Q. What is the material that you recommend we spray on the new plantings in a landscape with deer, even when the plant is normally deer-proof?

A. Liquid Fence seems to work well to thwart the deer’s curiosity. They are inclined to taste anything new including a tendency to pull a plant out even if they don’t plan on eating it! The Liquid Fence discourages them from such action. Spray it once per week for at least three weeks. 

Q. Is there any way to control the vine cat’s claw? The flowers are beautiful, but it grows over the top of everything, killing trees and shrubs.

A. Cats claw (Macadyena unguis-cati) is as bad as you describe it. The flowers are blooming now in my neighborhood and it shows how widespread the weed is. 

Cut the stems off at the trunk of trees and utility poles. You can treat the cut stems with Cut Vine and Stump Killer but that means that you have lots of stems to treat. I have had success spraying masses of cat’s claw on fences with Remedy. 

The contact herbicide penetrates the plant through its leaves and the stems. Your application does not have to be perfect; the product is potent. Be careful not to spray the surrounding shrubs and trees. 

Q. I was disappointed that the retail nurseries ran out of the Rodeo tomato “Red Snapper” so quickly this spring. Was it that popular?

A. It was popular but the wholesale producer and the Master Gardener/AgriLife Rodeo Tomato Team are also careful not to overproduce the selection. 

They may have produced an excessive amount of last year’s selection HM8849 and did not want 

to duplicate the overproduction this year. 

Q. Do fire ants kill Monarchs in the early stage of their life cycle?

A. They may attack a few but I have never read about them doing it or seen it happen. I don’t think it is a problem.

Q. Why do you recommend that we wait to fertilize the lawn until we have mowed real grass twice? It seems to me that the grass growth would speed up if it was fertilized early?

A. Unfortunately if the lawn grass does not have enough foliage it won’t have adequate roots to collect and distribute the nutrients in the fertilizer. If it has grown enough to be mowed twice it means the plants are capable of using the nutrients in the fertilizer. 


Calvin Finch is a retired horticulture agent in Bexar County. He writes for and works with a number of area media outlets.

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