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Agriculture Today

Growing avocados in Texas

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January 4, 2011 | 3,226 views | Post a comment

Q.What is the most cold-hardy avocado? Will they survive in our area?

A. According to Bill Schneider at Devine Avocado, the most hardy variety is Pryor. Opal is another cold-tolerant selection, but all avocados will freeze back to the trunk in cold like we experienced in 2009-10.

Q.We just purchased a new home; it does not have a lawn yet. What is the best grass for our area? Can we sod now or do we have to wait until spring?

A. There is really no “best grass.” They all have different characteristics. My favorite grass is zoysia grass. It has some shade tolerance, has good traffic tolerance, and can go dormant in a drought. El Toro and Jamur seem to be the easiest to mow and care for.

St. Augustine grass has the best shade tolerance, but most varieties are not very drought-tolerant. Floratam is an exception. It fared well in area drought tests. St. Augustine is thick and attractive. It is easy to mow and spreads quickly.

Bermuda grass is very drought-tolerant. It requires full sun and is the best grass for sand. It sometimes has weed problems, because it is not as dense as zoysia or St. Augustine. Bermuda grass can be very attractive. It is mowed low on golf courses.

Yes, you can sod now if you deal with a reliable supplier.

For more information on grass varieties, visit

Q.Why doesn’t anyone sell post oaks? That is the oak that grows in our area.

A.Post oaks are relatively hard to transplant and are considered inferior to live oaks, Texas red oaks, bur oaks, Mexican white oak, and chinkapin oaks in terms of attractiveness, longevity, and growth rate. You can plant live oaks, Texas red oaks, and Mexican white oaks in most areas where post oaks grow.

Q. Is the ‘Knockout’ rose the best choice for a shrub rose in this area? They seem attractive and tough.

A. They are a good choice, but I also like “Katy Road” pink, “Belinda’s Dream,” “Martha Gonzales,” and butterfly rose for planting for color and toughness. Butterfly rose is very large (8 feet tall and 12 feet wide). The others grow to 6 feet high and wide. “Martha Gonzales” stays at about 4 feet tall.

Q.What is the best seed for attracting cardinals? Will wrens eat bird seed?

A. Cardinals like sunflower seed and safflower seed. Attract wrens with a suet block. They are insect eaters.

Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at .

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