Author Archives: robert.richter

Oak Leaf Blister Is Back Again

We are getting quite a few inquiries about oak leaves showing signs of malformed growth with a blister like appearance and browning of the affected areas. This spring’s cool and rainy weather seems to have set the stage for a significant amount of damage from the oak leaf blister fungus. The disease infects the emerging and developing foliage in spring and as the weather heats up tends to no longer affect new growth. The bottom line is that it is too late to do anything at this point,… Read More →

What’s the Name of That Tree?

A common question of the fall season is, “What is the name of that tree with the rose-pink pods around town?” The tree, like many plants, goes by different names across the country but the most common are Chinese Flame or Bougainvillea Golden Rain (Koelreuteria bipinnata). Many people mistakenly refer to it as Golden Rain (Koelreuteria paniculata). I prefer the name Chinese Flame for the former to avoid adding to the confusion! The two species are quite similar, both producing clusters of yellow blooms followed by papery seed… Read More →

Fall Armyworm Invasion In Texas

Fall armyworms are an annual occurrence across much of the state. Like many other insect invaders fall armyworm populations are rather light in some years and heavy in others. This year’s invasion across much of the state has been quite heavy, but here in Harris County the reports haven’t been as high as in they have farther to the north and west. These late season pests can occur in numbers numbers high enough to strip a grassy lawn or pasture bare. They love bermudagrass but also will feed… Read More →

Is My Sago Palm (Cycad) Dead?

Sago palms or cycads are a popular landscape plant in the greater Houston area. There are several genera and about 200 species of plants referred to as cycads but the most common by far in our area is Cycas revoluta, which is commonly known as “sago palm”, even though it isn’t a true palm. These plants add a tropical look to the landscape and are generally considered cold hardy in our area. However, when temperatures dropped to 19 degrees (Houston IAH data) in mid January many plants were… Read More →

Houston Urban Food Production Conference

Join us for the 2018 Houston Urban Food Production Conference, which will be held at the University of Houston Downtown, July 27th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year’s program features a Commercial Track, a Backyard Gardener Track, and a Business Start-Up Track. Betti Wiggins, Houston Independent School District Officer of Nutritional Services will kick off the event with a special keynote presentation on Food Literacy and Its Impact on the Food System. General admission is $50 and includes lunch. A discount rate of $30 is available… Read More →

Rainwater Harvesting Workshop

Come learn about rainwater harvesting at AgriLife Extension’s Rainwater Harvesting Workshop! For a printable version of this flyer, click here!

Tropical Sod Webworms 2017

Sod webworms are an annual occurrence here in the greater Houston area but some years the outbreaks are much worse than others. This year may be another bad year or on the other hand, just one with a very minor and scattered outbreaks. Residents have been calling and emailing the Extension Office with concerns about seeing small moths around their home and landscape again. There are many small tan/brown moths in nature and so you may be seeing something other than sod webworms. You can find a photo… Read More →

Diagnosing Lawn Problems

There are many things that can cause a lawn to decline and die. Drought, soil compaction, excessive shade, chemical injury, pests and diseases are among the many possible contributing factors. If you are watering and fertilizing properly, and if the turf is receiving adequate sunlight, the problem may be due to pests or diseases. The AgriLife Extension Office in Harris County can assist you with diagnosing your lawn problems. In order to properly diagnose your lawn problem we need to see a sample. Here is how to take… Read More →

Earth-Kind Residential Landscape School

Learn how to landscape your yard the EarthKind Way using research-proven techniques & adapted plants for Houston! Design, plant, and manage a landscape that is beautiful, low maintenance and environmentally responsible. March 21, 22, 28 & 29. 6:00pm to 8:00pm.    4 – two hour classes. Cost is $40 per household. Call 713-274-0959 to register or email

Rainwater Harvesting Workshop

There is no better water for plants than rainwater! Interested in learning about rainwater collection? Come learn in this hands-on workshop and go home with a rain barrel that you built yourself! When: Saturday February 11, 2017 Time: 9 a.m. to noon Location: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office 3033 Bear Creek Drive Houston, TX 77084 Cost: $50 fee includes lecture and supplies needed to build your rain barrel (fee due at time of registration) Learn about capturing, diverting and storing rainwater, the best water for your plants! Then… Read More →