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Agriculture Today

Is the Texas heat too much for fescue grass?

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South Texas Gardener
April 16, 2014 | 4,550 views | Post a comment

Q: Why don’t we grow fescue grass here? It grows well in Arizona, so surely it could survive Texas heat?

A: Actually the Texas heat is harder on plants such as fescue than the desert heat is. Most of the time, the nights are cool in desert climates. Here in Central and South Texas, the nights stay hot. Many plants such as fescue keep using their nutrient reserves all night rather than reloading their chemistry.

Q: Which oaks are susceptible to oak wilt?

A: The red oaks and live oak are susceptible to oak wilt. The disease is spread when sap beetles that have visited a fungal mat on an infected red oak, carry the spores to a fresh wound on a red or live oak.

Live oaks are especially susceptible because their roots graft to each other and the disease can spread at the rate of 100 feet per year through the roots. The resistant white oaks include bur oak, chinkapin oak, Lacey oak, and Mexican white oak. For more information on oak wilt, visit www.plantanswers.com or the Texas Oak Wilt website at http://texasoakwilt.org/.

Q: What are the tough roses that you recommend?

A: My favorite pink roses are Katy Road, Carefree Beauty Pink, and Belinda’s Dream. Martha Gonzales is my favorite red and Mrs. Dudley Cross, my favorite peach. The crimson’s Grandma’s yellow and Mutabilis are favorites.javascript:convertTabsToLineBreaks('ArticleBody');

Q: When can we fertilize the lawn?

A: It is probably time in the areas south of San Antonio. Apply a slow-release lawn fertilizer after you have mowed real grass twice, about May 1 in the Hill Country.

Q: There are some beautiful plants blooming in the shade in my neighbor’s yard. The foliage is light green like maiden hair fern and the blooms are yellow and look like orchids.

A: The plant you are describing is Texas gold columbine, also called Hinckley’s columbine. They should be through blooming soon and then will drop their seeds. They are a perennial that spreads by seed.

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 reader@wcn-online.com.

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