About Lauren Banks

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So far Lauren Banks has created 12 blog entries.

L – December Gardening Checklist

-There’s still time to plant Bluebonnet seeds for spring blooms-as a bonus, plant Larkspur and Poppy seed, too. They will be great deer-resistant color for the spring! -Winterize your lawnmower after you mow your lawn for the last time. Empty the gas tank and run the engine until there is no gas in the lines. Change the oil and take to the repair shop if needed before they get busy! -Sharpen garden tools to prepare for winter pruning and planting. -Pruning of Live Oaks and Red Oaks should take place [...]

By |2019-07-23T10:15:02-05:00December 2nd, 2018|Monthly Gardening Checklist|

Pecan Tips for Late August and Early September

Pecan kernels fill out their shells during August and September in Central Texas, usually between August 15 and September 15. This is a critical time for the trees to receive DEEP watering, covering an area at least out to the dripline of the tree. Without sufficient rains or irrigation, the kernel does not compress all the packing material tightly to the inside of the shell and some of that packing material adheres to the kernel. Unfortunately, the kernels themselves also suffer, as they will not be filled out as well, [...]

By |2019-08-11T17:46:54-05:00September 3rd, 2018|Fruit & Nuts, Trees|

Cicada Killers – Don’t Kill These Killers

Giant wasps sound like something out of a nightmare! Fear not though, the huge yellow and black insects loudly buzzing around are gentle giants that are either slow to sting, or unable to sting, depending on the gender. Although they are Texas-sized, these wasps are not limited to our state, and can be found from Canada to Mexico. Cicada Killers, Sphecius speciosus (Drury), are large, solitary burrowing wasps.  The name ‘solitary wasp’ may seem questionable as Cicada Killers can appear in large numbers, but refers to the fact that they do not [...]

By |2018-07-05T09:36:00-05:00July 4th, 2018|Insects|

Lacebug Damage on Lantanas

Watch for Lacebug damage on Lantanas! The leaves will appear “bleached-out”, and there will be black specks on the back of the leaves. Damage usually appears in July and August. Cut these plants back pretty hard and then fertilize them. When new growth appears, protect the new foliage by spraying with a product labeled for lacebugs. Come consult our knowledgeable nursery staff for recommendations on appropriate fertilizers and insecticides. Spots on the back of Lantana leaves caused by lacebugs. Lacebugs on the back of lantana leaves. [...]

By |2017-08-01T14:06:08-05:00August 1st, 2017|Insects|

Tomato Variety Sheet

TOMATO VARIETY CHEAT SHEET Variety Days to Maturity Determinate/Indeterminate Fruit Type Notes Beefmaster 70 Determinate Large, 18-32oz VFN Beefsteak 96 Indeterminate Large, 16-32oz Better Boy 78 Indeterminate Large, 16oz VFN Better Bush 72 Determinate Medium, 8oz BHN 444 75 Determinate Large , 10oz Indeterminate Large, 16-20oz Big Boy 78 Indeterminate Large, 16-20oz Big Beef 73 Indeterminate Large, 12-16oz VFNT Black Krim* 65-90 Indeterminate Large, 10-12oz Red/Black, Very Sweet Brandywine* 88 Indeterminate Large, 12oz Bush Celebrity 67 Determinate Medium, 8oz Bush Early Girl 63 Determinate Medium, 6oz Caspian Pink* 80 Indeterminate [...]

By |2017-07-06T14:04:44-05:00July 6th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

F – June Gardening Checklist

Annuals and Perennials: Some of the best heat-loving annuals are ready to be planted now! Vinca, Angelonia, Penta, Sweet Potato Vine, Coleus, Wax Begonias, Purslane and Portulaca will easily make it through our hot summer with attentive watering and monthly fertilization. Even Geraniums, when moved to dappled shade or part sun will produce abundant blooms all summer if dead-headed and fertilized monthly. Perennials should be establishing well if planted in the spring. If planting now, continue hand-watering daily for at least a few weeks. Watering deeply once or twice a [...]

Insects in the Vegetable Garden

Do You Have Insects in the Vegetable Garden? As the temperatures warm, insects become more of problem in the home garden. We are seeing stink bugs hatching from their eggs, spider mites sucking sap from plant cells, and caterpillars munching on our crops! Stink bugs are most easily controlled when they have just hatched and are in the “nymph” stage. Actually, they are most easily controlled when they are eggs, and you can simply pick them off the leaf and place in a can of soapy water! The eggs are [...]

By |2017-07-17T08:22:54-05:00May 25th, 2017|Insects, Uncategorized|

Peach Tree Blues

Peach Tree Chilling? 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 [...]

By |2017-06-21T09:03:27-05:00May 2nd, 2017|Fruit & Nuts|

Photinia Leaf Spot

My Photinia Leaf Has Spots? If you have Red Tip Photinia in your yard, you are most likely familiar with the red-purple photinia 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 [...]

By |2017-06-07T07:50:13-05:00April 25th, 2017|Plants|

Sweet Potatoes in Central Texas

Sweet Potatoes 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 sweet potato slips as soon after purchasing as you can, preferably when the weather is warm and settled. Don’t worry if your slips [...]

By |2017-06-07T07:43:42-05:00April 20th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Growing Roses in Central Texas

Growing Roses 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, [...]

By |2017-06-07T07:37:58-05:00April 19th, 2017|Plants|