GARDENER'S MAILBAG

Onions tricked to early bloom

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: About 80 percent of my onions have bolted into bloom already this year. I was told it was because of the warm days in early spring, then a late frost, tricking the onions into thinking it was fall and time for them `to bloom and set seed.

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Woodpecker damage is rarely cause for concern

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Our 14-year-old pecan is riddled with what we assume to be woodpecker holes in rows around the trunk. Is this damaging? What can we do about it?

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Nothing to fret about with fruitland silverberry’s spots

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: The local county Extension office identified this plant as Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia). She told me this is neither an insect nor a disease - that she had the same thing on her plants. Can you tell me what is going on and what I might do?

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Care in transport prevents windburn

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I bought two trees and some shrubs a week ago. They looked a little wilted when I got them home, and now all of the trees' leaves are brown and crisp. I assume I did that damage while transporting them home, but will they come back?

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Certain types of fungus are not harmful to plants

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: This weird stuff grew overnight. What is it, and do we need to be concerned?

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Rid your yard of beggar’s lice

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: What is this awful weed, and how can I eliminate it?

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Sprawling sticky weed can take over flower beds

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: What is this weed, and how can I control it?

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Weed elimination may require new, clean soil

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: How far does one go in trying to have a weed-free flowerbed? The bed is 7 feet by 18 feet.

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Looking to take out chinaberry

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I am trying to kill a chinaberry tree. It was a young tree that was just beginning to grow a year ago.

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Control aphids with insecticides, avoid topping crape myrtles

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: My husband made sure I read your column telling us never to top our crape myrtles. However, ours had aphids last summer, stopped growing and looks terrible. Short of digging it up, can we not just try cutting it down to the roots and letting it start over?

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Avocado trees not practical for North Texas

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have five avocado trees that have yet to bear fruit. I grew them from seeds from grocery store avocadoes, and they are 4 to 6 feet tall. What might the remedy be to get them to bear fruit?

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Compost manure before using it in flowerbeds

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Is there anything about donkey manure that would make it unsuitable for use in my garden and flowerbeds?

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Seek arborist’s help to cut tree roots

Wednesday, January 13, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: The prior owner of our house planted live oaks too close to the drive. This one is pushing up the concrete. Would I be safe in cutting the root that is causing the problem?

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Don’t top those crape myrtles

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: You have repeatedly said that we should never "top" our crape myrtles. We planted 10 crape myrtles three years ago, and they never did much.

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Do not fill holes in tree trunks

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: Should we attempt to fill holes in our live oaks' trunks? We have just moved here, and this is being discussed among the neighbors.

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Mulch over elephant ear bulbs before winter

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: We have a large row of elephant ear bulbs. Should we dig them or mulch them for the winter?

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Prune bushes in mid- to late winter

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: What is the best time of year for heavy pruning of overgrown elaeagnus, redtip photinias and nandinas?

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Chinch bugs kill grass quickly

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have a couple of corners of my yard that will not fill in with grass, even after adding extra sprinkler irrigation for those areas. I'm considering digging down a foot and bringing in better soil. Would that help?

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Castor beans not recommended for use near pets or children

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: I have a place in my backyard where I would like the color and texture of castor beans, but I have dogs and I hear that the seeds are highly poisonous. Can they be clipped off before they mature and fall?

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Mulch doesn’t attract termites

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
By Neil Sperry

Dear Neil: What is the best type of mulch to use in a rose garden? I've heard that some mulches attract termites.

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