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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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Q&A Weekly Article and Archives

Wilson County News

Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Conservation Director, San Antonio Water System,

and Horticulturist

Week of April 30, 2001

Q.                I love live oaks but am afraid of oak wilt. My neighborhood is dominated by the wonderful trees and I fear we are a disaster waiting to happen. What should I plant for a new shade tree in such a situation?


A.                 Monterrey oak (Mexican white oak) has a growth habit similar to a live oak and does not seem to be susceptible to the oak wilt.


To protect your neighborhood’s live oaks requires an alert, disciplined group of neighbors. The disease is easy to prevent but hard to cure. Remind everyone to paint all wounds in live and red oaks immediately as they are discovered. Watch for infection centers where one tree dies and adjacent trees look weakened. Live oaks die one large branch at a time; it is called “flagging” and is quite noticeable.


Call the Extension Service (Wilson County at 830-393-7357, Bexar County at 210-467-6575) or the Texas Forest Service at 210-208-9306 for a speaker or written information on the disease. Internet users may go to for oak wilt information.


Q.                My bird feeder is dominated by white wing doves. How do I get some seed to the cardinals and chicadees?


A.                 Use tube-type feeders or, better yet, use one of the AbsoluteŽ feeders with a weight sensitive perch. Set the perch to accept cardinals but close when doves land.


Q.                Is it time to fertilize the lawn yet?


A.                 Yes, use slow release lawn fertilizers such as 19-5-9 or an organic fertilizer such as 7-1-1.


Q.                What are some good plants to attract hummingbirds?


A.                 All of the salvias are good. Firebush, cigar plant, esperanza, firespike, cross vine, trumpet creeper, lantanas, old-fashioned petunias, larkspurs, shrimp plant and Turk’s cap are good. The firespike, Turk’s cap and shrimp plant grow in the shade.


Q.                Which iron treatment works best?


A.                 One of the chelated iron products works best but it is very expensive. Mix iron sulfate with compost (one cup/bushel) for an inexpensive homemade chelated product.


Chelated means the iron is attached to a material that plants can access. Straight iron sulfate gets locked up in our alkaline soil.