Category Archives: Insects, Diseases and Other Pests

Things to do in October

Things to Do – December 2017 Greg Grant ·        Prepare beds for fall and winter planting by adding organic compost. ·        Discontinue watering lawns to reduce the chance of brown patch and other diseases. ·        Limit pruning of shrubs and trees to removal of damaged or dead branches. ·        Dig, divide, or move spring blooming perennials. ·        Compost fallen leaves, twigs and disease-free plants, including annuals. ·        Plant transplants of cool-season vegetables. Direct seed poppies, larkspur, and sweet peas. ·        Set out chrysanthemums, pansies, dianthus, snapdragons, and ornamental… Read More →

Things to do in December

Things to Do – December 2017 Greg Grant Cut dead perennials and tropicals back to the ground. Keep beds mulched and weeded. Cool season weeds do not take the winter off. Discontinue fertilization until cold weather is over. Pick up limbs and remove dead trees and shrubs from the landscape. Trim trees making sure to cut limbs flush with branch collar or next to another limb. Pot amaryllis, paperwhites, and chilled hyacinths for winter bloom. Clean, sharpen and oil garden tools as well as mower blades. Clean gutters…. Read More →

Things to do November

Things to Do – November 2017 Greg Grant Mow frequently until first frost. Discontinue using landscape sprinkler systems since our cool moist season as arrived. Mulch fallen leaves. Collect pine straw for landscape mulching. Cut back frosted tropicals and perennials. Remove yellowed or dead foliage from perennials and bulbs. Plant trees, shrubs, and vines to take advantage of moisture, cooler temperatures, and mild winters. Replenish mulch to 3-4 inches especially paying attention to tender plants/tropical which need 10-12 inches, depending on depth of roots. Fertilize cold-tolerant herbaceous plants… Read More →

Things to do in September

Things to Do – September 2017 Greg Grant Prepare beds for fall planting by adding organic compost. Dig and divide oxblood and spider lily bulbs while in bloom or when they just finish. Mulch about 3 inches to prevent weeds and protect against winter damage. Plant cool-season leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, dill, cilantro and parsley Trim hedges and shrubs last time before winter. Plant bluebonnets and other wildflowers.  Barely cover the seeds and firm or tamp down the soil. Stop shearing fall blooming… Read More →

Things to do in July

Things to Do – July 2017 Greg Grant Plant zinnia seeds for fall bloom. Plant marigold (marimum) transplants for fall bloom. Deadhead annuals, perennials and roses regularly to encourage re-blooming. Carry pruners with you every time you go into the garden to make grooming easier. Scout garden daily for pests or problems. Water beds and lawns deeply but infrequently.  Lawns generally need irrigating once per week, azaleas once every two weeks, perennials, ground-covers, shrubs, and fruit trees once a month, and most shade trees only during severe droughts. Make… Read More →

Things to do in June

Things to Do – June 2017 Greg Grant   Plant heat loving vegetable crops like Southern peas and okra. Avoid watering St. Augustine grass more than once per week as frequent irrigation promotes gray leaf spot, brown patch, and take-all root rot. Once a month (if it doesn’t rain) is even better! Plant heat loving bedding plants like ornamental sweet potatoes, periwinkles, pentas, coleus, alternanthera, and purple fountain grass. Seed warm season color such as castor beans and candlestick plant, and zinnias. Plant heat loving tropical plants like Esperanza,… Read More →

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale’s Enemy

Parking at a local restaurant today, I noticed the blackened trunks of some topped crape myrtles – the tell-tale sign they were infested with crape myrtle bark scale. This relatively new pest to the U.S. has been rapidly spreading across the south. A horticulture friend commented he saw infested crape myrtles at the new mall on the south side of town. I checked them out, and while the trunks were blackened, there was no sign of living scale. These scales are bright white, and when squished, they ooze… Read More →

Avoid Introducing Nematodes to Potted Plants

While planting pansies and some other cool season annuals in pots, planters and in flower beds recently, I was reminded about nematodes. If you are unfamiliar with nematodes, they are microscopic roundworms that live in the soil. Some nematodes are beneficial, and several are plant pests. The bad types feed on roots and other plant tissues, disrupting normal plant functions. One of the worst ones is called root-knot nematode. I first realized I had nematodes several years ago when I planted tomatoes in what I thought would be… Read More →