Question: Can I add the crabgrass that I pull from my lawn to the compost pile? I am concerned that the plants and seeds may grow or germinate. J.V., Denton
Answer: Weeds of all kinds are great ingredients for compost. They are loaded with trace minerals. The composting process kills the seeds, so spreading is not a problem.
Question: Many of my live oaks are infested with what I call water bugs. They look like huge cockroaches. Last year, one tree fell over in the middle of the night. Are the bugs the cause? What should I do about the other infested trees? A.L., Fort Worth
Answer: What you have are cockroaches, but they don't hurt trees. They feed on dead and decaying organic matter and are beneficial outdoors. You should hire an arborist to examine your trees to determine what may be wrong.
Question: Last fall, you mentioned a product that could be sprayed on hedges to keep them free of mosquitoes for up to 30 days. Was the product name Garlic GP? C.R., Granbury
Answer: Spraying garlic works well, as does broadcasting minced garlic. Garlic GP products are sold in most feed stores and garden centers that offer organic products. The research and labeling is targeted at disease control, but all garlic oils and teas work well to control insects. I have been using garlic for that purpose for years.
Question: We have lived in our new house for four years, and we have found powder post beetles in wood cabinetry in the kitchen. Can they be eliminated or treated naturally? C.S., Frisco
Answer: Painting or spraying orange oil on the wood probably will do the trick, but it will mess up the finish. After using it to get rid of the pests, you will probably have to restain or paint.
Question: Do I need to dig up tulip bulbs after they stop blooming? K.S., Bedford
Answer: Tulips usually are treated as annuals in North Central Texas; they do not return reliably the next spring. Feel free to dig them up and toss them into the compost pile. Otherwise, they will probably decompose underground on their own.