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

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east 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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Questions for the Week

Weekly Slide Show

All Images and text copyrighted and or watermarked.


QUESTION:  We are new to San Antonio, what kind of grapes would grow well in our area?


The grapes recommended for the San Antonio area are mostly for juice and jelly because of the pest problems encountered by other varieties.  The varieties recommended are Mars Seedless, Lomanto,  Black Spanish, Champanel and Favorite.  More information about fruit growing in Texas is available on the PLANTanswers site at:






QUESTION: We are purchasing a new home on the NW side of San Antonio.  The side yard will be 11 x 110 and the back will be 60 x 24  The only tree left standing is a middling size pitiful hackberry. It looks to be in fairly good health.  It has a touch of Mistletoe on one branch and the one other low branch seems to be damaged. It looks like it will be near the back of the house rather than out into the yard. According to my bird book the Hackberry is food to a number of different species of birds, however if it is going to be a problem or UGLY tree I want the builder to remove it before we move into our home.   Do I want this tree?

I am a bird, butterfly and squirrel lover. I want to encourage as many animals as possible to visit the yard.  Can you suggest several plants/trees and flowers that would draw the wildlife.  I do not want Grackles, how do I get rid of them without harming them.


You will be MUCH better off to have the hackberry removed now than becoming disgusted with it later and having to pay over $600 to have it removed.  Hackberries do have berries on which birds feed and deposit the rapidly‑germinating, invasive seedlings which give the first part of the trees name ‑‑ folks spend half of their time "hacking" the seedlings and eventually the tree down and out of every flower bed within 100 miles.  If you want a fast‑growing, long lasting, pest‑free tree, plant a Chinese Pistache




which has berries for birds or an oak (Red Oak or Live Oak) which has acorns for squirrels.  A list of recommended trees and shrubs for this area can be found at the PLANTanswers site:




All trees and plants have some disadvantages but I think the hackberry has too many problems to be considered a desirable landscape tree.  When replanting, use a smaller specimen and make sure to locate it at least 30‑50 feet from the house and not under utility lines because THESE LITTLE TREES DO GET LARGE!!



QUESTION: What is comfrey used for? How do I propagate it and when is the best time to plant it in Austin?



COMFREY ‑ Comfrey is a rank‑growing herb with large "donkey‑ear" leaves that  remind one of green sandpaper. It has been promoted as being high in protein and an  excellent foodstuff, but unfortunately, it's hard to find a suitable way to eat it.   It is widely used as a tea made either from the leaves or from the roots.  They are easily grown in any good garden soil and are tolerant of shade.  Remove the flower stalks of those grown for their foliage and propagate by division, root‑cuttings or by seed (difficult).  Once established it is difficult to eradicate.  Root pieces left in the ground will produce new plants.  Comfrey is hardy throughout Texas.  Comfrey is not generally recognized as a culinary herb, it is edible.  Like borage, the leaves are covered with fine hairs.  In Germany, Comfrey is prepared by dipping the young leaves in batter, then frying them quickly in hot oil.  The leaves are then drained and served immediately. 




QUESTION: We have recently noticed honey bees living in our very old and gnarly oak tree.  They can be seen coming and going from close to the base of the tree.  Our first reaction was to try and kill them, but I remembered watching a show in which people were actually trying to grow bees in their back yard because the bees help to create beautiful gardens (pollination and such.)


 My questions are:


(1) Will the bees harm the oak tree?


Absolutely not; they have just taken up dwelling in the hollow of the tree which was already there.  In fact, the presence of their bee's wax which lines every bee hive's interior may prevent further wood decay. 


 (2) Are they beneficial to our yard?


Yes, they are beneficial to your yard and to your neighbor's yards for miles around.  The presence of pollinating insects in urban areas is on the decline and pollination by insects is critical to fruit trees and vine crops (cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelon).


 and (3) How can tell if they are "killer bees" or the friendly kind?


Whether they are killer (Africanized) bees or not, wild bees are seldom friendly.  The domestication from their ancestorial swarm has been lost and they are lean‑and‑mean survivors.  Just keep all motorized equipment away from the entrance of the hive ‑‑ if you forget, they will remind you.  You could trap and kill some of the hive inhabitants and we could send the individuals off for a genetics test to see if their lineage is from Africa or Italy.  However, there is a somewhat painful home test you can provide.  Simply measure off a 50 yard stretch from the entrance of the hive.  Then take a long plank and hit the entrance of the hive 6 times, waiting approximately 15 seconds between blows and doing this at 10 a.m. on a sunny day.  Then run like hell to the end of your 50 yard stretch.  Data indicates that if these are Africanized bees, you will have approximately 134 stings on your body parts by the time you have sprinted 29 yards and the bees will carry your body (in shock from pain and agony!) over the 50 yard marker.  If the bee population is of a wild nature but not Africanized, data indicates you will have approximately 98 stings on your body parts by the time you have sprinted 27 yards but will not be completely comatose by the time you end the 50 yard stretch.   I doubt if you have either of these types  since you say you only "recently noticed honey bees living in a very old and gnarly oak tree" ‑‑ had they been the Africanized type, we all would have seen you on the 10 o'clock news being taken to the hospital!!


Here is some more information you might find helpful ‑ enclosed and attached:

                                                 KILLER BEES


      All of the media coverage about Africanized honey bees  (dubbed by media  as "Killer Bees" for sensationalism) has to be  the supreme insult to a rational public.  The media terror has  certainly been  enthusiastically received by some panic‑prone  individuals.  Some folks are so inundated with terror they can't  write or speak without showing that bees are on their minds.  Telephone calls from bee‑fuddled people have been pouring into   the Texas Agricultural Extension office.  Folks want to know what  can bee done!  Bee‑ing the responsive group that the Extension  Service is, we have  written a wonderful fact sheet entitled  "Bees And Me".  This sheet contains helpful information such as  Killer Bees in top physical  condition can only fly 15 mph.  An  athletic person can out run  them and bee gone.   A scared,  stung‑and‑hurting semi‑athletic person who is bee‑serk can run   rings around the ill‑tempered bees.


     There is more good news from our fact sheet.  Unlike  wasps,  when stung by a honey bee, the stinger stays in the skin  and  must be removed.  The good news is that you have a memento of  your encounter in case your friends don't bee‑lieve that you have  been bee‑set.  The bad news is there can bee as many as 25,000   souvenir donors waiting to bee‑stow their stingers. 


     If bees attack, the Extension bulletin says you should:


       (1) Run through heavy brush and out of their territory.    Since heavy brush may bee hard to find in urban areas, I   recommend you run into a heavily crowded area.  The other people   there will distract the angry bee‑asts.  Dumb bees won't know who   to sting first when huge crowds of people begin to   simultaneously run into bushes and trees.  Therefore, the insects  bee‑come so confused they return to their home.  Bee‑ware of   fleeing into unknown foliage types since a brisk run through   prickly pear, rose bushes, pyracantha, Chinese holly or agarita   can do more bodily damage than an entire flock of bees!


      (2) Pull sweater or coat up over face.  Though this  makes  running through brush difficult, it may expose body parts  which  are repulsive to bees. 


      If  all of this sounds a bit bee‑zarre and you think I have  gone completely bee‑zerk, you could bee right ‑‑ the whole thing   is ridiculous.  The simple answer is to stay away from colonies   of bees, regardless of their lineage, and eliminate colonies   which have located in inconvenient locations.  Bee removal can be  accomplished by professional exterminators or homeowners.  Wait   until dark (bees come home to see their mama at night) and spray  the swarm with a soapy solution consisting of one cup of liquid   soap (detergent) and one‑fourth cup of ammonia in one gallon of  water.  This solution will drop every bee in the swarm straight  to the ground without a single  bee fly‑away.   If bees are in  the wall of a building, killing bees by spraying insecticides  into the entrance will eliminate the stinging menaces but may  result in a stinking mess when the stored honey begins to  ferment.


      So bee‑ware of our winged, nectar‑gathering friends.   Remember, these  insects are visitors to  our country and should be shown the  appropriate respect. 


There are pictures and more frightening information at site: