Q. What is it with the lantanas this year? They are blooming everywhere.
A. Yes, our native lantana, Lantana horrida, is making a good show. There are a number of bloom colors with most crème and pink or a crème and orange. The weather characteristics stimulated this unusual bloom period. Notice that the spreading lavender lantana is also blooming, but any of those lantanas with exotic genes such as New Gold defoliated weeks ago.
Q. We want to sod our new lot this winter but are nervous because the sod is dormant. The supplier says it will do fine. Is that correct?
A. Yes, dormant sod from a reliable supplier can be laid now with expectation that it will begin rooting and will green up next spring. Note that the sod needs to be purchased from a reliable supplier who is prepared to guarantee that the sod did not dry out. You must also be prepared to water it this winter.
Q. How deep does decomposed granite need to be laid to remain stable and make a good garden walk?
A. I have had success with 3 inches of decomposed granite placed on 3 inches of a caliche base material. Check one of the many how-to books on the topic available on the Internet or at the garden store.
Q. Once I harvest the broccoli head from my plants, should I pull the plant and toss it in the compost pile?
A. Broccoli will keep producing heads if you water and fertilize it. The heads will be smaller, but the taste of mid-winter broccoli is great.
Q. Why doesn’t anyone recommend Afghan pines anymore? I remember that they were touted as being tolerant of alkaline soils and our droughty weather.
A. Unfortunately, Afghan or Eldarica pines contract a fungal disease that kills them over a few years. Some isolated individuals have survived, but not many.
For conifers, plant Arizona cypress, Montezuma Cypress, Aleppo pine, Italian stone pine, Japanese black pine or deodora cedar.
CALVIN R. Finch, Ph.D. is a Horticulturist and Director of Texas A&M Water Conservation and Technology Center. Do you have a question for him? Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.