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Almost time to start planting winter annuals
Q. When can we plant cyclamen and pansies for the winter?
A: November is the recommended time. Both species are cold tolerant, but they do not fare well when we have hot spells. That is why we recommend that gardeners wait until November.
Plant cyclamen in the shade and pansies in the sun. Another good shade choice is primula. Protect all of the winter annuals from slugs and snails with slug and snail bait.
Q. We like pomegranates, but don’t care for the seeds. Are there seedless varieties?
A. I don’t know of any seedless pomegranates, but there are several edible seeded selections. “Red Silk,” “Garnet Sash” and “Kashmir Blend” all have edible seeds.
Q. What is making little holes in our cabbage leaves?
A. The usual culprit is a cabbage looper. They start out very small and are green, but you should be able to see them under the leaves. They need to be treated with a Bt product (Dipel, Bio-Worm Control, Thuricide, etc) or Spinsad. Cabbage loopers grow quickly and have big appetites.
Q. Can we still apply a winterizer fertilizer to our lawn, or is it too late?
A. As long as the lawn is still green, the grass can utilize the nutrients -- usually all the way through October and into November.
Q. Are there any seedless oak trees? The acorns are so messy.
A. None, as far as I know. Think of how important the acorns are to birds and other wildlife. They do not last long. Practice looking up, and before you know it, they will all be gone.
Q. When is the best time to transplant Texas mountain laurel? We have a number of seeded plants, and they are so expensive in the nursery. We thought we would give them to friends for holiday presents.
A. Wintertime is the best time to plant seedlings, but it is not easy. Select small plants to 2 feet and get as much intact root as possible (5 gallons is good). Move them directly to their new site and water them in. Expect a 50 percent mortality rate.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the director of the Water Conservation and Technology Center at Texas A&M-San Antonio. 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.
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