QUESTION: I am having a problem with common bermuda
growing in my Zoysia. I am looking for something that will
kill the bermuda, but not the Zoysia. Is this possible?
Do you know of any chemicals that will do this.
ANSWER: We do not have a chemical which will take
bermuda out of zoysia or zoysia out of bermuda -- any chemical
which will kill either will kill both. Sorry!! On the bright
side, you have two of the toughest grasses on earth fighting
for a place in your lawn -- MAY THE BEST GRASS WIN!!
QUESTION: I have two Burr Oaks that I planted this
past fall. They both have grown over 18" and leafed
out nicely. The problem is they are both turning their leaves
fall colors!! I can see no pests or problems, what gives?
ANSWER: Coloration of leaves is a sign of slowed
growth or a damaged root system. This can be caused by a
flooded root system (too much rain or too much watering).
The plant is just stabilizing and hopefully it will live
through it. There is nothing you can do but wait and hope.
If the planting site is in a low area you will have to use
a tree which can tolerate root flooding such as a Montezuma
Cypress or Bald Cypress.
QUESTION: I live in a subdivision next to about 100
acres of woodland (east Texas). My neighbor dumped a pot
of English ivy over the back fence several years ago and
now it is taking over everything. Growing on the ground,
30 feet up pine trees, etc. Question: How do we get rid
of it without killing everything else in sight?
ANSWER: Dig as much of the root out as possible
and treat young sprouts with a double concentration (mix
twice as much of the product as the label instructs) of
a glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup or Kleanup. Keep
spraying the new sprouts until the root system in the soil
QUESTION: We are looking for a list of flowers to
plant with the purpose of attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.
We need to know their characteristics, specifically their
height. One of our clients has planted a purple smoke bush
in the middle of a new flower bed and also has a butterfly
house. She would like to plant low to medium growth flowers
in the hopes of attracting butterflies.
ANSWER: Most things that bloom will attract hummingbirds
and butterflies. Look at site:
QUESTION: Our homeowners association in Carrollton,
TX is undertaking a project to improve the entrances to
our subdivision. It would be helpful to know the life span
of red tip photinia as we make our plans. The plants in
question were planted about 1976, variety unknown. The shrub
line is approximately 1500 feet long with plants in a soil
area 5-6 feet wide. Approximately 10% of the plants have
been replaced and the remainder continue to grow, currently
ANSWER: If the Redtips are continuing to grow --
disease free -- then they have probably stabilized and will
live for 10-20 years. However, they will get very large.
I would not recommend planting more -- they are a risky
plant for Texas and are currently not recommended because
of possible disease and nutritional problems which are eternal
on effected plants. Please consult PLANTanswers for a list
of landscape plants which will provide durability with less
QUESTION: This is my first year with watermelon
and I am looking for some good tips on how to grow big and
sweet watermelons! I heard about cutting the runners will
this work???? What are your solutions?????
ANSWER: Watermelon flavor and/or sweetness depends
upon environmental conditions. High rainfall or excessive
irrigation as the watermelons near maturity will adversely
affect fruit flavor. Also, diseases which reduce the vigor
of the plant and the leaves' ability to produce sugar will
affect fruit flavor. Maintaining the plants in a healthy
growing condition and avoiding excessive watering near maturity
will improve watermelon flavor. Lack of flavor is not caused
by watermelons crossing with other vine crops, such as cucumbers
and cantaloupes. Variety of watermelon grown also affects
size and flavor. The number of fruit on the vine will control
ultimate size -- of course, that ultimate size of any variety
is determined by genetics. For the largest melon a variety
is capable of maturing, remove all but one fruit per vine.
Then all of the energy of that plant will be directed into
the sizing of that one fruit. Grow the plant well and that
one fruit will be as large as that particular variety is
capable of producing.
QUESTION: I'm growing several types of peppers in
large pots and so far I've gotten good production. However
almost over night my plants leaves have started turning
yellow have started turning yellow. This is also happening
to a miniature fig tree that I have in a large pot. I live
out west of Galveston and our rainfall has been very heavy
at times and then dry periods. Am I having an overwatering
problem or lack of fertilization perhaps? I've used Miracle-Grow
on my peppers but don't know what to use on my fig tree.
Do potted plants require a more vigorous feeding program?
ANSWER: The plants could have gotten water-logged.
Fertilization of vegetable crops (pepper) in pots should
be more than ornamentals where you just want to keep the
plant green and growing slowly.
QUESTION: I have two beds of holly planted on the
south side of my house. One was planted 8 years ago and
the holly are thriving. The other I began planting 4 years
ago and I have replaced them 3 times. All of them. The leaves
begin drying up on the ends spreading up the stem and finally
the plants dry up and die. No one seems to know why. Could
it be something in the soil and if so what. We live on black
land and the bed is sand based with peat, compost, added
and it is mulched.
ANSWER: I cannot tell you why your plants are dying
but I can tell you that when you get desiccation (drying
up) on the end of the leaves it is normally a moisture problem.
It can be either too much water or too little water. Since
the normal reaction when we see something like this happening
is to rush out and water the plants I would tend to suspect
too much rather than too little. It may be that the plants
are in a bed that is holding water rather than draining
which then causes the drowning of the roots. This would
be exacerbated by the peat, compost and mulch. If you use
your finger to measure the moisture in the root ball you
can judge when to water. When you stick your finger into
the root ball up to the second joint and feel moisture,
there is no reason to water. Conversely, if it feels dry,
you should water thoroughly.
QUESTION: I had really pretty Easter Lilies last
year. Since we need to dig all the other bulbs and replant
them to get successful blooms outside- What do we do when
we dig these bulbs? Do they need to be chilled or do we
replant them immediately? Do we wash them off and store
them in a cool dry place? When do we replant for spring
blooms outside? Must they be kept moist?
ANSWER: I'm not sure what your situation is. If
the plants are in the ground already there is nothing that
needs to be done. They will come up again next year and
bloom. Unless Easter is very late, they will not make it
to the celebration as they are naturally an early summer
bloomer. If they are still in pots, information on placing
them in the garden can be found at any one of these Aggie
To plant your Easter Lilies outside, prepare a well-drained
garden bed in a sunny location with rich, organic matter.
Use a well- drained planting mix, or a mix of one part soil,
one part peat moss and one part perlite. Good drainage is
the key for success with lilies. To ensure adequate drainage,
raise the garden bed by adding good soil to the top of the
bed, thus obtaining a deeper topsoil and a rise to the planting
Plant the Easter Lily bulbs 3 inches below ground level,
and mound up an additional 3 inches of topsoil over the
bulb. Plant bulbs at least 12 to 18 inches apart in a hole
sufficiently deep so that the bulbs can be placed in it
with the roots spread out and down, as they naturally grow.
Spread the roots and work the prepared soil in around the
bulbs and the roots, leaving no air pockets. Water in immediately
and thoroughly after planting. Try not to allow the soil
to heave or shift after planting.
As the original plants begin to die back, cut the stems
back to the soil surface. New growth will soon emerge. The
Easter Lilies, which were forced to bloom under controlled
greenhouse conditions in March, bloom naturally in the summer.
You may be rewarded with a second bloom later this summer,
but most likely you will have to wait until next June or
July to see your Easter Lilies bloom again.
Another planting tip to consider is that lilies like their
roots in shade and their heads in the sun. Mulching helps
conserve moisture in between waterings, keeps the soil cool
and loose, and provides a fluffy, nutritious medium for
the stem roots. Or, a more attractive alternative would
be to plant a "living mulch," or a low ground
cover of shallow-rooted, complementary annuals or perennials.
The stately Easter Lilies rising above lacy violas or primulas
is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also sound gardening.
The Easter Lily bulbs are surprisingly hardy even in cold
climates. Just be sure to provide winter protection by mulching
the ground with a thick, generous layer of straw, pine needles,
leaves, ground corncob, pieces of boxes or bags. Carefully
remove the mulch in the spring to allow new shoots to come
up, as your Easter Lilies will keep on giving beauty, grace
and fragrance in years to come.
Additional information at this web site:
QUESTION: I really need some expertise on this ongoing
problem since it is not possible to reach the tops of our
pecan trees with spray unless we go professional. We moved
into a house with 8 very large pecans. I have tried various
treatments and know of a couple which you cannot readily
find the items needed. We prefer using BT , unless I want
a quick kill for personal reasons; but the spraying is always
a problem. I learned to hit the walnut caterpillars when
they're dumb enough to group late in the day. Someone mentioned
spreading Sevin dust around the tree base, but that is not
economical these days since you would need to spread enough
I suppose to assure their contact .
I am investigating to see if I can use the BT spray in
my husband's new pressure sprayer. He says nothing but cleaners,
and I say BT can't be worse unless the mixture itself is
clogging etc. I can understand that the poisons may be a
problem. I suppose it would depend on the inert ingredients
used in it. I'm working on that.
ANSWER: The Bt products are your best bet. They will
not harm your husband's new pressure sprayer. Just rinse
it thoroughly with water after use. The Diatomaceous earth
will not do much good on the caterpillars. If you are going
to go to the trouble of spraying you just as well use something
that is going to get them. Be sure to include a little bit
of dish-washing soap, like Ivory, Joy, etc. with the Bt
spray so that the spray will penetrate the web. Natural
enemies of the web worms and walnut caterpillars include
the paper wasps and a few parasites. The trick is to break
open the web with a pole so the wasps can get it there and
get the worms. I hope this information proves useful.
QUESTION: I just purchased a 4 foot Ficus and I
was told by the salesperson that it can be planted outside
in the hot sun and do very well. Is this true?? I was also
told that this tree was tropical and needed cool temperatures
- and was a great indoor plant. I live in Elmendorf and
the soil is sand, clay mix...will it do well outside?
ANSWER: There are over 800 species within the Ficus
genus and of the trees that are included I only know of
one that can be planted outside and survive a freeze. That
is the common fig which we eat. So unless your tree is growing
edible fruit, I would make it a houseplant. You can put
it outside for the summer but when you bring it into the
house for the winter it would probably drop all of its leaves.
It does not like to have its environment changed. So I recommend
that you find it a place near an east or south facing window
and let it grow and be happy. See this Aggie web site for