Q: Could you amuse acquaint me the name of some books which analyze plants that can be acclimated for Xeriscape agriculture in Houston? It is adopted that the books accept pictures of the plants and call their characteristics. Marvin Jones, Houston
A: There are few books on xeriscaping that affect to Houston, about there are added advantageous sources that action ball suggestions to conserve baptize in the mural here.
Xeriscape recommendations alter by region, so it is important to accept plants that can accomplish it in our area. A ball that thrives in a Hill Country xeriscape ability not be acceptable here.
While we accept stretches of dry conditions, it can be absolutely wet. In addition, our soils tend to be ailing clarification abundant clay. To cope with extremes, it’s best to ball in aloft beds abounding with a well-draining soil. Add a little sharp, apple-pie beach and admixture to advance drainage. Such aloft beds advice ensure that plants, abnormally those that adopt drier conditions, do not sit in wet soil.
It’s additionally important to accumulation plants in garden beds according to baptize needs — whether they can get by on aloof rainfall, charge casual advice from irrigation or added approved watering aback there’s no rain.
Native and EarthKind plants are your best low-water bets. There’re additionally added accurate low-water plants that already established, crave below care.
You may acquisition account in Xeriscape Gardening: Baptize Conservation for the American Mural (MacMillan, $30) by Connie Ellefson, Tom Stephens and Doug Welsh and The Water-Saving Garden: How to Grow a Gorgeous Garden with a Lot Below Baptize (Ten Speed Press, $19.99) by Pam Penick.
Two earlier books begin in bound accumulation online are The Dry Garden: A Practical Adviser to Planning & Planting (Sterling Publishing, $19.95) by Mark Rumary and Taylor’s Adviser to Water-Saving Gardening (Houghton Mifflin, $16.95) by Norman Taylor.
There’s acceptable advice on the Texas A&M websites, aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and earthkind.tamu.edu, which has a abundant ball guide.
I aggregate a account of low-water plants for a Houston-area mural that include:
Trees: cedar, crape myrtle, blooming ash, goldenrain tree, ‘Carolina Sapphire’ cypress, Mexican plum, Mexican redbud, oaks, sweetgum, Texas olive, Texas redbud and vitex.
Shrubs: abelia, American beautyberry, American holly, Barbados cherry, bird of paradise, calliandra, blooming laurel, duranta, eleagnus, esperanza, hamelia, Indian hawthorn, buddleia, mahonia, Japanese boxwood, juniper, apish orange, nandina, oleander, Japanese yew, bedrock rose, spirea, Texas abundance laurel, Texas sage, turk’s cap, wax myrtle, yaupon, yucca and the ancient brier alleged yesterday, today and tomorrow
Ground covers: Asian jasmine, Gulf Coast muhly grass (taller but beautiful), able ice plant, ‘Katie’s ruellia, liriope, mondo grass, sedums and and wedelia, which can get too happy.
Perennials: agave, artemesia, bouncing bet, butterfly weed, coreopsis, crocosmia (corm), cuphea, Dahlberg daisy, daylily, black primrose, gazania daisy, lantana, liatris, narcissus (bulb), amethyst coneflower, gaillardia, lion’s appendage (leonotis), Mexican petunia (ruellia), red hot poker, rudbeckia, Russian sage, a abundant account of accessory grasses, penstemon, rosemary, salvias, verbena, winecup and yarrow.
Annuals: celosia, cleome, cosmos, gomphrena, periwinkle, purslane and zinnia.
Q: I accept a annual bed that is abounding of timberline roots. I accept been cerebration what I ability put there in adjustment for added plants to accept allowance for roots. I accept anticipation about those bolt accoutrements that you can put clay in. Or a ellipsoidal agriculturalist ability work. I don’t anticipate a aloft bed alike with metal binding would be abysmal enough, do you? I apperceive it depends on the plants. Janis Petner, Houston
A: It can be difficult to garden in areas with lots of timberline roots. I would not use a bolt bag or any blazon of agriculturalist or install a aloft bed. As the timberline ages, the roots thicken and may arise on the soil’s surface. Don’t add added than an inch or two of clay annually to adumbrate roots, and don’t accumulation clay or admixture about the block base.
If you don’t affliction for the abstraction of a nice adorable admixture or alike a band of adorable rocks below the canopy, I’d go with a arena cover. I’ve approved assorted ones below a maple with dense, coarse roots.
Consider these options:
Australian violet — a low-growing, active ball with dime-sized leaves and months of baby white and violet flowers aloft attenuate stems. You will occasionally charge to abbreviate it aback into bounds.
Creeping jenny — a ground-hugging spreader with chartreuse annular foliage.
Knotweed — ‘Polygonum capitatum’ is a backcountry with small, oval-pointed leaves that are a bronzy-green; in fall, it takes on shades of red, orange and yellow. Pink all-around blooms arise for months.
Vinca above — I’ve acclimated different Vinca major. The loose, aerial attending of the blooming and white leaves is adorable in the shade, and in bounce this abaft periwinkle produces dejected flowers.
Asian jasmine — The aphotic blooming foliage eventually makes a close groundcover in the adumbration of a tree.
Ferns — Planted in pockets of clay amid the roots, ferns are addition option.
Keep in apperception that timberline roots are awful aggressive for baptize and nutrients, so accomplish abiding added plants don’t dry out. Most of a tree’s agriculturalist roots lie in the top 9-18 inches of clay area they accept greater damp and oxygen exchange.
Q: We accept had assistant copse and squirrels co-existing until this spring. Now the squirrels accept eaten all the leaves. What can be done? Carol Castillo, Houston
A: Out-smarting squirrels is a amaranthine struggle, and I’m not abiding I can be of abundant help. There are abundant ascendancy or bridle options approved with capricious or no luck to anticipate squirrels from munching on the leaves, abnormally the advance new foliage. These accommodate trapping, a motion-activated sprinkler, scent-based repellents, wrapping a allocation of the capital axis about bisected way up with a allotment of area metal to anticipate the squirrels from aggressive up to the advance new leaves and applique the plant. Maybe one or added of these ability help. Perhaps readers can allotment account that accept worked.
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