Author Archives: khansen

Overton Horticulture Field Day

Last week the rains didn’t dampen landscapers, Master Gardeners and industry reps from attending the annual Horticulture Field Day in Overton, Texas, where trials of a wide range of mostly annual flowers and foliage plants were planted in replicates to see which ones had what it takes to make a good showing in our hot, humid (and often rainy) East Texas climate. Of course, this is just the end of June, and it will be interesting to see which ones will still be going strong when it comes… Read More →

Crapemyrtle Bark Scale – A New Pest on Crapemyrtles

As a follow up to last week’s post about crapemyrtles, I want to provide some details about a new pest that has recently been messing with these beautiful plants. It is called Crapemyrtle Bark Scale (CMBS), an exotic scale pest that was discovered in the U.S. only 10 years ago first in the Dallas area. It is very similar to another scale that gets on azaleas and other woody plants, but was recently determined with pretty good confidence that this scale is different and is a newly introduced… Read More →

Crapemyrtles for Great Summer Color

You know summer has arrived in the South when the cicadas start singing and the crapemyrtles are blooming. Crapemyrtles are among the most popular of the small trees in the southern United States because of their beauty, long season of bloom, compact size, hardiness and longevity. It is common to find stately, thriving crapemyrtles well over 100 years old at old homesteads, abandoned home sites or cemeteries. Crapemyrtles have been called the lilac of the south, being cultivated in the U.S. since the early 1800’s. The common crapemyrtle,… Read More →

Leafcutting Bees Make Perfect Holes

Ever wonder what makes those perfectly round holes in rose leaves?  Looks kind of like a giant hole punch.  That’s the work of a leaf cutting bee – a solitary bee that lines a hollow stem or other tube with leaf pieces for it nest. They make several chambers, each with an egg and a food supply for the developing larvae. They are also important pollinators of plants, so we should consider them a very beneficial insect, and the holey roses a decorative feature. For a more complete… Read More →

Gardening Tips for June

Even though we are an couple of weeks away from the “official” start of summer, as every Texan knows, when June arrives so does summertime. Here are a few tips for your garden and lawn for the month of June. Make plans to attend the Horticulture Field Day on June 26, at the Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Center in Overton, where you will get a firsthand look at the very latest plant introductions. This free event starts in the morning and showcases the extensive plant variety… Read More →

Home Garden Tour June 7

Looking for ideas for enhancing your home landscape? Or, do you enjoy visiting beautiful gardens? This Saturday, June 7, you have a rare chance to do just that during the Home Garden Tour sponsored by the Smith County Master Gardener Association. Four very different and unique private home gardens will be open for your viewing pleasure and inspiration. Styles include an extensive formal walled garden, a small yard with unusual recycled garden art, a backyard that combines both traditional and Japanese styles, and a large woodland garden filled… Read More →

Fire Ants – Let Them Eat Bait

After the heavy rains last week, fire ant mounds began popping up again. The month of May is an ideal time to treat fire ants with a bait product before it gets hot. Baits are relatively inexpensive, require little labor to apply, and are safe for both you and the environment. The biggest drawback of baits is that they cannot be used all year round. Instead applications must be timed to periods when fire ants are actively looking for food. More on baits in a moment. The red… Read More →

Landscape with Fine Taste in Mind

  If limits on your gardening space or time challenge you to decide between your ornamental landscape and growing edibles for the table, why not take a look at both from a new perspective. Many vegetable plants are not only tasty, but also attractive. The crisp, bright green and red of new lettuce is a highlight in the spring. The dark green of summer tomato foliage sets off the red fruit, providing not only culinary rewards, but also visual ones. The sunniest spot in the landscape that has… Read More →