Texas red oak shows beautiful fall colors
Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Q: Some trees around town have fall colors. What can I plant that will do well here in Seguin?
A: Doug Welsh, extension horticulturist, says that fall color in deciduous trees happens as the chlorophyll production slows in the fall and the existing chlorophyll in the leaf disintegrates. Then the other pigments show through. Everybody loves the Texas red oak with its red to yellow leaves. One of my favorite small trees (almost a tall shrub) is the Flameleaf sumac. Every year I see some small bright red shrubs on King St. in back of our big box store. The Fan-Tex ash and the Texas ash both have yellow leaves. Along the Guadalupe are lots of Bald cypress trees with rust to burgundy leaves. A nice landscape tree that will do well for you is the Cedar elm with yellow leaves. And if you want berries in the fall, plant Yaupon, Possumhaw, American Beautyberry, and many different holly plants.
Q: At the recent Guadalupe County Fair, my husband and I saw lots of herbs entered in the horticulture division. What can I grow this time of year?
A: There are a number of cold tolerant herbs. Chives, cilantro (or coriander), dill, fennel, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme grow quite well here. I have a patch of oregano, one of thyme, and one of sage that are a number of years old. In the spring, I trim them with hedge clippers. I lost one of my rosemary plants this past spring as it was in a pot and drowned in all that rain we had. (Don’t overwater rosemary). Once you plant dill, you will usually have it returning year after year (and in strange spots). I have not had any problems with growing mint, parsley, or lavender year round either.
The Texas Department of Agriculture has a very nice little booklet called “Go Texan Herbs. The Very Zest of Texas” in its Go Texan series. It lists availability, producers, storage and handling, inside secrets, recipes, and the top seven Texas herbs. One of the hints that you may not know is that basil can be used to make your bath water smell good, as well as in sprigs to deter flies and mosquitoes.
Q: I want to attract monarch butterflies to my garden and have been reading about the different types of milkweed. I see milkweed in the nurseries. How can I tell which kind it is?
A: What the nursery calls Tropical milkweed is actually Asclepias curassavica. Its leaves are opposite each other, and it has milky sap. Asclepias tuberosa, often called Butterfly Weed, is another milkweed that looks much like the Tropical. It has alternate leaves and no milky sap. Tropical milkweed fosters greater transmission of the protozoan Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) according to Monarch Joint Venture out of the University of Minnesota. Monarchs who stay here in the winter feeding on tropical milkweed have a greater likelihood of becoming infected with the parasite. Monarch Joint Venture and other monarch groups recommend that tropical milkweed should be cut back in the fall and winter months so that monarchs do not stay around.
Clara Mae Marcotte is a Texas Master Gardener with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is guadalupecountymastergardeners.org. The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, at 210 East Live Oak Street in Seguin.