Q&A – Ask Neil: May 26, 2022
We continue to fine-tune how we present our new Q&A format. I’m going to try, more and more, to select questions that are accompanied by good, clear photographs.
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.
After you submit 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 (not thumbnails, please) 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.)
GETTING CRAPE MYRTLES TO HOLD LEAVES
Question: How can I get my crape myrtles to hold onto their leaves longer into the fall so that they will have the lovely red color? N.J., Midlothian.
GARDENIAS DROPPING LEAVES
Question: We bought two gardenia bushes for our front yard two months ago. Both are under the eaves of the house in the courtyard area. They get filtered sunlight. I have noticed that many leaves on both bushes are now yellow. Is this a water issue? Beverly G., Plano.
ASHES OK IN GARDEN?
Question: I still have lots of oak ashes left over from the fireplace last winter. Would they be beneficial for my flowerbeds? Leann W., Garland.
GARDENIA DROPPING BUDS
Question: I can’t seem to make my gardenia happy. It’s in a container in a semi-shaded location. It keeps dropping buds before they open. I keep its soil moist but not wet. What might I be doing wrong? Ken A., Sulphur Springs.
BEST REPLACEMENT PLANTS
Question: The freeze of 2021 took out a large holly hedge at the front wall. I’d like to replant there with pittrosporum or some other low-growing shrub. I’m going to take out the boxwood and replace it with annual color in front. Thoughts? Bob C., Temple.
CHINQUAPIN OAK HAVING TROUBLES
Question: I planted a Chinquapin oak 7 years ago. Its leaves have now turned yellow and are falling off. The bark is flaking, and it is most pronounced just above the root flare. Another Chinquapin oak in my yard is doing just fine. What could be wrong? Dan U. Dripping Springs.
INSECTS ON LACEBARK ELMS
Question: My young lacebark elm looks bad. I shook a small twig of leaves over white paper and saw small insects moving around. My search of the insect identified thrips. I used a systemic drench of Imidacloprid on May 4. Teresa H., Tioga (Grayson Co.).
DWARF YAUPONS WITH DEAD SPOTS
Question: I have more than 30 dwarf yaupon hollies in my landscape. Several of them scattered in various parts of the yard have developed dead spots within the shrubs. The rest of the shrub will be OK. Any ideas? Tressa D., Levelland.
Question: I have a pecan weevil problem, but with several large trees I can’t hope for effective spray coverage on more than the bottom half of the canopies. Is there a product I might use? Wayne H., Alvarado.
WHY DID PRIDE OF BARBADOS DIE?
Question: In 2020 and 2021 I attempted to grow Pride of Barbados. The plants became available in nurseries in August. Each year I purchased three plants and planted those six plants in six different locations. Why did they all die? Mike C., Southlake.
RABBITS IN GARDEN
Question: I have a large rural garden. We have a real problem with rabbits. Mothballs did not help. I’m ready to try bloodmeal, but I’m wondering if you have a better recommendation? Cindy D., Lucas.
EMERALD GREEN ARBORVITAE DYING
Question: What might be wrong with this Emerald Green arborvitae? Patricia K., Frisco.
BOTTOM OF SWEET AUTUMN CLEMATIS LOOKS BAD
Question: My Japanese clematis is thriving on the top but it looks sick at the base. What is wrong and what should I do? Suzy A., Rockwall.
TEXAS ASH ISN’T FIRMLY ROOTED
Question: My beautiful 3-year-old Texas ash looks healthy, full and tall. However, the south wind almost pulls it up so I cannot take it loose from its stakes. I have just loosened them, per advice. Will it eventually become firmly rooted? Jwalk, Waxahachie-Maypearl.
SAVING SEEDS FROM PRAIRIE VERBENAS
Question: How can I get seeds from a nice stand of prairie verbenas we have on our property? Reggie T., Hewitt.