Q&A – Ask Neil: June 2, 2022
(Please read these instructions to help this section succeed.)
I hope you’re enjoying this new Q&A format. I’m still tweaking things. Here’s where I need your help:
• 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 (no thumbnails, please).
• Please only post your question one time.
• Please use this only for posting questions – not for standard emails.
• Watch for your answer in the following week’s e-gardens.
• I choose those of greatest general interest. For example, plant IDs are usually of interest only to the person sending them.
• I must have your first name or initials.
• I must have your city or county. (Texas is a very large state.)
CUT CRAPE MYRTLES TO GROUND?
Question: Five out of 10 Natchez crape myrtles planted 15 years ago are struggling this year but do show signs of life. I’ve read your comments and solutions on taking them down to the ground. Is it reasonable to give them another growing season? Valerie G., Rockwall.
USE STUMP KILLER NEAR TREE?
Question: I have a magnolia tree that had six boxwoods surrounding its trunk. We removed the boxwoods but found it difficult to get rid of the boxwood roots without disturbing the magnolia’s roots. Would my magnolia tree be injured if I used stump killer on the shrubs’ roots? Bobby E., Richardson.
WHY IS BUR OAK YELLOW?
Question: I planted a bur oak several years ago. Its leaves are yellow with dark green veins. They are turning brown and dropping. What could be wrong? Ginger L., Fort Worth.
WHY ARE CAMELLIA LEAVES BROWNING?
Question: Our camellia took a hit in the winter cold. It was starting to look better this spring, but the new leaves have now developed brown ends. What is the cause and solution? The plant is west-facing and gets direct sun for about 4 hours. Karen D., Denton.
WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CANNAS?
Question: I’ve been growing cannas for several years. This unusual pattern of holes has been getting worse. What can I do to stop it? John M., Lewisville.
HOW CAN I KILL WEED GRASS IN ST. AUGUSTINE?
Question: What can we safely use to remove Johnsongrass in St. Augustine? It is tall and spindly. It becomes ugly within two days after mowing. Janice W., Olney.
SHOULD FLOWERS BE REMOVED FROM HOSTAS?
Question: Should I remove flower stems from hostas like I do from my caladiums? Melinda A., Frisco.
WHY ARE TREE’S TIP LEAVES BROWN?
Question: What might cause dead leaves all over my ornamental plum tree? Most of the leaves are green, but there are patches of dead leaves. We have lived here 10 years and the tree was here then. Sally A., Granbury.
WHY WERE COLUMBINES TINY?
Question: I had many, many flowers on my Hinckley’s columbines this year, but they were smaller than usual. Would that be a response to two cold winters, or is there a bigger problem? Janelle O., Bryan.
WHAT CAUSED ZOYSIA LAWNS TO TURN BROWN?
Question: We have several spots in our zoysia lawn. Our neighbors have the same situation in their lawns. They are not near one another. What is this? Bill F., Tyler.
CAN I GROW LILACS IN TEXAS?
Question: I’ve always wanted to grow lilacs in Texas, but I thought they wouldn’t grow well here. I went to one of the big box stores last week and they had two varieties for sale. What is your opinion? Lucinda H., North Richland Hills.
HOW SHOULD A PISTACHIO BE WATERED?
Question: How should I water a large, new Chinese pistachio tree? It looked like this the day after it was planted. Marietta L., Tarrant Co.
WHERE CAN I BUY GOOD WILDFLOWER SEEDS?
Question: I am planning a wildflower/pollinator garden and succulent area. Where could I find reliable wildflower and perennial seeds? Melody P., Parker.
WHAT IS THIS BUR AND HOW CAN I CONTROL IT?
Question: After a recent rain I noticed these burs in my bermudagrass lawn. There are a good many large patches. What can I do to get rid of them? Mike A., Keller.
WHAT BUG ATE NELLIE R. STEVENS HOLLY?
Question: I thought Nellie R. Stevens hollies didn’t have any real insect problems. I was surprised to see leaf and limb damage. Please let me know how to treat these. Brent F., McKinney.
WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO MY TWO LEMON TREES?
Question: I have two lemon trees, one Meyer and one Arctic. Both were planted two years ago when they were about 3 feet tall. The first year I had three lemons. This year both were covered in flowers, but now both have dropped almost all of their leaves. There are no fruit in sight. They get morning sun, shade in the heat of day and then evening sun. What is wrong? Candy P., San Antonio.