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Agriculture Today

Pecan trees not making the cut

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South Texas Gardener
November 6, 2013 | 4,319 views | Post a comment

Q: Why don’t we recommend pecan trees as shade trees anymore?

A: Some horticulturists do recommend pecan if the lot is large and the tree can be planted away from the house in deep soil. Pecans grow to a huge size. They have lots of limb breakage and are messy because of aphids, honeydew, webworms, and the nuts. For a good crop, you generally need lots of irrigation water and deep soils. Pecans drop their leaves early and are slow to re-leaf.

Q: My radishes, carrots, and beets did not germinate very well. Should I reseed? I planted them nearly three weeks ago.

A: Yes, it is probably best to reseed. The temperatures and soil were still hot then. The seeds will germinate better now.

Q: What are the best snapdragons for cut flowers? The Rockets look kind of scraggly at the nursery. The medium-sized varieties are neat and orderly.

A: Both varieties work well for cut flowers but the Rockets are showier. The colors are more intense and the bloom stalks are larger.

Q: Which cyclamen color is the hardiest? All the colors are beautiful and all are expensive, so I want the color that lasts the longest.

A: In my experience the whites and lavender seem to last longer into the spring.

Q: This is my first year to grow tomatoes and most of them look okay, but a few have a black flat area that looks like a fungus disease. What is it? Can it be cured?

A: I think you are describing blossom end rot. It is caused by a calcium shortage in the plant when the water-uptake stream is broken. It happens when we have hot spells and the plant can’t take up all the water it needs to continue development of the fruit. The calcium is in the water stream. It is hardest to prevent when we have a mix of hot and cool days. Plants in containers are most susceptible.

You can try to reduce its likelihood by keeping the tomatoes well watered. You can eat the fruit, just cut off the black part.

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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