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Agriculture Today

‘Gold Star’ esperanza lives up to name

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South Texas Gardener
June 27, 2012 | 3,734 views | Post a comment

Q. Why does my esperanza only bloom in the fall and with a few small blooms? I am comparing it to my neighbor’s yard; his esperanza is blooming now all across the plant even though it is only 3-1/2 feet tall. Both plants are in full sun. My plant is 5 feet tall. Am I watering and fertilizing it too much?

A. Esperanza does not need much fertilizer or water but I bet the cause of the difference in bloom is due to a difference in selection. Your neighbor probably has “Gold Star” esperanza and you have the unimproved version. “Gold Star” is a blooming machine!

Q. What did I do wrong? My Warren pear tree is showing symptoms of chlorosis. I purchased a chelated iron product and applied it to the soil. All the leaves have fallen off the pear. Did I kill it?

A. The pear tree will probably releaf. It is hard to know what happened for sure but I suspect that the salt action of the iron treatment caused the defoliation. Iron treatments often rely on salt compounds to carry the iron. If you add more treatment than recommended or add it to dry soil, it is common to get the reaction you describe. Soak the soil to dilute the salt. This will work unless the soil is poorly drained.

Q. When should I fertilize my new Bermuda lawn? We put it down in April.

A. You could fertilize a new Bermuda lawn as soon as the roots are adequately developed into the soil, but the safest advice is to wait until our normal fall fertilization target of Oct. 1.

Q. What are the weeds that have small white flowers that produce a tiny clingy seed that is terrible to remove from dog coats? How can we avoid it in the future?

A. It sounds like you are describing “beggar’s lice.” The weed is one of the winter annuals that prospered in the conditions of bare soil and spring rains that existed. You can prevent it by using a pre-emergent herbicide about March 1. Check the label of Portrait to see if it lists “beggar’s lice.”

Q. How often do I need to empty and clean my hummingbird feeders? My neighbor says twice per week but that seems extreme to me.

A. I rinse and refill my feeders once per week or whenever they run out of sugar water, whichever happens first. Once per month I use a bottlebrush to give a more thorough cleaning. The hummingbirds in my neighborhood seem to thrive with this regime.

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 reader@wcn-online.com.

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