You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Q. My mountain laurel gets webworms on it every time it starts growing. I have been killing them with Sevin dust, but they come right back. They always eat the new growth. I have looked around at other laurels and have never found any webworms on them. How can I keep them off of mine?
A. The caterpillars that are eating the new growth on your Texas mountain laurel are not the same webworm that attacks pecans in our area. I call it a sophora worm. Yours is not the only plant they infest but you are right, some are infested more than others. To prevent damage next year, put a note on your calendar so you can spray Sevin before they begin feeding. Sevin mixed with water and sprayed with a pump-up sprayer should protect the plant for two weeks. The other option is to spray when you see any new growth. The spray is more effective than the dust for this job.
Q. Our mustard is blooming. Is it time to pull it up and put it in the compost pile? Can we still use the leaves?
A. At some point after mustard and other greens begin blooming, it is time to discard them, but you can use the leaves for a while. Slow down the seed-producing process by pruning out the blooms.
Q. What does it mean when our roses bend over? The flowers on our Mrs. Dudley Cross seem fine, but the stems don’t hold them upright. Is there a fertilizer to use?
A. Several varieties of old-fashioned roses experience the problem you describe. It appears to be in the genetics. Early stems are too flexible to hold the early blooms. It also doesn’t help that moisture in the air and rains add to the weight. Use them as cut flowers and be patient. The roses benefit by fertilizer, but it won’t keep the flowers more upright.
Q. My live oak is sloughing off its bark and the top has limited foliage. What can it be?
A. If there is a brown or gray felt-like layer on the bark, it is probably hypoxylon. Unfortunately hypoxylon is a fungal disease that is usually fatal. It attacks stressed trees. It is a common problem with the droughts of the last few years. Call your Extension agent or arborist to verify the diagnosis.
Q. We love peonies. Do they grow here?
A. Most peonies do not survive our hot temperatures and poor soils, although one San Antonio gardener I know has a Paeonia lactiflora that blooms in early spring every year in his shady backyard. The Paeonia lactiflora is the parent of the fancier hybrid peonies that grow so well up north.
Q. I planted rye grass this winter. It looks great. I realize it will die this spring. Can I plant Bermuda grass seed now to replace it?
A. No, wait until on or about May 1 to plant Bermuda grass seed. It takes warm soil and warm temperatures for the seed to germinate.
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.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Beef Cattle Management seminar (August 26, 2015)
Cotton root rot and its symptoms (August 26, 2015)
Feral hogs, water workshop (August 26, 2015)
Get acquainted with 4-H event (August 26, 2015)
Harvey places in top 20 (August 26, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 26, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 26, 2015)
Mobile app for hunting regs (August 26, 2015)
Registration for cattle conference (August 26, 2015)
Survey deadline (August 26, 2015)
Turkey fed to improve Texas grasslands (August 26, 2015)
Wilson County 4-H Council, Booster meetings, Sept. 2 (August 26, 2015)
Anthrax confirmed in equine in Uvalde County (August 19, 2015)
Deer association: Environmental group deceives deer industry, wildlife community (August 19, 2015)
Don’t miss your shot! Apply for drawn hunts (August 19, 2015)
Feral hog management workshop is Sept. 4 (August 19, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 19, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 19, 2015)
Prospects bright for dove season (August 19, 2015)
Saving tomatoes from the Texas heat (August 19, 2015)
Siblings make rodeo memories (August 19, 2015)
TDA Market Report (August 19, 2015)
Chagas disease in South Central Texas (August 12, 2015)
Eastern equine encephalitis cases reported in Texas (August 12, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 12, 2015)
Leaf-dropping is common (August 12, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 12, 2015)
New, stronger El Niño may bring another wet winter (August 12, 2015)
Pieniazek elected president of ag education leadership (August 12, 2015)
EPA ‘muddies’ Clean Water Act (August 5, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 5, 2015)
It’s a ‘banner’ summer for Payton! (August 5, 2015)
Lantanas losing luster; mosquitoes a bother (August 5, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 5, 2015)
Meuths receive Bronze Merit Award (August 5, 2015)
Shoot to benefit Don Newbury (August 5, 2015)
TDA Market Report (August 5, 2015)
August 2015 Gardening Calendar (August 1, 2015)