TX Organic Research Center



Ailing from harsh summer, crabapple needs treatment
April 19, 2012
By Howard Garrett


Q:  We have two crabapple trees. Due to the horrendous summer, one started dropping its leaves. I started pouring more water on it, thus reversing the dropping. Come spring, both trees had ample blossoms. However, one tree, once the blossoms were off, has a noticeable absence of leaves. Is it doomed? What should I do? R.M., Richardson

A:  It sounds like you need to apply the Sick Tree Treatment, starting with the removal of soil and mulch from the trunkís flare. This will help remove the stress that was partially created by the drought. Make sure to include the use of a mycorrhizal fungi product as you go through the steps of the procedure, which is outlined on my website.

Q:  I am interested in using your herbicide with orange oil, but will this recipe hurt our bees? T.A., Weatherford

A:  A heavy concentration of orange oil sprayed directly on bees would hurt them, but we have never gotten any reports on damage to bees using the mix we recommend. We agree that it is important to avoid spraying anything directly on bees.

Q:  Please help me do something to eliminate weeds in my St. Augustine lawn. For the last two years, I have used organic fertilizer and no chemicals, but I have had an explosion of weeds. It is mostly dollar weed, but an assortment of others are literally taking over my grass. My patience is running thin, and I canít afford to completely replace the sod. M.A., Fort Worth

A:  I would be surprised if you had dollar weed at this time of the year; it is a summer broad-leaf weed. If you could send some photos, it would easier for me to help. On the other hand, almost all broad-leaf weeds growing now can be killed easily with the product from Garden Weasel called Crabgrass Control. If you havenít already, apply dry molasses at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet, and the summer grasses should come on strongly and give you a nice turf.

Q: You once said that the best natural fertilizer is a thin layer of compost on the yard. What is the best method to apply it, with a spreader or by hand? I was thinking of making small piles and spreading with a rake. When is the best time to apply compost to the yard? S.W., Dallas

A: If the compost will go through a spreader, thatís great. But raking piles, as you suggested, is the most common method and works well. The best time to apply it is fall; the second best time is now. Once a year is usually enough.


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