You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Planning a winter flower garden
Q. We are planning our winter flower garden. Are there any showy winter blooms for the shade?
A. Cyclamens are spectacular plants for the winter shade garden. They have thick, waxy leaves with silver tracings. The flowers resemble small orchids. They are very deep red, pure white, and intense pinks and lavenders. Cyclamen are expensive, $5 to $6 per plant, but are worth it. Plant them in early November. The second choice for shade color is primula.
Q. What is the trick to getting leaf lettuce to germinate?
A.The trick is to plant it on the surface of the soil. Prepare the soil by incorporating in an inch of compost and one cup of lawn fertilizer per 50 square feet of bed. Irrigate the soil generously two or three days before planting and then spread the seed over the surface of the soil. Water gently with a wand every day until the seeds germinate and the plants reach 1-inch tall.
Q. My cedar elm dropped its leaves this month. It is early. Is the tree dead because of the drought?
A. No, cedar elms and some other drought-tolerant tree species will drop their leaves early as a survival mechanism. The fight to maintain foliage during droughts in the early fall diminishes reserves that are better used to green up in spring when conditions are, hopefully, better.
Q. What is the pre-emergent herbicide that you often recommend to prevent winter weeds in the laws?
A. Amaze and XL have the same active ingredients. They are the best overall and are especially good for winter grasses, such as annual bluegrass and rescue grass. You may also want to check the labels on Gallery and Portrait.
Q. We are worried about erosion at our new home. The lawn is bare. Can we plant Bermuda grass now?
A. It is probably too late in the season. Bermuda grass requires heat to germinate and become established. You could place sod at key locations in the lawn where erosion is likely and/or you could plant rye or fescue as a temporary cover until May, when it will decline and it will be warm enough for Bermuda seed to be planted. For more information on these options, visit plantanswers.com.
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
County committee nomination period begins (June 22, 2016)
Hartmann takes the steer by the horns to win state championship (June 22, 2016)
La Vernia FFA wraps up school year with honors, scholarships (June 22, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 22, 2016)
Root rot knocks out roses (June 22, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 22, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 22, 2016)
A student’s ag-related journey (June 15, 2016)
Family Land Heritage news (June 15, 2016)
Five dirty truths on agriculture (June 15, 2016)
Horseherb galloping through yards (June 15, 2016)
Kristin Storey: South Texas queen to compete for national title (June 15, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 15, 2016)
Miller announces assistance for farmers devastated by floods (June 15, 2016)
No “rain, rain, go away” as precipitation persists (June 15, 2016)
Schwartz takes lead as Texas state veterinarian (June 15, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 15, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 15, 2016)
Texas Rural Leadership Program (June 15, 2016)
It’s almost rodeo time in Stockdale (June 8, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 8, 2016)
Save seed pods for next fall (June 8, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 8, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 8, 2016)
Big Time Texas Hunts entries now on sale (June 1, 2016)
Burbridge leads the way in Buck Taylor roping event (June 1, 2016)
Farm Bureau solicits AgLead, FarmLead participants (June 1, 2016)
June 2016 Gardening Calendar (June 1, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 1, 2016)
Save squash from vine borers (June 1, 2016)
State Farm Bureau testifies on agricultural use valuation (June 1, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 1, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 1, 2016)