Fall Harvests and Versatile Chard

Well, hopefully your fall vegetable garden is well underway, and you even have some greens to harvest and prepare. Keep an eye on those Cabbage Loopers! The little guys feed on the underside of the leaves of cabbage, broccoli, collards, brussels sprouts and other Cole crops at a time in the fall when the plants really need those leaves to produce carbohydrates for root and leaf growth. Continue using Bt or Spinosad weekly to control those little buggers! Swiss chard is not only a pretty plant that can be used [...]

By |2017-11-12T15:35:34+00:00November 12th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Twig Girdlers

I came out one morning and my driveway was covered in the tips of the branches from my enormous Cedar tree. (Actually, what we call a Cedar in Central Texas is really an Ashe Juniper.) I picked up one of the fallen branch tips. It was about 3-4” long.  I examined the cut end of the twig. Yep. I could see the smoothly chewed groove that caused the twig to fall. It was Twig Girdler damage, all right! Twig Girdlers are small beetles that may cause disfiguring damage to many [...]

By |2017-11-06T16:45:44+00:00November 6th, 2017|Insects|

Trees for Fall Color

Fall color in tree leaves is determined by many factors. Any tree grown from a seed, such as an acorn, will have genetic variability in developing fall color. This is observed by watching our native “Spanish Oaks” as the leaves begin to turn in fall. Many will have beautiful red fall color, but we also observe some trees with leaves that simply turn brown and hang on the tree most of the winter…. What if I want to be SURE that a tree that I plant will have fall color? [...]

By |2017-11-01T13:12:36+00:00November 1st, 2017|Trees|

Japanese Maples in Central Texas

Fall is upon us, and many of us are looking for trees with brilliant fall color to enhance our landscapes. Japanese Maples can fill this need for color in the fall, with their dissected leaves giving contrast in texture as well. 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 [...]

By |2017-10-25T17:28:15+00:00October 25th, 2017|Trees|

My Lawn is ALIVE!

Soooooo many calls the past two weeks about “creepy crawlies” on lawn grasses! What is going on, and what can we do about it? Many lawns were visited a month or so ago by hoards of 1-inch-wide tan or mottled gray moths. The moths laid eggs and the Armyworms have hatched! The rains last month gave these pests the conditions they needed to reproduce and cause rapid damage to lawns. Typically, these Armyworm larvae feed and are most active at night and on overcast days. In daylight, they will hide [...]

By |2017-10-18T13:06:34+00:00October 18th, 2017|Insects|

Brown Patch on Lawns

Brown Patch is a fungus that shows up in our lawns in the spring and fall, when temperatures begin to cool. Because it needs cool, moist conditions, we do not see brown patch fungus in the summer. If you have had brown patch in your lawn in the past, it is likely you will see it again once conditions are right for it to develop. St. Augustine is most often infected, but Bermuda and Zoysia will become infected under the right conditions. Over-watered and over-fertilized lawns are more susceptible to [...]

By |2017-10-11T14:33:28+00:00October 11th, 2017|Lawn Care|

Beneficial Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic, whitish to transparent, unsegmented worms. There are thousands of kinds of nematodes, each with their particular feeding preferences. Nematodes actively search for insects, insect pupa and insect larvae in places that are consistently moist. There are more than 250 susceptible insect species, including white grubs, termites, Peach tree borers, fire ants, stink bugs, fleas, chinch bugs, field crickets and flea beetles. What does this mean to you? Nematodes can be used instead of chemicals to control lawn and garden pests. Backbone Valley Nursery sells and recommends [...]

By |2017-10-11T12:58:43+00:00October 11th, 2017|Uncategorized|

October Gardening Check List

The best tree and shrub planting season continues now through mid-March. Root systems will continue to grow all winter long, giving you a fairly well-established plant by the time the real heat sets in. A better established root system conserves water and is more drought resistant next year. (It is also easier on YOU,  as you will be watering less often in the winter!) Try planting some spring-flowering trees and shrubs such as azaleas, redbuds, Mexican plums, anacacho orchid trees, and Texas scarlet flowering quince. -Don’t miss the fall fertilization [...]

By |2017-10-05T14:55:30+00:00October 5th, 2017|Lawn Care, Plants, Vegetable Gardening|

Time to Plant Garlic!

Knowing when to plant different vegetables can be confusing. In Central Texas, we have a fairly mild winter. This means we are able to plant “cool-season” vegetables in the fall for harvest in the spring. Garlic is one of these cool weather plants. The ideal time to plant garlic here is in October and November. It is so easy, you will wonder why you haven’t been planting it all along! Garlic grows best in rich organic soil with good drainage. There are two types of garlic: hard neck and soft [...]

By |2017-10-04T17:01:07+00:00October 4th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Cool Season Color

Pansies are one of the most rewarding plants for cool-season planting. They require 6-8 hours of sun, and a soil enriched with compost. Remember that winter is their season, and that they are HEAVY feeders. Fertilize monthly with NutriStar Color Star time-release fertilizer, and the blooms will never stop. I have had them bloom in an ice storm! Dead-head the fading flowers when possible to encourage more blooms, and you will be greatly rewarded. Violas are one of my favorite winter bloomers. They will tolerate part sun (even dappled shade) [...]

By |2017-09-26T15:23:30+00:00September 26th, 2017|Plants|

Mum’s the Word

Most of us think of mums as a fall flower to welcome in the cooler weather in a pot by the front door. They certainly pair well with pumpkins as a fall decoration! When grown in a container, mums do not need additional fertilizer. Regular watering is a must, as wilting shortens the life of the flowers. Be sure to soak the soil thoroughly, and do not let water stand in a saucer beneath the pot. Daily soaking is often required. Water the soil, not the plant. Water on the [...]

By |2017-09-20T16:16:55+00:00September 20th, 2017|Plants|

Fall Pre-Emergent

"Be proactive about weeds in your lawn.....not reactive!" It's that time to put out pre-emergent herbicides. What is that you ask? Pre-emergent herbicides are usually applied twice a year to lawns and established flower beds to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Timing of application is key! We apply the fall application around mid to late September when our fall rains come (and we know the cool-season weeds will appear). Pre-emergent herbicides are much safer to use around surrounding trees and plants than "weed and feed" type fertilizers. Many “Weed and Feed" products contain [...]

By |2017-09-15T15:25:54+00:00September 14th, 2017|Lawn Care|