About Lauren Banks

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So far Lauren Banks has created 20 blog entries.

Crape Myrtle Aphids

It’s funny, we don’t always get the question “How do I control aphids on my Crape Myrtles?” More often, we are asked, “Why are my Crape Myrtle leaves black?” or, “What is dripping on my car from the Crape Myrtle trees?”  Both of these questions refer to an infestation of an insect called a Crape Myrtle aphid. Yes, they actually are named after the tree. That, in itself, tells us something. It is one of the most common pests of Crape Myrtles in the United States. Apparently it was introduce [...]

By |2017-05-30T14:36:26+00:00May 30th, 2017|Insects|

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+00:00May 25th, 2017|Insects, Uncategorized|

Blossom End Rot

Blossom End Rot - What It Is and What It Is Not 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 [...]

By |2017-06-21T09:07:17+00:00May 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+00:00May 11th, 2017|Plants|

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+00:00May 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+00:00April 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+00:00April 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+00:00April 19th, 2017|Plants|