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Wood mulch can cause collar rot

Question: I planted about 12 gardenias a couple of months ago, and they appear to be dying. I checked the soil, and it’s evenly damp. They have two, 2 gallon-per-hour emitters, and they were all being watered three times a week for 20 minutes.

Prune flowering shrubs just after a bloom

Question: When is it best to prune crape myrtle? I’ve heard before winter and again just before spring. The last two years, I trimmed back the branches (it is only about 5 feet tall) about one-third of the way in late February. What is right? We live in Aliante.

Be gentle with au naturel trees

Question: This question is regarding our bottle tree. Should we trim and shape the tree? It has grown to a considerable height. The wind, appearance, and health of the tree are our concerns. Does the cracking on the trunk need addressing? And should I wrap the trunk in winter?

Non-desert trees in lawns require deep watering

Question: I had a 3-year-old mesquite tree in my front yard that just blew over in the wind today. The landscapers planted it in the grass without a drip system. I was told watering the lawn would be enough for the tree. Today, the landscapers told me it fell because of the roots being at the surface. Do you recommend putting in the drip line for a new tree?

Pistachios appreciate desert climate

Question: We are considering planting a couple of pistachio trees. Is this a good move? If so, should we plant them in full sunlight or in a spot that gets sun only part of the day?

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