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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.

Click here


Every gardener should plant the vegetable that provides a rich source of Vitamin A. You certainly don't want to be without those Bugs Bunny delights which recent research suggests may help prevent cancer. As a good, healthy food and a great source of dietary fiber, carrots simply can't be beat!

Carrots were originally used as medicines. Seeds or roots were consumed to cure stomach ailments and used in poultices for surface ulcers, abscesses and even severe wounds. Carrots were thought to relieve bladder, liver and kidney problems, and to aid childbirth. They were even believed to be aphrodisiacs.

Carrots are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and if you hurry to get your planting area ready by this Monday, you will be able to utilize the best moon planting dates for November (November 5-7) as well. Carrot seeds are sown directly into the soil. There are two major methods for sowing carrots. One is to plant them in rows in single file; the other is to scatter them in broad areas up to 12 inches wide. Both work equally well, except that there is a higher yield with the second method.

Plant seeds less than 1/4 inch deep. Carrot seeds are small, so be careful to sow them thinly to avoid overcrowding and rake them into the prepared soil surface to avoid planting too deep. The seeds usually take 14 to 21 days for germination. Keep the soil moist throughout germination. Carrot seeds are slow to germinate, so gardeners often mix faster-germinating radish or lettuce seeds with carrot seeds when planting, just to mark the area for watering and weeding. Radishes and lettuce can also help break up any crusting of the soil surface to produce better stands of carrots. The faster growing vegetables are then harvested before they can crowd the carrots, and less thinning is required.

When the seedlings emerge, thin by cutting off the tops of the weakest, most crowded plants with scissors to avoid disturbing the roots of remaining plants. When the carrots are about 3 inches high, thin again to 1 or 2 inches apart for row plantings and 1 to 3 inches for wide rows or beds (depending on what size carrot you want to harvest).

Carrots can be harvested as soon as they are large enough to use, so there is no need to think immediately about wider spacings. Larger thinned carrots, about finger-sized, can be eaten raw or cooked and are definitely a delicacy. By thinning and harvesting from mid-season until carrots are mature, you can have a continuous supply. Continuous harvests can also be insured by sowing at 2 to 3 week intervals instead of all at once.

A mulch of dried grass clippings, well rotted compost or other organic or inorganic materials will help conserve soil moisture, maintain even soil temperatures and reduce weeds. Apply a 1 to 3 inch layer of mulching materials around the base of the plants after they have emerged and are growing well, being careful not to cover up the foliage or stem. As carrots mature, especially in heavier soils, the roots of some varieties will push above the soil surface. The exposed part of the root will generally turn green or purple and develop a green area in the upper core, which has a slightly bitter taste. To eliminate these "green shoulders," apply mulch around the base of the carrots or use a hand tool, such as a hoe, to pull some of the surrounding soil onto the crowns.

Carrots can grow to gigantic sizes. The Guinness Book of World Records claims that the largest carrot ever grown was in New Zealand, in 1978. It weighed 15 lb., 7 oz. Carrots can be harvested as soon as the roots are large enough to use. Don't depend on foliage growth to estimate root size. It can be misleading. To check size, carefully loosen the soil around the top of the carrot root. Roots finger-sized and larger are ready to eat raw or cooked, and young carrots are a delicacy. Carrots are as "mature" and as large as they are going to be when the expanding root is as dark orange as the rest of the carrot -- when the growing point of the root is still expanding, it will have a high orange coloration.

In light or loose soils, harvest carrots by grasping the leafy crown and pulling straight up. The whole root should come out easily. In heavy or stiff soils, you may need to gently loosen the surrounding soil with a garden fork before pulling. Be careful not to disturb nearby carrots when removing only a few. Carrots can be stored at 32 to 40 degrees F. or, in fall/winter, simply by leaving the carrots in the garden until needed.

Future carrots will probably be faster growing, sweeter and more flavorful. The best varieties to plant now are Imperator for long carrots or Nantes and Danvers for shorter, blocker carrots. Carrot roots fork and/or stop growing if damaged by soil insects such as grubs or wireworms. If such insects have been persistent in the area where you intend to plant carrots, treat the planting bed with granular diazinon before seeding. Follow label instructions.

NOW is the best time to plant one of our most nutritious
garden vegetables -- the carrot. In the past if you have produced carrots that weren't sweet, it is because you planted in the spring instead of fall. All of the super-sweet carrots that are a trademark of Texas are grown ONLY in the fall months. Try it; you'll like it!

To read more about the history of carrots, see:

For visuals, see:


QUESTION: A client has an Italian Cypress planted between Llano and San Saba. They would like to know how much water it requires.

ANSWER: The Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) grows to 80 feet and is hardy from North Carolina to Arkansas and southward. In its native Southern Europe and Western Asia, it is famous as a garden subject, having been used for centuries. Its foliage is dark green and its form is like that of the Lombardy Poplar. The narrow, columnar variety, stricta, has been extensively used in California gardens. In this area of Texas it usually grows to 30 to 40 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide with a moderate growth rate. It is adapted to almost all of Texas but spider mites can be a problem, as well as extreme winters (fluctuating temperatures from high to low). This plant is not extremely drought tolerant but could be classified as moderately drought tolerant. Paul Cox at the San Antonio Botanical Garden says they have had Diplodia fungal problems on the ones growing on the Botanical Garden grounds during periods of wet weather.

QUESTION: I've seen something that looks like grass which hasn't been mowed in a long's long, and falls over gently. It blows in the wind, and looks like soft, rolling tufts. Something like what you'd picture in an English country garden. The best I can figure from the books is that it may be mondo grass. Is this correct? If not, I would like to know what exactly to ask for, and if it will do well in Los Angeles (zone 10 on your system). Also, I would like to know if it is hearty enough for heavy to partially shaded areas- with a few patches of sunny areas here and there. Also, will it withstand medium/large dogs...walking and running on it, as well as doing their "nature calls" thing? What would you recommend? I need to cover an area approximately 10' x 30' (and I'm on a budget!).

ANSWER: Check the PLANTanswers site for a listing of ornamental grasses:

You might also read the descriptions of ornamental grasses at:

I don't think you are describing mondo grass. Regardless of what you want, the dogs are going to have to be dealt with. No grass, with the exception of (maybe) bamboo, can tolerate dog abuse. If you are on a budget, get rid of the dogs and beautifully landscape your area!

QUESTION: I am a displaced Texan now residing in Florida. I have 2 beautiful oleanders that are over 20 feet tall. I am fighting a daily battle with highly destructive caterpillars, apparently from blue wasps. If left unaddressed, these caterpillars defoliate the entire plant in a few days. I have sprayed with Sevin and Malathion. Nothing has any lasting effect unless I can spray directly on the caterpillars themselves.

ANSWER: You have identified the Oleander Caterpillar, Syntomedia epilais juncundissima (Dyar), the worst pest of oleander in Florida. The larva is orange with tufts of long black hairs scattered over the body.

Simply use a product containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) such as Dipel, Thuricide, Biotrol or Biological Worm Control with 2 teaspoons of a liquid detergent such as Joy or Ivory Liquid per gallon of spray applied. This is completely safe for humans and completely deadly for worms (larvae) of all kinds.

QUESTION: As I begin to research Sumac, I am beginning to wonder if I am being foolish in trying to locate a plant for my property. I know almost nothing about it except that it provides food for many types of birds, and it has brilliant fall color. Can you tell me more about it? Will it grow well in this area? What type of care does it need? And, where can I find and purchase it? I am in Plano, Texas (Collin County).

ANSWER: Sumac is the common name for most members of the genus Rhus, which comprises numerous trees and shrubs, many of them familiar natives of North America. Most of the sumacs have compound leaves which assume brilliant scarlet colorings in the fall. Many of the native varieties grow well in dry, poor soil and are useful for massing on barren hillsides. Sumacs are increased easily by seed sown in autumn, or stored at freezing temperature or by root cuttings. They grow in any soil except damp soil. Some of the species sucker so readily that they become a nuisance in shrubbery borders. Cultivated sumac may be troubled with a powdery mildew, which, if severe, can be cured with benomyl , bayleton, or sulphur dust.

Rhus lanceolata (Prairie Flameleaf Sumac, Prairie Sumac, Texas Sumac, Lance-leaved Sumac, tree Sumac, Limestone Sumac or Prairie Shining Sumac) grows to 30 feet in height, usually on limestone or neutral clay, sand, and sandy loam soils, although at times it grows on acidic igneous soils. It inhabits the Blackland Prairies, the Cross Timbers and Prairies, the Edwards Plateau, the Rolling Plains (Palo Duro Canyon in Armstrong and Randall counties and the higher mountain Escarpment (Interstate Highway 35) and west and north of the Balcones Escarpment. To the east of these two geologic divisions the tree will graduate into Shining sumac.

I checked the GREAT BOOK OF ALL KNOWLEDGE to find a source. For you, the closest source listed is:

Louisiana Nursery
Rt. 7 Box 43
Opelousas LA 70570

You might also want to try:
King's Creek Nursery in Cedar Hill


Heard Natural Science Museum

QUESTION: Out in Hondo, I own apartments with broad-leafed vines, like grapevines, which grow uncontrolled all over the fences. It's very beautiful, but a constant maintenance headache! What can I use to kill off this vine and where can I get it? I tried some stuff from a home improvement center, but this vine is VERY persistent. (It has a pinkish-colored flower when it blooms and is very common to these parts.)

ANSWER: One person's trash IS another's treasure!!! You are referring to the Corral Vine which is a native of Mexico, and is widely cultivated in Texas and the Gulf south for its striking, lacy pink flowers. Like many of our popular heirloom plants, it has at least several common names, such as 'heavenly vine' and 'rose of Montana'. It is a vigorous vine, with heart-shaped leaves, that needs the support of a trellis, fence, or tree. The first hard freeze of autumn kills all the top growth, but established plants return readily the next year from sweet potato-like tubers that some sources describe as edible. It is generally root hardy in the southern half of our state, and can be easily grown in containers elsewhere.

Coral vines are easily grown, but must have good drainage and at least a partially sunny exposure. It is very drought tolerant, and really begins its landscape display after the first good rains of late summer and fall. A white form is sometimes available. Propagation is by division or seeds. It is best to start the seeds early in the spring so that the vines will grow and develop tubers before frost.

A. leptopus is an integral part of many southern gardens. At its best, it graces a garden like fine lace. The foliage is attractive and sufficiently dense to provide summer shade on trellises and arbors.

But since this vine is bothering you, simply begin spraying the new spring sprouts with a glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup, Ortho Kleanup or Finale as soon as they emerge, and then every 2 weeks. Use the highest recommended dosage or mix on the product label. The application of this systemic (taken into the plant and kills root and all) weed killer should eradicate this beautiful-- I mean pesky-- vine. You could shorten the kill-time by digging out as many of the "sweet potato-like tubers that some sources describe as edible" as possible and giving them to someone who has space enough to allow this plant to grow.

QUESTION: I have a bed of dwarf Indian Hawthorns in my backyard that, in my opinion, have never quite matured. My guess is that the soil was not conditioned properly when the plants were planted. I live in the Lockehill-Selma / Huebner Road area of San Antonio and want to know what fertilizer or soil conditioner I can use to get the Hawthorns to grow "fuller."

ANSWER: The only reasons Indian Hawthorns are not "fuller" are because they are in an area where the growing conditions are too wet and with too much shade. Unfortunately, no soil conditioner or amendment exists which will solve these plant-requirement problems.

QUESTION: I live in Kerrville and have 2 large pecan trees in my front yard. I would like to find out how and when I need to fertilize them. Also, they need to be pruned, and I'd like to know when is the best time to do that.

ANSWER: The cultural information you are looking for is outlined at the following Plantanswers location.

Usually we do not prune mature pecan trees except to remove limbs that are in the way or which have broken or died, etc. You can remove the lower limbs to improve air drainage underneath the trees. Prune in late January, removing such limbs at the point of attachment to the trunk.

QUESTION: I am a Master Gardener in Ellis County (Waxahachie). I've had calls about large limbs breaking off and falling from large, old pecan trees. Some of the limbs I have seen are 2 to 4 inches in diameter, and 10 to 15 feet long. I have been told this is stress damage--wet spring, lots of new growth, lots of nuts, limbs breaking and falling, or just hanging in the tree. It would seem to be a structural stress problem, like, too much weight on the limb? Most of the damage seems to have run it's course in the area. There was a lot of it. What do you think?

ANSWER: I believe this problem is due to a combination of factors. For one, the drought the last few years has been tough on trees and it is hard to know the full effect of such weather. Also, trees that are neglected for whatever reason, gradually over time deteriorate and the limbs become weak in nature. This, coupled with heavy loads of leaves and nuts along with wind storms, results in such limb breakage. Trees that are well cared for and watered usually have less limb breakage. So, over time, trees can be restored to a healthy condition unless they are too far gone.

QUESTION: My mother has a pyracantha and since she is 92 years old, I take care of the house and yard. This bush is growing in the back yard and needs trimming. How and when do I prune this bush?

ANSWER: Broad-leaved evergreens such as gardenias, camellias, azaleas, pyracantha, hollies and photinias require very little pruning. Lightly thin broad-leaved evergreens which are grown for their showy fruit, such as pyracantha and holly can be trimmed during the dorman season (January or February) if needed, for shaping. Remove old or weak stems. This group can go several years without pruning to keep them neat. If too much wood is removed from these plants at anytime, summer or winter, the amount of fruit is reduced the following season.

When these plants become old and straggly, cut them back 6 to 8 inches from the ground before spring growth begins. Don't cut them back too early, however, because a flush of growth could freeze and set them back. Prune only after the danger of the last killing frost is past. Such pruning stimulates the growth of new shoots from the base of the plant. Many gardeners prefer to remove only about one-third of the branches at one time and retain the general contour of the plant. Be sure to wear thick gloves when thinning pyracanthas or you will discover why these plants are sometimes referred to as fire thorns. The thorns or fruiting spurs contain a substance which causes scratches on the skin to be extremely painful. A word of warning is sufficient to the wise. PLANTanswers salutes you for continuing to take care of the house and yard for your 92 year-old Mama -- she and we love you for it!!!

By the way, did you know that pyracantha fruit is edible? Find a recipe at the PLANTanswers website:


QUESTION: Please tell me the requirements of 'Pride of Barbados'. I've been eyeing this shrub with its vibrant orange and very intense red at the corner of 410 and Callaghan on the grounds of the Texas Department of Transportation. So, yesterday I stopped, and after about 30 minutes, got to talk with Marvin Hatter, who manages the grounds there. He promptly gave me about 20 seeds from that plant and sent me on my way. Before I left with my seeds, he said it is a xeriscape-type plant.

ANSWER: "PRIDE OF BARBADOS" (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
A beautiful, heat-loving tropical shrub with red, orange and yellow flowers. Hardy in zone 9. Here is more information:

Flowers - Beautiful, orchid-like, red, orange, and yellow. Blooms from summer to frost.
Exposure - Hot sun.
Water Use - Low
Habit - Upright, vigorous shrub with soft prickles on stem. Grows 3 to 5 feet in height.
Uses - Container, As a specimen plant, a bedding plant, in containers. A tender xeriscape perennial or long season annual.
Note - By far, this is the most talked about plant at nurseries and garden centers during the heat of summer. Spectacular!