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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here


The fall planting season has arrived. The temperatures have cooled and the time has come to think about adding a new tree, or a grouping of shrubs to the landscape.

Or, perhaps you have an area in your landscape that needs "remodeling" or rejuvenating. Well, fall is an excellent time to get to work!

Many people prefer January through March for planting, but the fall months of October through December have distinct advantages. Fall planting follows the heat of summer and precedes a cold winter season. Trees and shrubs planted now use this to their best advantage. The roots of plants grow anytime the soil temperature is 40 degrees F. or higher, and this occurs frequently during wintertime in Texas.

It's during the winter months that the root systems of the fall-planted specimens begin to develop and become established. When spring arrives, the established root system makes it possible for the plant to take advantage of it's full surge of spring growth.

Also, planting balled and burlapped plants in the fall gives them ample time to recover from transplanting shock before hot weather arrives.

Of course, there are exceptions to fall planting. All bare root plants, including roses, pecan, and fruit trees should not be planted now. In fact, it is doubtful that you will be able to find them available until late December or January.

When you buy plants for your home landscape, be sure to get healthy, well-grown plants. Always buy from a reputable dealer. A person who is in the plant selling business year-round depends on repeat customers, and only by selling his customers quality plants can he be assured of your continued confidence and business.

Beware of plant bargains. They can easily turn out to be real headaches. A bargain is no good if it dies. The price tag -- especially the cheapest one -- is not the best guide to quality.

All plants have growing requirements. Think about the plant's needs before you invest. Will it grow in sun or shade? Does it need a wet or dry location? Is it hardy or tender? Some nurseries have this type of information on tags beside the plant. If not, ask the nurseryman.

PLAN BEFORE YOU PLANT. That's always a good rule of thumb. Whether you are planting a single plant or an entire landscape, plan first, then plant. Good planning is a worthwhile investment of time that will payoff in greater enjoyment through a more attractive and useful home landscape. It will also increase the value of your home. It's much easier to move plants on paper than to dig them up after planting in the wrong place. A plan saves many planting mistakes.

Plants properly planted should serve a purpose. Ask yourself--do I want this plant for screening, for privacy, for shade, etc.? How large will it be 5 years from now? Many times I have heard people say, "When we set the plant out 3 years ago it fit that spot perfectly, but now look at it. It's a monster!" If, after 3 years, it takes a machete to cut your way through a plant jungle before you get to the front door, you've planted the wrong plant!

Plants, like people, grow up. Be sure to provide your plants with the space they require. Remember, that a "dwarf" 1-gallon size plant will look entirely different after a few years of growth in your landscape.

It's best to avoid the really fast growing trees, since most are quite prone to pest problems. Included are willows (borers, cotton root rot, heat stress), cottonwood (borers, heat stress, cotton root rot), Arizona ash (borers), sycamore (lace bugs, heat stress, anthracnose), mimosas (mimosa webworm, mimosa wilt), and fruitless mulberry (borers, cotton root rot, heat stress).

For the San Antonio area, see the recommendations listed at:


QUESTION: I have some 'Texas Gold' Columbine and it has done beautifully. I would like to send my sister in Spokane, Washington some seeds and wondered if it would survive the winters there. Spokane is inland, near Idaho. I have sent some seeds to my mother in Atlanta, as well. I just love it !!!!!

ANSWER: We are glad you like our 'Texas Gold' Columbine. You can find a lot more information about it at:

The original plants are found near Big Bend National Park in West Texas. This plant has been grown in Colorado along with other columbines (which are the state flower of Colorado!) and performed well. I assume if they didn't freeze in Colorado, they will not freeze in Spokane, Washington, but this is only an assumption since I have no actual data on the cold tolerance of Texas Gold Columbine.

QUESTION: I would like to know if the variegated ginger plant would be harmful for dogs. Could you please reply "asap" as we are getting our dogs within the next week.

ANSWER: Ginger IS NOT poisonous -- the roots are even eaten!!! I checked several lists just to be sure, and if you need to double or triple check, look at sites:

QUESTION: I would like to ask for your help in identifying a strange growth on my Texas Mountain Laurel. It is silvery-gray with spore-like bumps. It grows from the stem and is a round, pencil-size extension that flares like a skirt. Some appeared shortly after flowering. A few gardeners in Houston are reporting these curious growths and no one seems to know what they are.

ANSWER: If a Mountain Laurel doesn't bloom, there are 3 reasons:

1. It does not receive enough light in its present location

2. It had a gray-colored, string-like bloom structure pruned off in the
fall or early spring

3. It had a flowering structure damaged by a late freeze or hard freeze

The majority of problems are caused by the first reason. The black substance on the leaves is a sooty mold developing on the sap that is excreted by sucking insects on the upper leaves in that area. If the aphids or white flies are still present, apply an insecticide. The black substance can be washed from the leaves with a directed spray containing some detergent and ammonia.

The gray-colored string-like bloom structure refers to the racemes (string like structures) of dormant flower buds. The flared growth which you described perfectly is the fasciated growth at the end of the racemes. If these structures are removed in the summer or fall, bloom will not occur the following year. Also, your observation that these structures occur soon after bloom demonstrates the very narrow window of opportunity to prune Mountain Laurel without decreasing or eliminating the following year's bloom. Pruning must occur shortly after spring bloom has occurred. This information was confirmed by Paul Cox of the San Antonio Botanical Garden. He, too, was remiss in mentioning this commonly asked question in his award-winning book, Texas Trees -- A Friendly Guide by Paul Cox and Patty Leslie.

QUESTION: Could you please HELP me? My husband has available apples from several of our apple trees (hobby-type gardener) and he is begging me to make "Apple Butter". I have been unable to find a recipe for Apple Butter. Do you know anyone who may have this recipe?

ANSWER: These 2 recipes come from SOAR - the Searchable Online Archive of Recipes which can be found at this URL:


The first one, which is very easy and simple, can be found at this URL:


Perfect Apple Butter

6 c. Sweet apples, peeled and sliced
1 c. Apple cider
1 T. Ground cinnamon (optional)

Place apples and cider in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 1 hour, or until apple slices have disintegrated and butter is thick. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon, if desired. Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Cap and process in 10-minute boiling water bath. Makes 4 (four) ½- pint jars.

This one is a little more complicated but sounds good and is at this URL:


Apple Butter

14 Apples, quartered (Leave the skin on. I use Granny Smith but any tart, firm apple will do)
2 c. Sweet cider
2 c. Sugar, or to taste
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon (or use more or less to taste)
Lemon juice (optional-use if apples are too sweet)

I use my large Crockpot for this recipe:

1. Combine all ingredients and cook on high, covered, and stirring occasionally for the first hour or so. Then, remove cover and turn heat down to low and stir occasionally. This is a slow process since you have NOT precooked the apples. This will take 24 to 36 hours. But you have NEVER tasted anything so good. I think it is much better this way then pre-cooking the apples. I usually stir in the skin every hour or so, but this is not critical. You can cook overnight, but I usually do not.

2. If the skin on your apples refuses to break down, use a hand held blender and zap it a few times. If you don't have one of these wonderful gadgets, then zap it in the food processor. CANNING: You can process this in a water bath but I usually just keep it in the fridge; it never lasts that long. NOTE: The skin is the substance that makes it thick along with the evaporation of the water. Please try it with the lid of the Crockpot off. It is better than MUSSELMANS. The grand girls say the house smells like apple pie and they love it with peanut butter on bread, or over cottage cheese.

Source - A Jewish Mother's Cookbook, by Elaine Radis. Published on a disk by ONE COMMAND SOFTWARE, 1995.

This sugarless recipe for apple butter is found at this PLANTanswers web site:


Sugar-Free Apple Butter

4 c. Pureed apples (takes 7 to 8 cups of apples to reduce to 4)
¼ c. Vinegar
2 t. Cinnamon (or other spices) to taste
1 c. Brown sugar substitute

Put into Crockpot and cook about 1 hour. Add cinnamon (or other spices) to taste, and cook another hour. Cool, and stir in brown sugar substitute.

QUESTION: I was planning on using Asian Jasmine as a ground cover. I have a large area that I want to cover and recently discovered that it is going to cost over $600 to fill in the area I was interested in covering. Do you have any suggestions about how I might reduce the cost of this project? Perhaps there are some inexpensive substitutes that I have not considered. Also, would it be cheaper to somehow transplant as the year progresses?

ANSWER: You do not say how big the area to be covered is nor how you derived the cost quoted. Usually the most economic way to establish Asian Jasmine is to purchase larger plants when they are on sale and increase the distance between the plants. One-gallon plants can be planted approximately 18 inches apart and will cover quite quickly. Plants in 4-inch containers can be planted 8 to 12 inches apart. To reduce the weed competition and to help the plants get established I recommend that a 3 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch be applied to the planting area prior to setting out the plants. This also provided a more pleasing appearance than bare dirt while the Jasmine is covering the area.

QUESTION: Where may I purchase bluebonnet seeds in bulk? How much seed would I need to adequately "cover" a 2-acre tract?

ANSWER: Wildseed Farms, which is located on US HWY. 290, 7 miles east of Fredericksburg, sells bluebonnet seed in bulk. You can find their homepage on the web at:

And the information on the bluebonnet is at this URL:

Item #3228 Texas Bluebonnet - Lupinus texensis (Fabaceae)

A hardy winter annual native to Texas. Adopted as the "State Flower of Texas", this is the most commonly seen variety along roadsides and in uncultivated pastures throughout the state. Flowers are densely arranged on a spike with a characteristic ice white terminal tip. Bluebonnets cannot tolerate poorly drained, clay-based soils. Seed planted in poorly drained soils will germinate, but plants will never fully develop. Seedlings will become either stunted or turn yellow and soon die. Prefers a sloped area in light to gravelly, well drained soil. Requires full sun.

Suggested Use - Raised flower beds, half wooden barrels, hanging baskets, mixtures, hillsides, roadsides and meadows.

Miscellaneous - Easy to grow from seed, providing you do not have an overabundance of rainfall and seed is planted in well-drained soils.

Average Planting Success with this Species - 60%

Height - 1 to 2 feet

Germination - 15 to 75 days

Optimum Soil Temperature for Germination - 55 to 70 degrees F.

Sowing Depth - 1/8 inch

Blooming Period - March to May

Average Seeds Per Pound - 13,500

Seeding Rate - 35 pounds per acre

QUESTION: I am planning to plant a Bradford pear tree this fall. I have previously planted a Bradford pear tree bought from a reputable nursery. The tree's branch structure is somewhat tulip shaped and the blooming is very minimal. Other Bradfords in this area have a spectacular display of blooms and the structure of the tree is not the tulip shape. I want to obtain the name of the great bloomer. Could you please assist me in identifying which tree I am looking for?

ANSWER: I am afraid that I cannot help you determine the name of either the tree that you have or the tree you are looking for. The Callery pear family, of which the Bradford is one, includes many cultivars. Most of them have the pyramidal shape. See the Michigan State University article at this web site for more information on the various cultivars:

Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)

Hardiness Zones - 4 to 8

Height - 40 feet

Spread - 30 feet with an oval form

Type - Deciduous

Annual Growth Rate - 12 to 18 inches

Flowers - White

Comments - Callery Pear cultivars are excellent flowering trees. The flowers are white and appear in early spring. The fall color starts as a deep purple then becomes red. Some of the cultivars are susceptible to fire blight.

Cultivars -

'Aristocrat' - Wider branch angles make this the widest cultivar and less susceptible to storm damage. Unfortunately, it is susceptible to fire blight.

'Autumn Blaze' - One of the hardiest cultivars and the earliest to develop fall color. Susceptible to fire blight.

'Bradford' - An oval tree with a branching structure that is susceptible to storm damage.

'Bursnozam' (Burgundy Snow TM) - White flowers with burgundy centers, a heavy bloomer.

'Capital' -A columnar tree only 12 feet wide.

'Chanticleer' ('Cleveland Select', 'Glen's Form') - A narrowly pyramidal tree about 15 feet wide.

'Cleprizam' (Cleveland Pride TM) - A pyramidal tree with salmon-pink juvenile foliage.

'Edgewood' - Silvery green foliage is the trait that distinguishes this cultivar from other Callery Pears.

'Fauriei' - Slower growing than other cultivars.

'Fronzam' (Frontier TM) - A hardy cultivar with an upright shape.

'Gladzam' (Gladiator TM) - A vigorous cultivar with a pyramidal habit.

'Mepozam' (Metropolitan TM) - A broadly pyramidal tree with a height of about 45 feet and width of 35 feet.

'Redspire' - A dense. pyramidal tree with abundant white flowers.

'Trinity' - An oval to rounded form, slightly smaller than other cultivars.

'Valzam' (Valiant TM) - An upright to pyramidal form with a height of about 30 feet and spread of 20 feet.

'Whitehouse' - A U. S. National Arboretum selection with a narrow pyramidal crown and early fall color development.

QUESTION: I heard a pretty wild rumor about broccoli and was hoping you could verify. There have been murmurs about the possibility that Albert Broccoli, the producer of some James Bond movies was the first person to grow broccoli. Is this true? Also, is broccoli a hybrid of spinach and cauliflower?

ANSWER: I'm afraid that everything that you have heard is unsubstantiated rumor. Broccoli has been grown for centuries. It is a member of the Cruciferae family and as such is related to cauliflower (as well as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mustard, rape, collards, kale and others) but not to spinach which is in the Chenopodiaceae family. For information on the History & Origin of Broccoli see the article at this URL: