Category Archives: Plant Problems

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 →

How Drought Affects Plants

The current drought is having a major impact on trees and shrubs, both in our landscapes and in natural, forested land. Stressed and dying trees can be spotted in town and in the countryside. What is really needed is a return to more normal rainfall patterns that can recharge depleted soil moisture. Wednesday’s rainfall, while so very welcome, needs repeating many times. Here is a short overview on how drought affects plants, so you can understand why this dry spell could continue to affect trees for months or… Read More →

The Trying Days of Summer

If you are feeling discouraged about your garden this summer, you are not alone. Lots of folks I’ve visited with are just not that enthusiastic about gardening at the moment. Of course, this prolonged heat wave and drought are major players, driving up our electric and water bills and our frustration levels. Everywhere you go, you can spot wilted, stressed, dying and dead lawns, shrubs and trees. Vegetable gardens are mostly languishing and playing out. Not everything that is wilting is due to lack of water. Here are… Read More →

Keeping the Lawn Alive

During the hot, dry summer, we need to pay attention to our lawns. Although most grasses can survive short periods of drought, it stresses and weakens them, making them more susceptible to other environmental problems. Timely and adequate watering will help maintain a quality lawn. How much and how often you water depends on your soil type, and the amount of shade the lawn receives. Sandy, porous soils require more frequent watering; clay soil retains moisture longer as do sections of lawns receiving more shade. Lawns need about… Read More →

Tomato Woes

There’s nothing like biting into a fresh, juicy, fully ripened tomato, right out of the garden. No wonder they are one of the top vegetables grown in the home garden. And, they are also one of the top plants that Extension agents get questions about, (along with 2 other ‘t’s – turf and trees). With the hot, dry weather, there are at least 2 major problems I’ve seen this year (and nearly every year for that matter). The first is blossom end rot. When it starts getting hot… Read More →

Tomato blossom end rot

It’s June, and in East Texas, that often means blossom end rot on tomatoes.