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Ask Dr. Hort: Correcting crape jasmine's micronutrient deficiency

Crape jasmine has deficiency

Q: Can you please tell me what is wrong with my jasmine bush? In the past, healthy green leaves appear but then turn yellow. I fertilize twice a year with a 10-10-10. What am I missing? Donald Lorentz, Holiday

A: Your plant is crape jasmine, Tabernaemontana divaricata. Looking at your photo, you weren't kidding about a deficiency. Your plant is deficient in manganese and iron, both micronutrients.

I believe it is a pH problem, with it being too high (pH governs nutrient availability). Are there bits of shell in the soil or is it planted close to a block home? An ideal pH for most plants is between 5.5 and 6.5 and I think yours is likely more than 7.0, so you need to bring your pH down. A great product to do this is S/A Essential Minor Elements, available at your local garden center. It contains sulfur to bring your pH down along with plenty of iron, manganese and magnesium. Apply in spring and fall, along with your regular fertilizer, before growth spurts. Read the label closely; a little bit goes a long way.

Your choice: lizards or bugs

Q: I own a home that is raised 18 feet with an enclosed garage below. The garage ceiling is exposed insulation and I think I have a problem with lizards living up there. Their droppings (long with a white tip) are everywhere, especially along the walls. Is there a way of getting rid of them? I have tried a few bug sprays but it doesn't seem to help. Patrick Martucci

A: To truly resolve your problem, you should complete the ceiling with wallboard to eliminate the exposed insulation. The reason you have so many lizards is there are plenty of small critters up there. If you get rid of the lizards you will end up with a bug problem, probably roaches.

But in lieu of a finished ceiling, seal up any outside cracks, around pipes coming through the wall and the garage door bottom seal. Place mothballs in plastic bags randomly in the insulation as a deterrent. Then place sticky boards near where the lizards are hiding. You can remove them by pouring a little vegetable oil where they become attached and release them at a friend's house. Just remember, lots of lizards, lots of bugs. Very few lizards, tons of bugs.

Money tree will bloom in time

Q: My wife keeps suggesting that our money tree will grow. But I've used elbow grease and a lot of patience, but still no blooms. Am I applying the wrong techniques or the wrong soil? Please help. Dwayne Koceja

A: As in life, patience applies to gardening as well, and sooner or later your bounty will be before you. Your growing techniques for your money tree, Pachira aquatica, are fine, as is your soil. All it takes is continued hard work, time and patience to set those first flowers, which will turn into woody pods the size of footballs that contain edible nuts.

Need help? Dr. Hort (Greg Charles) answers questions about garden problems. E-mail him at drhort@tampabay.rr.com or mail questions to HomeLink, Features Department, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Describe problem in full, and include your name, city of residence and contact information. If possible, include a good-quality photo. Fuzzy ones won't do. Photos cannot be returned.

Need help?

Need help? Dr. Hort (Greg Charles) answers questions about garden problems. E-mail him at drhort@tampabay.rr.com or mail questions to HomeLink, Features Department, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Describe problem in full, and include your name, city of residence and contact information. If possible, include a good-quality photo. Fuzzy ones won't do. Photos cannot be returned.

Ask Dr. Hort: Correcting crape jasmine's micronutrient deficiency 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 3:30am]

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