You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Palm trees for the area
Q. What is the best palm tree for our area? I don’t want to plant one if it is going to freeze two winters from now.
A. The Texas Sabal is an attractive palm tree, once it emerges from its juvenile stage. It is not a palm tree that is used as much as its cold hardiness and mature form would merit. In the nursery, young trees are a mass of leaves with little or no trunk, which may explain its lack of popularity.
The best choice for a thin-trunked upright palm may be the California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera). It grows relatively fast to 35 feet tall and is a common tall palm in San Antonio. California fan palm is cold-tolerant to the low teens.
Q. My tomatoes are loaded with large green fruit, but I also notice that there are small webs and discolored leaves which I fear are from spider mites. Is there anything that will keep the pests under control until the tomatoes ripen?
A. Probably not. You may be best off if you harvest all the full-size fruit and let it ripen in the kitchen. If you leave the fruit on the plants, you will lose some to birds and squirrels without any improvement in the fruit. Discard the spider-mite-infested vines far away from the garden, or even in the garbage.
Q. Which is the best St. Augustine grass? We have light shade, and various salesmen are wearing me out saying that their variety is best.
A. I don’t sell grass, but think Floratam is the best choice. It scored highest in drought-tolerance and drought-recovery tests in research conducted by San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS), Texas A&M, and the Turf Growers of Texas. Floratam even scored better than zoysia grass. All St. Augustine grasses have about the same shade tolerance.
Q. About five years ago, I planted a red oak tree in my front yard. Last year, the leaves turned light green and fell off early. This year, they came out light green and deformed, and many leaves did not form at all. The leaves are turning brown around the edges. I do not think water is the issue. Can you tell me what the problem is? I live in Leon Valley. It looks like the tree is going to die.
A. It sounds like your tree is a Schumard oak, probably purchased from a big box store. Unfortunately, they originate from a seed source grown in acidic soil and are incapable of long-term survival in our alkaline soils. If you replace it, find a Texas red oak. The name in the nursery trade indicates that the tree is from seed grown in alkaline soil.
Q. In our area, we are experiencing a major defoliation of cedar trees. Can you tell me what is causing this and maybe what I can do to help it along?
A. We have received similar reports. We think it is a combination of competition, drought, and lingering damage from spider mites. Even junipers (cedars) are affected by major droughts.
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 email@example.com.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Beef Cattle Management seminar (August 26, 2015)
Cotton root rot and its symptoms (August 26, 2015)
Feral hogs, water workshop (August 26, 2015)
Get acquainted with 4-H event (August 26, 2015)
Harvey places in top 20 (August 26, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 26, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 26, 2015)
Mobile app for hunting regs (August 26, 2015)
Registration for cattle conference (August 26, 2015)
Survey deadline (August 26, 2015)
Turkey fed to improve Texas grasslands (August 26, 2015)
Wilson County 4-H Council, Booster meetings, Sept. 2 (August 26, 2015)
Anthrax confirmed in equine in Uvalde County (August 19, 2015)
Deer association: Environmental group deceives deer industry, wildlife community (August 19, 2015)
Don’t miss your shot! Apply for drawn hunts (August 19, 2015)
Feral hog management workshop is Sept. 4 (August 19, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 19, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 19, 2015)
Prospects bright for dove season (August 19, 2015)
Saving tomatoes from the Texas heat (August 19, 2015)
Siblings make rodeo memories (August 19, 2015)
TDA Market Report (August 19, 2015)
Chagas disease in South Central Texas (August 12, 2015)
Eastern equine encephalitis cases reported in Texas (August 12, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 12, 2015)
Leaf-dropping is common (August 12, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 12, 2015)
New, stronger El Niño may bring another wet winter (August 12, 2015)
Pieniazek elected president of ag education leadership (August 12, 2015)
EPA ‘muddies’ Clean Water Act (August 5, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 5, 2015)
It’s a ‘banner’ summer for Payton! (August 5, 2015)
Lantanas losing luster; mosquitoes a bother (August 5, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 5, 2015)
Meuths receive Bronze Merit Award (August 5, 2015)
Shoot to benefit Don Newbury (August 5, 2015)
TDA Market Report (August 5, 2015)
August 2015 Gardening Calendar (August 1, 2015)