For The Answer
Wilson County News
Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Conservation Director, San Antonio Water System, and Horticulturist
Week of May 14, 2001
Q. Is it too late to spread wildflower seed for this growing season?
A. Yes, it is too late for most species but you could plant cosmos, cornflowers, coneflowers and sunflowers. Visit the www.plantanswers.com web site to research the possibilities.
Most nurseries have a selection of wildflower seeds or you can contact Wildseed Farms, Inc. in Fredericksburg (www.wildseedfarms.com or call 800-848-0078) or Douglass King Seed Co. in San Antonio (www.dkseeds.com or call 210-661-4191). Put a mark on your calendar for next fall in August and September to get the bluebonnets, poppy and most wildflower seeds in place.
Q. My St. Augustine grass is yellowing. Is it a fungus? Is it because of last years drought?
A. No, the yellowing is called chlorosis. It is caused by an iron deficiency. Iron is abundant but locked up in our alkaline soil. Treat iron chlorosis by applying an iron chelate product to the soil. You can make your own foliar treatment by dissolving a cup of iron sulfate (copperas) in five gallons of water and then spray it on the lawn with your hose end sprayer.
Q. What are the colorful June bug-like beetles that are eating my roses?
A. The beetles you describe are probably chafer beetles. They have grubs just like June bugs and are eating leaves and flowers all over the area. Control them with orthene on roses and ornamentals.
Q. Is it too late to fertilize my lawn?
A. No, it is not too late. Use slow release lawn fertilizer at the rate of 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. of grass. Your fertilizer bag will tell you where to set your spreader.
Q. This year I want to have some flowers all summer. We have full sun. I will mulch and use soaker hoses to conserve water and keep the soil cool. What should I plant?
A. Consider lantana, zinnias, salvia, esperanza, firebush, poinciana, old-fashioned roses, gomphrena, cornflower, and cosmos. If you have deer, the salvias, zinnia, lantanas and esperanza are not favorite deer food.
Q. How often do we need to change the sugar water in our hummingbird feeder to protect the birds?
A. Rinse it out with water once per week and every second week use a bottle brush to clean nooks and crannies. Pour the old sugar water on a rock or shallow saucer for the butterflies.