trish grenfell

Want cleaner air? Get some houseplants

Question: I am concerned about the air quality within our home, especially in the winter when windows are not left open. A friend advises that houseplants could help purify the ind ...

When to harvest the perfect pumpkin

Q: I successfully grew six pumpkins this year in my garden.  Of course I wanted ripe pumpkins for Halloween, but I wasn’t sure if they were ready to pick for Oct 31 - I ...

Know how to recognize black widow spiders

Question: How do I know if I have black widow spiders in my garden? Answer: The western black widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus) — a native species — is quite common ...

Managing ants key to controlling aphids in crape myrtles

Question: What is the best way to get rid of aphids in 30-foot crape myrtles? I tried using a power washer to hit the upper branches and knock them off the leaves — but that ...

Ask the Master Gardener: Mistletoe diverts vital water from trees during drought

Question: I have mistletoe growing in my oak tree. How do I get rid of it? Answer: Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that absorbs both water and nutrients from its host plant. It is ...

Early leaf drop a symptom of drought’s impact

Question:  My neighborhood has many trees, most of which I think are native oaks. I am writing because the trees around here look brown and the ground everywhere is covered wi ...

Ask the Master Gardener: Pruning tomatoes — when, why, how and varieties that need it

Question: Two experienced gardeners in my garden club prune their tomato plants. What is the benefit and how do I do it? Answer: There are many theories out there and even univer ...

Ask the Master Gardener: Tree preservation is important in a drought

Question: I read the Auburn Journal garden article (Feb. 27) about keeping trees healthy in a drought. I learned how important retaining tree shade was to a healthy soil. And mulch ...

Ask the Master Gardener: Steps for growing vegetables hydroponically

Question: I read the recent column on hydroponics and although it sounds expensive, I want to grow vegetables hydroponically. This drought demands that we save water. However, I do ...

Ask the Master Gardener: There are pros and cons to hydroponics

Question: I’ve read that many supermarket winter vegetables today are not grown in soil but grown hydroponically, usually by large agricultural corporations.  Can I also ...