Here are some questions I’ve encountered.
Q: Why does my hybrid Bermuda lawn look shabbier after my gardener mows it?
A: Your gardener is either mowing with a dull knife and/or using a rotary mower. To get a beautiful hybrid Bermuda lawn, mow it with a reel type mower like golf courses do.
Bermuda grows low and a rotary mower can’t reach it and thatch builds up. The mower exposes this thatch so your lawn looks shabby.
Q: We just bought a peace lily houseplant and are wondering how to care for it .
A: This is a beautiful houseplant. Place it where it gets indirect sunlight. Give it heavy waterings to keep the soil moist. If the potting soil dries out, place the container in the kitchen sink to thoroughly soak the rootball, then water from the top to flush out the salts. Mist the plant daily, as it loves high humidity. Remove damaged leaves and use scissors to remove parts of damaged foliage to keep it looking lush. Outside of watering, your plant won’t need much maintenance or fertilizer.
Q: What’s causing pencil-size holes in our peppers? We can’t find any insects.
A: The holes suggest birds are eating them. Place bird netting above the plants so birds can’t peck on your peppers. Remember they are hungry, too.
Q: Are palo verdes and mesquites really trees or are they bushes?
A: It depends: You determine that. If you remove all the suckers from the base of the tree except one, it becomes a tree. If you leave them, they become bushes. Some gardeners like three trunked trees so save them and train them into trees.
Q: How can we keep leaf-cutter bees out of our roses?
A: Short of moving, I don’t know of a solution. If you find a way, our rose growers will love you. In the meantime, consider covering your roses with lightweight, small-weaved fabric.
Q: What is causing BB-size holes evenly spaced around my Aleppo pine tree trunk?
A: A sap-sucking bird is causing the commotion. I call it a woodpecker. It sucks sap out of the tree, but it won’t kill it.
Q: My neighbor removed all the fronds on my queen palm. Will the plant send up more fronds or will it die?
A: New fronds will most likely emerge, as palms love warm weather. In the meantime, continue to irrigate it.
Q: Why does my Swan Hill olive produce pea-size fruits? I thought it was fruitless.
A: The female portion of the flower gives the impression of producing olives called “false pregnancy.” These false fruits abort, dry up and disappear, leaving only a trace of the olives.
Q: We are new here and wondering when to plant strawberries.
A: Plant in September or October. This gives them the winter to develop and you’ll enjoy a bountiful crop next spring.
Q: Why is my apple tree blossoming now? I had a large harvest this summer.
A: Fruit trees blossoming now indicates they are under stress. Deep irrigate your tree to flush away any salt buildup. Also, it suggests your tree is undernourished, with iron and nitrogen being the most needed.
Q: Why did my cantaloupes suddenly die?
A: This usually indicates a root-rot problem. There are several soil diseases in our soils, so examine the roots. They may be mushy. These diseases are quick to set in if there is poor drainage.
Q: We want to plant a Mediterranean fan palm in a container. Is there a way to keep it small?
A: Just planting in a container creates a bonsai effect. Also be stingy with the water and fertilizer.
Q: What are the small coned shaped holes under our tree in the sandy soil?
A: These are traps set up by antlions to catch prey. The antlion sits at the base of the cone under the sand and when an ant passes by, it slides down the sandy sides, becoming trapped. The antlion, a good insect, then licks its chops and enjoys the feast.
LANDSCAPE IN SMALL PLACES
Let Master Gardener Denise McConnell show you how to organize your yard to create the illusion of more space at 8 a.m. Saturday at Cooperative Extension at 8050 Paradise Road. For more information and cost, call 702-257-5573.
Linn Mills writes a garden column each Sunday. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 702-526-1495.