TX Organic Research Center



Bees like these plants.
October 08, 2008
By Howard Garrett


QUESTION: You frequently advise people to feed birds. Could you include bees and tell people how to feed them? Bees have taken over my hummingbird feeders, and the hummingbirds have left.  J.S., Weatherford

ANSWER: Plant lots of flowering plants. Sweet almond verbena, anise hyssop and Texas kidneywood are the best bee attractants in my gardens. Bees can be repelled from hummingbird feeders by spraying the feeders with a product containing spinosad. Bees must ingest the pesticide for it to harm them.

QUESTION: Can concentrated humates work like corn gluten meal and molasses to kill sand burrs? J.K., Southlake

ANSWER: Any organic amendment or fertilizer such as the ones you mention will help to control weeds. The amendments donít work as fast as corn gluten meal does, but anything that builds humus in the soil will provide weed control.

QUESTION: What level of chlorine is considered harmful to an organic garden? My city water-quality report came back with a highest average level detected of 1.5 parts per million. Would this be harmful to an organic lawn and garden? Should I buy a garden-hose chlorine filter, which costs about $50?   M.M., Missouri City

ANSWER: Any amount of chlorine does some damage, but organic products and beneficial soil life have great buffering power. If your budget allows, filtering the water would be helpful.

QUESTION: I have three windmill palms that seem to have some sort of fungus. These palms are replacing three that died from the same thing, which appears to be some kind of trunk rot. The palms wilt, and later the stalk gets soft and dies. What should I treat them with?  J.S., Dallas

ANSWER: First, spray the plants with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (the type sold for first-aid use in supermarkets and drugstores). Then, follow up with at least one thorough spraying of Soil Mender Plant Wash. Correct any drainage problems that may exist, and stop overwatering. You also could use my Sick Tree Treatment.

QUESTION: I bought a house with many fruit trees in the yard. Several of the trees are oozing sap from the trunk and limbs. The fruit also had bubbles of sap on it. What should I do for the trees?  J.B., Glen Rose

ANSWER: Use my Sick Tree Treatment or, better still, my Organic Pecan and Fruit Tree Program. Recipes for both can be found on the Web site under Basic Organic Printouts.


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