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Dallas Morning News - September 15, 2015

September Organic Maintenance

Q.  I have several pecan trees coming up in my flowerbeds because of the squirrels on my property. I have removed all leaves and cut the stem as close to the ground as I can get from time to time but they keep coming back. Is there a way to kill the tree that is safe for my plants and myself?  K. E. League, TX
A.  Just keep the trees cut to the ground and they will eventually die out. To speed up the process, smash the trunks with a hammer, apply molasses or saltpeter and then cover with a small piece of plastic or carpet followed by mulch so it looks better.

Q.  1) Do you recommend a winterize fertilizer for San Augustine grass? 2) We got a puppy in late March and after a summer of her using the bathroom on our grass we have a number of dead spots that I believe are a result of her urine. Anything you recommend that would help alleviate this issue?  K. A. 
A.  "Winterizing " fertilizer is just a marketing term. A fall organic fertilizer application is all that's needed. Any of the organic blends would be fine. They include Good Natured, MaestroGro, GreenSense, Medina, Ladybug and Nature's Guide. Applying zeolite to the problem areas will neutralize the ammonia damage caused by your puppy. Apply at about 3 lbs per 100 sq ft. 

Q.  Is it too late in the season to lay down some Palmetto St Augustine sod?  R. R. Fort Worth, TX
A.  No - not at all. St. Augustine, Bermudagrass and zoysia can be successfully planted well into the fall. The landscape industry literally plants all winter long most years. I know there are those that say to stop in September - but they are wrong.

Q.  We just started our vegetable garden in our backyard a week ago. I have already seen that something eating up our baby vegetable leaves, especially broccoli leaves. How can we stop this in the organic way? Thank you so much!  N. H.
A.  The fall is an excellent time to start your garden. It will often be more productive than the gardens stared in the spring. The best repellent spray to use for pests nibbling the young foliage is garlic pepper tea. If you don't want to make "home brews" like this simple formula, just add 2 oz. of orange oil per gallon of water or use one of the spinosad products. BioSafe Insect Control is a commercial neem product that would also be effective.

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