Herbs for the fall season
Q.What herbs can we grow now?
A. Parsley, cilantro, rosemary, dill, fennel, and chives come to mind.
Q.How much light does it take to get Phalaenopsis orchids to bloom?
A. Mine sit on a kitchen counter next to a window with southern exposure, but where the sun is blocked by the roof after 2 p.m. If there is too much sun, the leaves show gray burn symptoms.
Q.Tell us again about fertilizing the lawn this autumn.
A. If the lawn came through the summer in relatively good shape, fertilize now with a “winterizer” fertilizer like 18-6-12 or 15-5-10. If the lawn is in tough shape, it may be better to use an organic fertilizer that only offers 3 to 6 percent nitrogen -- the first number is percent of nitrogen.
Q.I understand this is the best time to plant shade trees. What are the recommended varieties?
A. Consider Texas red oak, Shumard oak, Mexican white oak, chinkapin oak, bur oak, live oak, cedar elm, Mexican sycamore, Chinese pistache, lacey oaks, sierra oak, and Montezuma cypress.
Q.Our roses are growing and blooming again, but there is something eating the leaves. What should we spray?
A. The usual insecticide for roses is acephate. It will control everything from thrips to grasshoppers. Organic gardeners may want to try spinosad or rose defense.
Q.When should we expect the leaves of our post oaks to fall? Some are falling now; it seems early.
A. Because of the drought and heat this summer, many species and individual trees are dropping leaves early -- bur oaks, mulberries, cedar elms, red oaks, post oaks, and even live oaks. If we get some normal rain this winter your post oaks should releaf at the normal time next spring.
Q.What is a safe insecticide to use on our vegetables?
A. Sevin and Malathion are labeled for vegetables. They control all insects. Use them for stink bugs. Caterpillars can be controlled with Bt or spinosad. Read and follow the label.
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.