Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Questions on Worms, Rhodos and Grasses

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Questions on Worms, Rhodos and Grasses

Article excerpt

Before the "Ground Up" mail bag gets too heavy for me to lift out of the wheelbarrow, I thought I would try to answer (or get answered by experts) some questions from readers.

Here is a sampling of some of the inquiries that have come in so far this season:

Q. I bought a bunch of worms for my compost bin. Is it OK to throw some of the extra worms from there directly into my garden? Or are they a different type of worm and could they do damage to my garden? -- Tom from Ramsey

"You sure can! No problem," says Mary Schwarz, Cornell Waste Management Institute, Ithaca, N.Y. "It's fine to put extra worms in your garden. Inevitably, the compost you harvest from your worm bin will most likely contain a worm or two, along with old food scraps and bedding. If you are using the compost outdoors, there is no need to worry -- the worms will find a happy home, and the food scraps and bedding will eventually decompose."

Q. I know it was the rough winter weather-wise, but I want to know why so many rhododendrons are not blooming or appear to be dead this year. -- Joe from Teaneck

"Damages to our rhododendrons over the winter were caused by deer and climate. In a sense, winter was responsible in both cases, as deer had very little to forage on given this winter's lengthy snow cover," say Gus and Lydia Cerini, Tappan Zee chapter of the American Rhododendron Society (based in Park Ridge). "Winter desiccation was responsible for most of the rhododendron damage we saw on our property this spring. Many of the plants which were planted in corridors that received direct north winds were heavily hit. The factors that played a role in their survival were their innate hardiness and the amount of snow cover they retained during the winter."

Q. Is it too late to split my ornamental grasses?

You can divide them in early spring or winter before growth begins, so it is getting close to the "cut off" deadline. …

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