Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Start with a plan
Prepare your soil
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
How do you know if your trees have been impacted by the drought? What do we look for? Now that spring is in full swing, I have noticed that many trees (Oaks, Citrus, etc.) have a less than vigorous appearance with a lack of vegetation. Below is a recent news release by the Texas Forest Service.
April 3, 2012
Did your tree survive the drought? How to assess your tree this spring
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to take a look at your trees — and if you don’t see any green, it may be time to make some hard decisions.
Trees across the state began to wilt last summer as the Lone Star State underwent one of the worst droughts in recorded history. Some trees went into early dormancy, dropping their leaves and branches in a desperate act of self-preservation. Others died.
At the time, it was difficult — even for tree experts — to tell the difference between dormant and dead. But now that spring is here and many trees are flourishing with the recent rains, the distinction is much easier to make.
“Green is good,” Texas Forest Service Urban Forestry Manager John Giedraitis said. “If all the trees around you are green and your tree is still bare and leafless, it’s probably not going to make a comeback.”
Surviving shade trees — oaks, elms and other hardwood trees are common examples — will have shed all or most of last year’s leaves and will be breaking buds, flowering and sprouting new, green leaves. Pecan, hickory, ash and mesquite trees are often the last to sprout new leaves, but even these species should be turning green within the next couple of weeks.
Dead shade trees won’t have any new growth. Though they may still have dead, brown leaves, there won’t be any green leaves in the crown or at the ends of the branches, which will make them standout when compared with neighboring, living trees.
These trees also may have patches of bark that have fallen off the trunk and exposed a brown or gray fungus underneath. This fungus — known as hypoxylon canker — is common on dead or dying post oaks and water oaks.
Dead pine and cedar trees — as well as other needle-bearing conifer trees — will be covered in red or brown needles. Once all or most of the needles turn from green to red, the tree can’t recover.
If you have a dead tree that is close to a house or other structure on which it might fall, it is a safety concern and removal should be considered. If you‘re not sure if your tree is dead, check out our facebook photo album to see examples or contact a certified arborist.
Last year, Texas Forest Service tree experts estimated as many as 500 million rural forest trees and another 5.6 million urban shade trees had died from the drought. Foresters currently are studying aerial imagery to refine the number of trees killed by drought. Those results are expected later this year.
###Texas Forest Service Contacts:
John Giedraitis, Urban Forestry Manager in College Station
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The Real Dirt!!!
Yes.. it is true. For a limited time only.
FREE SOIL TEST!!
The Corpus Christi Storm Water Department is sponsoring up to 200 individual soil tests for residents of Corpus Christi from January 1 - January 31, 2012. The same analysis at the normal rate would be 10$.
"Excess fertilizer can pollute storm water runoff. As part of the effort to reduce the introduction of fertilizers into receiving bodies of water, the Storm Water Department and Texas AgriLife Extension Center are co-sponsoring free soil testing during the month of January 2012."
Corpus Christi residents can pick up soil testing kits at local plant retailers and can turn in their samples at one of three locations:
- City Hall
- Water Utilities Building (2726 Holly),
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Robstown. (710 E. Main Ave.)
It's time to get the facts!
What fertilizer do you choose and how much do you REALLY need?
The answers are ahead.........
Pick up your FREE...(DID I SAY FREE!!!!!) soil test campaign packet at local nurseries and get head start on the spring green-up.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Information through the City of Corpus Christ Water Department and the Nueces River Authority indicated that a household uses approximately 165 gallons of water per day. This equals 60,000 gallons of water used per residence. Potentially, half of the yearly consumption of water is used to irrigate landscapes.
Water conservation, in times of drought, drives targeted educational programs to address needs of local clientele. A recent survey of Nueces Master Gardener Interns suggested that turgrass from 11 participants was watered 2 times the amount recommended. The average lawn size of the participants was 725 square feet accounting for an average of 451 gallons of water that is required on a weekly basis if the minimum application rate of 1” of water is applied. Potential water usage for each homeowner should be 23,452 gallons of water used on a lawn. However, results of the survey showed that twice the recommended rate of 46,904 gallons was applied by each residence. A 50% water savings is assumed.
Implementing Best Management Practices and performing irrigation audits will save the participants approximately 30% on their current irrigation water usage bills on a yearly basis. Proper application techniques such as:
· Watering when turfgrass shows symptoms of drought stress.
· Watering in the early morning between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
· Performing an irrigation audit.
· Reduce watering during cooler months
Better awareness reduces the impact on the watershed that supplies a growing population. In addition, the same principles and techniques can be utilized to the rest of the landscape.
It is up to us to preserve our natural resources.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Do not count yourself out when it comes to planting a fall vegetable garden. This past spring and summer has taken a toll on vegetable gardens. The drought and heat put many vegetable gardens in harm’s way. There are several things that will help you will have a successful fall garden.
Start with a plan
Putting a little thought into the selection of vegetable will allow you to properly space your vegetables and allow for better production. Drawing a diagram on a seasonal basis will allow you to keep track of what vegetables were planted and where they were located in the garden. Keep in mind that certain crops need to be rotated around the garden. For example, tomatoes should be located in a location that was not used for tomato production last season. Moving them around will decrease potential infestations of nematodes, bacterial and fungal problems. Also, keeping additional detailed information about the crop will help you determine which vegetable did well in your situation.
Prepare your soil
Doing some preparation to the soil is a must. Now would be a great time to add additional soil amendments to your garden. Adding compost is a great addition that will help break up soil that has been dormant or lacks the proper texture and drainage. Compost comes in many forms. Compost can be bought in the forms of cotton burr compost, composted manure or even in bulk form from the J.C. Elliot landfill. Whichever you choose, add at least 3-5 inches to the soil and till or work it into the soil. By doing this, you will notice the soil structure change. This will help your vegetable beds stay productive for seasons to come.
Many varieties of vegetables can be purchased at local garden centers and nurseries every season. If you would like to get an idea of the different vegetables and the varieties that can be grown in your county, go to http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/veg_variety/. This selector will allow you view the vegetables and varieties that will perform well in your county.
The best time to start planting is starting August 15th. However, environmental factors can move that date around a little. The last week in August and week in September will be a good time to start planting. Keep in mind that these dates are general and can be altered. In fact, there is a consideration that most vegetable gardeners can apply.
We have always heard the saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket". Well, there is common theory with vegetable gardening. Every season I hear gardeners talk about having too many vegetables at one time. Have you ever had so many tomatoes that you lose them to rot or simply are unable to give them away fast enough? One thing that can be done is to stagger the planting dates of your vegetables. For example, plant new plants in the garden on two week intervals. Doing this will have several benefits. First, the vegetable will be able to be harvested at different time frames and will prolong harvest throughout the season. Secondly, vegetables prone to insect and fungal problems during a certain growth stage or environmental factor (wind, humidity, etc.) will not be as severely affected as others planted at different times.