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Gardening Q&A

Ask the Master Gardeners March 2012

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

AgriLife Extension Service
March 1, 2012 | 2,025 views | Post a comment

Q: Should I be fertilizing my trees?

A: According to Doug Welsh, professor and extension horticulturist, yes you should. He suggests applying a granular fertilizer in late winter following a formula of one to two pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of area covered by the tree canopy or shrub planting. He follows this with a second application in mid spring if the plant growth is not significant. If you are using urea (45-0-0)), you need 2 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer to get 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. If you are using ammonium sulfate (21-0-0), you need 5 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer to get 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet. Blood meal (14-0-0), 7 pounds; bat guano (10-0-0), 10 pounds. Welsh says to apply the fertilizer evenly around the tree and then water it in to a depth of at least 6 inches to drive the nitrogen down to the feeding-root system.

Q: I love the flowering trees that we are seeing this spring. What types will grow in the Seguin area so that I can plant them for next year?

A: That rich dark green tree with purple clusters that smell like grape Kool-Aid is a Texas mountain laurel or Sophora secundiflora. It really grows well here (although slowly) without many problems or pests (the Genista moth larvae is one pest).

Both the Eastern redbud and the Mexican redbud grow here. The Eastern (Cercis Canadensis) is best adapted to the eastern half of Texas, although I have one in my backyard that is about 20 feet high and blooms every year. The Mexican (Cercis Canadensis var. Mexicana) is more of a shrub. I love the glossy foliage after it has finished blooming. It has bloomed every year for me ever since it was a baby.

The Mexican plum (Prunus Mexicana) and the Mexican buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa) are both natives that do well here. I have one of each and both grow and bloom although mine aren’t particularly showy. I think it is because they are both in too much shade.

Q: I am getting ready to buy my spring fertilizer and have been looking at the weed-and-feed types. Are they okay for my lawn?

A: Most of the literature on the Texas A&M aggie-horticulture website say to never use weed-and-feed because of the possible damage to your ornamentals and because you would use it before the appropriate time. The time to apply pre-emergent herbicides to kill weeds here is in late winter; the time to fertilize is not until we are well into spring after your second or third mowing when the grass is actively growing. Apply herbicides separately and specific to the weed to be controlled and the turf grass in which weeds are growing. Weed and feed type products can stress some turf grasses, especially St. Augustine, and can damage tree roots, particularly young trees. Remember, broad leaf herbicides cannot differentiate between broad leaf weeds and your landscape trees and shrubs.

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 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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