Tuesday, October 25, 2011

To Mulch......... Or Not To Mulch....There Can Be No Question!!

It is Time to Mulch

Mulching is one of the most important ways to maintain healthy landscape plants. The Type of mulch you choose for your garden and flower bed is more than just a personal preference, sometimes you may have weed control to consider or maybe you just want to brighten up the freshly planted beds or how about protecting your plants from the icy winter blast?

Benefits of Mulching

o When applied correctly, mulch has the following beneficial effects on plants and soil:

o Mulches prevent loss of water from the soil by evaporation.

o Mulches reduce the growth of weeds, when the mulch material itself is weed-free and applied deeply enough to prevent weed germination or to smother existing weeds.

o Mulches keep the soil cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, thus maintaining a more even soil temperature.

o Mulches prevent soil splashing, which not only stops erosion but keeps soil-borne diseases from splashing up onto the plants.

o Organic mulches can improve the soil structure. As the mulch decays, the material becomes topsoil. Decaying mulch also adds nutrients to the soil.

o Mulches prevent crusting of the soil surface, thus improving the absorption and movement of water into the soil.

o Mulches prevent the trunks of trees and shrubs from damage by lawn equipment.

o Mulches help prevent soil compaction.

o Mulches can add to the beauty of the landscape by providing a cover of uniform color and interesting texture to the surface.

o Mulched plants have more roots than plants that are not mulched, because mulched plants will produce additional roots in the mulch that surrounds them.

Types of Mulches

There are basically two types of mulches: organic and inorganic. Both types may have their place in the garden.

An organic mulch is a mulch made of natural substances such as bark, wood chips, leaves, pine needles, or grass clippings. Organic mulches attract insects, slugs, cutworms and the birds that eat them. They decompose over time and need to be replaced after several years.

Inorganic mulches, such as gravel, pebbles, black plastic and landscape fabrics, do not attract pests and they do not decompose, they do not provide eathworm friendly "homes", they do not add anything to the soil, and Hey....... are they really helping the environment??? I know, I know we are re-cycling....( I still like the organics better....can You Tell!!)

Mulch Materials

Organic Mulch Materials

Pine Bark

A 2- to 3- inch layer of pine bark is good for weed control. Pine bark makes an attractive, usually dark-colored mulch. It can be purchased in various particle sizes, from shredded to large-sized particles, called nuggets. Large pine bark nuggets float in water and may not stay in place during a heavy rain. They may also attract termites and other insects.

Pine Needles

A 2- inch layer of pine needles makes an excellent mulch for acid-loving trees and shrubs. This mulch is very attractive and allows water to penetrate easily.

Shredded Hardwood Mulch

This mulch is good at suppressing weeds. It does not wash away easily. It decomposes relatively slowly, and it is very attractive.

Cedar Mulch

One of my favorites has a fragrant aroma and is said to be a natural insect repellant.

Wood Chips

This material contains bark and pieces of wood of various sizes and makes attractive mulch. A 2- to 3- inch layer of wood chips provides good weed control. Small wood chips decompose very rapidly using nitrogen from the soil, which needs to be replaced by nitrogen fertilizer. Wood chips may attract termites and other insects.

Pecan Shells

Pecan shells make a long-lasting, attractive, dark brown mulch that is effective in retaining moisture in the soil and can even help lower the soils PH in some instances. Availability is usually limited to areas where pecans are processed.

Inorganic Mulch Materials:

Gravel, Pebbles and Crushed Stone

These materials are permanent and are best used for permanent plantings such as foundation plants. A 1- inch layer of small rocks will provide good weed control. Do not use them around acid-loving plants since the rocks may add alkaline elements and minerals to the soil. These materials reflect solar radiation and can create a very hot landscape environment during the summer months.

Landscape Cloth or Woven Ground Cloth

Materials woven of fabric, plastic or paper are available in various lengths and widths. The materials are treated to resist decomposition. Unlike plastic films, woven materials allow water and air to move through them. They are very effective in controlling most weeds, although some grasses may grow up through the holes in the fabric. Landscape cloth needs to be fastened down so it will not be pushed up by perennial weeds. Better moisture, temperature and weed control will be obtained by adding several inches of another mulching material on top of the landscape cloth.

Ground Rubber Tires

Mulches made of ground rubber tires do not decompose and therefore, never need to be replaced. The use of ground rubber tires is relatively new and its effectiveness as a mulch is still being evaluated, but it is a great cover for play areas.

Where to Use Mulch

Mulching is a very important practice for establishing new plantings, because it helps to conserve moisture in the root ball of the new plant until the roots have grown out into the surrounding soil. The growth rate and health of trees and shrubs increases when there is no competition for water and nutrients from weeds. Mulch also helps to prevent tree trunk injury by mowers and trimmers. Newly planted trees require a circle of mulch 3 to 4 feet in diameter, “note” keep the mulch from touching the base of the tree (keeps the bugs and moisture down). Maintain this for five years. Mulch entire beds of shrubs, trees, annuals, herbaceous perennials and ground covers.

Mulch can also be used to cover trails, driveways, and play and natural areas.

Light-weight mulch such as dried grass clippings and pine straw can be used temporarily to cover low-growing tender plants to protect them from frost injury.

When and How Often to Mulch

The best time to mulch new plantings is right after you plant them. Around established plants mulch is best applied in early spring. This is when plants are beginning to grow and before weed seeds start to germinate.

How often mulch needs to be replenished depends on the mulching material. Grass clippings and leaves decompose very fast and need to be replenished frequently. Inorganic mulches such as gravel and pebbles rarely need replenishing. As the plants grow and fill in the bed areas, less and less mulch is needed.

How to Apply Mulch

Before applying any type of mulch to an area, it is best to weed the area. Spread a layer of mulching materials over the entire plant bed. Keep mulch 2 to 3 inches away from the stems of woody plants. This will prevent decay caused by wet mulch and rodent damage during the winter. Keep mulch 6 to 12 inches away from the walls of buildings.

Newly planted trees require a circle of mulch 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Maintain this for at least three years. Do not pile mulch against the trunk. For established trees in lawns create a circle of mulch about 2 feet in diameter for each inch of trunk diameter. Increase the size of the mulched area as the tree grows. Try to apply the mulch at least 6 to 12 inches beyond the drip-line of the tree. Because the root system can extend two to three times the crown spread of the tree, mulch as large an area as possible.

How Deep to Mulch

The amount of mulch to apply depends on the texture and density of the mulch material. Many wood and bark mulches are composed of fine particles and should not be more than 2 to 3 inches deep. Excessive amounts of these fine-textured mulches can suffocate plant roots, resulting in yellowing of the leaves and poor growth.

Coarse-textured mulches such as pine bark nuggets allow good air movement through them and can be as deep as 4 inches.

Mulches composed of grass clippings or shredded leaves should never be deeper than 2 inches, because these materials tend to mat together, restricting the water and air supply to plant roots.

How to Calculate the Amount of Mulch Needed

To determine how many cubic feet of mulch is needed, you need to calculate the surface area and the desired depth of coverage. There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. One cubic yard will cover a 324-square-foot area with an inch of mulch. Figure out the square footage of your bed, that is the width times the length for square or rectangular shaped beds. The square footage of a circular bed is the distance from the middle of the circle to the outside, multiplied by itself and then multiplied by 3.14 (which is pi).

Multiply your square footage by the depth desired (in inches) and divide by 324 square feet. This will tell you how many cubic yards you will need.

(Thank You Very Much.... Clemson University for your Contribution :))

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Fall Celebration !!!!!!

The Celebration of Fall

Wow… nothing says holiday more than the first cool days of fall. The crisp cool evenings of the Friday night football games, hot apple cider, sweaters, coats, and the congregation of good friends after the summer swelter.

So once again we venture out and into our gardens to see what survived! And that veteran fall favorite the “mum” has survive the blistering reign of the Texas Summer Sun, well at least in my poor garden and flower bed area if you can call it that. My “mums” have survived and are actually starting to bloom. I was so startled I went out and immediately purchase the biggest; “orangeist” pumpkin I could find….Wahoo…Fall is finally here!! Here is one of my favorite of all plants the fall Mum……………………

(not this silly, this is a pumpkin…look below)

Fall Garden Mums

The garden mum (chrysanthemum) is one of the most exciting flowers that can be grown in the home landscape for late summer and fall color. Garden mums require a minimum amount of care and do well even under some adverse conditions. There are cultivars (varieties) with color that range from white to yellow, pink, purple, bronze, red and all the hues in between. With hundreds of cultivars available, the choice of plants to grow is unlimited. To have a more interesting collection of mums, plant cultivars of various types such as: singles, anemones, decoratives, pompons, spoons, spiders, and standards.

The term, garden mum, applies to chrysanthemum cultivars that will flower naturally in Texas and be early enough to avoid a heavy frost. The term "hardy" has been abandoned by most suppliers since hardiness of garden mum cultivars may vary significantly from one season or area depending on weather and previous cultural conditions.

Garden chrysanthemums are planted in the spring from established cuttings. This is contrary to years ago when they were offered primarily in the fall as clumps. Today the plants are being sold along with annual flowers and vegetables. Most of the plants are sold in pots and must be removed from the pots before planting. The plants generally have had at least one pinch, which results in a well-branched plant.

The sites for planting should be well-drained and have plenty of sunlight. The plants should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart for best results, and for more vigorous cultivars, the plants need 30 to 36 inches of space. Enough space should be allowed so the plants can develop to their fullness. Plant the chrysanthemums the same depth that they were growing in their containers and no deeper. The plants should be thoroughly watered after planting.

Fertilizing the plants will develop good, green foliage with optimum flowering. Apply a complete dry fertilizer, such as a 6-2-4 or 4-2-3 analysis, at the rate of two to three pounds per 100 square feet of bed area. The dry fertilizer should be watered after it is applied. Soluble fertilizers, such as a 20-20-20 analysis, are also quite satisfactory to use if desired. Follow the rate of application on the label. Fertilization can be discontinued after flower buds form in late July. As the plants grow, they should be pinched to produce compact plants with more flowers. If this isn't done, the plants will become tall and leggy. Also, if the plants become quite tall, light will be excluded from the lower part of the plants, resulting in unsightly dead leaves.

When the plants are three to four inches tall, remove the new shoots by pinching them off between the thumb and forefinger. Leave two or three leaves on the shoot. This practice can be timed so that the fertilizing and pinching can be done the same day. This will usually be once a month from May through July. However, with most garden cultivars, the last pinch should be made no later than August 15. If pinching is continued after this date, flower buds will be eliminated from the plants.

Weeds, as with many other plants, may present a problem with growing garden chrysanthemums. These can be removed by hand, or the use of organic mulch could be used at the time of planting. Materials such as shredded hardwood or cedar mulch will do a good job of keeping the weeds down and conserving moisture in the soil if applied about two inches deep. Organic matter such as pine bark (that breaks down rapidly) will require an extra application of fertilizer to compensate for the nitrogen loss. Apply this fertilizer in addition to that which is applied for the plants. However, you will only need to apply it a couple of times and then stop. Pre-emergent herbicides such as Amaze, which are labeled for such use, can also be effective if applied in early spring before weed seeds germinate. Landscape fabrics and decorative gravel are also effective in weed control.

An important cultural practice with garden chrysanthemums is applying adequate amounts of water. During some summers, rainfall may be plentiful enough to eliminate most additional watering. However, the plants should be watered when the soil starts to dry. Apply enough water to soak the soil to a depth of four to six inches. This is best done by using sprinklers rather than hand watering. It is best to apply the water during the day so the foliage will dry off before nightfall. Otherwise, leaf and flower diseases can become a problem.

Fortunately for garden chrysanthemum growers, most insect and disease problems are controllable. The most common insect pests are: aphids and two spotted mites. Powdery mildew can also be a problem due to weather conditions and/or poor air circulation between the plants. Control by spraying or dusting with labeled products. One disease that cannot be controlled with chemicals is verticillium wilt. Avoid planting in verticillium-contaminated areas for several years.

In most instances, homeowners should consider the the garden chrysanthemum an annual flower. Therefore, when frost kills the tops of the plants, cut off the dead stems and remove from the garden. Sometimes mums will come up the next spring if just the tops of the plants are cut off. If you prefer to keep them over the winter, cut off the dead tops, and cover the plants with mulch to a depth of three to four inches.

(Many Thanks to the county extension agents and their great horticultural contributions, of which this article comes from)

Enjoy the life!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Audit


Wow, what an ominous sound….”audit” why the very word strikes fear into our hearts..Especially if one has ever been through an IRS audit. Well no fear here, this audit is to help you and save you dollar bills, while helping your plants grow.

Basically the audit is a thorough inspection of your irrigation system. The irrigator conducting the audit, will examine the system zone by zone looking for leaks, broken spray heads, miss-aligned heads, overspray onto hard surfaces or into the street. Broken heads spraying into the street…well that will surely get you thrown into irrigation jail!! (just kidding… but some cities will fine the property owner for some of these repeated violations).

Once the irrigator is satisfied that the system is operational, then the audit begins. Most auditors have special catch basins they use to collect samples of the water distributed in a particular zone …but it can be done with a normal tuna can (a clean empty one works best). Once the samples are collected measured, weighed, color analyzed, and documented…well maybe not that intense..just collected and measured. At this point the auditor can calculate the DU or Distribution Uniformity and the precipitation rate for that area.

Yeah I know, way too much information, by doing these calculations he will be able to set your timer for the most efficient run times based on your yard, plant material, slope and time of year. So what does that mean to you?

This is the part where you save money, the cities are happier, and your plants will look better (cause they have water). In the world of irrigation more is definitely not better, in many systems a run time of more than 10 minutes sends water down the street and away from your yard. And you still pay for it all month long…..bummer….So now with a better run time allocation, you water just enough not to induce run off, actually you may run several cycles just shorter in length.

Do you really need a full audit, well if you are a large commercial property, an irrigation audit and the resulting correct settings for your timer can save you thousands of dollars. The normal residential homeowner can dramatically benefit from a system check up twice a year…..it will save you money…I promise…fix those broken and miss-aligned heads..you will feel better about yourself (well I cannot promise that)

Enjoy the life!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's Green, It's Sustainable....It is the Right Thing To Do


Well summer is quickly approaching and that means in Texas “ Hot Fun In the Summertime” lots of heat, sun, sweat, and very little rain fall. So it is smart to try and capitalize on as much rainfall as possible and you want to be smart…right??

As a licensed irrigator and an irrigation auditor (Thank You Very Much) in the state of Texas, I can tell you with some veracity that an irrigation system is only for supplemental watering. Unfortunately most of our water loss or more accurately water waste is from residential irrigation systems. Many systems are not properly designed, not set correctly and send thousands of gallons of water down the sewer and guess who pays for that… YOU… every month.

So let us be smart, sustainable, water wise and in the process save ourselves some bucks so we can go and buy a big screen TV (just kidding…..may be). One of the best ways to do this is with a Rain Barrel. Capture the rain from your home gutter system and then use to water your garden, your annual color, that great perennial bed that you keep saying you are going to plant (yeah sure) or slow water your foundation during those Texas summers.

Rain Barrels have been around…well…since barrels were designed and how long is that? I don’t know check Wiki-Pedia….they know everything. Seriously when water was not so readily available and easy to waste, people tried to save every bit, morsel, drop they could…it was life and still is.

Now if you have read my blog for a while (many smart people do.. now so should you) you know I do not try to sell you stuff…just ideas. BUT get a rain barrel for your home, the environment will love you for it and that means your children will be able to fish, jet ski ,skinny dip (how does that make you feel) and just plain live.

Try these fellows….GREEN BARREL SOLUTIONS .www.greenbarrelsolutions.com.. 940-736-7313

Just a couple of kids trying to do the right thing…the right way….

Enjoy the life…

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Your on the Border...Texas Style

Border Plants

I know everyone will be thinking these are plants from the wild borders of Texas, Not so Mr. Bill, we are talking about landscape decisions. Border plants create divisions within beds,  around walkways , swimming pools and just about everything you could think of or want to think of.  Border plantings should be low, you want them low so the folks can see the other plants behind them......you don't want your border plants stealing all the thunder.

These plants can offer color, texture, and divisions of height within a bed, it is all about directing the eye to the natural flow of the landscape. What budding landscaper's want is for the line of sight to flow upward directing the eye to the back of the bed and eventually the structure that the bed is emphasizing.....like your beautiful house.....you know curb appeal and all that. Here are some of my favorite border plants:





Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Knock-Out.....Rose that is

The Knock-Out Rose

Well as you can see from the date stamp, I just took this picture. Amazing how beautiful and prolific these roses have become this year, considering they received absolutely no attention the past several months. Well I should qualify that statement, no human attention. My four large dogs have busted through them at least twice daily chasing rabbits and other dreaded varmints and they are a favorite "watering" post for the male dogs. And yet they still present us with a fantastic spring color show.

Usually in the winter I prune them back by any where from a third to two thirds of the height,  trim all the dead canes out, strip the leaves and spray with dormant oil. This year with the broken leg I had in early February, I have done nothing to the yard at all. Oh well, it gives the rabbits a new hiding place.
If  I was going to recommend a plant for a new gardener it would be the knock out rose...as sure success story, for the gardener and the garden.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


The Urban Garden Shop Adventure

Well April is here and for many in North Texas Spring is here also. Now that urge to plant something and improve your yards..... that has been fermenting all winter has now come to fruition (not really a metaphor more like symbolism...ha ha)

So let’s go shopping! But first let’s devise a plan…Or better yet down load Google Earth and draw a plot plan of your house if you do not have one already, mark where you want to add color, trees, shrubs, new sod…….this is all in preparation for the journey or the adventure you are about to take. Nothing like good preparation…the boy scouts great motto!

Now that we know what we need, as an example, color in the front bed… we know from our plan that our house faces south and has a full sun exposure. In choosing our "color" we want a tough, full sun plant, which will “pop” for drive up appeal.

This is the drill, do you planning and research. And this is your mantra today…repeat several times after me……bed preparation is vital….bed preparation is vital…proper bed prep… the addition of organic materials, soil, and proper nutrients will make your home…the  Home of the Month…( well maybe not) but your new plantings will thrive and love you bunches……

Where to go? Well that is part of the adventure; lots of places sell plants….big box stores, farmers markets, pick-up trucks on the side of the road, and independent garden centers. The choice is yours, hey that is what capitalism and the retail industry is all about, but let’s think about what we want and what is offered. If price alone is the key motivator then we will look for the discount operator that offers little in the way of information, education or loading help (ugh!). But if we are interested in the education and value for what we are spending and ““professional help” when we need it, then we need to seek that venue. Find a garden center that employs trained professionals that can help you and people that actually care about what you are planting and are trying to accomplish.
 This would be a professional garden center or a professional landscaper, these individuals have chosen this as their career, and they have a love for the product, the process, and your success. Most of these professionals have spent years in formal training with industry and professional certifications that shows a commitment to continued education. This is all about a commitment to bring a better product and a better experience to you the home gardener.

Am I opinionated about this? Well I prefer passionate. How frustrating to purchase a beautiful plant, work hard to plant it and then watch it die, because it is the wrong plant in the wrong place. I know of few other industries that have a devotion to educate themselves and their consumers as the horticulture industry does.

Get outside and enjoy the life!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Beautiful and Majestic Bur Oak

I love this tree...it is a tree of the grassland prairies and a true Texas performer. It is adaptable to our soils, but be aware it will need space...lots of space, this not a tree to be planted in a 3 foot parkway ( as I have witnessed). The acorns on this tree are as big as golf balls...some have said they get as big as softballs....yeah I have never seen anything like that.The extension research center on Coit road in Dallas, has a planting of various oak trees, it is a good place to visit to see if one of these will fit your property. Please give your new tree planting adequate space to grow and prosper, if a tree is listed as having a 40 foot spread then do not plant 10 feet apart......please!!!!! 

And since we are talking......Crepe Myrtles....please do not whack the tops off of these lovely trees it will produce a weak and "droopy" new growth......if you must prune, trim the cross over branches from the interior of the tree allowing proper air circulation. Trim the sucker growth away from the bottom of the tree, then if necessary put on a stout glove and "glove prune" away the seed pods.....frankly I leave the seed pods on and just trim the interior of the tree for air circulation (really helps with a reduction of powdery mildew).

Bur Oak, Mossycup Oak, Mossy Overcup Oak, Prairie Oak

Quercus macrocarpa
Fagaceae (white oak group)

Bur Oak is a majestic tree of the tallgrass priarie that once covered central North America. It grows best in deep limestone soils of riverbanks and valleys but it will adapt to many different environments. It has a long taproot which makes it hard to transplant but also very drought-tolerant. It is also fast growing and long-lived. Bur oak is noted for its very large leaves and acorns: the leaves are from one-half to one foot long, and acorns can be as large as 2 inches long and wide, enclosed in a cup with fringe on the edge. It casts deep shade.

Plant Habit or Use: large tree

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: catkins 4 to 6 in. long

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: large acorn to 2 in. around with fringed cup

Height: 60 to 70 ft.

Width: 60 to 70 ft.

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: very high high

Water Requirements: medium low

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Something New...Something Old

Perennials are an excellent addition to any garden that will give it great color and add sparkle to its appearance. They are easy to maintain and come in a variety of choices that allow you a chance to transform any space set aside for your garden into something special. With so many types to consider it will allow you the chance to enjoy a very beautiful garden with a limit of upkeep. Venture out into the world of perennials....
everyday a new, yet old perennial is discovered for your garden.

1. Mum Matchsticks. These are a new variety that is just now available to the consumer in 2011 as part of the new sun perennials. They are a composed of red and yellow quill petals that unlike other mums require no staking as part of their maintenance. Once they are cut they will survive for more than three weeks.

2. Echinacea Summer Suns. This is another flower that came available in 2011. Its stunning petals come in tones of apricot and reddish orange. The cut blooms have a very wonderful and long lasting fragrance. When full grown they can be as tall as forty inches. These coneflowers come in more than thirty versions.

3. Phlox Shockwave. As one more of the new options for 2011 this plant has very intensely fragrant blooms. One of the benefits to this purple flower is being highly resistant to mildew. Its leaves will look colorful all season long. The plant offers over two months of fragrant blooms making it a very ideal addition to any garden.

4. Rose Knock Out. There are several different types of these plants available to the purchaser. The Rose Knock Outs of the red tint make wonderful choices for landscape since they cultivated in shapes that fit any size of garden. It does very well in heat and humidity and resistant to Japanese Beetles and powdery mildew. With a blooming season of up to five months, the Rose Knock Outs are a wonderful addition to your flower purchases.

5. Budlesia Black Knight. Its deep purple flowers cluster on the eight to ten inch stems. The scent of this flower is one that often attracts butterflies. This is a plant that does very well in both heat and drought. During the first year of planting it will flower for a very long period of time.

6. Echinacea Green Jewels. The Echinacea Green Jewels have large flowers that are a bright green color. Those petals will hold that color and not fade as they age. Its fragrance will last up to two weeks once they are cut. The blooms will last eight weeks during the mid summer season, which is a very desirable factor when picking your choices for your garden.

7. Stokesia Peachie’s Picks. This plant provides a bounty of petals in hundreds of three inch blue flowers. They are considered to be deer proof and very attractive to butterflies. It is completely suitable for very poor soil conditions even clay. The petals have a blooming season that can last up to fifteen weeks.

8. Coreopsis Crème Brulees. These yellow flowers bloom non-stop from frost to summer. It makes them an ideal long lasting type of ground covering that is drought resistant. The petals of the Coreopsis Crème Brulees are very attractive to butterflies. Having a multi-seasonal appeal allows them to be a very worthwhile consideration for any gardener’s needs.

9. Geranium Rozannes. This is one of the most longest blooming of any geraniums. Its blue petals will bloom for months at a time. They have been known to still be in bloom in Michigan as late as October. Plus the plant is one that will attract butterflies. Once planted they will provide a rapid spreading ground cover.

10. Festuca Boulder Blues. The plant’s steel blue foliage is semi evergreen in nature. It is drought proof and thrives in full sunlight. This is a type of plant that does great in heat and humidity. It is a great choice for a flower to plant by walkways and in containers.

Taken in part from : Lawn Care Service.net.  Thank You Very Much!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Average Date for Last Killing Frost

Be Careful!!!

Okay, Okay....... This is a picture of early February and not mid March, this particular climatic event followed up on the heels of a previous freeze and was particularly damaging to many, many woody ornamentals and most soft tissue plants. Do not, I repeat, do not freak out, there will some topical freeze damage, but the plant will grow out of it soon. Minor trimming, proper watering, with sunshine and you will be amazed the strides your plants take this spring. But what about my grass??........Well..... all vegetative growth will take off when the ground temperature maintains 65 to 68 degrees...that is ground temperature.

Be aware we could still have another killing frost, I cannot tell you how many times I have been on bike rides on April 1st when it was freezing and sometimes even snowing. So be patient and if not, then watch diligently and be prepared to protect your new plantings.
According to some maps for Dallas, the average last frost date varies even within the city, with some neighborhoods having a last frost date from March 1st through March 10th; whereas, some neighborhoods in North Dallas have a last frost date of March 10th to March 20th.

Remember that these are averages!!! If you look at historical data for my zip code on Weather.com, you can see that my area has had a freeze as late as April 13th., but then I live in Mckinney.

Spring  is almost in full stride......enjoy the life......

Monday, March 14, 2011

Grassy Weeds

Common Grassy Weeds

Folks I am not a great proponent for heavy chemical usage in the yard, although sometimes you have to do what you have to do…..please remember less is better. Get on a program of 7 to 9 applications a year of weed control and light fertilization. Keep the program working and you will not have to do heavy applications of weed control herbicides……next time we will talk about the broadleaf weed or what I hear a lot on the phone “ hey I got those big floppy looking weeds in my yard can you kill them?” yes of course we can kill anything... but do we really want to?……….remember mow, water..light fertiliztion…mow, water…..light fertilization. That is your new mantra, when your grass gets strong, healthy, bold…well you know what I mean, then it will choke out those dreaded weeds….


This is by far the worst weed we encounter. Because this weed is perennial, meaning it comes back from the roots every year, the pre-emergence applications do nothing to stop it. If you had dallisgrass last year, you will have it again this year. Round-Up, then grin and bear it as the dead spots cover over with grass


This weed is easy to control if you take the pre-emergence applications in the spring. With this weed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure….remember treat this bad boy when you do not see it…repeat after me: I will use pre-emergent

Fescue and Wild Rye

These weeds are yet another weed we all see far too often. If you over-seeded your lawn or worse yet if your neighbor overseeded last year with winter grass and you didn’t do it this year, you can count on this weed. Most fescues and ryes will die in the summer, but a few will survive by going dormant.

Poa annua

This weed is only a problem in the later winter and early spring. This weed will die in the early summer once we start getting daily highs of 90 degrees. Great identification tool…the tiny white seeds….this weed drives the golf course people crazy..


Pre-emergence applications do no good on this hardy rascal. Round Up has little or no effect……..this is the number 1 weed in the world. This weed requires a special herbicide to kill it without damage to the lawn. If you have this weed contact your local weed control specialist and then offer up prayers…..