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Dallas Morning News - July 14, 2016

Q.  I bought a house with failing cherry laurels, and I believe some crape myrtles would be the optimum replacement. What are your thoughts?  G. R. 
A.  Crape myrtles would be fine but I also like Mexican plum, Persian ironwood, Canadian red chokecherry and cat's claw acacia.

Q.  Good afternoon Mr. Garrett I really enjoy your weekly newsletters and really need help identifying this flowering shrub that is currently flowering around the North Austin area. It is really attracting some red admiral butterflies to the area.  F. C. Austin, TX
A.  Beautiful plant and seems to be a great pollinator plant. The flowers look like white Gregg's mistflower but the leaves don't. I'll copy Barney Lipscomb at BRIT and his staff seem to think this is cultivated privet - possibly Ligustrum quihoui or L. sinense.

Q.  Can you tell me where I may purchase white mistflower? I have blue mistflowers... really pretty. I'd like to add white for contrast. Can you tell me where I can purchase Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) plants or seeds? There are a few volunteers in my landscape........beautiful. I'd like to add more. Can you tell me where I can purchase a Desert Willow? I would assume that, if available, the fall
would be the best time to plant.  S. C. 
A.  Try these native plant growers in Texas. One that you definitely call is Far South Nursery in Austin - 512-291-4648.

Q.  Hi how often should I use Garrett Juice as a foliar spray on figs, roses and flowers?  S. S.  
A.  Once a month is usually often enough but some gardeners have great results treating every 2 weeks, especially on food crops. It's mainly a budget question.

Q.  I have knockout roses and compact green cloud Texas sage around my pool. I have not been able to prune these plants for 2 seasons and they have gotten larger than needed. Can I prune them back at this time and if so, how much should I prune them.  W. B. Forney, TX
A.  The roses can stand hard pruning most anytime but sage is a plant that has most of the foliage right at the end of the stems. Gentle pick pruning needs to be used so that not all of the foliage is cut away seriously damaging the plants.

Q.  Have you found a way to control or eradicate nut grass from my organic garden beds? By the way, I've started using Garrett Juice which is great!  W. B. Flint, TX
A.  Molasses treatments work well but take some time. Mix about 1/2 cup of liquid molasses per gallon of water and treat 100 sq. ft. Adding some dry molasses to the same area will also help. Another thing that helps is to treat the area first with a drenching of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Use about 32 oz. per 100 sq. ft. Nutsedge likes wet, anaerobic soil and the peroxide helps oxygenate the area. Physical aeration will also speed up things.

Q.  I have these “eggs” all over the gutters and eaves of my house.  What are they?  G. O.
A.  Probably some kind of moth eggs and not a serious problem. We can find out for sure by letting them hatch. Tape a plastic bag with some air holes punched in it over the eggs and wait to see what emerges. And be sure to take some photos so everyone can learn.

Q.  I have recently bought a couple desert rose (Adeniums), one about three years old and the other under one year. I was wondering what type and how often I should fertilize. On most sites it recommends like a 10-10- 10 but I want to stay organic. I plan on trying to Bonsai the younger one.  W. H. Corpus Christi, TX
A.  Desert rose is a succulent plant that needs plenty of water but can't stand staying wet all the time. Like all other plants, it will actually do better under an organic program. I use the Garrett Juice mixture on a monthly basis for this and other container plants.

Q. What is the natural way to control brown patch in St Augustine grass? Others have recommended removing 2" of soil and applying toxic fungicides.  R.G. Dallas, TX
A. The main thing to do is apply whole ground cornmeal at about 20 lbs. per 1000 sq ft. Secondly, an application of the Garrett Juice mixture and mycorrhizal fungus will speed up the recovery. You can make your own mixture or get the commercial product called Garrett Plus contains beneficial bacteria and fungus.

Q.  How can I stop mockingbirds from eating my Roma tomatoes and bell peppers as soon as they start to change color on the vines. I have put chicken wire around in the past and don't want to do that again.  B. K. Heartland, TX
A.  There's a product called Bird Scare Flash tape. It is silver on one side and red on the other. When pulled out in a spiral, it gives the birds the look of fire and does a good job of frightening birds and other animals away.

Q.  I have 2 golden delicious apple trees and the leaves are wilting and on one of them I found a tiny web with a very tiny bug in it. These are very young trees. And do I need to fertilize them? I planted them over a year ago.   F. W. Lindale, TX
A.  If they haven't been fertilized in a while, that may be the problem. They're hungry! Apply a dry organic fertilizer now at about 2 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. Then spray the plants and root zone with Garrett Juice with 1 tbs. of PureGro Pest and Disease Control added per gallon of spray.

Q.  I have something that looks like fungi growing on top of my mulch. It can be any color from off-white to almost orange. It appears sporadically and in different areas. What is it, and how can I get rid of it?  M. S. 
A.  It's probably slime mold that is a harmless fungus that grows on decaying organic material.

Q.  On your research page about corn gluten meal for weed and feed, I found two links that seem to be at odds. One seems to say to use corn gluten feed, not corn gluten meal. Which is it, or am I just reading the article completely wrong? I appreciate your answer and taking time to read this question.  A. S. Denton, TX
A.  One does corn gluten feed, but that is not good advice. Corn gluten feed is a waste product and has little use other than going in the compost pile. Corn gluten meal is the right product to use. It has a high protein level for fertilizer value along with the pre-emergent herbicidal power.

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