Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Conservation Manager, San Antonio Water System, and HorticulturistWeek of March 25, 2002
Q. I have the urge to fertilize my lawn but remember you saying that we should not fertilize until May 1. Remind me why we should wait so long?
A. Our warm weather grasses (St. Augustine, zoysia, Bermuda, and buffalo) cannot utilize nutrients until the roots are active. The soil must be warm and the top actively growing. The ability of a grass to use fertilizer coincides with the second mowing of real grass, usually about May 1.
Q. What are some good vines to block an unsightly view?
A. Cross vine is evergreen and can be used in the sun. Carolina jessamine is evergreen and can tolerate shade.
Q. How do we know when we can use our garlic?
A. Garlic bottoms can be used at any time. They are considered ripe when they bloom.
Q. Is the contact herbicide Finale as good as Roundup in your opinion?
A. Yes, I would use the product that was the least expensive.
Q. How long should we wait for our freeze damaged plants to sprout before we declare that they are dead?
A. I would give most about four weeks. Add two weeks to the time for hot weather plants like firebush, esperanza, and poinciana.
Q. We have clay soil. They say foundations crack due to expansion and contraction of the clay. Do you know how much water it takes to protect the house without wasting water?
A. Place a leaky hose around the foundation of the house about one foot from the foundation. Apply water for about four hours every two weeks if it does not rain. Remember that leaky hoses are pressure sensitive. They should sweat or leak rather than spray. You can get the right effect with about one-quarter to one-half turn of the faucet.