QUESTION: I need a recommendation for a good vine with flowers that I can plant on a brick wall.
ANSWER: One favorite is the tangerine beauty cross vine. It’s a heavy bloomer in spring and summer and will attach itself to the wall if you plant it on a wall that serves as a fence. If you’re going to plant it on a brick wall of a house, you don’t want to do heavy watering, however, and you should probably put it on a trellis. Other good choices might be pink trumpet vine or bougainvillea.
Q: I’m a Rio Rico resident and bought my home in 1975. It has green laminated countertops in the bathroom that were installed in the 1970s. I don’t like the color green and I wondered if I could paint them or glaze them another color. I talked to a remodeling company that does this kind of work. I like their process, but I want to be sure that it can last for at least five years.
A: I know that there are businesses that can do this kind of work. If you want to use them, ask them for referrals to some past customers from a few years ago. Presumably these customers could tell you how their work has stood the test of time.
Q: I had a sissoo tree that grew to be 25 to 30 feet tall. Then I cut it down except for the stump. I used root killer on the stump, but I still keep getting growth, plus dozens of little shoots all over the yard. Do I need to get an excavator in there to take out the stump?
A: Getting rid of a sissoo is not like cutting down an ordinary tree. After the sissoo is cut down, it doesn’t just send up volumes of sprouts from the cut stump. It sends up shoots from every root that remains in the soil, creating an unwanted forest of trees sometimes 100 feet from the stump.
To really get rid of a sissoo, you need to drill holes into the outer sapwood ring on top of the stump and fill the holes with a contact herbicide. This will kill the stump and roots to a certain radius from the tree. More stump treatments plus spot spraying of new shoots will then be needed for months.
Due to the massive amount of root material that a sissoo can generate and the corresponding high volume of chemicals required to kill them, some people choose to first dig out as many roots as possible before applying chemicals. The chemicals needed for stump, root and sprout treatments are not available over the counter and need to be applied by someone licensed with the Arizona Office of Pest Management.
Q: I have loads of doves that roost in the Texas ebony tree in my backyard, and they’re making a terrible mess of things. How can I stop them?
A: You can spread a sticky substance on the branches. There’s a product called Tanglefoot that homeowners use to stop invasions of birds. It’s sticky and they don’t like to land on the branches. You can try lighting the tree at night or you may be able to net the tree. You could also prune the tree more extensively to cut down the nesting opportunities.