USDA Observes Kick Off of the International Year of Soils

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Adapted from a Press Release by Justin Fritscher, U.S. Department of Agriculture

The US Department of Agriculture released an article to announce the 2015 International Year of Soils. This designation comes from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization which spearheaded the adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly. A world wide effort to highlight the importance of healthy soils for food security, ecosystem functions and resilient farms, ranches and urban areas. (more…)

Richmond City Hall Park Goes Earth-Kind

By Peggy d’Hemecourt, Fort Bend County Master Gardener

Community volunteers and Fort Bend County Master Gardeners created an Earth-Kind landscape at the park adjacent to Richmond City Hall on November 15th. The installation occurred on Keep Richmond Beautiful National Planting Day and celebrated the value of restoring ecological balance and creating greener, more beautiful communities. (more…)

New Year’s Resolution: An Irrigation Audit

By Lisa Rogers, Fort Bend County Master Gardener

It’s that time of year when we’re all making New Year’s Resolutions. Most of these resolutions have to do with making healthy lifestyle changes. By February most of us will be discouraged because we couldn’t resist that piece of chocolate or that coke. And, well the gym was just too crowded in January! Why not make a resolution to routinely audit your irrigation system instead? The benefits of routine irrigation audits could include saving money, water conservation, healthier landscapes and a sense of pride and accomplishment. (more…)

Citrus Quarantine: Where “Going Green” is not a good thing

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by Deborah Birge, Fort Bend County Master Gardener

Besides being hot and miserable, July held a wake-up moment for Fort Bend County citrus growers. Citrus Greening Disease or Huanglongbing, was identified in a tree growing in a Harris Country retail nursery resulting in a quarantine for the entire county. Just this week, the quarantine has been extended to include Montgomery and Fort Bend County. (more…)

FBMG 2014 Project: Ornamental Grasses

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By Cheryl Huber, Fort Bend County Master Gardener

Our team set out to find which ornamental grasses and “grass-like” plants would do best in the Southeast Texas sun and summer heat using the Earth-Kind Landscaping practices, including no additional irrigation once plants were established and a thick layer of native mulch on the surface. (more…)

Fall Blooming Bulbs: At the Top of the Earth-Kind Landscaping Recommendations

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By Boone Holladay, County Extension Agent-Horticulture

The discussion of landscape water conservation continues throughout the State. In most situations, we are challenged with keeping our plants alive through the excruciating summer heat, applying water to them just when we should be cutting back on our landscape water consumption. Considering the nature of our growing seasons, a perfect plant would perform for us in spring and fall and go virtually dormant in summer instead of winter, resulting in drastic water savings. Sounds logical, right?
As we are seeing these selected bulbs blooming this season, let’s showcase the fall bloomers. All of these blossom in fall and put on their foliage through the winter and go dormant around May. They then sleep through the summer heat and wake again once the temperatures start dropping back close to reasonable. Heavy fall rains and slightly cooler temperatures trigger them to push their delicate blooms from the ground. Here we go. (more…)

Going Nuts for Pecans in 2014…continued!

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By Boone Holladay, County Extension Agent-Horticulture

We would like to spend a minute to congratulate local producers for their State awards this summer at the 2014 Texas Pecan Growers Association Conference & Trade Show in San Marcos, Texas. From Fort Bend County, Ray Mehrens placed 3rd for his Mahan variety. Bennie Hundl of Wharton County placed 2nd place for his Caddo variety and 3rd place with his Prilop variety. Great showing gentle-men!
Our pecan outlook continues to be positive. As late summer rains have brought the moisture needed to finish up the kernel fill, we can see huge pecans loaded in trees throughout the county. Some issues do still lurk in our environment that may cause a dent in production. (more…)

Walnut Caterpillar update July 29th, 2014

Boone Holladay, County Extension Agent-Horticulture

Bill Ree, Pecan IPM Extension Specialist

 

Site visits and numerous calls from around the county have confirmed another generation of walnut caterpillars feeding on pecan foliage. The majority of cases range from Fulshear through Pecan Plantation, down to Richmond, and a few calls from south Rosenberg. We assume populations are active further out as well. One thing we are noticing with this generation is a great range of growth stages, from first stage reddish-brown larvae all the way to the large 1 ½ to 2 inch black and white larvae, all in the same areas. This makes it even more of a challenge to treat effectively. So you ask, “What do I do?” Here are your options. (more…)

Prevention, management tips offered for citrus disease found in Harris County

 

HOUSTON — Owners of citrus trees in Harris County should be on the lookout for carriers and symptoms of a disease recently discovered there, experts with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service said.

Citrus greening was confirmed in a tree at a retail nursery south of Houston on July 16. The disease, which is spread by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, has no cure and eventually kills infected trees, according to AgriLife Extension horticulture specialist Monte Nesbitt of College Station. (more…)

Purple Flash Ornamental Pepper – A New Texas Superstar

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by Robert Burns, in the Website AgriLife Today

With its nearly black leaves overlaid with dark purple and white swirls, the ornamental pepper Purple Flash — a new Texas Superstar plant — can be used in landscapes as a backup or a stand-alone bedding plant, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research horticulturist.
“Though it has bright colors, the overall effect is dark, so it’s more often used as a foliage plant,” said Dr. Brent Pemberton, AgriLife Research ornamental horticulturist and chair of the Texas Superstar executive board in Over-ton. “The red peppers come later in the season, and they’re showy in themselves, but Purple Flash is still used in flower borders or mass plantings.” (more…)