TX Organic Research Center



Beneficial wasps can help get rid of bagworms.
March 24, 2011
By Howard Garrett


QUESTION: I plan to purchase a backpack sprayer to use for bagworm control. Is this the best way to control bagworms? S.F., Frisco

ANSWER: In my opinion, the best backpack sprayer, especially for the money, is made by Stihl. For bagworm control, the release of trichogramma wasps is a better approach than spraying. Save spray for visible evidence of chewing caterpillars. Release tiny trichogramma wasps as leaves begin to emerge in the spring.

QUESTION:  What are the safest types of planters or pots to use for growing herbs indoors? Are clay pots good? N.E., Midlothian

ANSWER: Clay pots usually are best. They donít contain heavy metals or other toxic materials, and oxygen can penetrate clay. Plastic and metal containers are least desirable. 

QUESTION: I planted radish, spinach, beet and lettuce seeds before the recent freezes. Will the seeds germinate? Should I replant? B.M., Fort Worth

ANSWER: The seeds should be fine, and the plants should have good production.

QUESTION: I have seen a wisteria plant with dark blooms. These vines donít seem to create seedpods as other wisterias do. What plant is this? Last year, I planted two red maples. I think I revealed the root flares while planting, but Iím not sure. Is it too late to dig up the trees to make sure there are no circling or girdling roots? L.C., Lewisville

ANSWER: The plant you have seen may be evergreen wisteria (Millettia reticulata), which blooms from early summer until frost. It is not as invasive as the lilac-colored Chinese wisteria that is blooming now.   The best raspberry variety for North Texas is ĎDorman Red.í   This is a good time to work on the roots of the red maples.

QUESTION: Two planting mixes you recommend for azaleas contain shredded hardwood bark and compost. Other sources recommend using pine bark. Iím confused. C.T., Austin

ANSWER: Donít use pine bark. The best materials for azalea bed preparation are shredded hardwood, compost, coconut fiber and shredded or fine-textured cedar.


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