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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Two exits west of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

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USE OAK LEAVES AS MULCH--Every year Dr. Jerry Parsons and I get calls on the Gardening South Texas radio show (KLUP 930 AM, noon on Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sundays) wondering why the leaves are falling off live oak trees. We forget that, although we call them evergreen, live oaks do lose their leaves for a short period every spring; now is that time.


Do not moan and groan about the leaves, they are a valuable resource for your yard and should not be bagged for the garbage men. Use the leaves as mulch or compost and leave the landfill for real garbage.


Pile the leaves two inches deep between rows in your vegetable garden to save water, allow you to walk on the soil without compacting it, and to reduce weeds. Pile the leaves four inches deep around newly planted trees and you can expect the tree to grow 40 percent faster than if you let the grass grow up to the trunk. Place the leaves around all the shrubs in the yard to save water and keep the soil cool.


Put the leaves in your compost pile with a cup of lawn fertilizer per bushel and they will decompose quickly to form compost that can be used in your containers. The easiest way to utilize leaves is to just run the lawn mower over them as they lay on the lawn. The chopped leaves decompose quickly to provide nutrients and organic material for the growing grass.


APPLY PRE-EMERGENT HERBICIDE--The weeds in your lawn right now are cool weather weeds. They love the damp, mild temperatures and the drought-damaged lawns. Keep the weeds mowed and they can be attractive. If you want to kill them, a 2-4-D contact herbicide like Wipe-Out or Weed-Be-Gone will do the job. Follow the directions closely. These herbicides will kill flowers as quickly as they kill dandelions.


Now is also the time to apply pre-emergent herbicide to prevent summer weeds such as sand burrs and crabgrass. Pre-emergent herbicides such as Amaze, XL, Betasan or Balan prevent the seeds of hot weather plants from germinating. The trick is to get the granules applied before germination occurs; late February and early March is that time.


BALL MOSS CONTROL--With the leaves off the oak trees, the ball moss is visible. Ball moss is not a parasite; it is not killing the branches of oak trees. Ball moss is an epiphyte (air feeder); it makes its living from the air. Ball moss will grow on utility lines and fence wire in addition to dead an dying tree branches, any place the seed can land, out of the summer sun where humidity is high.


The branches where it grows are within the tree crown and have already died or are dying because not enough light is available to support leaves. If the ball moss is unattractive to you, it can be physically removed or killed with Kocide 101, a copper based fungicide. Kocide needs to be sprayed on the ball moss and it eventually will fall off. Sometimes applications need to be made two springs in a row to get a complete kill. It is best to have a professional perform the task. Kocide will stain concrete and defoliate plants if label instructions are not followed closely.