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Agriculture Today

Don’t destroy grubs in compost

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South Texas Gardener
June 25, 2014 | 3,106 views | Post a comment

Q. What are the huge grubs that we are finding around the edge of our compost pile? They are as large as fingers. What will kill them?

A. These monster grubs are the larvae of rhinoceros beetles, a beneficial predatory insect. It is best for your garden if you let the grubs mature. They eat the organic material that is available around the compost pile and then transform into the beneficial beetle.

Q. The lawn seems to be running out of steam. It is not as green as it was in May. Will it help to fertilize again?

A. Probably not. The key to maximum use of fertilizer is to have plenty of water. Did you fertilize in May with slow-release lawn fertilizer? As the summer progresses, the most we can hope for is enough rain and irrigation to maintain a healthy growth rate and color. I recommend fertilizing lawns in this area about May 1 and Oct. 1.

Q. What are the recommended tomatoes for fall gardens and when should we plant them?

A. Use determinant heat setters, such as Solar Fire, Tycoon, Tigress, Valley Cat, 6O2, Cherry Surprise (BHN 968), 444, and Phoenix. Plant them about

Aug. 1.

Q. Is there a blooming annual that we can plant in full sun this summer? How about one for the shade?

A. In the sun plant zinnias, vincas, cosmos, and moss roses. In the shade, begonias and pentas are good choices.

Q. If we prune some branches off our live oaks now, do we still have to paint the wounds to protect them from oak wilt?

A. It is less likely that live or red oaks will become infected with oak wilt if they are pruned in the hottest part of summer or the coldest part of winter. But, it is safest to paint the wounds 12 months of the year.

Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the director of the Water Conservation and Technology Center at Texas A&M-San Antonio.

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