QUESTION: I have a problem with Bermuda grass growing
in my garden. What is the best way to remove Bermuda grass
from my vegetable and flower gardens and how do I keep it
out? I live in Kendall county, just north of Boerne.
ANSWER: Dig as much of the root system out as possible
and spot treat (spray directly on the elongated grass and
keep off all surrounding plants) any sprigs that sprout
with a glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup, Kleanup or
Finale. Or, to avoid possible plant damage caused by accidental
contact or drift, use a product containing fusilade such
as Ortho's Grass-B-Gon, Poast or Vantage. Fusilade-like
products are used for grass control in watermelons and ornamentals.
Glyphosate herbicides can cause damage to tomatoes and vegetable
crops while fusilade can not.
QUESTION: My niece had a question in school for
extra credit: What is the State Shrub of Texas? No Texas
"Fact List" I have found has it...is there one?
ANSWER: I am going to have to assume that there
isn't one. At this Texas web site you will find a list of
the symbols of Texas:
You will note that a shrub is not included, but that flower,
fruit, grass, pepper, plant, tree and vegetable are. Perhaps
the state plant, prickly pear cactus, is the answer the
QUESTION: I planted three Texas sage shrubs this
past August or September, and they looked very healthy until
just recently. Now there are bare strips along the middle
of most branches, with leaves at the bottom and top. I am
new to Texas, and don't know much about the plants that
thrive here. I don't see any visible insects on the shrubs,
or anything that looks like a fungus. Can you tell me what
might be happening? Thank you very much. This site is going
to be a great help to me!
ANSWER: I think that if you look at other Cenizos
in your neighborhood you will find that they have done the
same. It is normal for them to lose many of their leaves
in the winter. They should soon releaf.
QUESTION: We are looking for a way to kill cattails
that have overgrown waterfront property. We have heard there
is some type of "tablet" that can be dropped in
the water that will kill cattails but will not harm other
surrounding plant life or fish. Do you know of such a product?
If so, do you know where I can get it? If not, what other
suggestions do you have for the problem of overgrown cattails.
ANSWER: In regards to killing cattails, I am not
familiar with any "tablet" herbicide, nor could
I find anything when I searched the web. This is what I
At this web site
these herbicides are listed as being used to kill cattails:
Arsenal (Imazapyr), Casoron 10G (Dichlobenil), Pondmaster
(Glyphosate), Reward (Diquat), Rodeo (Glyphosate), Roundup
(Glyphosate), Sonar (Fluridone), Weedone (2,4-D) and Weedtrine-D
At this web site
this article on Cattail Control was found:
"Cattails in modest amounts around a pond or lake
can give a very natural and beautiful appearance to your
pond or lake setting. Cattails in excess can totally take
over all the shallow water areas of the pond or lake, greatly
interfering with pond or lake usage and appearance.
Cattails can become very numerous since they have two
means of reproduction. One means is the tail itself which
spreads seeds that are airborne, the other method is sending
out rhizomes from its large tuber to form new plants nearby.
The Cattails large tuber is the major reason this plant
is hard to control, the tuber can be twice the size of a
potato and makes pulling the Cattail out by the roots almost
There are three methods of controlling Cattails, chemical
treatment, mechanical removal and drowning, examine each
of the methods to see which will best suit your needs.
The only form of mechanical removal that will work with
Cattails is the use of a back-hoe with a long enough boom
to reach out and remove the cattail and its root system.
Whether this means will work for you will depend on if you
have pond or lake access for this size equipment and the
equipment will not cause too much damage to your landscape.
This method is done by cutting the Cattails off 2 - 3"
under the water line, once this is done the oxygen to the
root system is cut off and the plant will drown. This method
is only effective if you can maintain your water level for
a long period of time, if the water drops below the level
that you have cut the Cattails this control will not be
This the most commonly used control, since it can be done
in just about any situation without damage to the landscape
or concern over maintaining your water level. The two products
we recommend for this use are both EPA registered for this
use and when used according to label directions will not
harm fish or wildlife. "Rodeo" is the herbicide
of choice for this plant and a product called "Cidekick"
which is a surfactant (sticking agent) that is used to make
your mixture stick to the plant.
Application Rate: mix one ounce of Rodeo and 1/4 ounce
of Cidekick to a gallon of water. 100 gallons of this mixture
will treat approximately one surface acre of Cattails. This
mixture is sprayed onto the Cattails in a fine or mist type
spray. Although Cattail treatments can be done anytime during
the year when the Cattail is actively growing, the best
time is when the Cattail is first developing its tails,
this is the time of year that the plant is most active and
will take the largest amount of the Rodeo down into its
After you have treated the Cattails you must wait at least
two weeks before cutting them down and removing them. This
gives the Rodeo time to get into the root system of the
plant, which is the most difficult to kill."
While thre is no mention about harm to other plants, the
glyphosate will kill only those plants on whose foliage
it is sprayed (or allowed to drift).
QUESTION: I received a "Red Hot" as a
gift and need to know what special care, if any, this plant
requires. I haven't been able to find any information about
this plant and wondered if you might know. I am keeping
it in my office which has florescent lighting.
ANSWER: There are many species of Anthuriums and
I cannot determine which you have. This is general information
taken from Sunset's Western Garden Book. Anthuriums are
perennial greenhouse or house plants, native to tropical
American jungles. As houseplants, they are no more difficult
to grow than some orchids. The higher the humidity, the
better. Keep pots on trays of moist gravel or under polyethylene
cover. Good light but no direct sun. Best at 80 - 90 degrees
F. but will get along in normal house temperature. Protect
from drafts. Mild fertilization every 4 weeks. At these
web sites you will find general information on the Anthurium:
This species is considered easier to grow than many of
the others and often thrives under good, ordinary houseplant
conditions. Anthurium scherzeranum Flamingo Flower or Pigtail
Plant. This is one of the show-off plants that can be added
to an indoor planting. Two other species, A. andraeanum
and A. crystallinum, are worthy of consideration as well.
Known for their brightly colored spaths (the flower surrounded
by a brightly colored leaf), these beautiful, eye-catching
plants will require ample amounts of water. Temperature-wise,
they like the typical household settings, between 65 and
70 degrees F. They are best used as massing plants or individual
specimens. The flower stalks may need staking with slim
bamboo to provide support. Be sure to mist the plant frequently
and provide high humidity.
QUESTION: I have an avocado plant that I started
from seed. It has sprouted and is one long stem. I am ready
to plant it in soil, but my question is: What do I need
to do to make it bushy instead of the one long stem?
ANSWER: At each of the web sites listed below, you'll
find instructions on growing the avocado from seed:
How to Grow an Avocado House Plant
1. Wash an avocado seed. Suspend it (broad end down) over
a water-filled glass using three toothpicks. The water should
cover about ½ inch of the seed.
2. Place the glass in a warm location, out of direct sunlight.
A mature seed will crack as roots and stem sprout in about
2 to 6 weeks.
When a stem grows to 6 or 7 inches, cut it back to about
(note: This will force the plant to branch out and take
care of the problem you mention.)
4. When the roots are thick and the stem has leafed out
again, plant it in rich humus soil, leaving the seed half
exposed. Use a terra cotta pot, 10-1/2 inches in diameter.
5. Water your avocado house plant generously, but let
it dry out somewhat between waterings.
QUESTION: My yard has mainly St. Augustine grass.
I have pulled some weeds and noticed some big fat grub worms
just below the surface. (I think this is destroying my yard).
Question: What is the time and treatment for these worms.
ANSWER: If grub worms were "destroying your
yard" you would have large patches of dead grass which
could be picked up as if it were carpet because the roots
would have been eaten off in the fall. Ignore the grub worms
you see now; they will turn into June bugs in May. If you
have had grub worm problems in the past, you should treat
your lawn area with diazinon granules in July.
QUESTION: I thought a Bradford pear tree was fruitless.
The tree in my front yard is about 12 years old and is supposed
to be a Bradford pear, but it has gum-ball size fruit that
is soft and squishy and messy all over the sidewalk and
ends up on my carpet. It's a beautiful tree in the Spring
but I'm not sure that week of flowering in the Spring is
worth the mess in the Winter. (This year has been especially
bad) Is this tree a true Bradford pear?
ANSWER: There are quite a few cultivars of the ornamental
pear (Pyrus calleryana) of which 'Bradford' is one. Most
of these cultivars, including Bradford, have a small non-edible
fruit generally about ½ inch in diameter. It usually
has no ornamental value, being hidden by the foliage. However,
it can be present in great quantities. As you can see from
the list of Outstanding Trees for Texas at this Aggie web
the Bradford pear is highly recommended. So I guess that
the decision is yours to make as to whether you want to
continue to live with the mess of the fruit