Jan. 16, 2016
Contributed by Neil Sperry Chinch bugs might be behind this damage, but the more likely cause is an overzealous gardener with a weed eater.
Dear Neil: I recently read that this is not a good time to fertilize my lawn. When can I use “weed-and-feed?” Weeds are popping up all over the place.
A: I am not an advocate of those combination products. Timing is seldom the same, and there is too much chance of your doing damage to trees and shrubs. Pre-emergent weedkillers should be applied the first week of September for the weeds you can see now. For summer weeds, apply pre-emergent two weeks before your area’s average date of the last killing freeze in the spring and again 90 days later. Broad-leafed weedkiller sprays can be applied during the winter when temperatures are above 60 to 65 degrees. Fertilize warm-season grasses every two months from early April until early October.
Dear Neil: What is your opinion of empress trees? They are fast growing, deciduous with huge, shading leaves in the summer.
A: You asked for my opinion, which is that they are weak-wooded (like most fast-growing trees), subject to several insect and disease issues, and messy (due to the large leaves). Most horticulturists do not recommend them, me included.
Dear Neil: I have a huge cottonwood tree with two very large branches that cast excessive shade on our porch. Can they be removed, and when is the best…