TX Organic Research Center



About oak sprouts
June 30, 2011
By Howard Garrett

QUESTION: Numerous small oaks are sprouting from oak tree roots in my yard. I want to plant three more oaks, but I have no money to buy trees. Can I transplant the tiny oaks instead of buying trees?   

Is there a comparable method for growing transplants from a pecan tree in my yard?

J.R., Larue


ANSWER; If the small oaks are seedlings (meaning that they sprouted from acorns), they can be moved to containers or to new locations in the landscape. If they are sprouts off of the roots of a tree, they wonít survive being moved because they wonít have roots of their own. Pecan trees can be grown from nuts or from dormant bud sticks that are grafted to other rootstock.



QUESTION: We recently added a 4-by-8-foot raised bed to grow vegetables, but we missed the window of opportunity for spring planting. What do you think we should grow during the heat of summer?

D.S., Rockwall


ANSWER; Vegetables that donít mind heat include black-eyed peas, squash, zucchini, chile peppers, okra, beans, cucumbers and melons.



QUESTION: I would like to use rock dust as an amendment in my garden, but shipping is expensive because of the productís weight.  What do you think of using sea minerals in a vegetable garden instead? I believe that the only way to raise healthy humans is by growing healthy foods in healthy, mineralized soil.

B.F., Azle


ANSWER; That should work. You also should consider using diatomaceous earth as a soil amendment. It weighs very little, so the shipping cost is reasonable. I agree that it is important to add minerals to soil.


QUESTION: Is there an aromatic pine with a maximum height of 10 feet that will do well in Texas? 

And why is organic food so expensive? The high cost makes it hard to feed a family with a blue-collar salary.

J.A., Dallas


ANSWER; All pines that are well adapted to Texas grow much taller than 10 feet. The Italian stone pine is my favorite, and it has a maximum height of 35 to 65 feet.   Itís true that organic foods are expensive if you buy them at supermarkets. But if you grow vegetables and fruits in a garden, food will cost less. If you calculate all health-care costs and other expenses, following an organic lifestyle can help you save money even if you must buy organic foods.



QUESTION: We have an area of shallow, sandy soil that we must irrigate constantly to keep plants alive. Is there an organic amendment that we can use to improve the soil?

K.R., Eastland


ANSWER; Lava sand and zeolite will help more than anything. Apply about 100 pounds of each amendment per 1,000 square feet by broadcasting them after you core-aerate the soil.



QUESTION: How much efficacy does organic fertilizer and compost lose when it is stored between growing seasons?

M.W., Rockport


ANSWER; Very little. In fact, some organic fertilizers become more potent because of biological activity in the material.   Liquid products such as Garrett Juice sometimes develop clumps because of microbial activity, but the lumps can be strained out before you use the product. You can toss the lumps into a compost pile.  

Hot pepper products lose some of their potency over time, but this is not a great concern unless you store garden supplies a long time. Donít do that.


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