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Problem & Solution
May/June 2015

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Dead Palm Tree
Problem: I had four palm trees in my backyard which were doing well until about two years ago when one of the trees, which did not catch up to the growth of the others, started to dry out, and then it died.

Walking iris.

Nuri Nuri

Solution: Dr. Keven Ong, extension plant pathologist, has this to say about your palm tree: “I think that there may be some root rotting (biological or otherwise) — tree was stressed and then water added can result eventually in poor roots. Also noted that the spear leaf has toppled over — potentially something coming in through the roots. Short answer — this is probably a root-related problem (too much water at the wrong time) that was hastened by drought and heat stress.”

‘Tycoon’ Tomatoes
Problem: I remember reading about a new tomato that produced great fruit in abundance in our Central-Texas area. I believe it was called ‘Tycoon.’ I’ve been expecting a follow-up article with information on where to get seeds. Did I miss something?

Jerry Ryals

Solution: Jerry, you were one of the first to write us about a source for seeds for ‘Tycoon’ tomato, the new Texas Superstar plant, tested and recommend by the good folks at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. We found some ‘Tycoon’ seed and shared it with those of you who read Seeds, our weekly e-newsletter. Then spring sprung and we found transplants at HEB, so we knew folks who wanted to try this highly touted tomato would be able to find plants. Oh, what a relief that was! Our question to you and other readers who are trying ‘Tycoon’ in their gardens this year is, “How is it doing for you? Are you happy with production and taste?” Please send us your photos and comments. If we use your ‘Tycoon’ photo(s) in the magazine, we will send you a free Texas Gardener cap.

Pecan Hulls
Problem: I have plenty of pecan hulls. I’m not sure what to do with them. Can I put them around some of my trees? There are some pecan pieces mixed in with the hulls. I’m sure that will attract ants. I know pecan hulls do not compost real easy.

Irene Peterson

Solution: Yes, put those hulls around your trees. They will make a great mulch and last longer than grass or straw. Unless you are planning a picnic under those trees soon, ants shouldn’t be a problem. Yes, they will probably be attracted to the bits of kernel still in the shell pieces, but not for long.

Stopping Sandburs
Problem: I have blackjack Bermudagrass that I planted last summer and it is turning green now. Will it be OK to spread pre-emergent in March to kill the sandburs without hurting the grass?

Tom Richardson
La Vernia

Solution: First of all, read the label to make sure it is labeled for use on Bermudagrass. Most likely it is okay to use on your grass and will work if you apply it to the lawn before the sandbur seeds have germinated. Also, some pre-emergent herbicides can damage tree roots, so try not to apply it under desirable trees.