Roots and How They Grow

It is difficult to know how to water plants if we do not understand how (and where) their roots grow. Do we water just at the base of the plant? How long do we water a plant, and how deep does the water need to go? These are questions that I hear almost every day at the nursery. Let us begin with tree roots. In the first year, when establishing a newly planted tree, apply water to the area above the original root ball and about 1’ beyond. This will [...]

By |2019-08-18T17:48:20-05:00August 18th, 2019|Plants, Trees|

Crape Murder!

Is anyone thinking about murdering their Crape Myrtles this year? Is your yard crew "conditioned" to cut back your Crapes to NUBS???? Unfortunately, this practice began long ago, before we had choices in mature heights of our Crape Myrtles. They were planted too close to houses, and their height came too close to the eaves and gutters of the houses. Sooooo......the answer was to cut them back each year, thinking that this would not only control their height, but promote more blooms as well! This has been undeniably proven to be WRONG! [...]

By |2019-01-30T14:28:23-06:00January 30th, 2019|Trees|

Pecan Tips for Late August and Early September

Pecan kernels fill out their shells during August and September in Central Texas, usually between August 15 and September 15. This is a critical time for the trees to receive DEEP watering, covering an area at least out to the dripline of the tree. Without sufficient rains or irrigation, the kernel does not compress all the packing material tightly to the inside of the shell and some of that packing material adheres to the kernel. Unfortunately, the kernels themselves also suffer, as they will not be filled out as well, [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:49:53-05:00September 3rd, 2018|Fruit & Nuts, Trees|

Bagworms

All About Bagworms Bagworms have a fascinating life cycle! After hatching, each caterpillar spins a silk and leaf “bag” around itself. These bags are protective against predators, and are easily carried by the caterpillar as it crawls around feeding on trees and shrubs. If you see one of these little bags moving, look closely and you will see the head and front legs peeking out of the front of the bag. The caterpillars feed and grow throughout the summer, then pupate in August or September. The male emerges as a [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:57:23-05:00July 16th, 2018|Insects, Trees|

My Crape Myrtles Aren’t Blooming!

Every year I get several inquiries about why someone’s Crape Myrtle is not blooming. There are several conditions that might affect a Crape Myrtle’s bloom period. Read the causes below to help figure out why yours don’t bloom. *Different varieties begin blooming at different times. Natchez (white) is usually one of the first to begin blooming. Some varieties may not begin blooming until late June. *Crape Myrtles require at least 8 hours of direct sun to bloom. If your Crape Myrtle receives too much shade, it will not bloom. *Insects [...]

By |2018-06-13T21:52:00-05:00June 13th, 2018|Trees|

Japanese Maples in Central Texas

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. New growth on varieties with red leaves will be more brilliant if they receive a little direct sun, either in the morning or the evening. Japanese Maples will tolerate low winter temperatures quite well, but suffer from moisture loss from the leaves when exposed to our drying summer [...]

By |2019-04-10T16:56:48-05:00April 25th, 2018|Trees|

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 |2018-04-23T10:13:27-05:00March 21st, 2018|Plants, Trees|

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 |2020-07-22T16:36:02-05:00November 6th, 2017|Insects, Trees|

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 |2017-11-01T13:12:36-05:00November 1st, 2017|Trees|

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 |2019-01-30T14:17:12-06:00June 21st, 2017|Trees|

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 |2020-07-22T16:41:06-05:00April 25th, 2017|Disease, Plants, Trees|

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 |2019-05-08T11:14:36-05:00April 4th, 2017|Insects, Trees|