Q&A – Ask Neil: May 19, 2022
We’re still tweaking and tuning how this section works. I know some of you were closed out when you tried to post your questions. I’ve had to limit the number of questions that can be loaded each week. I can see that there have been more than 100 per week, and my double-vision issues simply can’t handle that much time in front of the monitor. It’s not a job I can farm out, either. I ask your patience as I try to figure out the best compromise for you and for me.
So, here are this week’s questions and my answers. The questions come from all across Texas and their topics are really varied. I think you’ll enjoy them.
Click here to post your question. A new window will pop up giving you the address to which you can e-mail a photo to accompany your question. Clear, medium-resolution photos really help in many occasions!
• Watch for your answer in the following week’s e-gardens.
• I choose those of greatest general interest. For example, plant IDs seldom make the cut.
• I must have your first name or initials.
• I must have your city or county. (Texas is a very large state.)
(Tip: Post soon after 6 p.m. The “In” box filled within the first hour last week.)
WHEN TO TREAT FOR GRUB WORMS
Dear Neil: I’ve seen lots of June bug activity. This seems very early. Is it? When should we treat for grub worms? Wade T., Watauga and David D. in Van Zandt Co.
CITY’S WATERING RESTRICTIONS THREATEN NEW SHRUBS, TREES
Dear Neil: Due to the drought locally we are allowed to water only once per week. What can we do with new trees, shrubs and turf grass? Steve S., Comal Co.
SEQUENCE OF FLOWERING PERENNIALS
Dear Neil: Can you give us a sequence of perennials, spring to fall and short to tall for a 2- X 12-foot garden? Stephen C., Waco.
CONTROL OF NUTSEDGE IN FLOWERBEDS
Dear Neil: I have a large amount of nutsedge (“nutgrass”) in a flowerbed containing phlox, daylilies, Peruvian daffodils and a rose-of-Sharon. Is Image or Sedgehammer safe for use in such a setting?
HOW SHOULD I RESOLVE PISTACHIO PROBLEMS?
Dear Neil: Each year our Chinese pistachio puts out wonderful new growth in the spring. Shortly thereafter and for the remainder of the summer the leaves and branches intermittently die. How can I stop the cycle, or should I just cut it down? Brian S., Frisco.
EXPLAIN DIFFERENCES IN RED OAKS’ COLORS
Dear Neil: I live in a townhome community and each of the 80 units has a red oak in the front. Within about the past month, two dozen of the trees have browning leaves and are not as green as the others. What might be happening? Lorraine C., Tyler.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO MY YAUPONS?
Dear Neil: My yaupon hollies were healthy before. Now they’re turning brown and crisp. Why would this happen? Jill B., College Station.
WHAT TO DO WITH TULIP AND JONQUIL BULBS NOW?
Dear Neil: I planted tulip and jonquil bulbs last December and they did great this spring. Do I need to dig and store the bulbs or should I leave them planted? Dale, San Antonio.
SHOULD LIVE OAK BE PRUNED?
Dear Neil: Our 40-year-old live oak was hurt by the winter of 2021. Should we remove the dead branches in summer or trim them now? Jory W., Forney.
WHAT CAUSES THIS BLACK OOZE ON A HOLLY?
Dear Neil: I have several mature Nellie R. Stevens shrubs. One of them is oozing a black substance. I’ve been watching it for six weeks. What should I do? Jim S., Arlington.
WHAT’S BEST FOR EROSION CONTROL?
Dear Neil: Our house is downhill from neighbors on three sides. When we have heavy rains water pours like a stream. Over 8 years my soil is very eroded. What will stop that? Deirdre L-M, Bexar Co.
OCTOBER GLORY RED MAPLES GOING DOWNHILL QUICKLY
Dear Neil: I had three October Glory red maples planted in a row in December 2021. Just in the past week the leaves on the middle tree started to droop and now they are brown. The other trees look fine. What is causing this? Chris O., Waxahachie.
BROWN PATCH OR TARR?
Dear Neil: I’m trying to determine if this is brown patch or TARR. It’s been there for about a year. It doesn’t go away, but it’s not getting any better, either. Eloise F., Richardson.
CALCIUM FOR BETTER TOMATOES?
Dear Neil: I have heard that tomatoes do better with calcium added to the soil. What is the best source of calcium for tomatoes?
CRAPE MYRTLE FOR INTENSELY HOT LOCATION
Dear Neil: Is there a crape myrtle that can handle the intense, triple-digit West Texas heat we are already having? I need one that grows to 20 ft. or taller. Should I wait until October to plant it? Linda W., Tom Green Co.
2,4-D ON ST. AUGUSTINE?
Dear Neil: I’ve heard you recommend 2,4-D to control weeds in St. Augustine, but the product labels say it should not be used on that grass. Thoughts? Cindy H., Friendswood.
WILL ROSE-OF-SHARON SURVIVE?
Dear Neil: My rose-of-Sharon was hurt badly by the cold of February 2021. One branch died, then another didn’t leaf out this year. I trimmed it up. Do you think it will survive? Connie P., West.
CUT RED MAPLE TO GROUND?
Dear Neil: My red maple has gone downhill in a matter of a few weeks. If I cut it to the ground will it regrow into a good tree? James M., Prairieville, Van Zandt Co.