Edgecombe County’s Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, now 35 members strong, are launching a local Q&A column, called “Ask A Master Gardener” for the purpose of engaging the county’s residents in solving common problems concerning horticulture, gardening, and pest management through the utilization of a trained and supervised volunteer staff, staged locally through phone calls and emails. The Extension Master Gardener program is an educational program designed to enhance public education in consumer horticulture.
For submissions of your questions, an email address will be created in the next week or so. In the meantime, please call the local Extension Center at 252-641-7815 and tell them you have a question for a master gardener. You ask the questions and a local Master Gardener will return your call with a solution to your problem and share it with readers of this column.
This column also wants to include your “tried and true” gardening techniques and the “old wive’s tales” that you consider sure-fire gardening tips; please share with “Ask A Master Gardener”.
The series of problems and solutions will be those that Edgecombe’s Master Gardener interns have encountered as well as others sent in or called in by our readers. Answers will reflect research collected from land grant universities (NCSU or NCA&T) and through a national extension website, www.extension.org.
Q. Why aren't my hydrangeas blooming?
A. Here are a number of possible answers/solutions (from horticulturalist Dick Bir, NC State University):
• Improper pruning, removing the flower bud for next year's growth
• Too much fertilizer, especially a high nitrogen fertilizer, encouraging leaf production
• Too much shade. In the east, hydrangeas grow well under the high shade of pine or deciduous trees
• Weather: a mild winter followed by a cold snap can kill flower buds that have started to swell and are ready to grow. However, leaf buds are not affected by this temperature change and will continue to grow.