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November 10, 2012

What can you spray on Mistletoe to get it out of a tree?

-- The best way to get rid of mistletoe is to prune it out of the trees to a point, but you're not going to eliminate it. There is no spray to kill mistletoe and the other thing is that it's really not going to kill the tree.

We have a Fan Tex Ash and it's been in the ground for 5 years, but all of a sudden it's started to drop its leaves and the new, smaller branches are starting to split at the ends.

-- There's some sunburn on some of the Fan Tex Ash that I've seen lately. Probably your best proactive thing to do to fix that tree and make it better is to fertilize it heavy in January and get really heavy leaf growth back for the Spring. It's getting too late in the season to change anything now, but you may want to fertilize it heavy in January before it leafs out. Also, adding a little systemic rose food when you feed in February will prevent any ash aphids from growing on it.

I have a Cottonwood tree and there's some others sprouting on the lawn, they are about 3 feet high, and I was wondering if I could replant those.

-- You can definitely replant those fairly easily, even this time of year. Even better, you would probably want to wait to plant those in December of January when you're sure it's going to be cool. They're probably growing up off the roots of your main Cottonwood. Just cut a little chunk off the bottom and plant them about 8 inches deeper than they came out of the ground, with the Cottonwoods it looks very well.

How often should I water my roses now that it's getting cooler?

-- About once every week to 10 days.

I have a Mesquite tree and it's growing like crazy. When is the best time to trim the tree so it won't grow back?

-- Well, it's going to grow back and you probably don't want it to completely not grow. Here's what I would do with it, I would leave it for the Winter time because it's not going to grow anymore now. Then in the Spring, come about late April when it's really starting to grow, I would prune it pretty heavy at that time and then I would, in the meantime, look at the watering and make sure that it's only getting watered about 4 or 5 times a year, right in the heat of the Summer. Doing this will make it thrive and grow much slower.

I've got a strawberry patch and I decided to go out and give everything a light dose of fertilizer and everything in the strawberry patch has turned brown. Should I replant now or just hope that the roots are okay and that they will come back?

-- I would throw a hose on the patch and flush everything and really leech all the fertilizer out because obviously they got a little too much. Leech out the strawberry patch really well and I'd wait about a week and see if you start seeing some green poke up and down, especially with strawberries. If you don't have any success with that, then this time of year is a great time to plant strawberries.

I have a Chase Tree and it was 2 feet tall and maybe a foot and a half wide, but now, in less than a year, it is about 5 feet tall and about 5 feet wide. I want to know what I can do to keep it smaller.

-- Chase trees are very well acclimated desert trees that just love it here and if you give it enough water just to survive, it's going to grow. You can water it very sparingly, but regardless it will still grow. You can control it's size somewhat with water, but realistically if you think you're going to keep a Chase tree under 10 feet, you're probably kidding yourself.

I have a few citrus trees and a tropical bird of paradise that have some slight singing and burns from a house fire and I was wondering how to take care of them now.

-- Pretty much they should do just fine. About 2 months after the fire you should start to see some healing and new growth coming out below, it will have been long enough now that everything that is dead is kind of defined, but what I would do is prune those citrus back really hard and balance the shape out. Also, where you're going to make major cuts like 3 and 4 inch limbs, get the black tree heal and seal those limbs up. Then paint over anything that's exposed to the sun, as far as the wood goes, white to keep it from being sunburned while it recovers. Probably around the first of February you would want to fertilize on everything with a good balanced fertilizer and everything should recover pretty well. Watering also about once every two weeks should be just fine.

I've got a 25 foot pine tree and it's starting to get brown pine needles.

-- Well, lately there have been a lot of aphids and different problems. Here's what I would do, make sure it's getting a lot of water, at least once a month in the Winter, and make sure it runs really slow. The same day run the water 3 or 4 times, so you get it so the watering is really slow and really deep. You also might try a systemic fertilizer.

I have an 11 year old orange tree and all of a sudden the oranges are still hanging on the tree, but they are splitting open and then falling off. What's going on here?

-- Well, what happened was during the Summer when it was hot the tree didn't get quite enough water. Then the weather got better and you watered more and the fruit started to set and stop growing. Then as the weather started to get nicer and you watered more, the fruit started to grow again and it split. It's pretty common and nothing to really about, but to avoid it next year, you're going to want to make sure you water very consistently and deep in the Summer months. You also have to remember to adjust the water cycle for the Summer and the Winter months, the watering shouldn't be the same throughout the year.

I have a rock yard and I read somewhere that most weed killers will cause a discoloration in the rocks. Is that true?

-- Well most weed killers have dye in them, especially the pre-emergents, but they're water soluble and they leech down in the ground so the dye doesn't stay. So whenever it rains, the dye will fade and run away. It won't be a permanent stain, but there will be a temporary stain.

I've got a pine tree and it's pretty natural to the environment because I never water or take care of it and it just grows and grows. They're too high now and getting a little out of control.

-- Because you're not watering them, there's nothing much you can do other than pruning the pine tree at the top. If you prune at the top, the shape will change a little bit and that depends on the type of pine tree you have.

We have an acre that is irrigated and I heard in the past you can put sand down in the ruts, which are a couple inches deep, to level them out. Is that a good idea?

-- You can certainly put sand, but if it gets any more than a couple inches I would just use some dirt.

Is it too late to put down pre-emergent before I throw down the new grass seed?

-- No, it is not too late, but if you're going to put down grass seed, you would want to do that and ignore the pre-emergent. If you put down the pre-emergent your grass seed is not going to come up. So you would want to use the pre-emergent 3 or 4 weeks after the grass is established.

I have a multi-trunk, 6 foot Mediterranean Fan Palm, can I plant that this time of year?

-- As far as transplanting Mediterranean Fan Palms, you could transplant it now, but the best time is to wait until March or April.

I have Jalapeno peppers and the color is changing a little bit from green to red and it seems that they're getting a little bit of black on them when they're exposed to the sun. It doesn't affect the flavor, but I'm wondering if I should be concerned about that.

-- There's no reason to be concerned about that, but as they start to turn red they're the best and as they turn black they're turning a little softer and they won't be as good. When they start to turn red is when they're at their best.

We have a Hibiscus in our backyard and I noticed on one of the leaves a tiny, white bug and I was wondering if that was something we should be worried about.

-- With the temperatures changing, there's all kinds of insects that really love the warm weather, but with the temperature cooling off, that should take care of the problem. I wouldn't worry about spraying or any of that.

Is there a big difference between a Red Push Pistache and a Chinese Pistache as far as maintenance and size?

-- Well, the Red Push is very consistent so when you plant it you know what you are getting. The regular Chinese pistache is variable and the gene pool seems a little bit mixed and different, so you might have one that will be larger and one that might not be as large, it all just depends. The Chinese Pistache will have more variation than the Red Push Pistache.

I have a little orange tree in my backyard and as we left the state in the Spring there were a bunch of little buds on it, but now that we're back here in November, there isn't a bud or orange to be found.

-- Some of the oranges are going to be more alternative bearing so you'll have a light crop and then a heavy crop and that's true with all types of orange trees, including tangelos and tangerines. To have no crop, you might have had a problem with the tree getting a little dry in the hotter, Summer months.

I've got an older grapefruit tree in my backyard and it really needs to be thinned, so when is the best time to thin it? It's either got the blossoms on it or the grapefruits on it so I really never know when to trim it back.

-- Well, you can take the dead stuff out at any time and that's not going to hurt the tree at all. You also want to make sure that you don't thin a citrus tree to a point where the sun can make it through the leaves and branches and hits the wood. So you want to leave the foliage on the outside dense enough to protect from the sun and especially important in the Summer time. We do all the major pruning at our nursery in February, so that should give you a good idea.

What kind of blooming flowers can I have on a second-story deck with a very slight bit of sunshine in the late afternoon?

-- Probably not too much, but my favorite plant though for there would be cyclamen. They have beautiful colors and you can put it out there in a pot this time of year and bloom and stay that way until May.