Gardening columnist Tim Daly answers the following questions from readers:

Question: I have some azaleas growing in my home landscape that are relatively large, and I would like to prune them back a couple of feet. Is now a good time to do so?

— Joyce, Norcross.

Answer: Joyce, azaleas produce their flower buds on the previous year’s growth. If you prune them now, you will remove them and have a few flowers next spring. Please wait until after they have finished blooming to prune.

Q: I have small ants invading my home! Why are they coming in, and what can I do to get rid of them?

— Shirley, Sugar Hill.

A: Shirley, most likely you have Argentine ants, sometimes referred to as sugar ants. They seek a source of shelter, food, and water, which your home has all three. For control, purchase some ant bait station.

Follow label directions and put them down in areas where the ants are visible. Keep all food and drinks in sealed containers or the refrigerator, and clean up any spilled. Seal up any cracks and crevices on the outside of your home and make sure all windows and doors have a tight seal when closed.

Remove any piles of leaves, logs, bricks, rocks, and similar material near your foundation. Cut back vegetation 12 to 18 inches from the foundation, and pull any mulch back the same distance. By taking these steps, you will reduce the likelihood of these insects troubling you. If the infestation gets worse or cannot get them under control with these tactics, contact a pest control professional.

Q: Why does my Bermuda lawn look marbled? It gas some green with veins of brown running through it randomly? My neighbor’s lawn is zoysiagrass and is not like this!

— Ray, Grayson

A: Ray, bermuda lawns react to frost differently than other grasses. They turn entirely tan or light brown when dormant, which is why a Bermuda lawn in winter looks different than other turfgrasses.

Often, after the first frost, only some parts of a Bermuda lawn is affected. Some areas turn tan before others. The lawn takes on a marbled appearance, which is a normal part of the lawn’s transition into winter dormancy. The lawn should turn fully tan-brown as we have more frost.

Timothy Daly is an Agricultural and Natural Resource Extension Agent with UGA Extension Gwinnett. He can be contacted at 678-377-4011 or


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