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Grass choices for heavy traffic
Q: We just bought a new house that does not have a lawn. What grass do you recommend? It is in full sun, and we have two young children and two dogs.
A: Bermuda grass is the best choice for full sun and lots of traffic. Zoysia grass can also tolerate traffic. I think El Toro or Jamur Zoysia makes an attractive lawn. Perhaps use Zoysia in the front yard and Bermuda in the backyard. Mow Bermuda grass at 1.5 inches high and Zoysia at 2 inches.
Q: Our neighbor grows peaches. They were wonderful. What are the recommended varieties for our area?
A: My favorite selections for our area are Junegold with a June 1 harvest and La Feliciana with an end of June harvest. They are both low chill and reliable producers.
Q: When should we plant broccoli and cauliflower for the winter?
A: Some gardeners plant in September, but I usually wait until October.
Q: In an article last winter, you said we should mark our calendar for August to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent thistle, dandelion, bedstraw, and the other winter weeds. What were the products you recommended?
A: Use Forlent for broadleaf weeds and Amaze for the grassy weeds like reserve grass and annual bluegrass. Follow the labeled instructions.
Q: Is it too late to plant fall tomatoes? What varieties work best?
A: Tomatoes should be planted as soon as possible for the fruit to mature before the cold weather arrives. Heat setters that produce a medium or small fruit have the best chance to beat the freezes. See if you can find Solar Fire, BHN 968 (cherry), or Early Girl. Large plants in 1-gallon containers have a better chance to beat the cold weather than plants in 2-inch peat pots.
Q: You recommend that live oak suckers be cut down with the lawn mower or string mower. Why don’t you worry about those cuts being entry points for oak wilt infection?
A: Oak wilt experts report that small diameter cuts are protected from fungus infection, because the tree mobilizes defensive chemicals. It takes the tree up to five days to mobilize the same chemicals for wounds that are 1 inch or larger.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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