Insect control with horticultural oil | Daphne Richards | Central Texas Gardener

Hi, I’m Daphne Richards Our plant this week is Mexican sycamore, Platanus mexicana As its name implies, this rapidly growing deciduous tree is native to central and northeastern Mexico. It has very large, beautiful, maple-shaped bright green leaves, with soft-white, fuzzy undersides But probably the most stunning quality about this tree is its bark: a living work of art that gets more beautiful and intricate with age Mexican sycamore trees can get up to 80 feet tall in their natural environment, but in most home landscapes they only reach to a height of about 50, with a canopy spread of 30 to 40 feet wide Mexican sycamores are very drought tolerant once established, but they’ll perform much better if given plenty of irrigation for about the first 3 years after planting. As with most trees Mexican sycamore does best in full sun and winter’s still a great time to plant trees even though we normally recommend in fall, plants still have a few months before we get really hot in order to establish Our question this week is, why should horticultural oils be applied to trees in winter, but aren’t recommended for other times of year? Horticultural oils, also known as dormant oils, are used to treat insect and disease pests. They’re generally petroleum based products that serve to suffocate pests by coating their bodies with oil In winter, most plants are dormant and often leaf-less, which is important because, like the insects that feed on them, plants have pores too, and they need to breathe in order to survive If applied when temps are warm and your plants are actively growing, horticultural oils can actually damage your plants as well as the pests you’re trying to kill If used properly, horticultural oils are a great way to treat for scale insects, which can be very hard to control If used in spring it’s still not too late for horticultural oils, you can also treat for aphids and white flies Our viewer picture goes to Nelwyn, from Bartlett, for what we think just might be the first bluebonnet of the season This little guy first started blooming in September, It took a little break, and then went back into high gear among oxblood lily foliage At last report, this determined plant was still blooming in late December! And Nelwyn’s brother Kirk, In Killeen, has early-bird Indian paintbrush that started up in
November We’ve gotten quite of few pictures from people with plants blooming out of season It’s really been a crazy year! We’d love
to hear from you So please, Head on over to to send us your questions and pictures from your beautiful garden

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