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Section A: General News


Difference between turnips, rutabaga




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February 29, 2012 | 1,382 views | Post a comment

Q. What is the difference between turnips and rutabaga?

A. Not much in genetics and nutritional value. Rutabagas take slightly longer to produce a root and are larger. Turnips produce a smaller root more quickly and are better suited for Southern gardens. To my taste, rutabagas are sweeter.

Q.What is the story on “Rodeo tomatoes”?

A. Each year at the San Antonio Rodeo, a new tomato variety is released. The release is the best-performing variety from the past year of the varietal trials conducted by local Texas AgriLife Extension Service representatives, the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas, and Jerry Parsons, my co-host on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP radio (noon to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.) Last year, the selection was Tycoon. This year it is BHN602.

Q. Which grass has the most drought-tolerance, buffalo or Bermuda grass?

A. Buffalo grass does, but it is also the most weed-prone and has less traffic-tolerance. Buffalo grass does not make a good manicured lawn unless you are diligent with herbicides. The most tolerant of drought in order of tolerance based on the tests conducted by Texas A&M, San Antonio Water System, and Texas Turfgrass Producers are: Buffalo; Bermuda; Floratam St. Augustine; wide-bladed Zoysia grasses.

Q. Why do so many Deodar cedars have dead tops in our region?

A. Despite being generally well-adapted to the area’s soils and weather, Deodar cedar is sensitive to severe cold. The tops were killed in years such as 1982, 1989, and 2009.

Q. Tell us again the ways to thwart squirrels when feeding the birds. Thanks.

A. Use a steel “Absolute” bird feeder with a weight-sensitive perch. Use safflower seed and/or pepper-flavored seeds and suet.

Q. Which pre-emergent herbicides prevent the germination of sand burs?

A. Amaze, XL, Crabgrass Preventer 2, Weed and Grass Stopper. The Crabgrass Preventer 2, and Weed and Grass Stopper are less expensive.

Q. My stocks usually bloom again now, but this year they are stubs. Should I just pull them and plant something else?

A. Yes, stocks seemed to bloom well this spring, but declined through the winter in many area gardens. Delegate them to the compost pile.

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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