You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Texas gold columbines can ‘pop’ your lawn
Q. Tell us more about the Texas gold columbine.
A. Texas gold columbines are blooming now in area landscapes. They do most of their growing in the fall, winter, and spring. Summer is their rest period. Texas gold columbines are desirable plants for San Antonio landscapes for several reasons. The yellow blooms resemble “shooting stars” as they emerge from the foliage on stalks that reach 3 feet tall. The foliage is an attractive soft green that reminds me of maidenhair fern. Thirdly, Texas gold columbine is shade tolerant. It grows best under deciduous trees or even sparsely foliated live oaks.
This exceptional plant is described as a weak perennial because the individual plants are short-lived. To make up for it, Texas gold columbine reseeds itself. To take advantage of reseeding, avoid mulching around Texas gold columbines.
Q. I have a Magnolia tree that I have had about three, maybe four years now. I would guesstimate its height to be about 20 feet. My question is what could be causing some of the leaves to turn brown? I have read that it could be caused by lack of water or too much water. Considering the spring we have had, I cannot imagine it is a lack of water. Is this something to be concerned about and/or what is the recommended treatment? The tree currently has several buds and has bloomed every year.
A. Magnolias have a very difficult time obtaining iron from our soils. They are acid lovers. The symptoms are caused by that difficulty. The tree is trying to grow in response to the wonderful conditions this spring, but probably has a damaged root system from last year’s drought. If good conditions continue, it should grow through it, but they are always sensitive to the stresses of our soil and erratic rainfall.
Q. We have a neighbor that grows a small red carnation-like flower that he calls “German carnation.” Do you know anything about it?
A. German carnation is a perennial that produces blood-red blooms. The blooms resemble the florist shop blooms in miniature. I have had best luck growing this perennial in morning sun, in a raised bed. To maintain a bed I had to treat them as other weak perennials and divide the clumps every few years. German carnations have existed in New Braunfels gardens for the entire history of the city.
Q. Why don’t area gardeners grow more Heirloom tomatoes? I think the old-fashioned tomatoes taste best.
A. Most Heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate growers. They grow foliage as long as the weather is good. By the time they start setting fruit, it is too hot for much success.
We have better luck in producing fruit if we use a determinate tomato that grows a reasonable amount of foliage and then concentrates on setting fruit while the temperatures are still mild. Among the best are Tycoon, BHN 602, Celebrity, 444, Solar Fire, Sunpride, and Phoenix.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s director of water resources. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, email 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
Customs intercepts pest new to the United States (May 25, 2016)
Does wounded tree have a chance? (May 25, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 25, 2016)
Mother Nature whips Wilson County crops (May 25, 2016)
Scrapie confirmed in Texas (May 25, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 25, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 25, 2016)
Beef cattle seven-year decline ends (May 18, 2016)
Educational video for water well owners (May 18, 2016)
Free Beef Quality Assurance training set for May 25 (May 18, 2016)
Fretwell wins Region 8 high school all around rookie saddle (May 18, 2016)
Grant to restore, enhance the monarch butterfly habitat (May 18, 2016)
Grass-fed beef conference (May 18, 2016)
Gun safety and barbecue in New Braunfels (May 18, 2016)
La Vernia Poultry Judging wins state, advances to nationals (May 18, 2016)
Lawn, landscape, rainwater program May 21 in Floresville (May 18, 2016)
Lesser prairie chicken off the list (May 18, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 18, 2016)
Luling Foundation Field Day (May 18, 2016)
Protecting your tomatoes (May 18, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 18, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 18, 2016)
As El Nińo fades, expect warmer, drier weather says Texas A&M expert (May 11, 2016)
Floresville team wins second at state (May 11, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 11, 2016)
Llamas, load up! (May 11, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 11, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 11, 2016)
Transplanting mountain laurels (May 11, 2016)
2016 La Vernia Junior Livestock & Poultry Show (May 4, 2016)
Beef, forage symposium May 10 (May 4, 2016)
Cattle raisers’ crime watch (May 4, 2016)
Corn acreage increases in Texas (May 4, 2016)
Help controlling the weeds (May 4, 2016)
Krueger leads the way at La Vernia stock show (May 4, 2016)
Land Heritage nomination deadline nears (May 4, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 4, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 4, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 4, 2016)
May 2016 Gardening Calendar (May 1, 2016)