Weatherford Democrat

May 26, 2013

ASK A MASTER GARDENER: How to stop armadillos


Weatherford Democrat

Here are this week’s gardening questions and answers, provided by Parker County Master Gardeners. To submit a question, send it to pcmgaquestions@gmail.com. For more information about Parker County Master Gardeners, or to become a member, call 817-598-6096 or visit www.pcmg-texas.org.



I have a problem with an animal that digs around my plants during the night, leaving small to medium holes in the soil. What can I do?

Armadillos and opossums both feed at night on earthworms, grubs and other insects. Armadillos in particular can do a great deal of damage to your landscape. If your yard is fenced, try finding their entry points and block them.

If your yard is unfenced then trapping seems the most effective control. Go to the following link for information, which includes trapping techniques:

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/misc/armadillo/armadillo.html.



How do I save the seeds from my favorite produce such as squash, watermelon, tomato and pepper?

Vegetable and flower seeds may be kept for one year without appreciable decrease in germination. Proper drying and storage may extend their life to 10 or more years.

The following link is from the Colorado State Extension Service. The information is excellent and is appropriate for Parker County gardeners: www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07221.html.



I have planted zinnias in a 30x20 concrete planter for two years. I transplant them when they are 1-inch or so, and space them properly; but they don’t grow. The petals die, and the pistils don’t develop. I have replaced the soil with Miracle Grow potting soil and sprayed with fungicide and pesticide, but nothing seems to help.

For large pots such as yours, adding filler in the bottom will improve drainage. Fill half of the pot with packing peanuts or perlite, and the rest with good potting soil. Most potting soils contain fertilizer, so do not add more until the following year.

Use plants in 4-inch pots, and check for visible roots prior to purchasing. If you are transplanting from your own garden, wait until new plants are 4 inches, and have a 3x3-inch root ball. Pinch off any blooms and plant them at the top rim of the pot.

Add potting soil up to the underside of the rim, surrounding all the plants, and water thoroughly. Plants need six-to-eight hours sun each day, and water as needed, which may be daily during summer months. Do not use pesticides or fungicides unless you have identified a specific problem, and then use the appropriate control.