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Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.

AgriLife Extension Service
December 29, 2011 | 1,624 views | Post a comment

Q: I grew up in Houston and I miss all those pine trees. Are there any types of pine trees that will grow in the Seguin area?

A: I have an eight year old Aleppo pine that is about 50 feet tall and is doing quite well. I bought it from a local nursery in 2003 as a potted Christmas tree. After Christmas, I planted it in the ground in an area of sandy loam. I haven’t done much to it except for watering and spraying for red spider once in a while. The Texas Forest Service says that it tolerates salty soil or sea-spray, drought and alkaline soils.

When I searched the aggie-horticulture website for pine trees, an article on growing Christmas trees in Texas appeared. The two major varieties listed were Pinus virginia (Virginia pine) and the Pinus eldarica (Afghan pine), but only the Afghan pine is recommended for alkaline soils. This tree is fast growing and will not tolerate wet sites so should be good for here.

Other drought tolerant pines are the Mexican pinyon (Pinus cembroides) and the Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis). Both tolerate alkaline soils but grow slowly. They are both Texas natives. The Lost Pines of Bastrop are Loblolly pines (Pinus taeda). Possibly you could try growing one here as the tree also tolerates a wide range of site conditions and is a Texas native.

Q: I was impressed by the number of butterflies at Walnut Springs Park this summer and fall. They seemed to be all over the plants with the blue flowers. What were these plants? I’d like to have them in my yard.

A: These plants were Conoclinium greggii or Eupatorium greggii which is also called Gregg’s mist flower or blue mist flower or palm leaf mist flower (according to the Wildflower Center’s website wildflower.org). They certainly do attract butterflies (lots of Queen butterflies in the fall), and they act as larval hosts for Rawsons Metalmarks. This plant in the Aster family blooms from March through November. It is a good ground cover and spreads easily by the roots. This Texas native is xeriscapic, salt tolerant, perennial, evergreen and has a high heat tolerance.

Another plant that you might wish to plant in your yard for butterflies is the Echinacea purpurea or Purple Coneflower. Echinacea is an evergreen perennial, a Texas native, deer resistant, xeriscapic, and will grow in full sun, and partial shade. It has high heat tolerance and low water requirements. Mine bloomed all spring through fall.

The Mexican Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica) is a larval host plant for the Monarch butterfly. The larvae strip the leaves, but the plant does re-leaf. This is another heat tolerant, low water plant that does well in our area.

If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is guadalupecountymastergardeners.org. The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, on the second floor of the Texas AgriLife Extension building, 210 East Live Oak in Seguin.
 
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