About Lauren Banks

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Lauren Banks has created 6 blog entries.

Blossom End Rot

If you have ever had the “blossom end” of a tomato turn black, you have experienced “blossom end rot”. Caused by cultural conditions, and NOT disease, this malady can affect tomatoes, peppers, squash, watermelon and eggplant. Researchers agree that it is caused by a calcium deficiency in the blossom end of the fruit (yes, these are technically fruits, as they are actually formed from the ovary of a flower!) Now, why there is a deficiency is the real question, as Central Texas soils and water supplies are seldom deficient in [...]

By | 2017-05-18T14:38:33+00:00 May 17th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Is it CLEM-a-tis or clem-A-tis?

Whichever way you pronounce it, it is one of my favorite flowering vines, and I am excited to introduce it to you! Clematis, in nature, germinate their seed in the shade of other plants, and climb into the sun, keeping their roots in more cool temperatures. Hence, the adage “tops in the sun, roots in the shade”. This can be accomplished by planting a shrub to shade the roots (Liriope works well), or even by placing a large flat stone over the root area. A thick layer of mulch also [...]

By | 2017-05-11T15:51:13+00:00 May 11th, 2017|Plants|

Peach Tree Blues

Some varieties of fruit, such as peaches, plums, apricots, and apples, require a certain number of “chilling” hours in order to bloom and set fruit. This is usually calculated between October 1 and February 28/29, and is either calculated as the number of hours between 32 and 45 degrees or hours below 45 degrees F...depending on who is doing the calculating!  When selecting a variety for your area, it is important to remember that a chilling requirement is not a hard and fast rule- it is a general guide. A [...]

By | 2017-05-07T14:54:17+00:00 May 2nd, 2017|Fruit & Nuts|

Photinia Leaf Spot

If you have Red Tip Photinia in your yard, you are most likely familiar with the red-purple leaf spots that can appear on the leaves. This spotting is caused by a fungus, Entomosporium, and can cause damage to Photinia and Indian Hawthorn. Other plants in the rose family that may be infected include loquat, flowering quince, pyracantha and pear. We frequently see severe damage after periods of frequent rainfall, although overhead watering for lawns that hits the shrubs is also a factor. The disease starts as tiny, round, bright red [...]

By | 2017-04-26T08:52:11+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Plants|

Sweet Potato Slips

April is the time to plant Sweet Potatoes in Central Texas! Although they do prefer sandy soils, they are able to adapt to many different types of soil in your garden-just as long as it drains well. If you have clay soil or drainage problems, work in lots of compost and make raised beds or planting ridges 8”-12” high. You will want to plant your slips as soon after purchasing as you can, preferably when the weather is warm and settled. Don’t worry if your slips don’t have a lot [...]

By | 2017-05-02T17:18:39+00:00 April 20th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Growing Roses in Central Texas

Knowing which class of rose you want to grow is an important decision. Shopping for roses can be confusing, and having a basic knowledge before you choose your rose can increase your chance of success. Roses with similar characteristics are grouped in to a number of different “classes”.   Hybrid Tea roses are usually grafted (budded) on a vigorous rootstock, and bear large, many-petaled flowers that grow on a long stem. They can bloom continually throughout the growing season, and many are fragrant. These roses usually grow quite tall, (3’-6’) [...]

By | 2017-04-20T11:38:01+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Plants|