QUESTION: Do you have any information on a fast
growing hybrid tree called Austree? Is it a viable tree
for this area? What problems have others encountered with
ANSWER: The Austree, which is a type of willow,
is extremely susceptible to cotton root rot. For this reason,
and the fact that it requires a lot of water, we do not
recommend this tree.
QUESTION: I paid a company to aerate my lawn (bermuda
grass with lots of weeds) as a part of their service. I
have since heard from other services that there is no need
or benefit to aeration of bermuda grass lawns and that this
was an unnecessary charge. Can you answer whether or not
it is a good idea to aerate a bermuda grass lawn and if
so, when and how often?
ANSWER: I would discontinue association with any
service which says there is no need or benefit to aeration
of bermudagrass lawns and that this was an unnecessary charge.
Ask these genius landscapers to please relate their beliefs
to EVERY GOLF COURSE IN THE WORLD which aerates all bermuda
turf monthly ?? they could save them a bunch of money!!!
Search PLANTanswers for more about aeration from Dr. Richard
QUESTION: I cannot get my bluebonnets to bloom. I
planted seeds several years ago and then added some potted
plants last year. The plants are mostly in flower beds and
have spread to several other locations in the yard, however
they do not bloom - just develop a head that turns fuzzy.
I did water them some earlier in the year - even added some
Miracle Gro - but no luck.
ANSWER: I cannot tell you why your bluebonnets are
not blooming. However, there are a couple of possible/probable
reasons. Bluebonnets must have full sun and cannot tolerate
poorly drained clay soils. If your beds are not in full
sun and don't have well drained soil, they are not going
to bloom. See the PLANTanswers Q&A about bluebonnets
that can be found at this web site:
QUESTION:: We purchased several Bradford Pear Trees
in 10 gallon containers just yesterday. These were not wrapped
at the time of purchase. Trees were laid down in back of
truck during transport to home. Upon arriving home, we noticed
one of the trees was suffering from shock. We have heard
that because the roots were exposed to air this caused the
shock. Should we return the tree and get another? Can we
bring it out of shock? How often should we water other trees?
Is it necessary to put root stimulant or fertilizer on a
tree after planting?
ANSWER: If the trees were in a 10-gallon container
and the root ball was not broken or damaged during transport,
the "shock" you noticed can be wind damage or
dried out root system. Water the plants thoroughly and then
plant them. If the leaves were damaged by the windy ride,
they will not heal but new leaves will emerge. Water the
trees thoroughly when planting and weekly in lieu of rainfall
for the first six weeks. If the soil is heavy and sticky
wet a week after watering, wait another week before adding
more water ?? DON'T OVERWATER!! You can use a root stimulator
when planting or shortly afterward but do not fertilize
for two months.
QUESTION: I have canna lilies taking over my yard.
I've tried mowing them and digging them up. But as you know
they have runners that go on forever. They are taking over
what can I do? Also is there any cure for sticker burr weeds?
Please help they are driving me crazy.
ANSWER: You can try Greenlight Wipe-out or a 2,4-D
herbicide to kill canna lilies but it will take several
applications to do the job. Even glyphosate herbicides such
as Roundup, Kleanup or Finale don't work in one application.
-Greg Grant, San Antonio Botanical Garden
QUESTION: How do I care for an Easter lily?
ANSWER: See the article at this PLANTanswers web
HOW TO MAKE YOUR EASTER LILIES KEEP ON GIVING
The Easter Lily, the traditional time?honored
flower of Easter, is highly regarded as a joyful symbol
of beauty, hope and life. The large, trumpet-shaped, fragrant
white flowers make a meaningful gift that embodies the very
essence of the celebration of Easter. Whether you plan to
give the potted plants as a gift or use them to decorate
your own home, the following tips will help make your Easter
Lilies keep on giving.
Two of the greatest charms of the Easter Lily
are form and fragrance, so look for high quality plants
that are aesthetically pleasing from all angles. Select
medium-to-compact plants that are well-balanced and proportional
in size ? not too tall and not too short.
For the longest possible period of enjoyment
in your home, look for plants with flowers in various stages
of ripeness. For example, the best selection would be a
plant with just one or two open or partly open blooms, and
three or more puffy, unopened buds of different sizes. The
ripe puffy buds will open up within a few days, while the
tighter ones will bloom over the next several days.
As the flowers mature, remove the yellow anthers
before the pollen starts to shed. This gives longer flower
life and prevents the pollen from staining the white flowers.
When a mature flower starts to wither after its prime, cut
it off to make the plant more attractive while you still
enjoy the fresher, newly-When selecting plants, be sure
to also check out the foliage: an abundance of dark, rich
green foliage is not only attractive, but a vital sign of
good plant health. The foliage should appear dense and plentiful,
all the way down to the soil line, a good indicator of an
active, healthy root system. opened blooms.
Be wary of Easter Lilies displayed in paper,
plastic or mesh sleeves. The protective sleeves are used
for shipping and should be removed immediately upon arrival
at the store. While the packaging may seem convenient, the
quality of the plants will deteriorate if they are left
sleeved too long. Also, avoid waterlogged plants, especially
if the plant looks wilted. This could be a sign of root
In the home, Easter Lilies prefer moderately
cool temperatures. Recommended daytime temperatures are
60 to 65 degrees F. with slightly cooler night temperatures.
Avoid placing plants near drafts, and avoid exposure to
excess heat or dry air from appliances, fireplaces or heating
ducts. The lily will thrive near a window in bright, indirect
natural daylight, but avoid glaring, direct sunlight.
Easter Lilies prefer moderately moist, well-drained
soil. Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface feels
dry to a light touch, but avoid over-watering. If the pot
is wrapped in decorative foil, be careful not to let the
plant sit in trapped, standing water. For best results,
remove the plant from decorative pots or covers, take it
over the sink and water thoroughly until water seeps out
of the pot's drain holes to completely saturate the soil.
Allow the plant to air for a few minutes and discard the
excess water before replacing it back into its decorative
After the last bloom has withered and has
been cut away, you can continue to grow your Easter Lilies,
and even plant them outside in your garden to enjoy them
for years to come. Once the lilies have finished flowering,
place the potted plants in a sunny location. Continue to
water thoroughly as needed, and add one teaspoon of slow?release
Osmocote fertilizer every 6 weeks. You can move the pots
to a sunny location outdoors after the danger of frost has
To plant your Easter Lilies outside, prepare
a well-drained garden bed in a sunny location with rich,
organic matter. Use a well-drained planting mix, or a mix
of one part soil, one part peat moss and one part perlite.
Good drainage is the key for success with lilies. To ensure
adequate drainage, raise the garden bed by adding good soil
to the top of the bed, thus obtaining a deeper topsoil and
a rise to the planting area.
Plant the Easter Lily bulbs 3 inches below
ground level, and mound up an additional 3 inches of topsoil
over the bulb. Plant bulbs at least 12 to 18 inches apart
in a hole deep enough so that the bulbs can be placed with
the roots spread out and down, as they naturally grow. Spread
the roots and work the prepared soil in around the bulbs
and the roots, leaving no air pockets. Water in immediately
and thoroughly after planting. Try not to allow the soil
to heave or shift after planting.
As the original plants begin to die back,
cut the stems back to the soil surface. New growth will
soon emerge. The Easter Lilies, which were forced to bloom
under controlled greenhouse conditions in March, bloom naturally
in the summer. You may be rewarded with a second bloom later
this summer, but most likely you will have to wait until
next June or July to see your Easter Lilies bloom again.
Another planting tip to consider is that lilies
like their roots in shade and their heads in the sun. Mulching
helps conserve moisture in between waterings, keeps the
soil cool and loose, and provides a fluffy, nutritious medium
for the stem roots. Or, a more attractive alternative would
be to plant "living mulch," or a low ground cover
of shallow-rooted, complementary annuals or perennials.
The stately Easter Lilies rising above lacy violas or primulas
is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also sound gardening.
The Easter Lily bulbs are surprisingly hardy
even in cold climates. Just be sure to provide winter protection
by mulching the ground with a thick, generous layer of straw,
pine needles, leaves, ground corncob, pieces of boxes or
bags. Carefully remove the mulch in the spring to allow
new shoots to come up, as your Easter Lilies will keep on
giving beauty, grace and fragrance in years to come.
QUESTION: I want to take seed pods
from a California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, growing
behind my house and plant it out front. How long after the
flower drops should I wait before I harvest the seedpods?
Do I plant the seedpods whole or open them up and remove
the seeds before planting?
ANSWER: Let the seed pods get as large as they are
going to and when they start to turn brown, harvest the
pods. Put them in a dry cool location, spread single layer,
on a sheet of newspaper or some such. When they have dried,
place them in a brown paper bag, where the pods can pop
open and drop their seeds. Wait until late September to
scatter the seed and rake in lightly.
Don't forget to leave some in the back yard to reseed there.