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Agriculture Today

Pesky grackles attracted to green citrus fruit

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South Texas Gardener
August 28, 2013 | 4,165 views | Post a comment

Q: What is causing the ugly marks on my green citrus fruit? It looks like a disease or maybe bird pecks. The wounds are black.

A: The ugly black marks are caused by young grackles that peck at the fruit. For the last few years the blemishes have become more and more common. We can’t figure out if the birds are obtaining some nutritional value or are just curious pests! The damage makes the fruit unattractive but it is still usable.

Q: Is there still time to apply sod for a new lawn this summer?

A: Yes, as long as you have water available so you can irrigate every day for several weeks, it is a good time to put in a new lawn.

Q: We are building a home and want to xeriscape. What are some plants that are drought resistant as well as deer resistant?

A: Texas mountain laurel, Goldstar esperanza, thryrallis, iris, vinca, cactus, yucca, 4 o’clock, lantana, salvias, primrose jasmine, and Mexican oregano are some of them. There is a longer list on

Q: I have looked for Surefire tomatoes but have not had any luck. My regular nurseryman who usually has them says the wholesaler was not able to obtain seed this year. Is that a reasonable excuse?

A: Yes, it is reasonable and true. The seed for Surefire and other top performing heirloom selection is provided to participating nurseries by horticulturist Jerry Parsons and the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas. This year they did not distribute any seed! So far I have not been able to learn why!

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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