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Texas, Mexican Redbuds thrive in the South
Q. We want to plant a redbud. Remind us again what the choices are and which do best.
A. There are a number of redbuds from which to choose. The Texas and Mexican Redbuds do best here. They have shiny, relatively small leaves (3 inches). The Eastern Redbud has a larger leaf with a soft, green texture. They quite often drop their leaves in response to drought and are relatively short-lived. The Forest Pansy Redbud has beautiful purple-red foliage, but it is especially sensitive to hot, dry weather.
Plant your redbud in the shade or at the edge of large shade trees.
Q. Do we have to protect our broccoli from the cold? How about the carrots?
A. Once broccoli has heads, it becomes more susceptible to cold, but still can survive a freeze to 25ºF or 26ºF. I don’t protect broccoli. Carrots are tough, as well.
Q. Is there any way we can have wildflowers but also control sandburs with a pre-emergent herbicide?
A. Yes, plant your wildflower seed now. It will germinate and begin blooming before you must spread the herbicide, on or about March. Apply a second dose on or about May 15. Use Amaze XL or Crabgrass Preventer for the sandburs.
The herbicide prevents weed germination for about four months, so its effect will be complete by October when the wildflowers will begin to germinate.
The hardest part is to apply the pre-emergent evenly in the wildflower field. A hand spreader works if you are careful to spread it evenly.
Q. What is the best source of heat for under a freeze-protection cloth when the forecast is very cold?
A. Poultry lights work very well and provide a lot of heat, but mechanic’s lights, and even Christmas lights, will do the job.
Q. What are some flowers that we can plant in the winter for color in the shade?
A. Cyclamen and primula are very showy and have good cold tolerance.
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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