Dallas Morning News - September 1, 2016
Q. I have zucchini plants and they have some kind of spots on the plants. They look like little eggs. I don't know if they are a good thing or a bad thing. Thanks. S. W.
Q. I have 5 acres of pasture that I recently purchased, I am almost covered up with sand burrs (stickers) and wondering if there is anything I can do other than digging them up by hand. Thank you. J. L. Weatherford, TX
Q. Aside from planting this tree too close to the house. Do you see anything else that needs to be corrected! I'm currently leaving the needles around the tree, not sure that's a good idea! Also, what's the name of this pine? J. R. Arlington.
A. The needles left on the root zone of your pine is fine. That's the natural way. Just to make sure the flare is exposed well, rake the needles back and remove soil if needed and then put the natural mulch back in place. Pines have root flares just as other trees do, just not as dramatic. The tree being close to the house should not be a problem. Your tree looks like slash pine that is one of the typical east Texas pines. That probably means you have sandy soil.
Q. We have black clay soil and would like to plant some pine trees. I know that some pines have trouble with this kind of high pH soil. Is there any soil improvement that we can do so that we can be successful with pines? W.B. Dallas
A. It depends on what pine species you plant. The common pines that grow naturally in sandy acid soils will not grow well at all in alkaline soils. What tricks people is that they see these straight-trunk pines growing in the DWF area and think they can do it also. What they are missing is that where these trees are growing is in pockets of sandy soil. These areas exist in in Oak Lawn , downtown, Arlington and other spots around the Metroplex. They were caused in most cases as rivers and creeks changed courses. If you have one of these sandy soils, any of the pine trees will do well. If your soil is black, alkaline and high pH, the choices are very limited. Japanese pine is a fair choice but has problems long-term. Austrian pine will do fairly well for a longer time. Eldarica pine (also called Afghan and Mondell) can grow in the alkaline soils but is a desert tree and is dying out in many places where heavy irrigation and less than perfect drainage exist. The most foolproof pine for the problem soils is Italian stone pine. Here’s a little more information on this great tree.