Ask Burton

Ask Burton

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Ask Burton: Q: My live oak looks bad! It’s losing leaves all over my yard.

March, 20

A: It is supposed to do that this time of year.

Also, it’s time to fertilize your live oak. This isn’t to help the plant recover from an illness or…

Ask Burton: Q: I have a St. Augustine lawn and it looked terrible by the end of last year. I had large dead patches across my front yard, and the strip between the sidewalk and the street looked like I’d sprayed it to kill it intentionally. Small parts of my lawn are starting to green up now, but those patches look like they’re not likely to come back. What should I do? And how do I stop it from happening again?

March, 15

A: You almost certainly were visited by chinch bugs last year. St. Augustine lawns are their favorite meal, and they did a lot of damage last year. And yes, they…

Ask Burton: Q: My Americana agave melted during the winter ice storm – I didn’t have time to cover it before the cold snap. But my hardier agaves and yuccas have black splotches. How do I fix it?

March, 08

A: We were wet last fall and into the earlier winter, and your leaves have a fungal leaf spot brought on by that moisture. Fortunately, control of this problem isn’t…

Ask Burton: This week, a simple reminder: The next two weeks are critical for pre-emergent herbicide application.

February, 28

Pre-emergent herbicides are only effective when applied before weeds sprout. In North Texas, it’s best to have them down before the 15th of March, and to absolutely have them down…

Ask Burton: Q: Can you tell me how to prune roses properly…I have bush roses and climbers.

February, 20

The normal rule of thumb for all bush-form roses is to cut them back by roughly half this time of year. Prune all roses back with a sharp pair of…

Ask Burton: Q: I had cabbages in my garden last winter, and they were covered in holes to the point that my plants looked like lace. I’d like this spring’s plantings to do better! What happened, and how do I head it off this year?

February, 15

A: You were visited by hordes of hungry caterpillars. You may well have noticed moths fluttering around the garden – those were the culprits. There’s more than one species that…

Ask Burton: Last December, we had a hard cold snap with temperatures in the single digits. This past week, our landscapes took a bit of a beating from the sleet and ice. Trees with broken limbs, battered pansy beds, and some plants smashed outright by strong winds under the weight of ice buildup. Thankfully, the December single digits weren’t paired with the sloppy, icy weather this time! Here’s some helpful tips on dealing with the winter weather’s damage, from both of our winter events.

February, 08


• Clean up your trees – Many trees had limb breakage due to the weight of ice on plants still recovering from the drought stress of last summer. Clean…

Ask Burton: Q: My herb garden was productive last fall, but it’s burned-looking and dormant now. What needs to be done?

February, 03

A: It’s a tiny bit more involved because of the 9-degree freeze last December, but not greatly so.

Perennial, evergreen herbs should get a hard shear as we come into…

Ask Burton: Q: My fruit trees are starting to bloom in January! Why are my trees blooming so early? Will they be damaged if we freeze again?

January, 25

A: You can blame this one on the weather.


Fruit trees need a certain number of chilling hours…

Ask Burton: Q: My yard is half-green with weeds and small, soft grasses, none of which are my actual turfgrass. You’ve told me about applying pre-emergent in February to prevent the weeds from sprouting this Spring, but what do I do to knock down my current problems?

January, 16

A: The weeds present now are mostly a mix of broad-leafed weeds (clover, dandelions, etc.) and cool season grassy weeds like annual bluegrass.
The bluegrass would have…