Category Archives: Plant Problems

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 →

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 →

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 →