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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

Questions for the Week of 10/06/01

QUESTION: I have lived in Texas all my life and in San Antonio all since 1968. I have a 50 ac. farm and home out 87E about 2 miles inside 1604. Been out here 12 years and have a weed I have never seen in Texas before. It looks like the spearmint plant you put in tea, has no thorns or stickers, but if you touch it it burns like hell and seems to last for a day or two. Haven't talked to anyone who knows what it is. It's not thistle.
ANSWER: I believe this a true nettle Urtica sp. They are uncommon around here but when you find one they let you know. It is edible when prepared properly.
Paul Cox of the San Antonio Botanical Center

QUESTION: I have a hedgeapple setting on top of my computer that a neighbor brought in for identification . Took us 2 days to figure out what it was. Now that we know what it is can you tell us how to care for tree, what it is good for i.e. wildlife, eating, etc....
ANSWER:The hedgeapple makes a tree attaining a height of 60 feet, with a milky sap and bearing stout thorns. Also known as Bois d'Arc, meaning "bow?wood", with reference to the fact that the Osage Indians made bows from the wood. Yellow dye was formerly made from the root bark. Also the bark of the trunk was used for tanning leather. Squirrels feed on the little achenes buried in the pulpy fruit, and deer browse on the leaves. The tree was formerly much planted as windbreaks or hedgerows.

QUESTION: I found seeds in my pineapple and I want to know what I have to do to grow them well? Please excuse my English, I hope that you understand what I want and you will be able to answer my question.
ANSWER: Place the seeds in?between moist paper towels and place them in a warm location like on top of a hot water heater. You will need to place in a container so that they stay moist. If you just put the paper towel up there, they will dry out. Check the paper towel in 3 days and see if any have sprouted; continue to check it daily after that. Once a seed sprouts move them to small containers with well?drained potting soil. Place them in a sunny, warm location. As the plants grow move them into larger containers.

QUESTION: A group of students and I will be attempting to plant acorns in the hope that they will germinate and become full oak trees. {I know this is extremely short notice, but several acorns will be set aside for later planting so I would be thankful for a response when you have a chance!} Do you know how we can be sure which acorns are still "good" (and whether we need to prepare them by soaking them)?
ANSWER:Acorns should be collected in the fall from specimen trees, i.e., very healthy, vigorously growing trees. Characteristics worth noting when choosing a seed source include desirability of leaf color and shape, drought tolerance, absence of galls, trunk form, vigor and an upright growth habit.

Ripe acorns can be picked before they fall; often it is wise to do so in order to escape weevils which attack those which fall to the ground. Acorns that are brown in color are physiologically mature; those which are yellowish are not ripe. As a rule of thumb, a mature acorn will snap cleanly from its cup without leaving a tissue residue.

Discard acorns that float in water along with those that show pin?sized weevil exit holes. Live oak seeds frequently contain weevil larvae that prevent germination. Larvae in sound acorns (sinkers) can be killed by immersion in 120 degree F water for 30 minutes. Higher temperatures will kill the seed.

Acorn viability is adversely affected by dry storage. If acorns lose as little as 15% of their initial moisture, percent germination may be reduced by one?third; 20% moisture loss may reduce viability by 96%. This is why acorns that have been lying on the ground for 2 days may not germinate. If stored in damp peat moss, acorns will germinate and may remain healthy for a short period of time. After 4 or more weeks storage in wet peat they will begin to rot. Storage in dry sealed containers at 32 to 36 degrees F is the best alternative to immediate planting.

Ideally, acorns should be planted immediately after collection. No scarification or stratification is required; but any remaining cups should be removed.

Acorns may be sown in flats in the greenhouse, sown outside in rows or in containers. A well?drained growing medium should be used in flats or containers. Acorns should be planted 1 to 2 inches deep. An organic mulch applied to the seedbed will conserve moisture, protect against soil crusting and cold temperatures and help control weeds.

The bottom line is that you need to plant fresh seed which sink when placed in a bucket of water. Also make sure the sinkers do not have weevil holes. Place the seeds in a well drained potting soil.

QUESTION: I want to grow some Mountain Laurel from the beans. In doing some research, A&M writers say either scar the bean or soak them in acid. What kind of acid? How long? What time of the year? I could not find any of these details. Can you help?
ANSWER:The acid is concentrated sulfuric acid for 15 ? 30 minutes. If you do not have access to or are not used to handling acid, you would do well to use the file system ?? both systems open the hard seed coat. Concentrated sulfuric acid can be purchased in gallons at swimming pool supply stores.