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Agriculture Today

Lacey oak, a shade tree worth mentioning

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South Texas Gardener
June 26, 2013 | 4,311 views | Post a comment

Q: How do you rate Lacey oak as a shade tree? We have one that we just love but you never seem to mention the species.

A: I actually have a Lacey oak in my landscape and like it fine as a relatively small shade tree (25-30 feet). The leaves are gray green and very attractive. Lacey oaks are pest-resistant, drought-tolerant, and long-lived. My one complaint would be the slow growth rate. Lacey oaks are in the white oak family so are not susceptible to oak wilt.

Q: What are some of the best fruit-producing tree shrubs for attracting birds?

A: Here is a list of trees and shrubs to provide 12 months of berries for birds. Many more are equally good. Ligustrum, pyracantha, and yaupon holly provide winter berries. Grow mulberry, blackberries, and viburnum for the spring. In the summer hackberry, agarita, and anaqua provide fruit. In the fall lantanas, Texas persimmons, and Chinese pistache are good producers. Note that I include exotics and natives. You can also provide good wildlife food-producing plants using native plants.

Q: Which grass variety has the most traffic tolerance?

A: Bermuda grass has the best traffic tolerance and zoysia grass is second best.

Q: Is there a chemical that will kill sand burs without hurting the lawn?

A: There are several formulas of Image that are labeled for control of sand burs in the lawn.

The best control however is to use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring. Make a note on your calendar to apply a Crabgrass Preventer, Amaze, or XL on March 1 to keep sand burs from germinating.

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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