Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Conservation
Manager, San Antonio Water System,
Q. What kind of daffodils naturalize in our area? My neighbor had some yellow ones and some paperwhites that were just beautiful under the oak trees this spring. What are they?
A. Almost any of the paperwhites will naturalize. For yellow trumpet-type daffodils that will come back year after year, consider campernelle jonquils. Plant them in the fall.
Q. My red oak is about six inches in diameter. It has holes in the trunk that are in a row like someone drilled the holes. Do you recognize the symptoms? What is it? Is there anything I need to do to protect the tree?
A. The holes are drilled by sapsuckers, a woodpecker-type bird. They harvest insects that collect on the sap. The holes are usually not a threat to the tree. It is not necessary to treat them in any way.
Q. Our spinach has been wonderful this winter. There are now some white spots on the leaves. Is it a fungus? Can it be treated?
A. The symptom you describe is caused by white rust. There is no treatment. Pull and compost plants that show the symptom. The disease shows up when the temperatures get warm.
Q. When can we plant celosia and zinnias?
A. Now is a good time to plant celosia and zinnias.
Q. When should I give up on my bougainvillea? I think they froze.
A. It is still early. Give bougainvillea, mandevillea, firebush, and hibiscus another month to emerge.
Q. Is there any way to combat squirrels at the bird feeder? They destroy everything and eat all the seed.
A. I use the Absolute brand feeders. They are steel feeders with weight-sensitive perches that keep squirrels out of the seed. You can trap squirrels with live traps and relocate them or make squirrel stew.
Q. What tomato variety would you use in a container?
A. Surefire is a great selection for containers. Merced works fine as well.