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From the Potting Bench

By Staff
Too soon to repot rubber tree
Dear Gardener:
I just repotted my rubber tree a few months ago. The roots are starting to show on top of the soil already. Is it too soon to repot it again?
Dear Christina:
As long as you moved your tree to a larger pot the first time, it is too soon to repot it again. Most houseplants like to be a bit root bound. Wait at least a year, maybe two depending on its performance, to repot it again.
Take clues from the plant's performance. Watch for signs of decline or lack of growth to determine when a larger pot is needed.
Once your plant gets large enough and into a really big pot, you may want to simply top dress the soil each year.
Dear Gardener:
Recently a friend and I were walking through a field on my property when he spotted some wild butterfly weed. My friend was very interested in transplanting it to his home. Will it survive if he moves it now? I will be bush hogging the field in August, so he must dig it up soon.
Dear Reader:
With the heat of the summer and a lack of rain pressing down upon us, now is not the ideal time to transplant anything. But, and this is a huge but, if he is extremely diligent in keeping it watered, it may survive.
Be sure to get as much of the root system as possible when digging it from the ground. After planting it in its new location, cut back all the stems by one third. Yes, this means removing the flowers. All of the plant's energy needs to be concentrated into the root system. Last, but certainly not least, water it. This means at least three times a week. Continue watering throughout the summer.
A fun fact about butterfly weed  proper name Asclepias tuberosa  is that it is the only plant on which female monarch butterflies will lay their eggs. Apparently the leaves are the sole food in the extremely picky diet of monarch caterpillars.
If your friend would rather buy potted plants, I know of some sources. Personally, I would buy some rather than transplant any from a field. When transferring anything from an uncultivated area one is also relocating a lot of unwanted plants.
Dear Gardener,
My lawn has developed some dead patches. The grass has just turned brown. Do you know what might have caused this? What can I do to remedy the problem?
Dear Reader,
Without seeing your lawn I really would hate to make a diagnosis. It could be a disease or insect problem, or it could be that your grass is being cut too closely.
I suggest contacting your local county extension agent. He or she will be happy to come out and diagnose the problem. Then he/she can suggest a possible mode of action.
Amelia O'Brian, a native of Meridian, holds a bachelor of
science degree in horticulture from Mississippi State University. To submit a question, write From the Potting Bench, c/o The Meridian Star, P.O. Box 1591, Meridian, MS 39302. Or, visit her on the Web at