Q: Our gingko tree has leaves in the fall that don't turn bright yellow. They are sort of a mix between yellow and green, and then they fall off. Is this because the root flare is not uncovered enough? C.C., Dallas
A: The tree needs to have more dirt removed from on top of the root flare, possibly as much as 6 inches. The circling roots should be removed, as well.
Q: With all of the West Nile information, one recommendation has been to use DEET. I thought DEET was dangerous. What is your opinion? R.K., Dallas
A: In my opinion, DEET should never be used. It is too toxic, especially for children. As stated on the label, it can be dangerous to spray directly on the skin. Alternatives for repelling mosquitoes include Cactus Juice, Cedar-Cide, Divebomber Defense, Bug Band, Buzz Off, Jungle Juice and vanilla extract and water.
Every year, approximately one-third of Americans use insect repellents containing the insecticide DEET. Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia has spent 30 years researching the effects of pesticides. He has found that prolonged exposure to DEET can impair functioning in parts of the brain. Read it yourself at dukehealth.org/health_library/news/5500.
Q: There are big, green, June bug-looking bugs flying around my garden and pecan tree. They look just like the picture of a peach beetle in your library. Will they harm the pecans? Do I leave them alone or fight them? F.L. Saginaw
A: The green June bugs primarily eat fruit that has become overripe. They also will eat good fruit and foliage to become a serious pest, but they usually fall in the no-big-deal category.
An interesting side note is that our beekeeper, Brandon Pollard of the Texas Honeybee Guild, found hundreds of dead green June bugs on our roof, where the bee hives are. This was the morning after the second pesticide spraying for mosquitoes. The bees are OK because the Pollards covered the hives with cardboard boxes. These beetles are large insects. There's no telling how many small beneficial insects we have lost.