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Agriculture Today


Will Bambi eat the lawn?




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July 13, 2011 | 3,154 views | Post a comment

Q. Do deer eat grass? My neighbor says between the corn he feeds them and his green grass, they shouldn’t be eating my roses.

A. Deer are browsers. Their main foods are forbs -- non-grasslike herbs -- and leaves and stems of trees and shrubs. They do not eat much grass, but they do eat flowers, vegetables, ornamental shrubs, perennials, and the parts of trees they can reach.

Feeding deer is a favorite pastime of some homeowners. Feeding deer corn does not divert deer from eating landscape plants. They still require the nutrients they derive from stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Feeding deer can artificially support an increased population in a neighborhood, putting more pressure on existing plants.

Q. Which plants are the best nectar sources for hummingbirds?

A. There is a long list, but among the best are firebush, salvia, pentas, nicotiana, cross vine, and cape honeysuckle.

Q.Is it too late to plant okra for fall harvest?

A. It is getting there. Plant the seed quickly and hope for mild weather over a long season.

Q. Which is the first pecan to produce mature nuts?

A. Pawnee is usually described as the earliest commercial selection. It matures nuts in September. Pawnee is also good because it has a resistance to aphid infestation and makes a nice lawn tree.

Q. Why don’t we use fescue grass here in South Texas? Where I came from, Oklahoma, is just as hot and fescue is used as lawn grass.

A. Fescue does not survive our summers because of the hot nights. Oklahoma and even desert locations such as Arizona can use fescue, because it cools down more at night. Many plants require the cooling for survival.

Q. What are mari-mums? I have an old article recommending that we plant mari-mums in July.

A. Mari-mums is a marketing name for large African or American marigolds planted in July for fall blooms. Planted close together, they resemble a bed of garden mums.

Planted at this time of the year, marigolds have a better chance to survive spider mites. Find sturdy transplants that have not started to bloom yet so they can grow large before producing blooms.

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 reader@wcn-online.com.
 

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