Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale When a customer calls or comes in with black sooty mold on their Crape Myrtle leaves, the first thing we look for is aphids. The second thing we look for is Crape Myrtle Bark Scale. Although this introduced species from China, Japan and Korea is not as common as aphids on Crape Myrtles, we are seeing it more and more frequently in recent years. Like aphids, this scale insect has sucking mouthparts which suck the juices from the plant cells. Since they cannot utilize the “sugars” [...]

By |2021-08-10T15:49:01-05:00August 10th, 2021|Insects, Trees|

Borers in Shade Trees

Borers in Shade Trees One of the most frequent questions we get at the nursery is about borer holes in tree trunks. Unfortunately, almost everyone wants to know how to “treat” for the borers, not realizing that the presence of borers is just an indication of a larger problem. Wood boring insects include the larvae of various beetles, moths and even a wood boring wasp. Most of these insects lay their eggs on the bark and the hatching larva chew their way into the plant to feed. Most wood boring [...]

By |2021-07-07T15:08:58-05:00July 7th, 2021|Insects, Trees|

Gummosis in Fruit Trees

Gummosis of Fruit Trees Gummosis is a term that refers to the presence of  amber-colored sap oozing from the trunk or branches of a tree. It is important to understand that the term “gummosis” is a symptom, not a cause of a tree ailment. Anything that stresses the tree can be a causal factor. It is necessary to determine the cause of the stress in order to mitigate future damage to the tree. Gummosis has a variety of causes: Environmental stress: Compacted soils, poorly drained soils, light sandy soils, use [...]

By |2021-07-07T10:33:34-05:00July 7th, 2021|Disease, Fruit & Nuts, Insects, Plants, Trees|

Imported Fire Ant Control

Imported Fire Ant Control Face it, we have all had run-ins with Fire Ant mounds and the painful blisters that form after they bite. Children, pets, and wildlife are especially vulnerable, as they are often unaware of the mounds until the ants begin biting. There are several options for controlling (but unfortunately not eradicating) Imported Fire Ants: The Two Step Method: Step One involves broadcasting a fire ant bait over the entire area once or twice a year. This has the potential for reducing the colonies by 80-90%. Apply baits [...]

By |2021-05-19T09:45:30-05:00May 19th, 2021|Insects, Lawn Care, Vegetable Gardening|

Sick Tree Care

SICK TREE CARE 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 [...]

By |2021-06-10T11:06:15-05:00January 6th, 2021|Disease, Insects, Plants, Trees|

Elbon Rye as a Cover Crop

Why Plant “Cover Crops”? I am sure that many of you have heard that it is good to plant a winter “cover crop” in unused areas of the garden. But do you know exactly what the benefits are? *One of the most beneficial reasons is that it gives you a chance to add valuable, inexpensive organic matter to the soil. Elbon (or Cereal) Rye is one of the best “green manure” cops for capturing nitrogen and returning it to the soil in the spring. (Do NOT confuse this with Annual [...]

By |2020-12-02T08:28:55-06:00September 27th, 2020|Insects, Vegetable Gardening|

Soil Solarization

There are few things that we can do in the garden when it is 105°F outside, but there is ONE thing that we can do BEST when it is this hot. Soil solarization is a method that is used to kill weeds seeds, insects and disease that are in the soil prior to planting. The goal is to heat the top six inches of the soil to a temperature between 110° and 125°F for four to six weeks. These high temperatures are enough to kill most annual and perennial weed [...]

By |2020-12-02T08:28:56-06:00August 15th, 2020|Disease, Insects, Vegetable Gardening|

Citrus Troubleshooting: Common Problems

Nutrient deficiency: Iron deficiency is common in areas with calcareous soils and alkaline water. The iron may be present in the soil, but it is in a form that is unavailable to the plant when grown in alkaline conditions. Deficiency occurs on young leaves, and the veins remain green while the rest of the leaf is yellow. This condition can cause dieback of limbs and small fruit. Iron deficiency is also associated with excessively wet soils or prolonged wet conditions, as this depletes the root system and uptake of nutrients [...]

By |2019-12-09T09:38:17-06:00November 5th, 2019|Disease, Fruit & Nuts, Insects, Trees|

Leafhopper

Every year about this time, customers start bringing in photos of this strange white, fluffy substance on the stems of their shrubs and perennials. I myself have it on the stems of my Rose of Sharon. What on earth can it be? Well, it is not a fungus, as some have suggested. It looks fuzzy, so could it be a mealy bug? Nope. It is an evasive little insect called a leafhopper. I say evasive because if you’ve ever seen one on a stem, as soon as you get close [...]

By |2019-06-12T15:41:57-05:00June 12th, 2019|Insects|

Leaf Footed Bugs on Tomatoes

If leaf-footed bugs invade your garden, learn what the eggs and nymphs (babies) look like. They can be picked off and put in a can of soapy water or sprayed with a spinosad/soap solution. Once they mature, the best way to rid your tomatoes of them is to purchase a cordless handvac (there are ones your rechargeable drill batteries will fit on). Then, go out at night with a flashlight and vacuum them up! Dump them in a bucket of soapy water before they fly away. These are the insects [...]

By |2019-05-30T09:25:02-05:00May 30th, 2019|Insects|

Genista Caterpillar

The Genista Caterpillar is the caterpillar commonly seen on the new growth of Texas Mountain Laurels. Note, it is ONLY the new growth that they will be found on. This saves us time and money in our control efforts. Any time Texas Mountain Laurels have new growth emerging, as in the spring and fall, is a good time to protect the new growth by spraying it with either Bt (Bacillis thurengiensis) or Spinosad. These are both Organic solutions to control caterpillars. I usually keep a “ready to spray” bottle of [...]

By |2019-04-24T11:21:12-05:00April 24th, 2019|Insects|

Using Oil Products to Control Insects and Disease

We now have available to us a wide range of oil products to use as alternatives to synthetic insecticides and fungicides. These include oils distilled from petroleum and oils extracted from plants and animals. Petroleum oils (including mineral oils) are highly refined, paraffinic oils that are often referred to as horticultural spray, summer oil, spray oil or white mineral oil. We recommend Bonide “All Seasons Spray Oil” for late winter insect and disease control. (The antiquated term “dormant oil” referred to the heavier, less refined oils produced in the past [...]

By |2021-01-12T11:55:48-06:00February 13th, 2019|Disease, Insects|
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