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We have just built a new home and saved most of the shade trees on the property. All have leaved out beautifully except one with a 5-inch-diameter trunk. It started to leaf out, but then all the foliage wilted and dried. I notice that the man who did the grading left soil about a foot above the roots so that the trunk is covered to that depth. The others were located so that the grading didn't affect them. Could this cause the wilting? Definitely. Soil should never be mounded up around the trunk of a tree.

The proper way to handle the situation is to lay a loose circular stone wall to form a well. The diameter of the stone wall should be 7 or 8 feet in your case, and larger if the tree size is greater. Soil is then graded up to the wall.

Tree roots must be able to get oxygen.

We have had our cabbage plants in the ground for about a month but they look yellowish and have made hardly any growth. We pulled up a couple and find ugly lumps on the roots. You have what is called clubroot, which is sometimes a problem with any cole crops. If you can keep your soil above a pH of 7, you can prevent this problem since the slime mold causing clubroot cannot live in an alkaline soil. It is best to rotate planting location each year.

You can pull your plants up and add 3 pounds of ground limestone or hydrated lime per 100 square feet of space.

Try planting a crop of beans after about a week. They are a fast-growing crop and do well in an alkaline soil. Then next fall add the above amount of lime to the new location so the soil will be alkaline when you plant cole crops in the spring. Three years ago we started a bed of chrysanthemums. They have again come through the winter in good shape. Last fall they got so tall they all flopped over when bloom time came. What can we do to keep them shorter (as they were the first year)? Chrysanthemum plants should be divided each year and the old center stalk discarded. If you have not done this and your mums have grown too tall to divide , cut them back about half. They will form new shoots and will be somewhat shorter by fall than last year.

Be sure to divide them next spring as new growth starts, and leave two or three new shoots per plant. When the plants are about 6 inches tall, pinch out the top 2 inches.

Repeat again when they again reach 6 inches, but don't prune after July as this will delay blooming. I was given a beautiful fuchsia in a hanging basket for Mother's Day. Soon afterward it stopped blooming. I have it hanging in a sunny spot outdoors on our patio and was told it should bloom all summer. What am I doing wrong? Can I root some slips for a friend? Cuttings root very easily in moist perlite, sphagnum peat moss, or a combination of both.

Fuchsias (Ladies Eardrops) stop blooming when temperatures become too high, soil becomes dry, or plants are allowed to set seeds. They bloom well indoors in the spring in bright indirect light, with night temperature about 60 degrees F. (15 degrees C.), and where humidity is not too low. Hot sun and drying winds of summer always cause a halt in bloom.

Move plant to an area with dappled shade, syringe once a day during hot weather, and keep spent blooms picked off.

If you have a question about your garden, inside or out, send it, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, to the Garden Page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115.

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