Green Anole

Gardening is one of those hobbies where you never stop learning. Being arounds plants leads to learning about soil, weather, water, bugs, and even creepy crawling things. I did get to see a neat creepy crawling thing in my yard this morning, a Green Anole!

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Asian giant hornets

What headline can draw people away from their thoughts dwelling on the current state of the world and Coronavirus? That would be MURDER HORNETS! I cannot think of a more sensationalized headline, so kudos to whomever came up with that attention grabber. This headline is popping up everywhere from social media outlets, television, newspapers, and others. Quite frankly, it makes me cringe each time I see it.

Asian giant hornets (AGH) are Vespa mandarinia NOT “murder” hornets. If you want to use a common name instead of the scientific name, then call them by the CORRECT common name of Asian giant hornet. Asian giant hornets are large, around 2 inches in length, with an orangish head, brown antennae (the base of the antennae are yellow-orange), brown to black eyes and ocelli (simple eyes located between the compound eyes). The thorax is dark brown with greyish wings and the abdomen has alternating bands of brownish-black and yellow-orange.

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Controlling Nutsedge

I purchased a home in Georgetown earlier this year, and I must admit that I have a new source of inspiration for news articles. It was one thing to write about weed control when I was sitting by the pool at an apartment complex, but I have a newfound passion for weed control when I spend my evenings pulling up weeds in my front yard.

The weed giving me the most trouble right now is nutsedge. I know I am not alone in this because most gardeners groan in sympathy when they hear the word nutsedge. Sedges and kyllinga are tricky weeds because they look like grass. Sedges (Cyperus spp.) and kyllingas (Kyllinga spp.) belong to the sedge family. They have an interesting triangular shaped stem and three-ranked leaves. They also lack collars, hairs, ligules, and auricles that are features of grasses.

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Snails

A few weeks ago, I planted some pretty purple petunias in my front flower bed. In just a few days, my petunias had been stripped of their leaves. What was the culprit? Snails!

Snails and slugs are mollusks that feed on foliage and fruit of plants. They can be destructive to tender, young seedlings like my petunias or new vegetable transplants.

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Take All Root Rot

This year it feels like spring bloomed all the sudden! I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying the greenery and wildflowers! I hope you have opportunity to take walks around your neighborhood to see the flowers blooming and trees stretching their limbs with new growth.

The cool temperatures and wet weather of spring can lead to a few turfgrass issues. One fungus that likes to show up in the spring is gaeumannomyces graminis var. garminis. This fungus causes Take-all root rot, a fungal disease that causes weak, dead patches in turfgrass. St. Augustine grass is most affected by take-all root rot, but it can also affect bermudagrass and Zoysia grass.

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Online Resources

AgriLife Logo

Spring is here! Life looks a little different this spring as we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, but I hope you are still enjoying the spring weather. I am grateful to see lawns and landscapes springing back to life right now; it gives me hope to see the roses blooming and trees leafing out when I’m on my daily evening walks in my neighborhood.

Many of us have a little extra time in the evenings and weekends to work on lawn and garden projects and might have some questions about the best plants for our area or how to solve problems. This week, I’m going to share some resources for good, research-based information about gardening. (more…)

Vegetable Garden Time

March is the time to ramp up our vegetable gardens!  Vegetable gardening is a great way to provide fresh produce for your family, and it’s a refreshing way to relieve stress and get some exercise.

The average last frost date for our area is the end of March, so we can begin to plant seeds and transplants of frost-sensitive crops.  Try planting seeds for pole or bush beans, beets, squash, cucumber, melons, turnips, and pumpkins.  Plant transplants for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant.  You can purchase transplants at any garden center or nursery right now. (more…)

Soil Temperature

One trick to successful gardening in Texas, especially vegetable crops, is knowing when to plant.  Checking the signs of the moon and trying to predict the last frost in Texas is a fun mental challenge, but it might not be very predictable.

Soil temperature is the most important factor to consider for good seed germination and seedling growth.  Soil temperature for vegetable seed growth is classified into four categories: the minimum temperature for seed growth; the optimum temperature; a realistic temperature; and the maximum temperature for germination to occur. (more…)

Winter Greens

Gardening in Texas has its challenges, but I think vegetable gardening throughout the winter makes up for the other difficulties we face (remind me I said that when I get tired of mowing in the August heat).  A fresh salad of homegrown lettuce, spinach, and other greens is a delight in the middle of January or February!

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Polyphemus Moth

One of my favorite parts of being a County Extension Agent is that every day is different!  Sometimes I’m out with vegetable farmers talking about weed control.  Another day I might be talking about lawncare with homeowners in Sun City or visiting with a classroom of cute kiddos about growing a garden.  It’s fun!

On November 13, 2019, we had an interesting visitor at the office.  A Williamson County resident brought in a big green caterpillar that she found eating on her tree.  She was concerned about the health of her tree since the monster of a caterpillar was eating all the leaves.  I was just fascinated by the caterpillar!  It was about three inches long, bright green with red tubericles, and about as big around as my thumb.

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