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November 3, 2012

I have a nice Bermuda lawn, but it started to get infested with nut grass. I'm thinking about getting an artificial lawn and someone came over and sprayed my current lawn with Pramitol. Some of the flowers and other plants that are close to the lawn are starting to get infected.

-- If it were up to me Pramitol would be banned, especially for a residential use. It's just one of those chemicals that lasts too long and it moves through the soil and it doesn't necessarily kill what you want it to kill, but it can leech and kill a tree that is 20 or 30ft away very easily. There's not a lot of great solutions for Pramitol and the biggest problem is that it does leech and move around in the soil, so as much as you can, you want to keep water away from the area that it was applied to to prevent it from leaching around.

What kind of a pre-emergent should I be using in my Bermuda lawn, I didn't overseed.

-- Anything that is pendimethalin based or there's one called Amaze that's pretty common. You want to do it right now because with the warm weather the Winter weeds haven't germinated as much as they normally would so put it on, water it in well and it should do a good job for you.

We've got some Roses that got beat up pretty bad by the Summer and I'm wondering if it's appropriate to prune them back at this time.

-- If you want to have really nice blooms for Christmas go ahead and prune them back about 1/3. After that go ahead and thin them out a little bit and fertilize them right now. By doing that you'll have gorgeous blooms for Christmas.

I've got some flowering bushes around my house and we don't seem to get much blooming.

-- You're probably pruning them back too much. If you're pruning those plants much at all you're going to cut off a lot of the buds and not have nearly as many blooms. If you want to improve the blooming you can spray it with a high phosphorous fertilizer. Just spray it right on the foliage or even Miracle Grow would work fine as well, just make sure you're not pruning.

We planted some Orange Fantasies and they were doing fine, but now the leaves are all curled and turned kind of gray. There's some new growth at the bottom and those leaves are curling as well.

-- What's most likely happened is that caterpillars have come and munched a bunch of the new growth off the top. As the weather changes the caterpillars will cycle out. If you want to try and attack the caterpillars right away you can get a product called Thuricide, which you mix with water and then just and spray it right on the foliage and that will kill the caterpillars. If you don't want to do that, just prune the plants back moderately and they'll recycle and come back out just fine.

I have a lemon tree, but the leaves are curling and turning brittle and white.

-- Remember that it's protected from the sun on the trunk, so the trunk needs to wrapped, and that can be with cardboard or towel, pretty much anything to keep the sun off of the trunk. It needs to be watered real heavy about once a week, and not any more often than that. Finally, you're going to want to fertilize it with water soluble fertilizer right now on the foliage. Then come back and fertilize it again around the first of February, then once a month, February through next year in September, give it a light dose of fertilizer in the well and make sure it's that regular weekly watering.

I've got a couple of Dwarf Navels and they're getting yellow-sunburned on the fruit.

-- If the fruit is exposed directly to the sun, it will be sun-burned and ruined, so it won't be as good of quality.

I've got some roses that I planted and they do well in the Winter and Spring time, but once the Summer hits they just can't handle that heat.

-- If your roses are planted directly in the sunlight next to your house, that's a really hot spot and there's not much you can do to prevent them from getting some sun damage in the Summer. You're going to get really nice Spring roses, but because it's such a hot spot where your roses are planted you're going to get some leaf and other damage during the Summer.

I've got my annual Rye sprouting good and I want to know what's a good watering cycle.

-- Once the Rye Grass is germinated and up, take screwdriver and stick it in the ground, now this is after the first mowing. When the screwdriver is hard to push into the ground, it's time to water again. This is true for most lawns and most soils. Just get the ground wet and put on at least a 1/2 inch of water. After you water it, use the screwdriver to figure out when you should water it again.

When should I pick pomegranate?

-- You want to get them before it's too cold, but the best way would be to taste a few because it's pretty hard to tell when they're ripe and ready to be picked.

My citrus trees are shooting up shoots out of it, we just trimmed them off the top a little bit a few weeks ago, and now the shoots are sticking way up.

-- That's pretty natural, especially in this time of year when they're growing. The fact that they're putting out those new shoots is pretty normal, as long as they're coming up out of the canopy on the top of the tree.

I've got a Prickly Pear plant that's about 3.5 feet tall, but during a big wind it broke off and fell over so I figured I'd like to replant it. Do you have any recommendations on fertilizing and watering?

-- It should do fine, the one thing that I would recommend is to get some powdered sulfur or dusting sulfur and dust where it had broken off. Don't water it for a week or so, just let it calice and dry out, and then come through and water it once every 2 weeks until it cools off, then don't water it at all for the Winter time. Then next Spring, when the temperature hits about 80 or 90 degrees, go ahead and water it once every 2 weeks and it'll root right in.

I had a Citrus tree and over the Summer it started producing and I put a bag over each tree so the birds wouldn't get them. I don't know if I started too soon because the bags are still on, but the oranges are still green.

-- Well, in this weather no citrus, as far as the oranges, are going to be ripe for a while. The earliest they may be ripe is around Christmas time through March. As far as bagging them, birds usually aren't that offensive as far as going after fruit until it's ripe, so there's no reason to bag the green fruit at all.

I have an Orange tree that's about 10 years old and it never really produced a lot of fruit and it always looks kind of sickly. Is there something that I'm doing wrong?

-- Well you might want to start in the Spring and fertilize it about once a month and kick up the water, make sure it's watered heavily once every 7 to 10 days. After doing that see if it doesn't respond for you in the Spring.

I need some basics on pruning. What is a good time of year to do that?

-- You can prune the heavy plants, like sages, anytime, but keep in mind that if you prune them back right now, you have very little growing season left and they're going to look pruned and cutback. What I would recommend is to let them go until about March when there's an active growing cycle with weather like we have now, then prune them back and be pretty aggressive.

I've got a Palo Brea Tree and I've got to reduce it in size and width quite a bit. Should I wait until March?

-- Well, if the limbs are hitting you in the face then sure cut them off right now so that doesn't continue to occur, but if you're going to do major pruning wait until just before the growth cycle and for desert trees that would be in April.

There's green worms on every vegetable I've planted. What can I do?

-- There's a product called Bacillus thuringiensis that you will put right on all your vegetables and it's safe, won't harm you at all, but it'll wipe those worms out. Just go to any garden center and ask for BT, you can get a powdered form or liquid form and it's perfectly safe, won't harm you or your vegetables.

I've got a raised garden, raised 24 inches, and I've used a lot of compost and prepackaged garden soil, but not any dirt. The problem is that it's not holding moisture well. What should I do?

-- You really need to take that organic material out, remix your soil using 2/3 dirt and 1/3 organic. It'll retain more moisture and retain more fertilizer and it'll be easier to grow in.

I started an Avocado seed about 2 months ago and put it in water. Right now it has a few roots and the stem is about 8 inches tall with 2 leaves on it. When should I put it in soil?

-- You can put it in soil right now with the warm weather that we're having. If you transplant it into about a 5 gallon nursery container (about 10 or 11 inches in diameter and equally as tall) it'll grow fine. You won't grow avocados, but you'll have a cute tree that is a real nice patio tree. If it starts to get really cold, take it inside to protect it from a freeze, but other than that it loves the sun and loves to be outside.

I have a Silver Maple, that is about 15 to 20 years old, with a trunk about 12 inches in diameter and it's 25 feet tall. Lately it's just been spewing out a lot of sap all over our vehicles because it's planted right next to our driveway.

-- Well what's happening is you have a lot of little insects feeding on it in the Fall. What you can do to prevent it next year (it's too late to change anything this year) is to pick up some Bear Systemic Insecticide and water it in around the base of the tree. You'll want to do that around August and what it does it make the tree toxic to those aphids and little insects that are feeding on it. It's not the sap it's actually the bug excrement that is falling on your cars.