How to Choose a Crape Myrtle

It may seem kind of silly to write about “Choosing a Crape Myrtle”. Don’t you just decide what color you like and buy that one? Well, maybe. But there are other factors to consider as well. We now have a plethora of varieties to choose from, some with dark colored leaves, different colors of exfoliating bark, brilliant fall colors from red to orange, and a myriad of flower colors.  While all of these are important, remember to first identify the mature height of Crape Myrtle that would be appropriate for the [...]

By | 2017-06-21T14:51:21+00:00 June 21st, 2017|Trees|

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 [...]

By | 2017-06-07T12:42:32+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Lawn Care, Vegetable Gardening|

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+00:00 May 30th, 2017|Insects|

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 laid in groupings on leaves and look like little [...]

By | 2017-05-25T10:32:48+00:00 May 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+00:00 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

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

Asparagus Planting Guide

Asparagus Planting 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 [...]

By | 2017-06-07T07:32:30+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 | 2017-06-05T09:38:05+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Lawn Care|