Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Conservation Manager, San Antonio Water System, and Horticulturist
Week of February 25, 2002
Q. Is it a good idea to fill hollow spots in oaks with concrete?
A. No, it is not a good idea. Concrete does not reduce the rate of rot and may cause the branch to break because of the weight. All old oaks have hollow areas. If the branch or trunk is positioned to fall on your house have it checked by an arborist. Leave the hollows for wildlife. If you must fill it, use polyurethane foam.
Q. We are bothered by sandburs every summer. Is now the time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent new plants from growing?
A. Yes, it works best to make two applications of Amaze, Betasan, Balan, or a similar product. Apply it now and again in May. Follow the label instructions for split applications.
Q. I heard you and Jerry Parsons arguing about rutabagas on your radio show. Are you serious about growing and eating them? Are they worth trying?
A. I think they are outstanding. Harvest them when they reach 3 to 4 inches across. Peel them and cut cubes. Boil the cubes and mash the rutabaga like potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and butter. Rutabagas taste like a cross between turnips and winter squash.
Q. Do gladiolas grow in South Texas? When should they be planted?
A. Gladiolas do not grow as easily here as further north but they will bloom. Plant them now.
Q. Which greens can we plant that will last the longest into warm weather? Which are your favorite greens?
R. Collards are the most tolerant of warm weather. They get somewhat bitter in the summer but will last all year. Beet greens are my favorite greens. Collards are my second choice.