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Red galls OK to keep in compost
Q. One of my live oak trees is loaded with the red galls, which I understand are eggs from wasps. I usually use the live oak leaves for mulch and in my compost pile. Do I have to segregate the leaves with the wasps on them?
A. No, not at all; the galls are leaf tissue that was altered by a chemical injection by the wasp when it laid its egg in the leaf. The wasp egg and larva was protected by the gall when it was developing, but will be long gone when the leaves fall. The wasps are tiny and beneficial. They are no threat to plants or people in the landscape. Use the gall-decorated leaves for compost and mulch.
Q. Do snapdragons ever get borers? A few of mine seem to have them. Is there any protection?
A. Yes, snaps are attacked by borers from time to time. A insecticide like Sevin should prevent further infestation, if you spray it now and again in two weeks.
Q. Which vegetable can I grow in containers this winter? It would be great if they were attractive enough for a patio garden.
A. Carrots, beets, onions, radishes, and turnips all do fine. Greens are very attractive. Try a collection of leaf lettuce. There are several colors and textures. “Bright Lights” Swiss chard is especially attractive with its red, orange, blue, yellow, white, and green stems. Parsley is also attractive and nutritious.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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