QUESTION: A year ago, we planted a lacebark elm by following your planting instructions: cut the circling roots, expose the treeís root flare and add mulch. The tree was doing well until recently, when we noticed some of the branches drying and dying. St. Augustine grass runners were extending from the lawn into the root flare area, and my husband has been cutting them with a heavy-duty electric weed trimmer. Yesterday, I inspected the root flare, and it seems that my husband recently cut all the way through two of the treeís small roots and then scalped the largest root and the base of the tree with the weed trimmer. Can we do anything to save the tree?
ANSWER: Cover the wounds with my Tree Trunk Goop, a paste that you can make. Applying burlap soaked in the same paste (but with more water added) will help keep the area moist as it heals.
QUESTION: I recently received hummingbird vine seeds, which I planted. I later researched the plant online and read that all parts are poisonous if eaten. I have two small children, and I hope to get a dog. Would it be wise to keep this plant? L.H., Arlington
ANSWER: If you are talking about cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit), it is a common garden annual. I have never heard of anyone being poisoned by it. However, the vine becomes invasive in some gardens. It is best to teach children not to eat any plants, except those that are served at the dinner table.
QUESTION: My yard is a victim of weed-and-feed synthetic fertilizer. The only things that live in the concretelike soil are fire ants and clumps of weeds. What would be the least expensive solution? K.H., Carrollton
ANSWER: A heavy application of dry molasses (25 pounds per 1,000 square feet) followed by my Sick Tree Treatment will move things in the right direction. To speed the process, apply activated charcoal (per label directions) and zeolite at a rate of 40 to 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
QUESTION: I have a pomegranate tree that had buds last year, but all the buds dropped off. This year, I have seen a dramatic increase in buds and want to make sure that they mature into fruit. Is there anything that I should be doing? J.G., Garland
ANSWER: I have had good results after spraying regularly with compost tea or Garrett Juice. Adding fish emulsion and Soil Mender Plant Wash (www.soilmender.com) to the spray also helps. (Follow label recommendations.)
QUESTION: Is it OK to spray spinosad and neem oil on vegetable plants at the same time? J.W., Gonzales
ANSWER: Itís probably OK, but Iím not sure you need both pesticides. Using a liquid organic fertilizer would be much more effective than a second pesticide.