Zoysia grass’ tolerance plays a big role in lawn choice


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Q. We just had a new house built. How do we pick the kind of grass we should use for a lawn? We like the look of Zoysia grass. The area does not have any shade yet. Will Zoysia work in full sun?

A. Zoysia has some shade tolerance, but yes it does work in full sun. It also has good traffic tolerance and makes a dense weed-resistant sod. Zoysia requires as much irrigation as St. Augustine to stay green, but it has the capability of going dormant when water is not available. Zoysia does best when it is mowed at 2 inches with a reel mower. If you use a rotary mower it must have a sharp blade. Q. What should be blooming now? The landscapes in our neighborhood seem so brown. Is it the cold weather or are there some other causes?

A. The freezes are a major cause, but it is also very dry. Redbuds and Texas mountain laurel are finally blooming. Paperwhites and cemetery iris should be blooming along with larkspur, blue curl, snapdragons, stocks, bluebonnets, alyssum, and primrose jasmine. Low chill peach trees are blooming in many neighborhoods. Pansies, violas, and some types of oxalis are blooming as well. Q. My grandchildren are staying with me most weekends. One of our projects is a vegetable garden in containers, but it is overrun with fire ants, which discourages the kids. What is a good treatment for removing fire ants from vegetables in containers?

A. Obtain one of the insecticides with Spinosad as the active ingredient. Apply some of the product to the containers as per the label instructions. Also consider applying fire ant bait in the area around the container garden. Q. We love plums. What are the varieties that will work in this area?

A. Methley and Santa Rosa work well if they are planted in full sun in an 8-foot by 8-foot raised bed garden that is irrigated with drip irrigation. The best fruit is produced if you can provide a weekly spray program of Captan (fungus) and Malathion (insects).

Q. What are the recommended shade trees to plant in this area?

Our soil is shallow and rocky.

A. Consider cedar elm, live oak, Texas red oak, Mexican sycamore,

Mexican white oak, bur oak, or chinkapin oak.

Plant a relatively small specimen and consider mounding the soil up over the root ball if it is hard to dig a hole large enough to match the soil depth in the container.

Calvin Finch is a retired Texas A&M horticulturist. Hear him on “Gardening South

Texas” on KLUP 930

AM radio Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. Or, email him at reader@wcn-online.com.

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