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.

Looking for a sour cherry tree. Do you have it?
416 854 2978 Ihor.

Am hoping to get some assistance with identifying the following emerging growth in my flower bed. I don’t recall seeing it last year, although it is in the general location where large yellow tulips emerge year over year.

Photo attached.

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

I am wanting to take advantage of the free time I have during COVID-19, and plamnt a Lilac hedge (roughly 10′ long).

Where would you recommend I go? Also, what would be the hardiest Lilac? I am in Toronto and want to make sure that whatever species I am getting works.

ANy assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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


I moved into an old townhouse in Toronto a couple of months back. The backyard is in a neglected state with a few straggly bushes. And come spring I am trying to decide which ones could be invasive and I need to get rid of.

The most overpowering one seems to be 4 feet tall. It doesn’t have any leaves now just buds, but some pictures I was able to click in fall attached. Also there seem to be multiple smaller plants and shoots around it that look quite similar.

I have a toddler and a dog so I am concerned about toxicity.

Would really appreciate any help in identifying these.


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.

Need to identify a plant growing in my garden which seemed to suddenly come up this spring (although I think there may have been a couple of them in one area last fall. Now, they are growing in the same area but many more of them, as well as in two other areas in the garden, including one on the other side of the lawn. The plant is low, so short under a foot in height – some plants still smaller. Leaves very crowded together. I am attaching a photo. Google images was totally useless as it kept popping up sedums that didn’t even look like it – neither did the other pictures of so-called similar-looking plants it showed images of. I need to know if this is an invasive plant, or God-forbid poisonous (to touch: I don’t plan to eat it) and if it flowers. I want to remove most of the plants if not invasive and it flowers and put one or two in another area or remove the whole lot, preferably this week. I’m attaching a photo close up I took of one of the plants to help ID it. It is growing in sunny spots – areas of the garden that get sun morning, afternoon and evening. Soil is mostly clay and somewhat wet as it is for this time of year (April 5) but not puddling. Thanks.

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,

What is it?

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.

I came across this plant in a stream in Newmarket and then found another one along the bank of a stream in another part of the town. It seems to be a collection of seed that sprouted but it’s perfectly round. My first thought was the head of a sunflower but a closer look told me otherwise, I sent the photo to the town’s horticulture department and they responded that they had no idea (their words). Can you provide any insight? I can send more photos if you’d like.

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!

Hi… can you identify what this is? it has really interesting puffs of pine needles . it looks like a poodle tail! can you tell me about the growing patterns too?

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.

This tree is in a neighbourhood near Roncesvalles. It has beautiful horizontal branching and very crooked branches. The leaves almost look like wisteria. It was at least 40 feet tall. If you could help me ID it I would be very grateful. I’ve used several
apps that came up with nothing.

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.

Hi. I am from Niagara Falls, On. My friend gave me several plants that they thought were cherry tomatoes. I am growing several however they do not look like any tomatoes I have ever grown. They are smooth leaved and serrated edged. I am worried that it is actually poison ivy. Hope they really are not.

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,

Would appreciate if you can help me knowing the name of these pink flowers.. they are blooming now. Thanks you.

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.

Good evening
I am in need of some assistance with determining the name of a plant in my flower garden. I don’t ever recall having purchased such a plant… it just seems to have appeared in my garden. Location is south facing wall by garage close to being under the eaves but does get some rain. It’s in full sun and soil usually quite dry (doesn’t get a lot of rain nor does it get watered weekly as does the front garden). It stands about 1.5 to 2 ft tall. Single plant with another starting about 2 ft away (also single plant).
Attached are several pictures that will assist.
If you have any ideas please let me know.
Thank you
Marlene Vandermeer

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!!

Flower is in a pot (probably came out of clayish soil) in Kingston, Ontario. Can you identify it for me? It resembles an evening primrose but the leaves don’t look like those examples I’ve seen. I want to make sure that it survives the coming winter and I need to know what it is to retrieve that information.

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?

Could you tell me this is, please? Thank you

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?

Please can you tell me the name is of this poppy. It is lovely red (see photo) and it is in bloom for about 4 weeks. My orange poppy is in bloom only for a couple of days and my leaves are large, while this red poppy does not have large leaves. Can I get this poppy in Toronto? Thanks Lorrie

This ground cover has yellow flowers in the summer. Given to me by my neighbour and cover the ground well and does well in containers and grows over the container ( see photo) and survives over the winter in the garden. Can you tell me the name? Thanks Lorrie

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.

Hi: I lost the identification label for this plant. I think it is a squash but the outside (green stripes) seems a bit like a watermelon.
The vines grew quickly on a trellis. they are planted in a large garden box 4F wX 15ftL X3ft D. There are 7 -8 fruit growing in various sizes. The largest is 8 inches tall and slightly football shaped. I have had to support them with slings but took the attached pic before I put it in a sling for easier identification. The vine structure produced many flowers and spread roughly Interestingly, the original vines are light green in color but as they get closer to the flower, they tun dark green. The vines measures about 14 feet long and 4 feet wide. The are in full sun and good loamy soil. Any idea what variety this is?

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!

Found this at the Ontario Science Centre. Please can you tell me the name. Thanks Lorrie

Given to me by my neighbour Anna. It flowers in the fall and has large flowers about 3/12 ins in diameter and it comes up every year. It grows to about 4 ft in height. Please can you tell me the name of this plant. Thanks Lorrie

Got this from a neighbour many years ago. It is a ground cover and has purple flowers in the Spring. It spreads well. I lost my huge tree and now it is in full sun and the leaves have turned green. All the leaves used to be the dark colour of some of the leaves in this photo. Please can you tell me the name of this plant which survives our winters in Toronto. Thanks Lorrie

large pink blooms seen in late July& early Aug in the Brickworks area of Toronto, Ontario.

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?

I live down the street on Banbury. This is in my backyard. It is 8 feet tall, narrow with purple flowers on the top.

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 observed this plant while visiting Ottawa.The group of them were in full sun for the entire afternoon, individual plants were approximately 1.5 meter tall, and had a spread of approximately 1 meter. The soil appeared to be of average quality and on the dry side. I have never seen this plant before but it was thriving in Ottawa so I must assume would do well in Toronto. I’d like to identify it and try it in my garden. Thank you for any information you can provide.

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?

These flowers are booming these days. Thank you so much.

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.

these are pics of plants we liked at Edwards Gardens. Could you help us identify them. Thanks

Why is my pilea stem turn black?

How to stop blossom end rot. Can we use Epsom salts? Live in Etobicoke.

Sorry my picture didn’t turn out, but I came upon a bunch a stems in my Toronto escarpment canopy that were bright white and very thorny, like a rose stem but white. These stems branched out and seamed to entangle other brush. Like a vine it was difficult to get around so I cut it off at its roots. I can’t seam to find any pictures or resources that could identify it. Any ideas?

Thank you for your response…I couldn’t respond to you directly so I’m responding this way. I have a picture of the white stem with thorns…it’s not any mildew or any powder or spots. It’s clean and strong…when it comes up again I’ll try and take a better picture. I’ve never seen anything like it.

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?

I live in Leaside and this invasive weed is growing in my backyard. I would like to know the name of this weed, so I ask for your help.
Thank you.

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 :-)

I purchased this plant yesterday – the only information – summer perennial. I put the pot in my sun-garden to see if it would be happy there, it is not – it wilted as you can see.
What kind of flower is it? What are the growing conditions.
The store was unable to provide information and does not know the name of the nursery which supplied it.

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.

Pic is from my property on the Severn River, Severn, ON. I’ve also seen this plant in and around the GTA.

Until ~2yrs ago, I’ve not seen this plant. Now it is spreading everywhere: shade, sun, gravel, fine organics.

Pictured, its roots are almost as long as the plants are tall. The plant appears to tap out at 15 – 20 cm. They grow in clusters.

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 trying to use this picture as a starting point for a naturalistic perennial garden design. I am having trouble figuring out the names of the spike flowers, the pin cushion like plant in the back ground and the short grass in the foreground. If anyone feels inclined to help out with some plant id it would be a huge help.

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 ?

Can you please identify the species of the enclosed clematis.

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.

Last year I grew cayanne, hot banana and habanero hot peppers. In the spring I planted seeds from these peppers. The pictures included is the result. The two foot plants produced fruit 2″ to 2 1/2″ in size. What kind of pepper is it?

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 saw this plant in a large pit on someone’s driveway in Toronto it reached the height of about 7feet.


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!

i was told by you that cedars are not the type to become thick
infact they are used for privacy thick hedge .so again is it normal for young cedars to thin out in early fall ????.

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!

I took this photo a few weeks ago at Edwards gardens and I’m wondering if this is a Klatschmohn red poppy.

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.

This is an old plant with four balls attached to the main root. Can I cot off one or two roots and plant them without killing the mother plant?

Thank you

Jean Quinn’s

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!

Hello. I sent a note about my 20+ year old croton a few days ago and don’t know how to access the response. I will repeat what I wrote previously. I live in Toronto and put my 5 foot high croton on my front porch every summer, where it thrives in about 6 hours of sun daily. This past weekend, I repotted it in new potting soil which I sterilized in my oven, and brought it inside. Almost immediately, the top tender leaves began wilting, and today they started falling off. The wilting seems to be working it’s way down the plant, although the lower, tougher leaves still seem not to be wilting – yet. This is very upsetting to me, as my mother gave it to me just before she died. Any suggestions you can make would be most appreciated. Can you e-mail me information as to how I access the response to my question? Thank you very much.
Sharron Kusiar

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,

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.

Hello there,

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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.

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