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Dallas Morning News - April 14, 2016

May Organic Maintenance

Q.  Could you please let me know what type of plant this is? I am very allergic to many plants and I just got over another bout of allergies. Thank you for your help.  E. J. Dallas, TX
A.  That's not poison ivy but rather a nice native groundcover/vine called Virginia creeper. No worries. Poison ivy has 3 leaflets rather than the 5 on your plant.

Q.  I just attended a lecture on Fire Ants Dr. Loriann Garcia, Visiting Professor at Austin College. I learned that imported red Fire Ants can tunnel 30 meters from the mound making mound base treatments ineffective. She recommended AMDRO, which is a poisonous bait that is carried back to the queen. But some colonies can have multiple Queens, maybe 100, making it very difficult to kill them all off. It usually takes many applications over a long period of time. J. G. McKinney, TX
A.  Amdro is toxic and doesn't work nearly as well as treating the site with dry molasses at 20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. or treating the site with beneficial nematodes per label directions. There are 1000's and 1000's of organic gardeners that have used these techniques with great success.

Q.  I would like to have one of the maples that has great fall color. What are the best ones to use? Also what are some of the other trees that you like for fall color and healthy growth? T.L.
A. First of all, I do not recommend the fancy hybrids that are sold under names like 'Autumn Blaze' and 'October Glory'. I've used them on projects in the past and they simply don't hold up well through the years. The best choice is Bigtooth Maple. My other favorite fall color trees include ginkgo, Persian ironwood, Texas red oak, Texas ash, escarpment black cherry and Canadian red chokecherry.

Big Tooth Maple

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