Dallas Morning News - June 30, 2016
Q. We found some creosote in a can under an old house we inherited and the can got knocked over on our walkway leaking about a cup or so of the liquid. Hard to believe that such a small amount of creosote would do so much damage-30 foot stain on the sidewalk and dirt migration around the sidewalk down to 4-5 inches in the soil. We tried some of the easy fixes that did nothing. We removed dirt and it helped a little. We were going to replace the walkway sooner or later so sooner it was! Despite all this the smell remains. Any fix on that? Besides removing the obvious dirt is there a mix we can use to cover/neutralize the smell? Thanks. We'd like to fix it before putting down the new walkway next week. R. L.
Q. I have always heard to put ground eggshells in your soil, but I couldn't find it in your archive. I just boiled some and powdered them in a coffee grinder. What do you think? Thanks. J. H. Tacoma, WA
Q. While I see the benefits of lava sand, it is impossible to apply with a spreader. Can you please suggest the easiest way to spread it in my yard? J. D. Dallas, TX
Q. Where’s the best place to get high quality compost in north Texas? A. S. Denton, TX
Q. In 2014 there was an on-line article about a new St. Augustine hybrid grass produced by the TX A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas that required less water and had increased drought, disease, insect, shade and cold tolerance. DALSA 0605 was to have been commercially available in 2015. The article also mentioned "Floratram", a successful St. Augustine grass collaboratively developed by TX A&M University and the University of Florida. I have never heard anything more about either since. Are these grasses available for residential use and if so, do you know where I can purchase some of the sod? J. J. Irving, TX
Q. I have been told that you should raise your mowing height to allow the grass to get taller/thicker to insulate it more and allow for better water retention in the ground. However, I recently read that Bermuda does better by mowing it low even in the summer since it is more like a vine. By keeping it cut short, the Bermuda actually grows thicker and not as "wiry". Will you provide your thoughts on this matter? A. B.
Q. The black steel lawn edging is very nice but would be very expensive if I want it to go around all of my shrub beds. And then I would still have to use a weed wacker or clippers to keep the grass along the steel edging in check. I'm hoping that with a "trench" of about 4"-5" made with the step edger I can avoid edging. Info from This Old House says that grass roots will "air die" and not cross the trench into the shrub beds. I wonder if this is true and also wonder if the step edging would only have to be done once or twice a year. Thanks again for the terrific advice you give to all home gardeners. J. J. Irving, TX
Q. Here are pictures of one of our chinquapin oak trees outside of Palestine, in the post oak savannah region of the state. This tree has developed a white-ish fungus or mold on the top of the leaves. Otherwise, the tree appears healthy, vigorous and fully leafed. What is it and what should I do for it? B. W. Palestine, TX