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Dallas Morning News - September 22, 2016

Q.  Are there any herbs or eatable plants that would work well as landscape groundcover as well? F.D. Dallas

A.  Yes. Greek oregano makes a terrific groundcover. The other oreganos that are culinary as well as beautiful are Mexican oregano and Cuban oregano. See the entries in


Q. I'm trying to figure out what to plant on the north side of our home, under a picture window.  I'd love something to impress the wife, she's a good person, I just cannot come up with anything that flowers.  I can water it easily, but no sun at all.   J. Hurst, TX
A.  Take a look at Turk's cap. Mine bloom pretty well in the shade.

Q.  What is the best way to water a newly transplanted (45 gallon) live oak tree? I've been told slow watering of 15 gallons three times per week until next spring when roots are more established. I'll have a water flow meter on the garden hose and was wondering if a "bubbler", sprinkler or soaker hose would work best for reaching the circumference needed to ensure roots are watered well enough. Thanks!  N. T. Schulenburg, TX
A.  One deep watering a week now is plenty. Letting a hose run slowly all day is the technique that works well. Fancy systems aren't needed. As the days shorten and the temperatures drop, cutting back to once a month should be plenty.

Q.  My 35 yr. old yaupon holly with a western exposure between our house and the neighbor's house has not been looking robust this year. I noticed that there are white blotches on the main trunk of the tree from the base up to about 10 feet. I wondered if these markings could be lichen and if they could be a cause of the tree thinning a bit in the canopy. The root flare has been this exposed for many years and the ground leaves are just a light covering at the base. I aerated the soil with a step-on plug aerator in the fall. My family thinks that the tree looks about the same as it always has but I notice that while it did have new leaf growth in the spring and it does have berries on it now - it just doesn't seem to be thriving like in the past. J. J. Irving, TX
A.  The white splotches are nothing to worry about. They are common on yaupon trunks. But the flare does need to be exposed more dramatically. It would also be an excellent time to apply the entire Sick Tree Treatment.

Q.  I live in a pecan orchard in Granbury Tx. This time each year we have a  leaf drop due, I think, to borers, scab, and a couple more things. Mostly because very few people have their trees sprayed. This year, my two trees and others in my immediate neighborhood, have had a sudden massive drop of undersized nuts, nuts w/black interiors, and excessive leaf drop. Some have green w/black spots, some just dead brown. My wife found a disease that fits the description of the situation to a T - cotton root rot. I hope we are wrong about this as I understand that once it gets to this point the tree is dead. No program. Most here do nothing. And get good crops every other year. Still, from my observation scab is pervasive. 
A.  For good pecan production, more than "benign neglect" is needed. Below is the recently updated program I recommend. The common pecan problems can easily be controlled with the organic program.


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