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Agriculture Today

Tips on selecting an arborist

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South Texas Gardener
May 7, 2014 | 4,224 views | Post a comment

Q: What is the best way to select an arborist? My trees need serious inspection and work.

A: Find an arborist that has done good work in your neighborhood. If you find a name in a phone book or advertisement, ask them for references of their work. The arborist should be certified and insured. Ask her/him about their attitude concerning painting oak wounds. If they say it is not necessary, find someone else.

Q: What are the tall shrubs with red-orange flowers blooming in some neighborhoods? There is also a shrub with small yellow-white blooms that are fragrant. The leaves are thick and waxy.

A: The plant with the red-orange blooms is probably pomegranate. The blooms will be showy for four or five weeks and will be followed by the decorative and nutrition-rich fruit.

The second shrub you described may be pittosporum. They are blooming and are very fragrant. The perfume from a blooming pittosporum can be detected from several hundred feet away.

Q: Will the Bermuda grass seed germinate, or is it still too cool?

A: I think it will germinate now if you can water two times per day for one week. During the second week, water every day. During the third week, water every other day.

Q: I only have room for one tall shrub in full sun. Which plant between duranta, esperanza and poinciana will attract the most butterflies?

A: All are attractive and drought tolerant. I think duranta has the most butterfly-attracting powers.

Q: When will the Swiss chard stop being fit to eat? It still tastes great.

A: Swiss chard is the longest-lasting green. It may be palatable into June.

Q: Last year our lawn was overrun by grubs. I see the June bugs are already collecting near my porch light. Can I apply a soil insecticide?

A: Yes, the new soil insecticides have several months of control power. Apply now to control grubs through the summer.

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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