Hello everyone, and welcome to Good to Grow’s special Friday edition of Ask the Experts coming to you from Albuquerque, New Mexico! Thanks for being here.

Today’s Friday January 29th – boy, this year sure is flying by, isn’t it? We love Fridays around here, because that’s the day we like to persuade you to stop working for a little bit (hah – as if you were working to begin with) and to join us for a little fun.

Friday is the day when we roll out our esteemed panel of experts and ask them a plant-related question. Then we cross our fingers and hope they can answer it!

Hi! My name is Liza and I’m the moderator for the panel and author of this blog. I can vouch for the coolness of all the members of the panel, however, I can’t say the same for their plant knowledge. I can practically guarantee you’ll have a good time tuning in though.

On Fridays, we also feature a plant puzzler. This week, we’ll have an answer to last week’s Name that Plant Problem!, (too bad no one got it right) in which I asked you what was wrong with this tree.

Lots of good guesses, and correct observations, but unfortunately, no one answered it correctly. That’s because it was a trick question – hahahahaha! Haven’t you come to expect that from me yet? I’ll reveal the answer below. I’ll also present another puzzler for you after the panel of experts.

Did you know that this is a full moon weekend? I sure hope nothing spooky happens around here!

Ready to meet the panel? Ok!

That’s Tina Quintana, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll, and Lewis Casey. Aren’t they adorable with their sunflower heads? I’m pretty sure this is the only plant blog panel of experts on the web. Even if there is another one, I’m sure they don’t have our high-end graphics.

If you’d like to know more about any of the members of our panel, please click here.

Each week, I ask the panel a plant-related question that’s submitted by our readers. Sadly, this blog doesn’t have very many readers. And the ones who do read are so smart they don’t have any questions. Of course, they can’t answer the puzzlers correctly, so maybe I’m misreading them. Burn!

I’m kidding, I’m kidding – all of you guys are adorable. Thanks again for being here. Please don’t stop reading. Am. Begging.

Ok, let’s get down to business. This week’s question comes from me, and it is:

Q. It’s January, should I be watering my yard?

Expert Tina is first on our panel. Tina and I both have small plant care businesses here in Albuquerque and have been friends for years. You ready to go, girl? She’s nodding. Ok, you’re up:

A. Well, it depends on how much moisture your area has received by Mother Nature. If it has been raining and or snowing, no. If it has been a dry winter, you should water your yard and lawns at least once a month to maintain moisture levels. Watering during January can also help protect the roots of the plants. Just don’t water in freezing temps – you don’t want your pipes to freeze!!!!!

That sounds totally accurate, Tina. Good job!

Here in Albuquerque, we’ve made out like bandits with snow in the last couple weeks. Yesterday, it snowed all day. Spring starts early here, in mid-February, so this January moisture has perfect timing.

Up next is EZ Ed Johnson, my friend from the sports department of the local paper. Here’s the question to you, my friend.

Q. It’s January, should I be watering my yard?

EZ, what do you think?

A. I know the NFL waters its lawn through the Super Bowl, which these days runs into February.

Aw, that’s really cute of you EZ, to tell the whole world you’re sure my Indianapolis Colts are going to win the Super Bowl next week. I think so, too!

Say EZ, do you think you could use your contacts at the sports department to invite legendary sports announcer and all-around huge personality Dick Vitale to be a guest expert one day on Ask the Experts? I think he’d really enjoy it, and I could ask him about basketball instead of plants.

A. Yeah, Vitale would show up anywhere, anytime. But nobody else would get in a word in. He probably types in ALL CAPS with lots of !!!!!! so that would get annoying.

Hahahahahahaha! Fair enough, we’ll leave Dicky V out of our Friday fun. His loss.

Ok, normally our next expert Dottie, who’s 83 years old and should be declared a National Treasure would be up, but she’s unavailable this week.

She still looks adorable with her sunflower head, doesn’t she? Hope to see you next week, Dottie.

Sssssshhhhhh, everyone! Did you hear that? OH NO, it sounds like, it sounds like, a WEREWOLF!

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Just kidding! It was only Michael J. Fox. Just kidding again!

That joke would’ve worked a lot better if I had graphics of my panelists screaming terrified instead of smiling like happy babies. Note to self, fix that.

Ok, up next is the venerable Lewis Casey. He’s the Director of Safety for the NM Department of Health, as well as a long-time volunteer for the Red Cross. Lewis, here’s the question to you:

Q. It’s January, should I be watering my yard?

A. Save your water, we have had several good days of moisture, maybe not great but for here, enough. If you got to have green grass then you are in the wrong place, native plants – tree, shrubs – grasses are fine on what moisture we have receive here in New Mexico. It is those bone dry winters like we had a few years back that test the life of our earth bound friends. Stay the course, spring will be here soon. Please donate to the Haiti Relief Fund through your favorite charity and give thanks for your blessings. Lewis

That sounds like another win for Lewis. Nice work!

Ok, that does it for Friday’s Ask the Experts. I’d like to thank all of our experts for being here, and I’d like to thank any readers who are still here despite the silliness.

Name That Plant Problem!

Last week, I asked what was wrong with this Ficus tree:

Ugh – what a mess! Look at all those yellow leaves!

Several readers made great observations – it’s dusty, it’s pruned awkwardly, it looks thirsty. But no one put it all together. That’s because you’d have no way of knowing the back story.

Which is, one of the employees at the tv station where this tree is located, brought it in from home about two months ago. I thought she was going to take care of it because she didn’t ask me to, but she didn’t, and I started noticing lots of yellow leaves. So I watered it but made the mistake of not cleaning off the yellow leaves. Later the same day, she noticed the yellow leaves so she watered the tree, too, not feeling the soil first to see if I’d already done it. So it had too little, then way too much water in a short amount of time.

So you couldn’t have known any of that, but you should’ve been able to discern the different colors on the leaves. Some were all yellow (indicating thirst) and some were yellow and green (indicating too much water). You would’ve known that if you’d read my post about Samantha the Ficus tree.

I cleaned up the tree, so here’s what it looks like now:

It still needs to be dusted more, and pruned better, but the poor thing has been through enough for now.

A few readers guessed that it was near a vent or that it had inadequate light. It actually isn’t near a vent, but it may have gotten drafty when it was moved to the tv station. And the whole place has lots of windows, so while it doesn’t get direct sunlight, it has plenty of indirect light so that wasn’t the issue either.

Overwatering and underwatering can kill a houseplant or tree quickly. In future posts, I’ll give you concrete tips on how to make sure you’re giving your plants the right amount of water.

Are you ready for a new puzzler? Ok then!

Name that Plant Problem!

This is an Aglaonema, can you tell what’s wrong with it?

There are several correct answers, so leave your best guess in the comments section. There are no prizes for guessing correctly, but there is glory and my gratitude for playing. I’ll reveal the answers next Friday.

That does it for this Friday edition on Good to Grow. Thanks again everyone for being here. I’ll return Monday, until then, happy indoor gardening everyone!

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