Calvin Finch: How to select and best grow shade trees in your San Antonio garden

Now is a good time to plant shade trees in San Antonio.

When you live in a climate like we do, shade trees are an important part of the landscape. Temperatures of 100-plus degrees are difficult to tolerate in the shade and are even more unpleasant if there is no shade.

Among the important issues to consider when selecting a shade tree species are its ultimate size, growth rate, appearance, drought tolerance, soil preference and susceptibility to pests and diseases. Quite often area gardeners remind me that we describe live oaks as “evergreen,” but they do, in fact, lose their leaves for a short time each March.

Live oaks are relatively slow-growing shade trees when compared to other choices, but they are held in high regard for their appearance, drought tolerance and longevity. If your landscape includes a 50-foot live oak, it may be 100 years old and is probably adding $30,000 to the value of the property.

A lot of attention is given to the live oaks susceptibility to the disease “oak wilt,” but it is recognized that the disease is relatively easy to detect and prevent if a homeowner does a limited amount of research and is alert to the situation with the trees in the surrounding neighborhood. One of the most effective ways to protect the value of live oaks and other shade trees is to establish a relationship with an arborist.

This week in the garden

 It is prime time to plant your winter vegetable garden. Prepare the soil by incorporating 2 inches of compost into the planting area. Also enrich the soil with 10 cups of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed. Plant broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, kale and Brussels sprouts with transplants. Use seeds for carrots, beets, radishes, turnips and lettuce.

 The fall tomatoes should be setting fruit. Support their production with side dressing with a winterizer fertilizer.

 Zinnias and other summer annuals will continue to bloom but the winter annuals such as snapdragons, dianthus, stocks, calendula and petunias can also be planted.

 Fertilize the lawn to prepare it to tolerate winter cold and to prepare the grass for a green-up next spring.

Texas red oak is like a live oak in its size, attractive shape and drought tolerance. It is different in its faster growth rate and that it is a deciduous tree, meaning it loses its leaves every winter.

Depending on the soil, it is not unusual for a Texas red oak to add 6 feet of growth each year for several years after it is planted. Texas red oaks also are susceptible to oak wilt as individual trees through wounds, but they’re not susceptible through the roots like live oaks.

Deer are common in many San Antonio neighborhoods and are a factor in successfully growing a shade tree. Bucks in their rutting season rub their antlers on the smooth trunk of young shade trees, often girdling the tree and greatly reducing its growth rate. The girdling involves damaging

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New upscale Stone Oak Mexican restaurant Cuishe Cocina Mexicana opening Tuesday in San Antonio from Toro Kitchen + Bar team

At special events and festivals around San Antonio the last few years, co-owner Gerardo De Anda of the popular Spanish restaurant Toro Kitchen + Bar has made no secret that the food of Mexico would be his next quest.

Tuesday, Oct. 6, that quest becomes a reality with the opening of Cuishe Cocina Mexicana in Stone Oak, just a few doors down from where he opened the first Toro in 2017. A second location of Cuishe is coming Nov. 3 in St. Paul Square near downtown, close to the second location of Toro, according to Cuishe’s Facebook page.

Named for an agave plant used to make mezcal, Cuishe (pronounced KWEE-sheh) will feature more than 150 bottles of spirits distilled from agave, including tequila, mezcal, sotol, raicilla and bacanora, served straight up or mixed in a wide variety of cocktails served not just in glasses, but also in clay cups, gourds and even hollowed-out jalapeños.

The kitchen, overseen by Toro executive chef Juan Carlos Bazan, will showcase food from Central Mexico, with familiar dishes like Wagyu steak arrachera, enchiladas, sopes, street tacos made from an al pastor trompo and wood-fired snapper and less-familiar specialties like huitlacoche quesadillas, ant-larvae “caviar” called escamoles, flame-roasted octopus and “bichos,” an assortment of toasted scorpions, grasshoppers and worms served with guacamole.

The elegant space is divided into rooms with rustic accents, such as Mexican vaquero gear and the farm implements used to harvest agave.

Cuishe Cocina Mexicana, in Stone Oak at 115 N Loop 1604 E Suite 1118, In St. Paul Square at 119 Heiman St. Stone Oak hours: noon-11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday. A brunch and lunch combination menu will be served each day, with dinner beginning at 3 p.m. Hours are not yet available for the downtown location.

Mike Sutter is a food and drink reporter and restaurant critic in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. To read more from Mike, become a subscriber. [email protected] | Twitter: @fedmanwalking | Instagram: @fedmanwalking

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Larger than life sculptures debut at San Antonio Botanical Garden

SAN ANTONIO – You probably remember making paper planes, boats or even birds as a child with a small piece of paper. Did you ever think about what it takes to make them into life-sized sculptures?

The San Antonio Botanical Garden is inviting visitors to reminisce and explore visual art form through their newest exhibit OrigamiintheGarden².

Origami is the Japanese art of creating decorative art figures from a single piece of paper using intricate folds.

OrigamiintheGarden² features larger than life sculptures at the San Antonio Botanical Garden
OrigamiintheGarden² features larger than life sculptures at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.)

At the garden, the sculptures are a bit more sturdy, Eliana Rodriguez, marketing director of the San Antonio Botanical Garden said.

“Visitors can expect to see over 20 different sculptures made out of aluminum, steel and bronze medals,” Rodríguez said. “These larger than life sculptures were also created from one single piece of paper from the artist and collaborated with different origami art artists as well.”

The sculptures were created by artists Jennifer and Kevin Box. Rodriguez said visitors will also get a lesson about the Japanese paper-art form’s connection to nature.

“They’ll be able to discover over 12 different types of plants that make paper,” Rodríguez said. “Some of the plants that they’ll be able to discover that make paper, that we call paper-making plants, are mulberry and papyrus.”

The San Antonio Botanical Garden also highlights the Japanese paper-art form’s connection to nature through its paper-making plants.
The San Antonio Botanical Garden also highlights the Japanese paper-art form’s connection to nature through its paper-making plants. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.)

In case you missed opening weekend, there’s still a chance to participate in origami-inspired events at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

“Starting Thursday, (September 24) is Origami Nights!, so you’ll be able to enjoy (the sculptures) in the evening from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. and there will be some hands-on origami activities,” Rodríguez said. “Also, (there will be) some guided tours, Japanese-inspired cocktails and beer.”

OrigamiintheGarden² will be on display at the San Antonio Botanical Garden until May 2021.

For more information on Origami Nights!, click here.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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San Antonio natives have green light to open new burger and beer garden on East Side

While the empty lot at 2014 WW White Road may not look like much now, two San Antonio natives are hoping to transform it into a new restaurant and outdoor space to bring food, fun and family together.

Owners J.R. Vega and Kevin Koenen hope to open their new restaurant Buckets Burger and Beer Garden next month. The open-space restaurant will include cornhole, volleyball and a playground for the kids — a place where people can hang out, have dinner and feel safe during the pandemic.

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“It’s going to be the whole works,” Vega said. “We want to provide a place where people can be safe and happy … when people leave, we want them to be smiling and we hope this can be like a home away from home.”

Buckets will eventually take up 6-acres of land and will include food and drink specials served in — you guessed it — buckets.

The pair, who have been friends since kindergarten, have always known they wanted to go into business together. Separately, the two have owned a number of bars and restaurants in the San Antonio area. When Koenen saw the space on WW White available to lease, the two jumped on the opportunity. Within a week, they conceptualized their new venture and signed the lease on the 6-acre plot.

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“There just aren’t a ton of things to do in that area of town and people are looking for things to do to get out and be together but also be safe with COVID-19, so this was perfect,” Koenen said.

While its still in the infant stages, Vega and Koenen hope to open Buckets’ dining room and patio in mid-October, with the full concept finished by the spring. They said don’t want to create problems by rushing to open the full restaurant and are taking their time to make sure everything is right before fully opening.

Patron can expect classics like beer-can chicken, BBQ, big desserts and of course lots and lots of burgers. Vega said they are even throwing around the idea of creating a 12-pound burger challenge.

“We want our menu to be fun and creative,” Vega said. “It is stuff that no one really offers, so we want to take it and run.”

Taylor Pettaway is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for | [email protected] | @TaylorPettaway

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13th Floor Haunted House San Antonio is offering $5 off coupon for its opening day tickets

Celebrate Halloween in September at 13th Floor Haunted House San Antonio, which is offering discounted tickets for its opening day.

The local attraction announced on its Facebook page Monday that its 11th season will begin Sept. 18 and run until Nov. 7. For opening night, the performance venue is allowing visitors to use a coupon code that will knock $5 off of their ticket prices.

Guests can buy their tickets online and use the code 13SAN5 for the discount. Admission prices begin at $20, according to the attraction’s website.

On its website, 13th Floor Haunted House San Antonio is asking guests to buy tickets as soon as possible because it will run at a limited capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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For its safety measures, the venue will require all of its staff, including actors, to wear a face mask while inside the haunted house. The team will also have their temperatures checked before entering the building.

The haunted house is also requiring its guests to wear face coverings while inside the building.

On its website, the attraction teased that visitors will travel through its “Dead End District,” which is known for “being a forgotten area filled with decay and filth.”

“Make your way through the streets as you encounter hordes of the living dead,” the venue wrote about its storyline. “Can you stomach the dismay long enough to survive? Or will you become one of the undead who roams the streets?”

The haunted house advertises itself as “the longest and largest haunted attraction in San Antonio.”

Priscilla Aguirre is a general assignment reporter for | [email protected] | @CillaAguirre

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