Category Archives: Landscapes

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 2 (4/9/16)

It’s day two, here are some plants of interest. Stop 1 – GroLink Plant Company – Oxnard, CA. GroLink was the host to 13 companies, and there was plenty to see. Sun Parasol Apricot is the newest addition to the Sun Parasol Mandevilla series from Suntory Flowers. The growth habit is similar to the other colors in the series, but the apricot flower color is a first to the market. Patio Gerbera Volcanoes is ideal for your favorite planter on your deck or patio. Available from Florist Holland, the Volcanoes variety… Read More →

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 1 (4/8/16)

Hello there! I’m traveling the next 7 days in CA visiting seed companies and breeders with colleagues from Texas A&M and Texas Tech for the annual Spring Trials. The Spring Trials allow the green industry to see the latest in new bedding plants, perennials and even some woody shrubs. I will be providing a daily update with highlights from my visits. Oh, and by the way who said “It never rains in Southern California”, that’s all it has been doing here since I arrived on Thursday. EuroAmerican –… Read More →

Live Oaks Dropping Leaves

We have received quite a few questions this spring about live oaks dropping their leaves. Sometimes the leaf drop is so severe that a tree appears almost leafless. While live oaks are sometimes considered an evergreen plant they do naturally shed their leaves in the spring in preparation for the onset of new growth. So leaf drop in the spring is usually due to natural causes and is not generally a cause for concern. Trees often vary in the amount or degree of defoliation they exhibit. Some live… Read More →


We had another great year for plant trials in 2015. Our rainy spring delayed our trial installation since we were a bit on the wet-side. The trials were planted in early June, and evaluated for flower production, leaf color, uniformity of habit and flower, resistance to insects and diseases and overall appearance. Hot Pak™ French Marigold – This new seed series of French marigolds look great not only in packs but also in the landscape. Our trays of 3” pots were uniform across all colors (no PGR applications… Read More →

Landscape Pest & Disease Workshop

If you work in the green industry and deal with pests and diseases in the landscape, or work at a garden center and answer questions from customers on plant diseases and pests; then don’t miss out on the Landscape Pest & Disease Workshop on January 29, 2016. We have an excellent group of presenters that will cover the following  program topics. Pollinator Protection Pesticide Laws & Regulations Landscape Disease Management Landscape Ornamental Pests (Common Culprits & New Invasives) Turfgrass Disease Diagnosis & Management Continuing Education Credits available  TDA Pesticide… Read More →

2015 Landscape & Irrigation Symposium

Join Texas A&M AgriLife Extension as we present the 2015 Landscape & Irrigation Symposium at Constellation Field in Sugar Land on Friday, November 13th. The program is designed to provide the green industry with the latest information on water management. Register         7:00 – 8:15 a.m.                Vendor Setup and Registration 8:15 – 9:30 a.m.                Why Invest in Conservation Practices and Technologies  John O’Donnell 9:30 – 9:45 a.m.            … Read More →

Beneficial Insects: Green Lacewings

The green lacewing (Chrysoperla sp.) is a common beneficial insect found in the landscape. They are a generalist predator best known for feeding on aphids, but will also control mites and other soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, leafhoppers, mealybugs and whiteflies. The adult green lacewing has a long slender green body and golden eyes. It has prominent wings with lace-like veins. An adult will be approximately 0.75” in length. They are typically night flying insects.  Females can lay up to 200 tiny, oblong eggs on silken stalks attached… Read More →

Earth- Kind® Azalea Trial Established at Bear Creek Office

You are probably aware of the Earth-Kind rose program that was initiated by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension in the mid-late 90’s. Dr. Steve George and fellow A&M researchers started the program by evaluating roses utilizing sustainable growing practices. That program has screened hundreds of roses and has resulted in 27 varieties receiving the Earth-Kind designation. The objective of Earth-Kind is to combine the best of organic and traditional landscaping principles and practices to create a horticultural system based on real world effectiveness and environmental responsibility. The goals of… Read More →

Plant Health Workshop

The Plant Health Workshop is an annual cooperative program between Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance that focuses on managing plant pests with less pesticides. This year’s event features speakers on Transitioning to Sustainable Landscape Practices, Laws and Regulations Update, Pollinator Protection, New Landscape Pests, and Rose Rosette. AgriLife Horticulture agents will also conduct a tour of the ongoing research and demonstration plantings at the Harris County Extension Office. Click here to register!

Seeing Canna Rust?

Cannas are a popular herbaceous perennial that can be grown in containers, as a boarder background or as a specimen in gardens and landscapes throughout Harris County. It did not take long after the wet spring for fungal problems to start rearing their ugly head. We have recently received several emails and calls regarding orange pustules on Canna leaves. Yes, your plant has Canna Rust (Puccinia thaliae). The Puccinia fungus requires long periods of humid weather, poor air circulation and waterlogged soil to grow and flourish. That sounds just… Read More →