Category Archives: Plant Problems

Beware of Garden Bullies

  Occasionally gardeners may introduce a plant into their yard’s flower beds that initially seemed attractive and innocent, only to later discover they have a garden thug or bully. It’s the kind of plant that will race to occupy every available inch of soil, crowding out meeker and less aggressive plants, even to the point of becoming the dominant plant in the area. Experienced gardeners know what I am talking about, and many will have stories about what it took to eradicate the bully (assuming they were indeed… Read More →

Watch Out for Chinch Bugs

Hot and dry. That’s how they like it! “They” are chinch bugs, and this is chinch bug season, when the temperatures soar, and it’s tough to keep up with lawn watering. Chinch bugs can be tough to spot, because 1) they are small, about 1/6 to 1/5 of an inch, and 2) they are quick to hide in the thatch at soil level when disturbed. But their damage is unmistakable. Well, it can be mistaken for lack of water, because chinch bug infested St. Augustine causes the grass… Read More →

Summertime Gardening Questions

I was amused at a recent comment on a gardening Facebook page. She was saying how much different it is to grow plants in Texas than where she came from (up north somewhere). Something to the effect that you could just spit on the ground and plants would grow. Well, welcome to Texas. Even though our area of Texas is one of the best for gardening (in my opinion), we still have our share of challenges. Here are some common questions we get during the summertime. Vegetable Garden… Read More →

Veggie Tales – Common Problems in the Garden

Growing vegetables at home continues to be a popular trend according to national surveys. Whether you have a large garden spot or just a few plants growing in containers, the satisfaction of eating produce your hands have tended is tremendous. Unfortunately, growing veggies is not without trials and tribulations. Here are a few common problems we see at this time of year. Chances are real good you’ll find tomatoes in nearly any home garden. Just a few well-grown tomatoes can easily feed a family.  But, red flags are… Read More →

Shady Characters You Want in Your Garden

  “Nothing will grow under the trees in my front yard!” Sound familiar? Blessed with a climate and soils conducive to vigorous growth of trees, shade is a common factor for most East Texans. Rather than looking at shade as a liability, use it as an asset to enhance your landscape. Most shade complaints stem from the fact that grass will not grow well in dense shade. All turfgrasses perform best in full sun. St. Augustine is the most shade tolerant grass, while Centipede and Zoysia tolerate partial… Read More →

Watch Out for Falling Pecans and Branches

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon – not a cloud in the sky. The air was still, almost stifling, when suddenly, “Craaack! Wham! Thud!” You look around and there is a very large pecan limb lying (hopefully) in the middle of the lawn. A close inspection of the broken ends reveals no clues as to what happened to make this large branch unexpectedly break and fall. The break was right in the middle of the branch, and there is no sign of insects, borers or decay. What happened?… Read More →

The Fungus Among Us

It has been a great spring for plant growth, and also, if you were a fungal organism, for infecting plant leaves. Leaf spot diseases can vary in severity from year to year, from non-existent to severe – it all depends on the environment. Fireblight on ornamental pear (which has good resistance to this bacterial disease) is a good example  – most years it is non-existent, but this year environmental conditions combined to cause an outbreak. Many plant leaf diseases need mild weather and prolonged rainy spells or heavy… Read More →

Sap Sucking Sapsucker

There’s just something about trees that inspire and create strong feelings towards these long-lived plants that give us shade, beauty and a sense of place. So, when strange things start showing up on our trees, the alarms start to sound. Every year we get inquiries concerning several different types of trees, all with similar symptoms. See if you have seen this around your place. Initially, you might think your tree has borers. Small holes, not too deep, in parallel lines ringing the trunk or large limb of a… Read More →