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Agriculture Today

Deer diet includes pomegranate foliage, blooms

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South Texas Gardener
March 27, 2013 | 4,222 views | Post a comment

Q. You said that deer do not eat pomegranate. That is true for the foliage but in our area, they eat the blooms so we never get any fruit!

A. Most pomegranate varieties grow to 15 or 16 ft. tall so at least those above deer reach (8 feet?) should produce fruit. I have to admit that I have not kept track of the blooms and whether deer eat them on the naturalized pomegranates in my neighborhood. I will watch closely this year.

Q. Tell us again why our favorite tomato variety Big Boy does not work as well here as it did in Ohio.

A. Big Boy is an indeterminate tomato variety. Indeterminates grow as long as the weather is mild and are slow to set fruit. In our climate, they wait until it is too hot to set fruit. Determinate tomatoes like Tycoon, Celebrity, Tygress, 444, BHN 968, Phoenix, and Solar Fire make a smaller plant and then set fruit before it gets too hot.

Q. What is your advice on the best time to trim two oaks (not Heritage oaks)? Is it too late to trim them now? If so, when should we trim them?

A. The best time is January or mid-summer. The trees are in a near dormant state and oak wilt is not active in the hottest part of summer or in mid-winter. Wait until July.

Q. Tell us again what to apply to prevent sand burs. They make our lives miserable.

A. Apply pre-emergent herbicide such as Crabgrass Preventer, Amaze, or XL right away and then again about May 15. It should have been applied before March 1. Mark your calendar for next year.

Q. I am a newly retired school teacher. We live on three-quarter acre and have very sandy soil. Our grass is a JaMur Zoysia. Well, I call it grass. There are some areas that are full and thick and others areas that dirt is showing through and very little grass is evident. We have not devoted enough attention to the grass in the past but now that I am retired, I am determined to get our yard back in shape. I mowed, caught the clippings and leaves and would like to know ... now what? I will aerate, fertilize, compost, whatever it needs. I’m just looking for some advice and a timeline to get me through the summer. We have some shady areas but the majority sits in the sun. I can do different things for each with guidance. I’m desperate not to be the worst lawn on the block any longer! I’m sure our neighbors are as anxious as I am to hear from you.

A. Please visit and seek out my archived articles on turf care. Most will be in March and April. If you have sandy soil, the lawn will benefit by topdressing with compost. Spread a half-inch over the whole surface. It is also better if you leave your clippings to decompose on the lawn. Aggressive growth won’t start until April. Fertilize with slow-release lawn fertilizer after April 15. Beginning in May, you can start watering twice a week if you have access to the water. It does not have to be a deep watering. Water frequently for a short time on sand.

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

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