Pull weeds up by the roots
By Laurie Garretson
Dec. 28, 2017 at 10:18 p.m.
Updated Dec. 29, 2017 at 1 a.m.
This is time of year is usually, but not always, when we get some relief from garden pests and plant diseases. In our part of the world, there is some type of unwanted pest or disease out there 12 months of the year causing problems for gardeners. Any fewer pests and diseases are appreciated.
Unfortunately, weeds seem to continually be a problem in South Texas with our milder winters. Add in rain every now then and warm temperatures, and weeds will flourish. If you weed by hand, make sure you dig deep enough to pull the whole root system or bulb from the ground. Only snapping the top portion off a weed can make the problem worse.
In areas where it's possible to spray weeds without getting it on desirable vegetation, use a 20 percent vinegar and orange oil mixture to wipe out the most common types of weeds. Mix 2 ounces of orange oil to each gallon of straight 20 percent vinegar. Some weeds may need to be sprayed more than once for a complete kill.
Keeping a thick layer (3-4 inches deep) of mulch on garden beds can help to deter weed growth. Mulching can save you the time and effort of having to hand weed. Mulching will also help to keep the root systems warmer in colder weather and cooler in hotter weather. Warmer roots can help plants to form stronger root systems.
I know many people like to have poinsettias in their homes for the holidays. Here's a tip to keep yours looking its best.
If the plant's container is in any type of decorative colored cellophane pot cover it probably won't have drainage holes and will hold water. Poinsettias will not be happy sitting in water for extended periods of time.
When the pot feels light and the soil feels dry, remove the pot cover and thoroughly water it. Let it drain before placing it back in the pot cover, and place it in bright, indirect light away from heating vents or fireplace heat.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.