Weatherford Democrat

Local News

April 21, 2013

ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Bastard cabbage should be killed

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.

What is the weed that has yellow flowers and is listed as a wildflower?

Bastard cabbage (Rapistrum Rugosum) is an annual herb from the mustard family and should be destroyed whenever it is seen.

It can grow 1-5 feet in height and blooms profusely from early spring into summer. It is successfully overwhelming many native wildflowers and threatens our state flower, the bluebonnet.

If it is mowed while seeding out, the seeds will be spread; so it must be removed prior to mowing. Do not let it go to seed.

What are the worms that hang by a thread and strip my dwarf yaupon hollies?

Those are cankerworms (also called inchworms). They affect a number of plants including elm and oak trees.

In general, no controls are necessary because most trees and shrubs are able to recover from the damage. If you must treat, a biological worm spray called Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) may be used on smaller plants.

Adding a small amount of liquid soap to the spray will cause it to adhere to the leaves and last longer. Large trees must be treated by commercial providers.

While effective in killing cankerworms, Bt will also kill bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects that come into contact with the treated leaves; so use sparingly.

When is the best time to water my grass and flowerbeds?

The best time to water is in the early morning hours close to sunrise. This allows the water to soak into the soil with the least amount of evaporation, yet doesn’t allow it to sit long enough to promote the growth of fungus.

If you are considering an irrigation system for your yard, you should plan on attending our seminar on Rainwater Harvesting and Drip Irrigation. It will be held at the Texas AgriLife Extension Office, 604 N. Main St. in Weatherford, on May 11.

This will be a great opportunity to get information and details on the best ways to irrigate your lawn and flower beds.

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