By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Apr 18, 2001 at 11:02 AM

Q: When should I prune Lilacs and my other spring blooming plants?

A: The best time to prune is in spring, as soon as the plants are done blooming. You can simply prune off the spent flower or you can use this opportunity to shape and reduce the plants size.

Q: Some of the leaves on my roses and other plants are curled, distorted and sticky feeling. What causes this?

A: This is caused by small insects called aphids. They feed on the juices in the leaves. The excretion is the leftover sap and is very sticky. An insecticide can help control this problem.

Q: What can I do to make my annual flowers bloom more profusely?

A: With consistent deadheading and fertilizing, you can keep your annual flowers blooming well. Start in the spring with a slow release fertilizer when you plant and follow up with liquid fertilizer in one month intervals.

Q: What is deadheading?

A: Deadheading is the process of pruning, or pinching, off a spent flower head.

Q: When do I cut off my bulb foliage?

A: When you have tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other bulbs in the yard, the foliage should be cut off at ground level when it has turned brown. If you cut off the foliage sooner than that, you will weaken the bulbs for future years.

Q: When should I fertilize my bulb plants (tulips, daffodils, etc.)?

A: The best time to fertilize your bulbs is right after they are done blooming. You can use bone meal or bulb booster. Cultivate either into the ground around the foliage and water it in.

Q: How can I get my Amaryllis bulb to bloom again?

A: Remove all spent flowers and grow as a foliage plant through the summer. As it's foliage begins to yellow, rest the bulb for the fall by eliminating it's light and water. Revive it 6 to 8 weeks before the desired bloom time with water and light.

Q: What should I do if my bulbs start showing signs of growth too early in spring?

A: Bulbs often do this as the ground begins to warm in March and April. Don't cover the foliage up, since that may encourage the ground warmth to further push the bulbs up. Watch for bunny chewing, water if very dry and let nature take its course.

Q: Which plants can I install that will give me early spring flower color?

A: The following plants will bloom in very early spring providing you with lots of color: Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Forsythia, Rhododendron, Korean Sprice Viburnum, Azaleas, Pink Flowering Almond and Magnolia.

Q: I have a very shady area that I would like to plant annual flowers in. What would you recommend?

A: We would suggest Impatiens, Begonias, Browallia, Caladium and Coleus. They all love the shade and will provide you with lots of summer color.

Q: I have a very shady area that I would like to plant some perennials in. Any suggestions for plants that would like this location?

A: There are many shade tolerant perennials. Several that are easy to grow include Hosta, Ferns, Anemone, Columbine, Goat's Beard, Brunnera, Astilbe, Snakeroot, Bleeding Heart and many more!

Q: My flower garden needs some July-blooming perennials. What would you recommend?

A: Phlox, campanula, coneflower and Oriental lily are good choices.

Q: The deer are eating my plants. What can I do?

A: This is a difficult problem to control. We'd recommend spraying your plants with a deer-repellent called "Deer Off." It will last for approximately one month.

Q: I have an herb garden. How often can I harvest the foliage without injuring the herb?

A: As long as some leave some foliage (25%) on the plant at all times, you can harvest as often as you like. Bon apetit!

Q: I want to plant a colorful vine to climb an arbor in a sunny location. What would you recommend?

A: The following plants would be good choices: roses, clematis, trumpet vine, and honeysuckle vine.

Q: How do I get my Tropical Water Lilies ready for winter storage?

A: In the early fall, stop fertilizing your lilies. Keep the plants in the pool until there has been a frost or two. Once the water temperature drops to 50 degrees, bring the plants, pots and all, inside to a cool work area.