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Dallas Morning News - August 11, 2016

Q.  Do you know what this is? Was found in the woods near Dallas under a sweet gum and oak.  T. L. Dallas, TX

A.  It’s one of the various galls that show up in red oaks. Most galls like this are cosmetic and not an indication of a serious problem unless the population of these growths is extremely heavy. If the tree is loaded with galls of any kind, it is an indication of pretty bad stress and the Sick Tree Treatment is needed.

Q. I recently heard Howard discussing a weight reduction plan he and his wife are using.  I was very interested in finding out more about the product, but as I said, I just got in on the very last of his conversation concerning the product. R. B. Willow Park, TX
A.  The product we were talking about was Dr. Ohhira's probiotic product. Judy and several of her friends have found the weight loss a great side benefit of the product. The primary benefit is better gut health and general health improvement. The good health food stores sell it and it is available on line.

Q.  I can't find liquid BTI to spray for mosquitos. How do mix it?  J. N. Dallas, TX
A.  Put one of the doughnut shaped dunks or about 1/4 cup of the granulated product in a 5 gallon bucket of water, let set for an hour or so, strain out the solids and spray the home-made liquid Bti over the entire site. Crush the dunk before putting in the water. Use the solids you strained out to put in standing water traps. I keep two of these stagnant water traps back in the utility area all the time. You can use 5 gallon buckets, washtubs or any containers that will hold water. These Bti laced traps attract the mosquitoes but they don't leave!

Q.  We seem to have a lot of mosquitoes in our home and don't know why but our question is are there any electronic devices we can use in the home for mosquitoes? Using any sprays are not acceptable because of health issues and inhalant issues because of COPD. We appreciate any advice you can give us. Thank you.  E. W. Moody, TX
A.  Here is the overall mosquito program:
We are testing DYNATRAP as seeing good results. This product could be helpful:

Q.  Hi, I missed the name of your three top indoor plants to help with clean air. Would you please provide the names? I appreciate your expertise and helpfulness.  V. O. Dallas
A.  The best 3 in my opinion are the ones that are also easiest to grow - Sansevieria (mother-in-law's-tongue), Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen) and ZZ plant (Zanzibar gem).

Q.  I have two beautiful azaleas that seem to be dying. The leaves are starting to curl, color is turning brown and are not healthy at all. I have nurtured them since planting, with lots of compost, lava sand and green sand. They've received lots of watering this spring with all the rain, and I made sure they were still moist when the weather turned hot and dry. I've even tried parts of the "Sick Tree Treatment." I see new growth at the bottom of the bases, so I know there is still life in them. What do you recommend? R. B. Waco, TX
A.  You're doing all you can do. This weather has been bad on tender plants. Spraying and drenching with a mild solution of the Garrett Juice mix might be helpful. Hopefully the weather will soon cool off and the plant should rebound.

Q.  I'm working to expose the root flare on a bradford pear. I encountered circular roots as I dug down and I removed some of those roots. The trunk flares more on one side than the other. Do I need to continue to remove more dirt? Should I remove more of the upper roots?  D. N. Keenesburg, CO
A.  Flat vertical parts of the flare indicate problem roots preventing the flare from expanding. So, sounds like you do have a little more work to do. It doesn't hurt the tree to remove problem roots - just the opposite, the tree will appreciate your work.

Q.  Every year about this time my vinca in my very shady front yard goes into decline. Leaves wilt and turn to “cicada wings”. I do not believe I am over watering, and the surrounding plants are healthy so I am not under watering. Please help me diagnose and remedy.  D. W. Dallas, TX
A.  Vinca major is an effective groundcover for large shade areas but it does has a flaw. There are several weaknesses with the plant but the main one is that it doesn't like the heat. When in stress vinca is attacked by aphids, fungal disease and simply burns. To minimize this common problem, apply lava sand at 80 lbs per 1000 sq ft., apply compost at about 1" and be as consistent with watering as possible. Dry whole ground cornmeal applied at 20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. and/or cornmeal juice sprayed on the foliage will also help.

Q. What is this beautiful Dalmatian looking insect and should we be concerned about it being a damaging pest? L.S. Dallas
A. Your pretty insect is a moth. It’s the adult of the famous wooly bear caterpillar. Legend has it that the larva of this moth can help predict the weather. The myth is that the reddish bands on the woolly bear can actually help you determine how severe the weather will be. The wider the bands, the more severe the upcoming winter will be. This beautiful moth is not economically important and control measures are not recommended or required.

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