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|

Asparagus Planting Guide

Plant asparagus roots or crowns in late winter/early spring (January-February in Central Texas). Prepare beds with heavy amounts of compost and organic fertilizer. We recommend using a mycorrhizal root inoculant (MicroLife 6-2-4 contains both fertilizer and microorganisms) at the time of planting as this has been shown to greatly increase yields in asparagus. Be sure to plant in full sun (at least 8 hours) and make sure that the soil drains well. Because once asparagus gets started it becomes very well established and difficult to eradicate, you should plant asparagus [...]

By | 2017-04-19T09:51:41+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Weed and Feed – Good or Bad?

Weed and Feed Why are “Weed and Feed” products not recommended in Central Texas? It’s simple, really. For spring application, we address both pre- and post-emergent weed problems early in the season, many times before the grass has re-emerged from winter dormancy. The grass will not require fertilizer until it has emerged in the spring and has been growing well enough to have been mowed at least two times. For fall application, we address the weed seeds early, by using pre-emergent in mid-September to October, BEFORE they have germinated. We [...]

By | 2017-05-04T16:56:04+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Lawn Care|

Tree Borers

Tree Borers Many tree boring insects are attracted to weakened, damaged, dying or dead plants. They are referred to as “secondary invaders” because they attack a plant only after it has been weakened by stress or injury. Wood boring insects that attack living, healthy trees are known as “primary invaders”, and may eventually kill trees. It is important to differentiate the two when implementing borer control methods. Borer infestations usually go unnoticed until the tree shows external signs of damage, such as browning leaves or dying branches. The holes on [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:40:16+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Insects, Trees|

Redbuds: Harbingers of Spring!

Redbuds We’ve had a wonderfully mild winter so far, and with this mild weather come the early spring blooms! Redbuds are an excellent indicator of warmer days ahead. From the bean-like seed pods, we can tell that they are in the Legume (or bean) family. Their flowers come in a range of shades of deep rose, pink, purple and white, as well as a range of forms such as single trunk, multi-trunk and weeping. Although we often see the native Redbuds growing and blooming in full sun, they also do [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:35:44+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Trees|

Growing Japanese Maples in Central Texas

Japanese Maples The Japanese Maples are absolutely glorious this spring! With dissected leaves in various shades of burgundy and red, they make a welcome contrast with the greens and grays in the landscape. Japanese Maples can be an attractive addition to almost any landscape. To assure trees that thrive, locate your Japanese maple where it will receive dappled sun under the canopy of trees, with no more than two to three hours of morning sun. Japanese Maples will tolerate low winter temperatures quite well, but suffer from moisture loss from [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:33:00+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Trees|

Sick Trees Care and What To Do About It

Sick Trees The vast majority of diagnostic questions I receive each year are related to trees with health issues. Many of these issues could be avoided by proper (and consistent) care of the tree from the day it is planted. Sometimes things do go wrong, and knowing what to do can be instrumental in reviving the health of a tree. Trees have the amazing ability to “compartmentalize” diseased and damaged tissue, and to produce healthy tissue around it. If a tree has been stressed by environmental issues such as compaction [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:29:22+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Trees|