Q: These red seeds (see photo) fell incessantly from our oak trees for a week, yet most of the acorns are still attached. They seem to come from gall-like attachments to the oak leaves themselves. Are they actually wasp galls? And does this mean the oaks are fighting off a parasite?R.T., Highland Village
A: Interesting-looking galls. The little wasps that cause these are basically benign, but large amounts of the galls tend to indicate stress in the tree. Apply the Sick Tree Treatment described on my website to help the general health of the tree.
Q: What is the best way to protect loquats from freeze damage? I would like to plant a pomegranate in the spring, along our eastern-exposure fence line in full sun. Can it survive? S.S., Arlington
A: Loquats don't need winter protection unless we have a severe cold spell following a warm period. Many died during the winter of 1983-84, but that winter even killed many live oaks. Pomegranates do well here, and it's best to plant right now, in the fall. Spring planting is OK, but it is not nearly as good a time as now. When planting is done in the fall, significant root growth happens through the winter, and by spring the plant is off and running.
Q: I have six crape myrtles. I have three (15 to 20 feet tall) along the street at the front of the house that are losing their leaves, and the leaves are red. The other three are still green and are not shedding. In the spring, the three out front had a white sticky substance on them. I used a tree and shrub systemic insect drench on them and they seemed to do fine. D.M., Dallas
A: Take the toxic chemical back to the store where you bought it. Tell them I'm the one that recommended that. The sticky stuff was probably the waste, or honey dew, of aphids. They are easy to control with insecticidal soaps, essential-oil products and other safe, nontoxic organic products.
The leaves are turning red because that is the color they are supposed to turn in the fall. Crape myrtles are deciduous trees that lose their leaves when the cold sets in. Also, see the information on my website about trunk flares. Your trees are probably too deep in the ground, which leads to the insect problems.
Q: How do I keep little pesky gnats out of my houseplants?J.D., Gatesville
A: Apply Bti. It works great. It's the same biological product that kills mosquito larvae.
Resources Online: Find the details of the Sick Tree Treatment and free recipes for organic remedies