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CURRENT MOON
 
Butterfly Garden, Zoysia, Woodpecker Damage, Corn Gluten Meal, Oak Trees
April 04, 2003
By Howard Garrett

Q.  I have a butterfly garden and have been doing compost of grass, leaves and vegetable matter.  Last summer there were so many small dark maggots I could hear them when I would go to turn the compost.  I looked on my garden sheet of good bugs/bad bugs and it said it was a bad bug that eats plant tissue.  I have all this black good compost but afraid to use it because it contains a kind of hard black maggot.  I would even put dishes of them out for the birds and they didn't touch them.  I have called numerous garden centers and they have no answers. 

A. You need to get a better sheet of good bugs/bad bugs. Look in the Texas Bug Book. You'll see that what you have are the highly beneficial larvae of the black soldier fly. They will almost always be present in moist compost. If you have a large population, your compost is too wet.

 

Q. Saw an ad for zoysia that made it wound hard to believe. Is zoysia a grass you would recommend for North Texas? – A.A, Dallas

A. Zoysia should only be purchased from local growers and retail suppliers. It shouldn't be planted any way but solid sod. Any other method (sprigs or spot sod) will give you a weedy mess. Zoysia is a beautiful, lush grass that needs little mowing or edging compared to other summer grasses, but it’s a grass to look at rather than use. Because of its slow growth, it does not rebound well from wear and tear. And by the way – you shouldn’t believe those mail order ads.

 

Q. I have a 12 year old live oak that has been attacked by a woodpecker. We put a rubber snake in the tree to scare the birds. Should I do something to the tree since the birds have put a "zillion" holes in the bark? – D.C., Dallas

A. You definitely need to deter this pretty bird's work on your tree. He's actually a sapsucker instead of a woodpecker and is attracted to your tree because it is some degree of stress. Make sure the tree is not planted too deep in the soil, apply Tree Trunk Goop to the holes in the bark and apply the Sick Tree Treatment.

 

Q. Can you use corn gluten meal in the vegetable garden to control weeds and when should you use it? – D.B., Dallas

A. Yes, but if you plan to plant any crops from seeds it's best to wait to apply the CGM after the seedlings have emerged. Applying before germination will hurt your seedling production.

 

Q. The leaves on our live oak trees are falling off - dead.  Is this a problem or is this natural? – E.L., Edinburg.

A. Natural. This is the time of year that the live oaks' swelling buds push off their leaves and start the spring growth. All trees drop their leaves, live oaks just do it at a different time. Mulch them into the turf and put the excess in the compost pile.

 

Q. Could you please recommend the highest yeilding varieties of full size tomatoes for the Fort Worth Area.  My soil is of the black variety. – C.B.H., Dallas

A. My favorites are Salsa, American, Jackpot, President, Brandywine and my favorite - SuperFantastic. Those who like the small tomatoes should try Porter, Viva Italia, Riesentraube and Wild Cherry.

 
Archive

   01 Howard Garrett Newsletter Organic Fly Control Final TEST
   A burning question on lawns
   A Monster's Growing Under Our Deck!
   About oak sprouts
   After exposing tree’s root flare, leave it alone
   Ailing from harsh summer, crabapple needs treatment
   Amount of tilling, not method, is what matters.
   An organic option to control the fleas
   An unwelcome bug is eating ornamental plants
   Antique, container roses are sweeter
   Any way to help heal injured tree?
   Apple and pear trees need little pruning
   Are gnats hanging out on your houseplants? There's hope
   Are mushrooms bad for my yard?
   Are tree galls troublesome?
   Asps won't hurt plants 9-01-2006
   Attracting Birds To The Garden, Composting, Sprayers
   Azalea beds may be incorrectly done
   Baby talc marches against ants
   Bag the worm problem to save tree
   Bald cypress roots expose themselves.
   Bamboo, the imperialist threat
   Bees like these plants.
 
 
 
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