Gardening columnist Tim Daly answers the following questions from readers:
Question: I have a large Yoshino cherry tree in my front yard. Over the past couple of months, some of the branches have begun to die, and the tree is in decline. What is causing it to do poorly, and what can I do to save the tree?
– Mark, Snellville
Answer: Mark, cherry trees are known for their showy display of colorful flowers in the springtime. However, they are not adapted to our area. A combination of the heat and humidity combined with our acidic clay soils are not conducive to the optimal growth of the trees. In time they will decline and perish, which varies from tree to tree.
Sometimes they will last for 20 or more years; others will die within a few years. Since cherry trees prefer soils with a higher pH, broadcast some limestone evenly on the ground beneath the dripline. Consider planting other flowering trees more suited to our climate such as crabapples, fringe trees, redbuds or crape myrtles.
Q: A pest control company wants to treat my attic for wood destroying insects as a preventative measure. They have applied a termite barrier treatment, and none of the insects are active in my home. Should I have them treat the attic?
A: Kel, if we were in Florida, the answer would be yes since dry wood termites are problematic there. However, in our area, these pests, along with a few others, are rarely a problem. You do not need to have your attic treated with an insecticide. Focus on preventing the ground-dwelling termites from infesting your home.
Q: I have a number of these strange insects that are long, thin and have many legs that are in my basement. What are they and what can be done to get rid of them?
A: Florence, you have an infestation of millipedes. They are not insects but a close relative. Millipedes have rounded bodies with multiple legs with two pairs per segment. They move slowly and usually coil up when disturbed. Their primary diet is decaying organic material such as leaves, wood chips, or other decomposing material.
Their presence is a sign you may have a moisture problem in your basements and should have it checked out by a foundation repair company. For control, ensure water is not accumulating by the foundation. Keep the gutters cleaned and direct the water outward from the downspouts. Cut back plant material away from the foundation one foot and pull any mulch the same distance. Apply pesticides that are labeled for controlling perimeter pests according to label directions. For severe infestations, contact a pest control company.