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Problem & Solution
November/December 2015

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Winter-Hardy Wheat
Problem: I have some hard white spring-wheat seeds and I want to grow the wheat in a container on my patio just for ornamental purposes. I want to know if the seeds would be winter hardy. I live in Austin, in zone 8. If I planted them in the spring, it might get too hot too early, so I think the winter would be better.

Jackie Means

Solution: Wheat is very cold hardy. You can plant wheat any time this fall or early winter. It will mature and become ready for harvest in the spring. It would not do well if you waited to plant it in the spring. It will survive freezing weather but can be damaged by very severe weather at the wrong growing stage (affects seed production).

Olive Trees
Problem: After reading about a successful Orange County olive tree study and doing a little research, I decided to plant an olive tree. I understand they have shallow root systems but can’t find out how invasive or possibly damaging the roots can be to slabs or sidewalks.

Sandy Rawls

Solution: Trees, olive included, should not be planted close to foundations, driveways or sidewalks. Estimate what the canopy of the tree will be at maturity and, if possible, place the tree where the mature canopy will be no closer than 5’ from the foundation. Just as important, olive trees need full sun and good drainage.

Multiplying Onions
Problem: Where can I find white multiplying onion bulbs or sets? I planted some last year that smelled great and multiplied real well. Can’t find any this year.

Sam Gore

Solution: Check with your local garden center or nursery. It may be a matter of timing. Ask if they can order some for you. We grew a bunch of multiplying onions we called gumbo onions a couple of years ago and shared sets with many of our readers. I am sure they would be happy to share some if you could get connected. Perhaps one of our readers will respond with a phone number or email address.

Zones for Planting
Problem: I just received my TG 2016 calendar. I can’t determine which gardening zone my county is in. I live on the Marion/Cass county line. Can you tell me if I am zone 2, 3 or both?

Charles Emery

Solution: When folks are so close to the border of the zones like you are, we suggest going with the more conservative planting dates (Zone 2 in your case). If you have ways to protect your plants from late freezes, then you may want to use the Zone 3 planting date.

Sycamore Tree Info
Problem: Where can I read about the sycamore tree? I live in a small condo community and two years ago the owners planted a Sycamore tree 3-1/2 feet from my front sidewalk, and 8-1/2 feet from my home. It is already an enormous tree. The wind really bends it over towards my front door. I am afraid it could someday damage first the sidewalk, but later my foundation. I would like to have information about this to prove to them that this was a bad choice and possibly put something else in its place.

Rosemary Anderson
Cedar Park

Solution: Yes, sycamore should never be planted. Very bad tree, destructive roots, etc. You can find more information in Howard Garrett’s Plants for Texas, page 123 under its botanical name, Platanus occidentalis.

Porcupine Grass Source
Problem: I am trying to locate porcupine grass for purchase. Any idea where I might find it? I am currently doing a revamp of landscaping and requested it, but the nursery that is doing the job said they were unable to locate any.

Valerie Terrell

Solution: Try Weston Gardens in Fort Worth. They show it on their website