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Rein in those horsetail reeds
July 10, 2014
By Howard Garrett

Question: I planted horsetail reed in an area about 50 yards from the lawn. I've noticed it runs and appears some distance from the initial planting. I have read that it is basically a weed and hard to control. I like the way it looks, but I don't want it invading my lawn. What is the best way to either eliminate it or control it? I also have about three-fourths of an acre that is sodded with St. Augustine. I compost yearly and add dry molasses and corn gluten meal, but this year I have an exorbitant amount of nutsedge. I cannot pull all of these weeds. I just put down a large amount of dry molasses. What else can I do to minimize or eliminate this weed?  B.G., Fort Worth

Answer: Nutsedge, Bermuda grass and horsetail reed are all invasive. Physical removal and spot spraying with homemade vinegar herbicide are the basic options. The reed needs to have physical barriers to block it; I have mine growing in containers. It will greatly help to spray the area with Garrett Juice, to which you add 16 ounces of hydrogen peroxide. You can mix your own batch of Garrett Juice by following the free recipe on my website.

Question: How do I get rid of milkweed aphids on my butterfly weed plants? My plants are small because I grew them from seed. A blast of water will break the stems. D.L., Glen Rose

Answer: BioWash will kill them. You also might try the essential oil product called Trifecta from Nature's Guide. If you are growing milkweed plants for monarch butterflies, however, realize that either of these pest killers also will kill monarch caterpillars. The presence of aphids on a host plant such as milkweed is an indicator the plants have not been subjected to products toxic to beneficial insects.

Question: I have a weak Chinese pistachio tree. Can you tell me if the root flare is exposed enough to make it healthy again?   J.R., Sherman

Answer: It looks like your tree is at least 12 inches too deep in the ground. Since the top looks so weak, the tree also probably has severe circling and girdling roots. You could hire a certified and insured arborist to safely uncover the flare with a machine called an air spade. If you do the work yourself, be careful not to injure the flare while removing the soil and girdling roots.


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