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Catnip will claw its way back each spring

Q:I planted some catnip last year and I am wondering if it will come back up this year?

A:Yes, catnip is a very hard perennial if the stalks are left on the plant and the plant is mulched. It is a very rapid grower and may need dividing every year to keep it within bounds. Sometimes a metal edging around the plant will help contain it. In the spring, cut off the old dead growth to improve its appearance. Be very sparing with the fertilizer so you do not encourage even heavier growth than normal.

Q:This is the year that I am going to start some fruit trees. What size would you recommend buying?

A:Buy trees on the small side, but not tiny little whips. Small trees will actually establish themselves soon than larger, older trees with larger root systems. Whether the tree you plant is simply one long stem or has branches really does not make a lot of difference. Remember that you need more than one for pollination purposes.

Q:Are plums difficult to grow?

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A:I think that plums are one of the easiest fruits to grow. They come in a variety of colors, shape, flavors and sizes and they will grow in our zone. You will be rewarded by tasting the best plum you have ever had — sun-ripened on your tree. Sure beats the grocery store varieties.

Q:What is the difference between June-bearing and everbearing strawberries?

A:June-bearers only produce one crop per year — in June. Everbearers produce in the spring and then again in late summer. There is actually a third type which produces a heavy June crop and then continues to produce a few berries all summer long. The June-bearers are a perfect choice for those that want a crop all at once for canning and freezing, and the everbearers are a good choice for those that want to pick a small amount all summer long and do not want all the rush at once. Many strawberry lovers plant at least two kinds.

Keith Stangler of Byron is a horticulturist. If you have a question for him, e-mail lifstyle@postbulletin.com or call Post-Bulletin Lifestyles Editor Jan McFarland at 285-7624 or (800) 562-1758.

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