They damage may also be hidden for a long time.

I am not sure if root barriers were installed…

Can you please offer advice on what to do? Should I consider having them removed? If I do remove them, what would be a good substitute that would provide the same height and presence as the boxwoods?



My garden is located in the annex and receives full sun up until 4pm or so. I planted tomatoes and mulched them with straw. In the past two weeks, leaves have started to get yellow and brown. This starts at the bottom, but I’ve now found yellowing leaves halfway up the plant or higher. I looked at common problems, but the discoloration didn’t seem to match blight. I have seen a couple bugs that might be fungus mites. My cherry tomatoes are affected, but my San Marzanos seem ok. Can I save my tomatoes? Thank you!

Hello – I have two rain barrels – one the City installed, years ago, another purchased at a store. Both of them need some help; reconfigure them, find parts etc. I just can’t seem to find anyone for this assistance – one has to be moved and placed in a different spot. Any suggestions, recommendations etc. would be GRATEFULLY rec’d. At this juncture I can not use either one; I used to depend on them every summer. Please advise, thank you. Catherine Rowley

This is my first year for having a Perrenial Hibiscus coming back after the winter. We planted it last year early summer and it did very well. I live in Kitchener On. and am wondering my plant is currently 10″-11″ tall and has no flower buds as of yet. Is this normal or is there something wrong with the plant. I have researched and cannot find anything on the internet to answer this question. I water it at least once a day and have used Mircle Gro shake and feed fertilizer on it now about 3 times. I look forward to your reply. Thank you

I planted two sweet autumn clematis. Both have already flowered in July and one has yellowing leaves. Any idea what is happening? Both are south-facing and grew well for a month after planting.

Would this particular insect be coming from sumac trees that are within a foot of my property line? I have an infestation on some of my flower varieties? Shasta Daisy; Echienacia, butterfly bush; is there anyway of getting rid of them? I noticed that some branches are wilting (lost their color) light yellow.

Hello Toronto Master Gardeners, we are renting a place. Ideally, we would like to plant something that provides privacy in the shortest possible time. Maybe planning for next year.
The area is large and very sunny. There is fence, perfect for some vines or similar, I believe. I’m attaching a picture for more information.

Do you have any recommendations? We are located in the Mississauga area.

Thank you

I have been starting plants from seeds for the past few years with much enjoyment and enough success to want to continue and expand my horizons. Instead of using more plastic and for other benefits, would like to try soil blocking. Have researched a fair bit but am stuck at the mix to use. Many online sources recommend buying soil block mix. This appeals to me as I get started but cannot find any local (or Canadian) source. I am willing to make my own but most American and British recipes call for “compost” as one of the ingredients (along with peat or coconut coir etc). I don’t have homemade compost and can’t find it bagged anywhere. Do they mean manure or good potting soil? Any advice so very greatly appreciated.

Hi again. I just found an answer to my question – mushroom compost would be good and is available at HH and likely elsewhere. So unless you think my Q might be of interest to others, I’m good! Thank you for being a valuable resource!

I planted Emerald Cedars in Whisky Barrels. We forgot to drill drain holes so some got water logged :( Drain holes have now been added, but many of them are turning brown. I spent big money on these and need help to bring them back to being GREEN! Abbotsford, BC The photo is when planted.


We noticed the red oak tree outside our new house is looking sad, and we’re not sure why! It’s not a mature oak, but many of the leaves appear to have brown intrusions around the edges. We’d like to keep it healthy and happy, but we’re not sure how. It’s on the east side of the house, (in the shade of some larger trees bust mostly open) and seems to have a mulched garden of native plants at its base. It’s currently about three storeys tall.

Thank you very much!


What are some of the perennials vegetables that we can grow in Toronto? Preferably non-root vegy types, like rhubarb and asparagus.

My site is part shade.


My front garden plants are always attacked by insects that eat through the leaves, with the plants sometimes losing about 80% of leaves. I don’t know what kind these insects are, but I’ve included a photo. This occurs on a yearly basis, some years worse than others. This garden is facing northwest and is under full sun from noon till sunset. There is a mature little leaf Linden tree about 7meters away. The soil is full of roots (there is a big stump 5 meters away), dry and hard ( primarily clay). I live near Centennial Park in Etobicoke and have been here for about 7 years. I noticed my neighbours’ plants’ leaves do not have holes like mine do. Is it something in the soil? Do I need to dig up everything and change the soil to remove the insects? The peonies, hostas, and shrub rose are not affected. Thank you for your help.

Hi, I live in Montréal and I noticed that my cedar hedge is thinning. The cedars are 30 years and they are swamp cedars e.g. the cheapest trees available. The cedars are now 20 – 25 feet high. Should I face them, if so, how much? Should they be watered every week, what fertizer brand should I use and how often should it be applied? Thanks,

Following placing 26 kg of compost around a tree, with mulch, at the beginning and end of spring, can I top the two layers with 26 kg of compost around a European Beech tree again. I imagine it eventually breaks down, but is too much of anything possibly going to smother the tree system? I’m referring to the response below, and live in west end Toronto.

We have an row of 6 Pyramidal Emerald Cedars, about 10 feet high. The one at the end has 2 stems, one is browning the other is green. Suggestions what I can do to bring the browning one back?

My tomato plant gets full sun most of the day and is mulched with straw. The leaves began to yellow and get some brown spots (pictured). It started at the bottom but quickly spread to 2/3 up the plant. So far the fruit is doing fine, with a couple cherry tomatoes already ripening.;I have not seen any spots on the stems, but I have seen some fungus gnats. Should I be concerned?

I live in Scarborough.

I have Stella Dora and Happy Return daylilies. Both were planted 9 years ago. The Stella Dora’s look great in Spring, but always start drooping in June. They droop to a point that the leaves are almost lying on the ground.

The Happy Return daylilies have been great for the last 8 years and started out great again this year. But suddenly their leaves started drooping. This had not happened to the happy return daylilies in the previous 8 years. I haven’t noticed any bugs except for ants and ear wigs. Can they be causing the problem? In case there were some other small insects that I could not see, I have sprayed it with a horticultural oil twice. Can you offer any suggestions as to what the problem may be for both the stella doras and happy returns. Thank you in advance.

I was looking for some assistance. I have a Japanese Maple that was thriving a few weeks ago and now some of the leaves on a few branches look burnt and shriveled up. I am not sure if this is sun damage, the tree is dry or if something is attacking it. Please help!

Also, every year around this time, or just before Fall, I notice my potted petunias start to get attacked by some bugs and die out. Lately I am noticing many earwigs in and around the pots, also these tiny black eggs, and green bugs all around the flowers. A few of the flowers also have holes in them. I have been picking the dead flowers out but cannot keep up. The flowers just look like they are starting to die out more and more, and I feel like its the bugs toward the end of the season but I am not sure.
Thank you!

Hi there!

We purchased a new home and it has a city-planted maple tree. The circumference is ~14 inches.

It seems like the ends of the tree are turning yellow (chlorosis?) Some leaves are scorching up into a brown crisp. See the picture attached.

I probably water once a week or once every two weeks… do you think it’s enough? Do you think this is causing it? I don’t want to overwater it…

I read somewhere that the soil may be alkaline and need to make it more acidic to combat the chlorosis. Don’t know. Maybe it just needs more water. All the other trees on the street have a deep green color.

Please help!!

Thank you – very much appreciated :)

PS I can send more pictures via email.

My name is Max from GeeksMix, my SEO agency.
Is it possible to place an article on your website with a link to one of my clients?
How much will that cost?
Also, if you have more sites, please let me know.

Austin, TX, climate zone 8.
Can our mature Crossvine and Jasmine be saved when replacing the 8ft cedar fence?

I purchased a Corylus Avellana ‘Red Majestic” top-graft tree in May 2019 from a reputable Ontario wholesale nursery. It is a small tree approximately 5 feet tall. This summer the leaves are turning yellow, dying and falling off. It is in full sun with adequate watering and slow-release fertilizer. I covered it with burlap and mulched it during the winter.

I read an article by Helen Battersby about Easter Filbert Blight

I believe my tree is infected. There doesn’t seem to be a remedy except for cutting out the infected areas. However, the major parts of the grafted top have the telltale marks. The nursery where I bought it has discontinued selling it. Since this fungus takes a few seasons to develop, I wonder if it was infected when I brought it home last May.

I’d appreciate another opinion from the photos before I consign it to the burning barrel. Next time I will buy a Corylus Avellana ‘Red Dragon’ which is more resistant to EFB.

hello and thank-you in advance! i was suprised to see “annual, protect from frost” on some groundcover sedum “sea urchin” “golden acres” and “lemon ball” . i can’t find anything definitive about them on-line – perhaps you can help?
Paula, Toronto

I described an Eastern Filbert Blight on my tree in previous ASK, but photos did not have good resolution. I am sending one photo from central section of tree.

Please see attached picture. This plant is blooming these days. They can be as high as 6 feet. Thank you very much.

Please see attached picture. They are like ground cover, I have seen some in a hanging pot. Thank you so much for the help.

I have a Japanese Painted Fern potted in a container.
1. How can I help it survive winter in the pot without bringing indoors?
2. How can I best propagate the fern?

Hi. I am a beginner in gardening. I recently purchased the hydrangea in the picture, and some white powder-like markings appear on its leaves. I suspect that those are mildew, and had used Safer’s 3 in 1 Garden Spray Fungicide on it. Nevertheless, the white powdery markings are even more “concentrate” on the next day, after applying the fungicide. Is this normal to have more “concentrated” markings after applying fungicide? Any other disease beside powdery mildew has the same symptom? Can the powdery mildew or disease be cured? Thank you

Can you tell me if you know how to get worms out of cherries that have been picked from the tree? Is there a method of some sort? We would like to use the fruit but it is very unappealing to want to eat something with moving parts. I hate to compost the fruit if there is some sort of solution.

I can’t seem to find any info on this only how to try and stop them from coming back each year.



I live in an apartment in East York Toronto. Our balcony faces west and gets sun after 3 p.m. during summer. In winter there’s hardly any direct sunlight.
My question is:
1) Is it too late to plant a coriander plant, a mint plant and a chili plant in one or two pots in the 1st week of August?
2) If I plant any of the three plants, would they grow to some extent for consumption before winter?
3) Can I put all three plants in one pot or need three different pots and how big do the pots have to be?

Hello, Can you please identify this conifer. It is in Toronto ON and about 65-70 years old. Is it good gardening practice to plant a Catalpa tree within 13′-14′ of the conifer? Why / Why not? Thank you!


You were so helpful identifying an elderberry tree for me that I’m going to ask you another question. [Couldn’t find it in the Find It Here section.] I want to give a friend a tuberosa asclepias to plant now [July-August 2022] but I’ve read it’s best to plant in spring or fall. Will it be okay if she plants it now? She’s downtown Toronto, not sure of the soil type, and does not get a lot of sun. [I know it’s full sun, but her heart’s set on it.] Also, if she can plant it now, can she plant it in a pot? Thanks very much.

Hi. I found a sprouted nut while digging up a flower bed. And out of pure curiosity I put it in a plastic pot on my deck. I now have an oak tree growing. I am wondering when is the best time to plant this in the ground and will it survive the winter.
Currently it is on my deck on the south east corner and gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Where I plan to plant it will be on the north side of my yard.

My plant has produced over 45 blooms this season. There are pods formed near the roots. Are these seed pods? Will they give me more plants or how do I get new plants? Any info would be appreciated

The tree on the far left is noticeably different in color compared to the others. Is this normal?

Clay soil with southern sun and shade exposure.

The trees were planted at the beginning of May 2022.

I’ll admit, I fell behind on watering this past week during the heat wave.

This is my first time caring for emerald cedars.

I’m wondering if this is just drought, or if it could be something more complicated.

Thank you in advance.

Climate: Hot and sunny through Summer (a little bit north of Toronto). Beans usually thrive. Soil is amended triple mix. Two beans are in pots, others are in a raised bed which is at least 40ft away from the pots. All bean plants have flowered and I have harvested a few beans (less than a dozen).
Something is eating the immature beans. I’m left with lots of tiny stalks where beans should be. The leaves are all in great shape, no evidence of bug infestation. No sign of slugs or snails. This hasn’t happened before and I’m wondering what could be causing this.

How long is the community distributed bagged 13kg compost good for,if I’m storing it in an unheated garage?

Hello – we have a very tall but sickly looking euphorbia (I think it’s one). Can it be saved? Should the rotten top be cut down? It’s covered with it’s prickles so I’m not sure how it can be re-potted. The current pot is about 18 inches across. There are 3 plants, all about 5 foot high. The plant is in a small company and I think they have been overwatering it for years but am not sure. Pls help as it’s been with the company so long and we want to revive it. thx

I’d love more info about applying to the master gardener program for 2023. I see that info will be out in August 2022 from your website. if you could keep me in the loop, I’d be most appreciative. Or, let me know how to register. thanks!

I planted 4 New Dawn climbing roses in June. I think I over fertilized (2x) with Miracle grow. One stem bloomed but the rest is just weak green growth. Can these be saved.

I have a Japanese ivory lilac plant that I transplanted 3 months back, it is about 4 feet tall. It is present in my front yard with full sun 6 to 8 hrs. I have been watering 2 to 3 times/week and added mulch and fertilizer as well. I see that the plant is in transplant shock as it is not growing with droopy leaves. What can I do now to revive the plant.

I have a Japanese ivory lilac plant that I transplanted 3 months back, it is about 4 feet tall. It is present in my front yard with full sun 6 to 8 hrs. I have been watering 2 to 3 times/week and added mulch and fertilizer as well. I see that the plant is in transplant shock as it is not growing with droopy leaves. What can I do now to revive the plant.

I have a Japanese ivory lilac plant that I transplanted 3 months back, it is about 4 feet tall. It is present in my front yard with full sun 6 to 8 hrs. I have been watering 2 to 3 times/week and added mulch and fertilizer as well. I see that the plant is in transplant shock as it is not growing with droopy leaves. What can I do now to revive the plant.

This tree started to grow in my backyard last year. If it is an invasive species, (native or non-native), I would like to remove it. Could you please advise? Thanks!

Hello. I was just wondering if you could advise me as to the best source for Hydrangeas in the Toronto and GTA area. Thank you. I was specifically looking for a Firelight Tidbit Hydrangea. Best, Janice Strong


We live the Bloor Dufferin area of downtown Toronto and have a 20 year old siberian crabapple in our back yard. Each spring, it looks very healthy with new growth, lots of flowers, and very happy looking leaves. Then come every July, large portions of it seems to die-off, Large sections of its leaves turn brown then fall off leaving large bald spots that remain until the following spring when it becomes fully covered with leaves and flowers again. It happens every year!

Is this normal for siberian crabapple? Is there something I should be doing?

I have a Japanese ivory lilac plant that I transplanted 3 months back, it is about 4 feet tall. It is present in my front yard with full sun 6 to 8 hrs. I have been watering 2 to 3 times/week and added mulch and fertilizer as well. I see that the plant is in transplant shock as it is not growing with droopy leaves. What can I do now to revive the plant.

I have a Japanese ivory lilac plant that I transplanted 3 months back, it is about 4 feet tall. It is present in my front yard with full sun 6 to 8 hrs. I have been watering 2 to 3 times/week and added mulch and fertilizer as well. I see that the plant is in transplant shock as it is not growing with droopy leaves. What can I do now to revive the plant.

Hi I am new to Canada and still unsure as to suitability of certain plants for surviving seasonal changes. Will the drought perennials especially the low/ground cover ones survive Toronto’s harsh winter? Thank you Jen

Hello, master gardener. Spider mites are my nemesis. I engage in a, mostly losing, battle with them every year over the the plants I try to grow in planters on my east-by-south-east-facing Riverdale balcony. They devastate my aristolochia and impatiens, and significantly damage my bobo hydrangea, morning glory and mint. Coleus and nicotiana seem to be more resistant. Insecticidal soap has not been effective. Neem works better, but I still have heavy losses. I’ve tried a dormant oil spray on the aristolochia without benefit, and lady bugs. At this point, I’m out of ideas, and I don’t want to use non-organic chemical pesticides. Are there mite-resistant shade annuals (or very cold-hardy perennials) I could try? Do mites overwinter in soil and would changing the top layer at the end of the season help? Thank you so much for ideas.

Hello Master Gardener Friends ~

I would like to add composted manure to my gardens which are already full of plant roots and tree roots, which make digging next to impossible. A recent Toronto Star article recommended digging the manure in to a depth of 6 or 7 inches, which in my case is just physically impossible. In reviewing the TMG Guide on “Soil Fertility” it seemed to suggest that disturbing existing soil by digging may not be a good idea. My question: Since realistically I can’t dig this manure in but would just spread it on top of the existing soil, would I be achieving anything, or just wasting my money? Many thanks in advance for your thoughts! Barbara

I live in The Annex in Toronto. My soil is amended clay. I planted a healthy young rhodo (a very common variety) in the spring in shade/part sun. Since then it has grown a foot or more (now about 2 feet) and has seemed to be thriving. But today I noticed six or more lower leaves were yellowing and marked with brown spots. It has been kept well watered during the summer months. Do you have any advice? Should I be worried?

I have a diamantina clematis in a pot on a terrace facing west.
This is it 2nd year. It flowered beautifully late spring/early summer and it has not flowered again. There are no buds appearing yet .
It did flower twice last year. Is there anything I can do to help it flower again. I did fertilize it every 2 weeks.
Please help.

Some of the leaves in the back of tree are turning pale then brown and falling.The tree is about 7ft 3 inc. It sits between 2 tall pine trees on a bed with perrenials. the roots of the pine are all over the flower bed. The trees were doing fine until now. They are south facing and gets adequate sun and are watered every other day. They are
about 18 yrs old.Some of the leaves in back have stared to turn pale yellow. Please help I have 2 trees. Thank you.

My houseplant is ailing. The top seems fine, but lower bits are yellow. Any sense as to whether as a result of overwatering /underwatering or something else? Can it be saved, and if yes, would repotting help? Thanks for taking a look.

I don’t know what’s wrong with my raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and honeyberry bushes and I’m afraid it’s blight.

About a month ago we had to prune and ultimately destroy a pear tree that a Toronto Master Gardener confirmed (by its description) was in the early stages of pear blight. The tree was located right next to these berry bushes.

The bushes are located in full-partial sun on the south-facing side of our house in mostly clay soil, but there have never been puddling issues. The honeyberry bush in question had been planted there as well, but was moved last week to an area with dappled sunlight. Usually these bushes get watered several times during the week.

We were away for part of July and our sprinklers were moved during the worst of the July heat wave. It’s been a few weeks of good water since, but I don’t know if the brown leaves/branches are just because of sunburn/dehydration. Additionally, I don’t know if the raspberry canes are just dying because it’s the end of their three-year cycle and this is what that looks like.

The affected area is a huge part of my garden and I’m a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do. Please help!!

Hi – I planted these 3 Hick’s Yews last spring. The middle one started yellowing late winter. I cut off the part that was brown. The other 2 started yellowing early summer. I am in Toronto. The plants get about 4 hours of sun a day. Please advise on care instructions to save the yews. Photo is attached. Thanks very much.

I have a rather large fully covered front porch. It is not heated, but I am wondering if there is any way I might use that space as a greenhouse in the spring? It is north facing unfortunately, but gets a lot of light. I have thriving hydrangea limelights right outside the space.

Hello. You kindly answered a question about a rotting euphorbia, sent me a link with the response, yet I cannot get the details. Your website also doesn’t seem to let me get the response ( for any search actually ). I’m not sure if this is temporary or there is a problem. Could you resend the “rotting euphorbia” response again? Thank you

I live in Markham, need to find a place/greenhouse that can store plants over the winter. There were a place that we sent plants for years is no longer doing so. No luck finding anything in Google. Could you help?

This does not quite fit your parameters for help. My request would be to give me types of plants/shrubs that I might use. I am replanting a portion of our garden and I could send you pics of the area that I am working on. Please let me know.

Hello! I have a balcony here in Toronto where I can grow plants. The climate zone is 6A to 7A. It is mostly shade but does get the late afternoon/ setting sun. I would like to grow Milkweed for the butterflies. The majority of Milkweed, however, seems to need full sun. As far as I can find out Poke Milkweed can grow in shade. My problem is that I can not locate an supplier for the Poke Milkweed; most firms only have Milkweed varieties which have to have sun. It would be great if you tell of any suppliers that have the Poke Milkweed seeds or plants. The soil is a mix of compost/ peat/ and leftover from purchased plants. I sow clover seeds each year to build up the dirt. The soil needs to be watered once a week or so, it stays fairly moist in the spring/ summer/ fall but dries out completely in the winter. I hope this is enough information. Many thanks, Best regards.

Can a Blue Chiffon Rose of Sharon be trained to climb over an arbor? How? Mine gets only about 4 hours of sun; will it survive? Thanks!

My May Night Salvia blooms brilliantly throughout June- sunny spot, well drained soil. All under newly planted maple trees. They are doing well. I was told to deadhead the blooms when they are done. But the foliage turns a horrible grey then brown colour, dying back completely. Under though, is new foliage (green as if it’s spring again). Looks like new blooms coming up Am I deadheading at the wrong time? Should I be more aggressive? Maybe less?

I planted Lupins in Spring and had a nice spread of seedlings – which were healthy.. they have been carefully watered and watched. Sadly to date they have grown approximately 7 – 8 inches.
How do I prep them for winter, since I have no flower to cut, as is usual in a blooming plant

Thank you very much

Hello, what would you suggest as a drought and heat tolerant tree to provide shade to 2nd story of south facing house. Frontage 40′ wide and about about 40-50′ from street to house. Thank you, Debbie Speyer

Hello. I planted a small rhododendron in fall 2021. In the spring, it appeared to be alive but unfortunately, I came across it on a hot day lying on its side, with its roots exposed. I think some animal appeared to have dug it up. I trimmed the dead leaves and planted it in a pot, not having a lot of hope it would survive. However, now it has a number of small and healthy looking leaves. My question is about how to deal with it over winter. I can leave it in the pot and bring it inside or I can plant it back in the garden. Is there anything else I can do to give it the best chance at surviving and thriving? I appreciate any advice you can share with me. Many thanks.

we live in a “green” 8 storey condominium in Toronto, sedum roof, garden terraces. This ivy (Boston ivy?) has been planted in the garden terraces, and is rapidly growing up the walls (aluminum siding over concrete), looks good, but recent appraisal by gardener (to take over maintenance) “is destructive, will damage underlying concrete, as well and aluminum trim, should be moved ($s +++). Is this true?

Hi folks,
My wife and I just returned from touring a great many gardens over in England. We were hugely impressed by the rose varieties there and have decided to finally try growing some for the first time here in our modest Toronto backyard garden.
We are rose rookies and are wondering whether you might know about the following four varieties and if they are suitable for growth in our zone:

-Tea Clipper

-Lady of Shallot


-Penelope rosa
-Generous gardener
If any of the above are suitable for Toronto, do you have any advice as to where or how we might buy their shoots to begin planting?

Finally, is there a ‘best season or time’ to do that planting here?
Thank you

I am in Mississauga, Ontario and the leaves on my roses are changing colour starting at the tip. They are are planted in a sunny area.

The leaves on my callalloo are changing. I am in Mississauga, Ontario. They seem to be dying from the edge. Sometimes they have similar spots in the middle of the leaves. They are planted in full sun in the same position I plant them every year. Can you tell me what is causing the problem and how to correct it please?

I would like to attract pollinators to my 5th floor balcony container garden, but have had success growing only ferns, coleus and fibrous rooted begonias – not plants with numerous bright flowers. I have seen two or three bees around the begonias, so I know they are able to reach the 5th floor. The balcony faces east, and gets a maximum of 2 hours direct sun daily. At times it can be windy, so I haven’t tried anything that grows above 12 inches (30 cm.) or so. What would you suggest that I plant? Would flowering native plants survive in these conditions? The bees and I look forward to your suggestions.
Thank you.

A 86 years old maple tree in our backyard property was being cut 2 inches deep around the circumstances of the tree trunk. We don’t know the person’s motive, how can we save the tree? How to repair it?

Hello ,

I came across your website , my boxwoods have really looked unhealthy this year & getting worst . I have been here 10 years and they have never been this bad .
Is there something I can do ? I been adding shrub food for about a month now but it looks diseased can I cut them down in the fall ? OR is it hopeless ?

We live in King city just north of Toronto , the shrubs are in partial sun , we have sprinklers so it receives sufficent water , in top soil / clay . I noticed that on top of the shurb it looks like a light web , Not sure if it’s insects ? Root rot ?
Fungi ?



Hello: I am new to Gardening and, as I am retiring, I would like to dedicate time to learn about it so that I can create a garden at home. I would like to start with having healthy and barefoot-walkable grass in my backyard, which is currently filled with weeds. How can I do this without having to sod it which would be very expensive for me? Would planting new seeds do it and, if so, when, and how shall I do it? I am attaching pictures of its current state. Thank you SO MUCH!!


I have an ant hill in a dry sunny spot of my garden that is not in the way. Having decided to live with it, I wonder if there are any plants, preferably natives, that will thrive on top.

I am in Humber Heights Toronto and I recently moved into a house with 8 globe cedars planted directly abutting the north wall. I am worried these might affect the foundation or cause water in the basement. To be safe, should I pull them out? OR, are their root systems benign to my new house? I do not know the variety – if they are dwarf or not. Thank you.

My weeping Japanese maple has been thriving at our cottage in Parry Sound for 4 years, transplanted from my Toronto garden. This spring it almost completely died back except for new growth at the bottom. What caused it and what should I do? Thanks!

Can I ask you if Malva shrub is considered invasive? I planted one and now I have 6 around my landscape.

It maybe be the Malva which is pink with raspberry veins.
Thanks you

All leaves turn yellow, then flowers and leafs drop. Is this caused by virus or bacteria? How should I treat the disease? Thank you.

Would a Master Gardener come to our Church community to speak about growing a Pollinator Garden? We would be ready to offer an honorarium.

I would like to know if there us a basic schedule to follow fir pruning the following:
Hydrangea(limelight and anabelle), wigela, hosta, rose of sharon,yew hick, and
Perenial flowers? All in fall ir spring. Trying to streamline.

I have read up about boxwood s. Would you recommend one over another for a front entry Walkway.

Thank you

I would like to use the “ black plastic method” to kill the tons of weeds that have grown in my backyard, so that I can plant new grass from seeds.
I have never used this method and was wondering:
– can I do it now- end of August?
– how long do I have to keep it covered for?
– do I use any type of black plastic (i.e. black garbage bags)
– once the plastic is removed, how long do I have to wait to plant the seeds?

I have a large, 100 ft+, Norway Maple, in my front yard, which is reaching its life expectancy.

My street runs south and I am on the west side of the street.

I want to plan ahead and plant another tree just to the south of it, so that when my tree does in fact die, I will have a healthy growing tree that can help provide shade for my house.

Ideally, the new tree will have deep roots that will not compete too much with the existing shallow-rooted Norway Maple.

I have good quality soil, which is rich with earth worms, and is more clay than sand

I have two possible planting locations, one directly south of the Nor. Maple by 10 ft. and the other would be closer to the house but further away from the existing tree.

I am looking for a recommendation if this is a good approach and which location would make sense to plant it.

Hi, is there any place that sells Hellebore around GTA now? The nurseries I checked are sold out

is this a type of chestnut tree? If so, would they be edible? Thanks!

what are the brown spots on my forsythia plant

Does anyone know the Toronto location of the Free Native Plant giveaway tomorrow Saturday August 27th?

This plant appeared first time ever in a garden area which has a peony and day Lillies. It has been like h to is for approx a month. I keep waiting for it to bloom more. I live in the Beaches area of Toronto.
Maybe it’s a weed? Thank you for any advice.

I planted 4 climbing New Dawn roses on my front arbour in late Spring. I had some blooms and some weaker stems with no buds. Do I cut them all down this fall or just the weak ones or none??

We have a huge old boxwood hedge, planted 40 odd years ago along the top edge of a stone wall. One end of it died this year and we carefully removed the dead branches. We cannot dig out the old roots and stems – they are too hard and thick. But there is very little room to plant a new boxwood. The hedge looks awful at this dead end, but the rest of the hedge looks healthy and glorious and we would truly miss it as one of the main features of our garden. Any advice about removing the old stems or planting a new box? Soil is sandy, well drained, and full sun. Thank you very much for your help in deciding what to do: our research turned up nothing helpful.


I am hoping to sort out whether or not my crop has been infected with the aforementioned nematode. My plot is in the west end of Toronto(zone 6a), in a community garden. I have been growing garlic there for the past seven years with good success. There were 7-8 different varieties grown, with one being a softneck and the rest ophios. It was grown in full sun, in ground and I have amended the soil each year, either with well-rotted manure or green manure crops. The soil structure is fairly loamy in parts, but still retains some heavier clay sections. Two years ago would have been the first time spotting a problem with one or two of the bulbs upon harvest. At that time, it appeared to be something similar to onion root maggot damage, but was limited in scope. This season, I noted significant yellowing of the leaves and leaf sheaths as early as the beginning of June. I pulled one to inspect it and found nothing out of the ordinary. I harvested the rest on 17 July and the damage was both evident and scattered throughout the bed. The bulbs that were affected did not all show the same symptoms. Some had orange discolouration along with rot visible, others had green mold covering the bulb, while other bulbs had rotted away completely from the basal plate. Roughly 10% of the garlic crop was visibly affected. None of the softneck appeared to be affected. Having read up on the stem and bulb nematode, my concern is whether I should be avoiding planting any members of the Allium family in that bed for the next four years or so. The plot is 9’x10′ overall, divided into two separate beds, with a path of approximately 1′ dividing them and I have been rotating the garlic crop between the two. If it is indeed the nematode that has affected the plants, should I be avoiding growing Alliums anywhere in the plot for the four year duration? Should I as well, inform all of the other gardeners to avoid growing within this family? As far as I am aware, no one else has experienced this kind of damage with their garlic. I have spoken with a lab that conducts soil tests, however they recommended I approach the master gardener site before proceeding with them. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I have a new Blue Moon wisteria (when purchased it was about 1 meter high) that was planted in May and has reached the top of the pergola, twining around a support. Now it has nothing to climb on to, the climbing vine has extended out about a meter at the top of the pergola and is swaying in the breeze. It doesn’t seem to be growing anymore. Should I just leave it, or should I try to help it along? I have to admit I am loathe to get up on a stepladder to try to pin it down in any way, but if that is what is needed I’ll do that (with someone to spot me).

Would love to know what tree/fruit this is that I found in Edward gardens botanical park. I will attach a picture of the fruit. It smells absolutely delicious and like a concoction of many other fruits!

Can you recommend an address of a reputable company who can identify some indoor pests? They
re moths, and I wonder if they’re the LDD moths, which have been increasing recently.

Crabapple – planted a young tree this summer. In the process, the trunk got damaged in 3 places. It seems to be doing OK but my question is do I need to do anything special before winter sets in to make sure these tears don’t get any worse. We are in Zone 5.
Pine – tree is about 5 years old but very frail, yellow needles and they’re now turning brown. I gave it a vitamin stick and I’ve been watering it faithfully, added mulch, making sure it’s not touching the bark. I’m worried it’s going to die.
Thank you. Cathy: 647-232-7661

I have 3 clumps of serviceberries with about 4 mature stems each spaced about 10 feet/3 m apart. They are about 15 feet/5 m high and only have foliage on the top third of the bushes. I would like 10 foot/ 3 m high bushes and the appropriate lower leaves that would go with that. Sort of a loose hedge style thing. How can I go about pruning the serviceberries to get this, or is this sort of thing even possible?

I have 3 clumps of serviceberries with about 4 mature stems each spaced about 10 feet/3 m apart. They are about 15 feet/5 m high and only have foliage on the top third of the bushes. I would like 10 foot/ 3 m high bushes and the appropriate lower leaves that would go with that. Sort of a loose hedge style thing. How can I go about pruning the serviceberries to get this, or is this sort othing even possible?
Regards, Hugh Maclean, Kingston ON Zone 5

Please help me. I found this in Toronto, in August this year. Downtown, on someone’s lawn.

Please help me. I found this in Toronto, in August this year. Downtown, on someone’s lawn.

I planted my dahlia i