DEAR NEIL: I have a crape myrtle with two trunks that are rubbing together enough that they are almost fusing. Is there any reason to worry about that?
Dear Reader: Not especially. It happens every once in a while. As long as they are unencumbered on their opposite sides so that they can just form a natural graft and continue growing, they’ll be fine.
It’s when they could be girdled by being bound on more than one side that you would need to do some type of corrective pruning. From your description, you should be fine.
DEAR NEIL: I had two rose bushes left over from the previous homeowner. They were unsightly, blooming very poorly. I dug them out, but apparently I missed some of the roots of one. It has regrown, but it looks very different. It still hasn’t bloomed. Should I remove it?
Dear Reader: This is probably the rootstock of the original rose, and it’s not going to be worth saving.
DEAR NEIL: Our container lemon and lime trees have curling leaves (see photo). I’m also seeing lines on the leaves. What do we need to do to help them? Will it harm the fruit?
Dear Reader: Several things can cause leaf curl in citrus. Drift of a broadleafed weedkiller would be one possibility anytime any plant has curled leaves.
Aphids feeding on new growth can also cause puckering. However, citrus leaf miners are a common cause. They are the larval form of a small moth. They tunnel through the leaves (hence the lines), causing the puckering in the process. They are not easily controlled, but horticultural oil sprays might be of help.
Your photos were low-resolution and I couldn’t zoom in enough to tell if they are the cause. I do see, however, that the damage may have passed. The new growth appears to be fine. Feel free to take a sample to a local Texas-certified nursery professional for a second opinion.
Perhaps you’d be better advised to start with a new plant next year. Use this space for something more spectacular the balance of this growing season.
DEAR NEIL: I have two Arizona ash trees in our backyard. Both seem to be doing quite well, but for the past couple of years one of them has had this huge indentation at its base. It has grown to be fairly large.
I don’t see any type of fungus, but I also don’t want it to come crashing down in a windstorm. It’s 40 years old. Do you have any suggestions?
Dear Reader: This tree is an accident waiting to happen. That’s beyond the average life expectancy of an Arizona ash by probably double, and my guess is that the interior of the trunk is hollowing out at a fast pace. It’s not a matter of “if” it will come down, but “when.”
I faced the same issue with a 70-foot-tall American elm along a creek behind our house. It was 48 inches in diameter, and I had it taken down because I was afraid of its toppling over and taking out half of my landscape in the process.
DEAR NEIL: Do lantanas cycle into and out of flower? Mine has had no blooms at all for some time.
Dear Reader: Yes they do. That’s one of the reasons the variety New Gold became so popular when it was introduced 30 or 40 years ago. It is a sterile triploid selection that cannot set seed.
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