R. Finch, Ph.D., Conservation Director, San Antonio Water System,
of April 30, 2001
I love live oaks but am afraid of oak wilt. My
neighborhood is dominated by the wonderful trees and I fear
we are a disaster waiting to happen. What should I plant for
a new shade tree in such a situation?
Monterrey oak (Mexican white oak) has a growth
habit similar to a live oak and does not seem to be susceptible
to the oak wilt.
To protect your neighborhoods
live oaks requires an alert, disciplined group of neighbors.
The disease is easy to prevent but hard to cure. Remind everyone
to paint all wounds in live and red oaks immediately as they
are discovered. Watch for infection centers where one tree dies
and adjacent trees look weakened. Live oaks die one large branch
at a time; it is called flagging and is quite noticeable.
Call the Extension Service
(Wilson County at 830-393-7357, Bexar County at 210-467-6575)
or the Texas Forest Service at 210-208-9306 for a speaker or
written information on the disease. Internet users may go to
plantanswers.com for oak wilt information.
bird feeder is dominated by white wing doves. How do I get some
seed to the cardinals and chicadees?
tube-type feeders or, better yet, use one of the AbsoluteŽ feeders
with a weight sensitive perch. Set the perch to accept cardinals
but close when doves land.
it time to fertilize the lawn yet?
use slow release lawn fertilizers such as 19-5-9 or an organic
fertilizer such as 7-1-1.
are some good plants to attract hummingbirds?
of the salvias are good. Firebush, cigar plant, esperanza, firespike,
cross vine, trumpet creeper, lantanas, old-fashioned petunias,
larkspurs, shrimp plant and Turks cap are good. The firespike,
Turks cap and shrimp plant grow in the shade.
iron treatment works best?
of the chelated iron products works best but it is very expensive.
Mix iron sulfate with compost (one cup/bushel) for an inexpensive
homemade chelated product.
Chelated means the iron is attached to a material that plants can access.
Straight iron sulfate gets locked up in our alkaline soil.