Squash Vine Borers

I don’t know about you, but I consider squash vine borers one of my garden’s worst enemies! Just when my squash vines are beginning to produce well, they suddenly go limp and die! Luckily, there IS something we can do to prevent or minimize the damage from this pesky insect. Understanding the life cycle of any pest is key to its management. The squash vine borer adult is a small wasp-like “clear-wing” moth with a reddish-orange abdomen. The adult moths emerge from their pupating stage in the soil in late [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:07:19+00:00April 18th, 2018|Insects|

Scarlet Laurel Bug on Texas Mountain Laurel

Some of you may have noticed an exceptionally large outbreak of the Scarlet Laurel Bugs on the new growth of your Texas Mountain Laurels this year. This scarlet red bug with a central black wing area feeds on new growth, blooms and seed pods. In addition to having piercing/sucking mouthparts, the female of this species inserts eggs in to plant tissue with a bladelike ovipositor, causing further damage to foliage on your trees. Scarlet Laurel Bugs are “True Bugs”, meaning they are in the Order Hemiptera, and are related to [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:10:41+00:00April 12th, 2018|Insects|

April Checklist

ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS:             Continue planting warm season annuals and perennials. Caladiums should be available soon and make a good combination with Impatiens in the shady landscape. Plant heat-loving perennials and hand-water for a few weeks until established. Remember, rain and/or irrigation do not do a good job establishing newly planted plants. Work compost into the beds before planting and apply fertilizer such as Ladybug 8-2-4 or MicroLife 6-2-4 after planting. Add large colorful pots of combination plantings to your landscape. Be sure to include tall, medium and trailing plants- [...]

By |2018-04-04T22:01:30+00:00April 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Texas Mountain Laurel

What’s that fragrance, you say? Does it smell like Grape NeHi Soda? That wonderful grape scent is coming from our native Texas Mountain Laurel. They usually bloom in March, and the blooming period may last 3-4 weeks. The Texas Mountain Laurel is an evergreen native tree that is quite drought tolerant, once established. Establishment can take up to three years, as it does with many trees. The old adage “the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap” is appropriate for this gorgeous [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:13:27+00:00March 21st, 2018|Plants, Trees|

Bougainvillea Madness

I am so fond of having Bougainvilleas in pots in my landscape. Nothing really compares to the riot of color that they can produce during the heat of the summer. Add the fact that they are so easy to care for, and we have a real winner on our hands. Simply familiarize yourself with their needs, and you will have an explosion of color in your yard, too! Bougainvilleas require at least 5 hours of sun each day in order to bloom well. Because they bloom on new growth, promoting [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:14:42+00:00March 14th, 2018|Plants|

Tomato Tips

Vegetable gardening in central Texas can have its challenges. You do everything right, then at just the WRONG moment Mother Nature comes in and throws a cog in your wheel. Ever so optimistic, I will plant tomatoes each year, and usually get a good crop, with occasional rainy years being the exception. So, let’s go over what it takes to grow tomatoes successfully in Central Texas - "Tomato Tips"! Timing: Plant as early as possible in Central Texas. Buy your transplants in February and transplant them to 1 gallon pots [...]

By |2018-05-07T08:43:09+00:00March 7th, 2018|Vegetable Gardening|

March Gardening Checklist

Annuals and Perennials Now is the time to be planting warm season annuals and perennials. Their root systems will have a chance to become established before the summer heat sets in, and you will not need to hand-water as long as you would if you wait to plant later.  Be ready to protect your newly planted/tender plants with frost cloth just in case we get a late freeze. The average last frost in Burnet County is March 15. Some of my favorite plants to add instant color to the winter-worn [...]

By |2018-02-28T15:36:38+00:00February 28th, 2018|Fruit & Nuts, Plants, Trees, Vegetable Gardening|

Pruning Guidelines

Herbaceous perennials: These are plants which die back to the ground in the winter. They may be cut back to the ground as soon as they freeze back. Examples are: Mexican Bush Sage, Copper Canyon Daisy, Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia, Russian Sage and Turk’s cap. Evergreen perennials:  These stay green all winter, but benefit from either a light shear or a “rejuvenative” pruning, especially if they are old and woody. Plants requiring a light shear, or “ponytail” cut would include Damianita, Blackfoot Daisy, Mexican Oregano, and Pink Skullcap. Cut only into [...]

By |2018-02-21T15:33:35+00:00February 21st, 2018|Plants|

Growing Potatoes

The old-timers always said to get your potatoes in the ground by Washington’s Birthday. Well, now that Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays have been combined, I guess we’ll have to say to get them in by “President’s Day”! Plan ahead by getting your seed potatoes about 5-7 days before planting. You will want to cut them into pieces with each containing an “eye”, and put them in a paper bag with some dusting sulfur to help prevent disease problems. Shake the pieces around in the bag until they are coated with [...]

By |2018-02-14T11:47:48+00:00February 14th, 2018|Plants|

Spider Mites on Italian Cypress

Treat Italian Cypress NOW! I’ve often mentioned that we have these “windows” for controlling insects and diseases on plants. For those of you who have Italian Cypress planted in your landscape, don’t miss this opportunity to apply dormant oil to prevent spider mites from infesting your plants this spring. I have had great success with one application of All-Season’s Spray Oil in February on Italian Cypress to suppress this damaging insect which often shows up in March. There are a few guidelines to go by for successful results: Temperatures must [...]

By |2018-02-07T00:50:11+00:00February 7th, 2018|Insects|

Winter Lawn Watering

Many people are asking whether to water their lawns in the winter. In Central Texas, that can be a loaded question. Some winters, the temperatures do not drop low enough for a long enough time for our lawns to even go dormant. In that case, if we do not receive ½” of rain, we would advise watering about ½” every two weeks. During our colder winters, when grass turns brown and goes dormant, the roots still remain viable and grow very slowly.  In the absence of rain, a monthly watering [...]

By |2018-01-29T16:42:18+00:00January 29th, 2018|Lawn Care|