August 24, 2011

Welcome to Texas Gardener’s Seeds, the weekly newsletter for Texas gardeners. Please do not reply to this e-mail because the sending address is not monitored. See the bottom of this newsletter for information on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editor.

Don’t depend on Mother Nature to water your drought-stricken trees

By Holly Huffman
Communications Specialist
Texas Forest Service

With the Lone Star State mired in a record-breaking drought, the parched trees that dot the landscape can no longer depend solely on Mother Nature to quench their thirst.

Just like people, trees need water to survive. Without it, they can’t carry nutrients up into their leaves or push the sugar they create down into their roots.

During damper days, a mature tree — a mighty oak, flowering magnolia or even a stately pecan — likely could make-do with just the rain provided by Mother Nature. But as she gets stingier and stingier with her watering can, that’s just not the case anymore.

“We’re seeing trees dying now, and the longer this goes on, the worse it’s going to get,” said Paul Johnson, a Texas Forest Service regional urban forester in San Antonio. “If you’ve got a tree in your yard … it’s stressed.

Watering is the single most important thing you can do for your tree during a drought. Without water, trees stop growing and drop their leaves in an act of self-preservation. As the drought worsens, so does the tree, making it more susceptible to a potentially-deadly insect infestation or disease.

“Trees are amazingly resilient so things look a little better now than I expected, but they’re still under serious stress,” Johnson said. “It’s worth the investment in your water bill to avoid the very real cost of having a tree removed, never mind losing the shade and cooling effect and all the other things trees do for us.”

The key is making sure you water the right amount, the right way, Johnson said, explaining that watering too much or too little can be just as detrimental.

Texas Forest Service tree experts have compiled a list of watering tips that can help you nurse your trees through the drought:

Before you drag out the hose, check for and follow local water restrictions, which often are enacted during a prolonged drought. In San Antonio, for example, residents can water just one day a week during early morning and late evening hours.

Well-established, valuable, mature trees should be watered every week or two during times of major drought.

When you water, do so deeply — 6 to 8 inches into the soil under the foliage of the tree. Avoid shallow, frequent watering. You can measure the depth with a long screwdriver; taking note of how easy it slides into the soil.

The easiest way to give your tree a good, deep soak is with a soaker hose or sprinkler system. A mature tree needs about an inch of water — or 60 gallons per 10-foot by 10-foot area — every week or two.

Time your sprinkler or soaker hose so you’ll know how long to run them. With a sprinkler, place an empty tuna or cat food can near the tree and time how long it takes to fill it up. With a soaker hose, curl it up inside a kiddie pool, let it run for a set period of time and then measure how much water is released.

Young, newly-planted trees should be watered three times a week. During each watering, they need 5 gallons of water for every inch of stem — or trunk — diameter, which is measured 6 inches above the ground. So if your tree measures 6 inches in diameter, that’s 30 gallons of water, three times each week.

Water should be concentrated at the base of a new tree, which is why water bags are ideal. If you don’t have access to them, drill a few holes in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket, place it next to the tree, fill it up and let the water slowly drain out.

Generally, a tree is considered established about two to three years after planting, but the ongoing, extreme drought is causing some older trees to struggle. Keep a close eye on any trees planted within the last seven years.

Another option is to reduce your watering needs by removing plants that surround your tree. Grass and trees often fight for available water. Replacing that grass — especially around new trees — with a 6-foot diameter, 2-inch-deep circle of mulch can help keep moisture on the ground and available to the tree.

Please, please water your trees

By Peg Marquardt
Wichita Master Gardener

Editor’s Note: Wichita Master Gardener Peg Marquardt, with the assistance of local Master Gardeners, recently produced signs distributed throughout Wichita Falls, Burkburnett and Iowa Park to remind residents to “Please...Please Water Your Trees!” Here she tells us what prompted her campaign to save the trees.

About 8-10 weeks ago, I noticed that many trees and shrubs throughout the city were showing signs of heat and drought stress. I knew that if people had never before needed to water their older, established trees and shrubs, in order to save them (because rain or cooler temperatures would always come to the rescue), it might not occur to them that our present record- breaking weather situation was making it an absolute necessity, in order to save many hundreds of old, beautiful majestic trees. As time went on, I noticed those stress signs were quickly turning to impending or actual death of hundreds of trees and shrubs. My heart began to sink at the thought of the physical, emotional, financial and esthetic loss of these trees throughout our entire community and short of driving down every street and calling out the window to please water your trees, I knew I had to do something, and do it fast!

That is how I came upon the idea of the signs. I need to thank many of the Wichita Falls City Officials for supporting and encouraging my passionate plea as well as my fellow Wichita Master Gardeners for supporting my idea and paying for the signs.

Although it is admirable that the public is starting to become conservative with their water usage, losing a beautiful tree creates a costly loss that will take 20-30 years to regain. Not only is there a great loss to property value when a large tree dies, but the cooling shade and protection it offers to our homes, vehicles and pets (as well as to the rest of our landscape) is invaluable. A dead tree can cost hundreds of dollars to have removed and is a hazard to everyone in the vicinity if it is left to dry up and become brittle.

It may be too late for some landscapes, but with immediate action, there still is hope for the others. Don’t worry about lawns (unless you have new or expensive sod), because grass will come back when we do get rain. Water plants that take a long time to become what they are, mainly trees and large shrubs. Water early in the morning or in the evening when the tree is less stressed by the intense heat. Water them slowly, so the water has a chance to penetrate deeply. You can do this best with a soaker hose surrounding a tree as far out as its branches grow (this is called the dripline and is where most of the feeder roots are located; don’t just lay a hose next to the trunk of a large tree). Slow watering should take about three hours to be adequately beneficial but keep in mind, the larger the tree, the more water it requires to survive in this oppressive heat. Under normal circumstances, watering well once a week would be adequate, but under our present circumstances, twice a week may be necessary. It’s up to us now, so good luck!

And let’s all pray for rain!

Vote for Galveston: Island in the running for tree-planting scholarship

By Holly Huffman
Communications Specialist
Texas Forest Service

The beautiful, green tree canopy that once shaded Galveston Island was nearly wiped out three years ago when devastating Hurricane Ike slammed into the coastline.

Since then, civic leaders and community volunteers have worked tirelessly to rebuild and reforest the island.

Now, they need your help.

The Galveston Island Tree Conservancy’s NeighborWoods program has been selected as one of 20 finalists vying for part of a $150,000 scholarship fund offered through the 50 States for Good project. The contest is sponsored by Tom’s of Maine, which specializes in natural personal hygiene products.

“We lost 40,000 trees to the Hurricane Ike storm surge. We’ve been told that it’s one of the largest urban forest disasters in recorded history,” said Priscilla Files, tree planting coordinator with the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy.

“We need the benefits of these trees and we’re not just talking pretty. We need them for cooling our homes, air filtering, storm water run-off — all the infrastructure benefits. It will be beautiful, but it’s not a beautification project.”

Working together with Texas Forest Service, conservancy members and city leaders developed a plan to plant 25,000 trees over five years in an effort to replace the island’s tree canopy. More than 8,000 trees have been planted so far including 450 planted through NeighborWoods earlier this year.

NeighborWoods is a tree-planting program that calls for municipal leaders and community residents to join forces as they plant and care for trees planted in city rights of way.

Six winners will be selected as part of the 50 States for Good project. One will receive a grand prize of $50,000, while the other five take home $20,000 each.

If the conservancy wins, it will use the money to fund an upcoming NeighborWoods project, which involves planting more than 700 trees in just one day next March using only community volunteers, Files said. The help will include Sea Aggies working through Big Event, a community service program at Texas A&M University and its Galveston campus.

“If we get the big kahuna prize, it would be huge. It would be one heck of a tree-planting party,” Files said, laughing. “We’re the only Texas finalist. We need Texans to vote for Texans, and we need people to vote every day.”

Online voting lasts through Sept. 13, 2011. Fans can vote once a day until the contest ends. The six projects garnering the most votes will be declared the winners.

Tiny ants can be big bother to many South Central Texas homeowners

Paul Schattenberg
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Pharaohs and rovers sighted in homes throughout South Central Texas!

No, it’s not a tabloid headline. The pharaohs aren’t related to King Tut or Ramses, and the rovers aren’t really too wild. However, these two diminutive ant species — found in pantries, on kitchen counters, and in and around sinks — can be a big bother for many South Central Texas residents, said Texas AgriLife Extension Service experts.

“These ants typically become more active in the summer,” said Wizzie Brown, integrated pest management specialist for AgriLife Extension in Travis County. “Usually people immediately think any small, abundant ants making trails — usually to and from food or water sources in the home — are pharaoh ants, but they might be rover ants. Though different species, both types of ant are very small and move single-file in a row, so it’s easy to be confused.”

Brown said, however, that rover ants are darker — a dark brown or almost black color as opposed to the pharaoh ant’s orange or rust color. Also, rovers are outdoor ants that come indoors searching for food and water — an activity that has become more prevalent with the region’s prolonged drought.

“Pharaoh ants are also known as sugar ants due to their preference for sugary or sweet foods, and are also called pissants,” she said.

While rover ants come indoors from the outside, pharaoh ants are already in the home, and only need a little encouragement to come out, Brown said.

“The pharaoh ant is really about the only ant you can call a strictly urban ant in that it usually lives indoors, making its home behind walls or under appliances or carpet,” said Molly Keck, integrated pest management specialist in Bexar County. “They’re often found going into or coming out of the cover plates of electrical outlets. The outlets make it easier for them to access interior walls and they can use the wires as their super-highway to your kitchen or bathroom.”

Rover ants typically make their home in the leaf litter on roofs or in gutters or under rocks, stones or concrete, she added.

“While rover ants will eat sweet foods when they get really hungry, they seem to be most attracted to foods containing protein, such as dog food or meat,” she said. “You’ll more often find them clustered around a small piece of meat than something sugary.”

Like other ants, rover ants that invade homes will often nest in damp interior walls around plumbing or near leaky window sills.

Keck said the diminutive size of both species makes them relatively unobtrusive — unless moving en masse in a long trail across a household surface — and that neither species has much of a bite.

Still, most people consider the ants a pest and are interested in ways to control them, Brown noted.

“Ant baits are the best method of control for both types,” Brown said. “You don’t want to use a spray on either of these species as that likely will split up the colony and ultimately lead to more ants in more locations,” she said. “You need to be aware of differences in baits and the safest and most effective ways to apply or set them out.”

“Typically there are only liquid baits or bait stations labeled for indoor use to control pharaoh ants, so you shouldn’t go putting a pile of ant bait in your kitchen or bathroom,” Keck warned.

Keck said she prefers to use a solid bait to control pharaoh ants and a gel or liquid bait to control rover ants.

“Rover ants can enter your house through weep holes, cracks or any other opening large enough to fit through,” she said. “For better pest control, you should seal any cracks or openings around windows and doors as well as other possible points of entry.

“Outdoors, remove the remnants of any uneaten dog food, and trim the grass touching your house and the branches touching your roof as these may provide a means of access. Indoors, remove food sources — bread, cakes, chips, etc. — from kitchen surfaces and clean those surfaces thoroughly before using the bait.”

Brown noted that removing alternative food sources makes the ant bait more appealing to the ants.

“But if the ants don’t seem to be eating the bait, you may want to try a different type,” she said. “For example, some ant baits are sugar-based and others are protein-based, so the effectiveness of the bait may depend on the type of ant and the sort of food the ants are seeking.”

Brown said placing a bait station near the area where the ants appear to be most active is likely the best approach to control.

“But if you’re using a bait, be sure to keep it out of the reach of children and pets, and particularly keep it away from places where your cat might be able to get to it,” she said. She added that since pharaoh ants often enter and exit thought electrical outlets, taking the cover plate off and dabbing a small amount of gel bait in the wall void can be very effective.

“Many people think you have to put a lot of gel in there to do any good, but a small amount is plenty to be effective,” she said. “Just remember to scrape off the old bait before putting on any new bait since the bait will dry and harden over time.”

Brown and Keck both noted that while the ants are not a major health threat, they can potentially transmit disease and contaminate sterile materials — a particular problem in a hospital or similar setting where a high level of sanitation needs to be maintained.

“For both ant species, it’s important that you choose the right type of control because of their ability to disperse and repopulate,” Brown said. “That’s why it is so difficult for some people to get rid of them. They’re persistent and can re-establish quickly, so you have to manage them properly so they don’t relocate and repopulate in multiple locations.”

Gardening tips

If you have notice limbs dying in your pecan trees, chances are that they are suffering from a zinc deficiency. This is a problem that often occurs in the western part of the state where soils have a tendency to be alkaline. To remedy this problem, apply several foliar feeding of zinc during the growing season.

Have a favorite gardening tip you’d like to share? Texas Gardener’s Seeds is seeking brief gardening tips from Texas gardeners to use in future issues. If we publish your tip in Seeds, we will send you a free Texas Gardener 2011 Planning Guide & Calendar. Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did you know...

The 10 months from October 2010 through July 2011 have been the driest for that 10-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records.

Upcoming garden events.

If you would like your organization’s events included in "Upcoming Garden Events" or would like to make a change to a listed event, please contact us at Garden Events. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.

Bexar County: Register now for Bexar County Master Gardener Class #54. Classes begin August 24, meeting once a week 4 p.m.-8 p.m., and end November 16. Application form available at Click on New Master Gardener Class Application. Registration deadline is August 10.

Cibolo: Do you have a love for gardening and want to learn more about horticulture? Then the next Guadalupe County Master Gardener training class is for you. Classes are on Wednesdays, August 24 to December 7 from noon to 4:30 p.m. at St Paul Evangelical Church, 108 S Main, Cibolo. Learn from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialists, staff and local experts. Topics cover botany and plant growth, entomology, Xeriscaping, propagation, herbs and vegetables, tree care and pruning principles, composting and organic horticulture, water conservation and much more. Registration is $170 with a 10% discount if received by August 1. For more information, visit or contact Jose Antonio Contreras,, 830-401-0800.

Bryan: A Fall Gardening Seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., August 27, at The Brazos Center, Room 102, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. Sessions include Jim Johnson, AAF, AIFD, TMFA, Distinguished Lecturer, Texas A&M University on "Seeing is Believing"; Kayron Dube, DDS, Brazos County Master Gardener on "Earth Systems—Soils"; Patty Leander, Travis County Master Gardener Vegetable Specialist and Texas Gardener contributing writer on "Fall Vegetable Gardening"; and Chris Wiesinger, The Southern Bulb Company, on "The Bulb Hunter & Heirloom Bulbs." Registration is $50/person and includes snacks and sandwich lunch buffet. Preregistration by August 23 is preferred. Seminar information and registration form is available at

Nacogdoches: On Saturday, August 27, the SFA Department of Agriculture will host an Outdoor Family Fun Day at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet Street, from 9 a.m. to noon as part of its Nacogdoches Naturally program. “Families will be able to experience a sampling of programs we have planned for the coming year. They will be able to learn how to set up a tent, practice casting with a fishing pole, learn how to use a compass, try their hand at outdoor cooking or just go for a leisurely hike,” explained Elyce Rodewald, education coordinator for SFA Gardens. “Many of our program partners will be coming out to join us on this day and we will offer activities to meet a variety of interests,” said Kerry Lemon, project director for Nacogdoches Naturally. “Archery, bird watching, making (and eating!) homemade ice cream, and going on a scavenger hunt are enjoyable for people of all ages. We are excited about starting off our program year with this fun, educational day for families to be together outdoors.” Ms. Lemon added, “This will also be an opportunity for families to sign up for our weekend programs scheduled each month August 2011-July 2012.” There is no charge for the Outdoor Family Fun Day and no registration is required. Parking will be available at Raguet Elementary School. For more information about this event or future events, call 936-468-1832 or email

San Angelo: There’s still hope for home grown veggies this year for those who plant a fall garden, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert. To help gardeners succeed, the AgriLife Extension office in Tom Green County will conduct a fall vegetable gardening class at 6 p.m., August 30, at the Tom Green 4-H Center, 3168 N. U.S. Highway 67. “Most gardeners have struggled with their vegetables this summer,” said Allison Watkins, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Tom Green County. “The heat and drought have made it very difficult to grow healthy, productive plants. Many people don’t realize that fall is a great time to garden. Milder temperatures and fewer pests allow vegetable plants to produce well, making them easier to care for than in the late spring and summer.” Watkins said the class will provide information on planning and preparing a fall garden, pest control, crop selection and timing, and gardening basics. There will also be a question and answer session at the end of the program. “Even some avid summer gardeners don’t realize that many of their favorite spring garden plants such as tomatoes and squash can be successfully grown in the fall,” Watkins said. “Then later in the season there are cool-season crops to consider such as spinach and broccoli. And best of all? It’s way more pleasant to work outside when it’s cooler.” Watkins said gardeners further north in the Panhandle might run into trouble with cold weather hindering warm season vegetable crops, but they can certainly plant cool season crops successfully. The deadline to register is Aug. 23. Individual registration is $25 which includes a meal, a tomato plant and a chance at door prizes. Participants can pay at the door, but all must RSVP to attend by contacting Watkins at 325-659-6522 or

Seabrook: Heidi Sheesley, TreeSearch Farms, will present a preview of the Fall Sale plants from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m., Wednesday, August 31, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lake side), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

San Antonio: James Bliek, teacher of Floral Design, North East ISD, will teach “Floral Design Mechanics” at 10 a.m., Wednesday, September 7, at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels & Funston, near the Botanical Gardens. Wonder what to do with those flowers you bring in from the Garden? Join this free lecture at the San Antonio Garden Center’s monthly meeting. For additional information, contact or call 210-824-0435.

Austin: Fall Transplanting and Dividing Perennials will be presented from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, September 10, at Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin. Fall is the best time to transplant and divide your garden perennials. Learn how to share your extra plants with others and re-locate perennials that may have overgrown their current place in the landscape. Get a jump on spring blooms by giving them a chance to develop a strong root system. Join Master Gardener Velia Sanchez-Ruiz in proper planning and execution of these essential garden tasks. For more information, contact the Master Gardeners Help Line at 512-854-9600 or visit

Nacogdoches: Texas Gardener columnist Greg Grant leads "Landscape Design" from 9 a.m. until noon, September 10, in Room 118, Ag Building, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches. $15 members, $20 non-members. For more information or to make reservations, call 936-468-18312 or email

Pasadena: The best perennials, vines, gingers, bulb lilies and herbs for the Gulf Coast will be available to purchase at the Fall Sale and Expo, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Saturday, September 10, at the Campbell Hall at the Pasadena Fairgrounds. 7600 Red Bluff, Pasadena. For more information, visit

Haynesville, La: The thirteenth Annual Haynesville Celebration of Butterflies will be held Saturday, September 11, at the Claiborne Parish Fairgrounds in Haynesville, Louisiana, beginning with the annual Butterfly Parade at 9:00 a.m. The day’s events will include a number of activities including musical entertainment, creative fun for kids, a nature photography contest, and a number of educational seminars. At 10 that morning, Michael Seal, owner and operator of “The Funny Farm” will present “Bromeliads: Easier to Grow than Pronounce.” At 11:30 a.m., James Dean, member of the Louisiana Bayou Bluebird Society who has been built and erected more than 1,000 nest boxes over the years will present “Bluebird Trails Across America.” The afternoon seminars begin at 1 p.m. with Texas Gardener columnist and Heirloom Gardening in the South co-author, Greg Grant, from the SFA Gardens at Stephen F. Austin State University, presenting “Flapping about My Favorite Butterfly Plants.” Later, at 3:20 p.m., Dr. Charles Allen, botanist and author from Fort Polk, will talk about “Wildflowers of Louisiana.” Before ending with a drawing for a butterfly quilt, host Loice Kendrick-Lacey will present “A Butterfly Buffet: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” In addition, butterfly plants, crafts, and food will be for sale. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 6-18. The event is sponsored by the Claiborne Chamber of Commerce, the Haynesville Garden Club, and the LSU AgCenter. Haynesville, Louisiana is located on U.S. Highway 79 in the Pineywoods, near the Arkansas border. It is approximately 1.5 hours from Shreveport. For more information about the Haynesville Celebration of Butterflies call Mrs. Loice Kendrick-Lacy at 318-624-1929 or 870-234-4910 or e-mail Other local information is available at

Brown County: Brown County and Central Texas Master Gardeners Association will partner this fall to present a Master Gardeners class, to be held Tuesdays beginning Sept. 13 through Nov. 15. For further information and application forms, visit or Application deadline is August 15.

Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz-Seguin) Chapter of the Native Society of Texas will resume regular monthly meetings Tuesday, September 13. Botanist and former supervisor for the San Antonio Botanical Center Paul Cox will present "Amazing Trees." Paul is co-author of Texas Trees-A Friendly Guide. He will have some of the books to sell. The Society meets the Second Tuesday of the Month at The Library, 500 Bulldog, Marion. There will be a plant exchange and "meet and greet" at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. It is open to the public and visitors are welcome. For more information, directions to The Library, or membership applications visit

Seabrook: Dr. Carol Brouwer will present a lecture on Tree Care from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 13, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lake side), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Cross Roads: The National Junior Master Gardener specialist training will be held in Cross Roads, September 15-17. This dynamic and intensive 2-1/2 day training conference is designed for those coordinating or supporting JMG programs at the local, county, and regional level. Upon completion, attendees will receive certification as a JMG Specialist by the National Junior Master Gardener Program office and a host of invaluable resources to grow JMG and youth gardening programs in the local, regional or state level. For more information and to register, visit or call 940-349-2892.

Kingsland: Learn about the care and feeding of "House Plants" with Master Gardener Violet Carson at a free program at noon Thursday, September 15, at the Kingsland Library. This is presented by the Green Thumb Programs of the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners in conjunction with Texas AgriLife Extension. To learn about the Green Thumb programs and/or to be reminded about attending, please visit

San Antonio: The Amazing Butterfly Exhibit at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston at N. New Braunfels, San Antonio, opens the weekend of September 17-18 and continues through January 8, 2012. Explore the interactive maze to learn about the incredible life cycle of butterflies and the surprising challenges they face every day. The exhibit is free with admission. Admission is $8 adults; $6 students, seniors, military; $5 children age 3-13. For additional information, call 210-829-5100 or visit

Rockport: Todd Cutting, Master Gardener, will present "Starting Winter Vegetables" from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, September 20, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.

Seabrook: Joe Williams, Horticulture Manager for the Houston Zoo, will discuss "How to Maintain the Zoological Gardens" at10 a.m., Wednesday, September 21, at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the lake side), 5001 NASA Parkway, Seabrook. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Houston: The Great Plants for Houston fall plant sale will take place Saturday, September 24, at the Texas Cooperative Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Dr., Houston. The sale day will begin with a Plant Overview by Dr. Jean Fefer from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m. The gardens will be decorated with scarecrows which will be offered for sale by silent auction throughout the morning of the sale. There will be booths in the auditorium of the Extension Office building staffed by Master Gardeners ready to discuss garden questions. There will be a garden book sale offering the latest in information about gardening in the lobby. For additional information, call 281-855-5600.

Victoria: The Victoria County Master Gardener Association fall symposium will be September 24 at the VEG pavilion, Victoria County 4-H Activity Center and the Victoria Regional Airport Officers Club across from airport control tower in Victoria. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and conclude at 3 p.m. Emphasis will be on growing trees and container gardening. Famed garden expert Jerry Parsons of San Antonio, luncheon speaker, will discuss gardening in the Coastal Bend. Heidi Shessley of TreeSearch Farms in Houston will open the program at 9 a.m. For program and registration information telephone Victoria County AgriLife Extension Office at 361-575-4581.

Lufkin: Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants will present “A Case for Native Plants” at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 29, at the Museum of East Texas, 503 North 2nd St., Lufkin. Tallamy is Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology and director of the Center for Managed Ecosystems at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, where he has authored 73 research articles and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, and other courses for 30 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal com-munities. His book Bringing Nature Home; How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 silver medal by the Garden Writer’s Association. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information. call 936-634-6414 ext 102 or visit

Denton: Denton County Master Gardener Association presents the 2011 Fall Garden Festival on Saturday, October 1. This free event is held on the Denton Bible Church campus at the corner of Nottingham and Mingo, Denton. This year’s theme is “Locavore,” focusing on those who eat foods grown locally whenever possible. This event includes educational demonstrations and exhibits, vendors, and presentations. Speakers include Executive Chef Charles Younts from the Classic Café in Roanoke, Sue Newhouse and Trish Percy from Feed Texas First, Gene Gumfory from Shiloh Field Community Garden, and Dr. Maggie Jover, from Texas AgriLife Extension. For a complete list of exhibitors, vendors and presentations, visit or call 940-349-2892.

Conroe: The Montgomery County Master Gardener Association is pleased to present Greg Grant, Horticulturist, Plant Propagator and Humorist on Tuesday, October 4. The program will start at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Thomas LeRoy Education Center, 9020 Airport Road, Conroe, which is across the street from the Lone Star Convention Center. Greg is a contributor to Texas Gardener Magazine, among others, and his topic for the evening will be Home Landscaping — Texas: Right Plant, Right Place. His talk will include basic landscaping design principles as well as some of his favorite plants. This is a rare opportunity to see one of Texas’ best gardening speakers in a local setting. The fee will be $20.00 per person and seating will be limited. Please call 936-539-7824 Monday through Friday for more information, or visit There will also be information available about the Montgomery County Master Gardeners’ Fall Plant Sale at this event, which will be held Saturday, October 15, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Rockport: Dr. Marsha Hendrix, Master Gardener and Director of the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, and Beth Wilson, Master Gardener. will present "Recreating the Fulton Mansion Garden" from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, October 18, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.

Rockport: Keith Pawelek, Manger of Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, will present "Native Plants and Invasive Plants" from 10:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m., Saturday, October 22, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.

Rockport: Darlene Goorish, Master Gardener, will present "Winter Care of Tropicals" from noon until 1 p.m., Tuesday, November 15, at the Aransas County Library, 701 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, call (361)-790-0103.


Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners meet at noon the first Tuesday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension, 3033 Bear Creek Drive (near the intersection of Highway 6 and Patterson Road), Houston. For additional information visit or call 281-855-5600.

Rockport: Rockport: Monthly meetings of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners are held at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Aransas County Office, 611 E. Mimosa, Rockport. For additional information, e-mail or call 361-790-0103.

Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. For more information, call Carole Ramke at 903-986-9475.

Allen: The Allen Garden Club meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, February through December, at the Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main St., Allen. For more information, visit

Brownwood: The Brown County Master Gardeners Association meets the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 605 Fisk Ave., Brownwood. For further information, call Mary Green Engle at 325-784-8453.

Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit

Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the second Tuesday of each month except July and August at The Library, 500 Bulldog, Marion. There is a plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For more information or an application to join NPSOT visit or contact contact

Longview: The Gregg County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program preceding the business meeting. For further information call Cindy Gill at 903-236-8429 or visit

Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. Sometimes they take field trips and have cooking demonstrations in different locations. For more information, contact Linda 361-729-6037, Ruth 361-729-8923 or Cindy 979-562-2153 or visit and

Beaumont: The Jefferson County Master Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the AgriLife Extension Office, 1225 Pearl Street, Suite 200, Beaumont. For more information, call 409-835-8461.

Brownwood: Brown County Master Gardeners Association meets the second Thursday of each month, from Noon to 1 p.m., at the Brown County AgriLife Extension Office, 605 Fisk, Brownwood. For additional information, call Freda Day 325-643-1077, or Mary Engle 325-784-8453.

Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. 8th Street. Georgetown. For additional information, contract Billye Adams at 512-863-9636 or visit

Orange: The Orange County Master Gardeners meet at the Salvation Army in Orange on the second Thursday of each month. A covered-dish dinner at 6:30 p.m. is followed by a speaker and business meeting at 7 p.m.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit

Dallas: The Rainbow Garden Club of North Texas meets the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Meetings are held at member’s homes and garden centers around the area. For more information, visit

Arlington: The Arlington Men's Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the third Monday of each month (except December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact Lance Jepson at

Cleburne: The Johnson County Master Gardeners meet at 2 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W. Henderson, Cleburne, which includes a program and a meet & greet. For more information, call Diane Asberry at 817-558-3932.

Sugar Land: The Sugar Land Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month, September through November and January through April at 10 a.m. at the Sugar Land Community Center, 226 Matlage Way, Sugar Land. The club hosts a different speaker each month. For more information, visit

Denton: The Denton Organic Society, a group devoted to sharing information and educating the public regarding organic principles, meets the third Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Avenue. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are preceded by a social at 6:30. For more information, call 940-382-8551.

Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners meet at 10 a.m., the third Wednesday of each month at the Somervell County AgriLife Extension office, 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 254-897-2809 or visit

Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners meet at 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Hood County Annex 1, 1410 West Pearl Street, Granbury. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call 817-579-3280 or visit

Seabrook: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at The Meeting Room at Clear Lake Park (on the Lakeside), 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Houston: The Native Plant Society of Texas — Houston (NPSOT-H) meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except for October (4th Thursday) and December (2nd Thursday). Location varies. For locations, for more information on programs, and for information about native plants for Houston, visit

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners meet at 7:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except December at the Bud O’Shieles Community Center located at 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. For more information, call 281-341-7068 or visit

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, except December, at the Texas AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak, Seguin. An educational program precedes the business meeting. The public is invited to attend. For topic or other information, call 830-379-1972 or visit

Atlanta: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Horne Enterprise building in Atlanta at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Kay Lowery at

Brackenridge Park: The Native Plant Society San Antonio Chapter meets every fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Lions Field Adult and Senior Center, 2809 Broadway at E. Mulberry, Brackenridge Park, except August and December. Social and seed/plant exchange at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bea at 210-999-7292 or visit

Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners present their "Come Grown With Us" seminars on the fourth Tuesday of each month, January through October, beginning at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Wells, Edna. The seminars are free, open to the public and offer 2 CEU hours to Master Gardeners or others requiring them. For additional information, contact the Jackson County Extension Office at 361-782-3312.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens main building. Refreshments are served. For more information, call 817-263-9322 or visit

San Antonio: The Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio Chapter meets the fourth Tuesday of the month, except August and December, at the Lions Field Adult & Senior Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio. Social and plant/seed exchange at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit or call Bea at 210-999-7292.

Leander: The Leander Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (except July and August) at 10:30 a.m. at the Leander Presbyterian Church, 101 N. West Drive, Leander, unless there is a field trip or an event at a member's home. Following a short business meeting, there is usually a program, followed by a shared pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call Cathy Clark-Ramsey at 512-963-4698 or email

Dallas: The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at the North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd., Dallas. For more information, call 214-824-2448 or visit

Arlington: The Arlington Organic Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month (except November and December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact David at 817) 483-7746.

The Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook

The best thing for tomato enthusiasts since the tomato itself! William D. Adams draws on more than thirty years' experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Learn everything from soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging and watering. Liberally sprinkled with the author's easy humor and illustrated with his own excellent photographs, the must have book has everything you'll need to assure a bumper crop! 189 pages. Lots of color photographs!

Only $26.69 for Seeds readers! Free shipping!

To take advantage of this special offer, call toll-free 1-800-727-9020.

Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.

In Greg's Garden:
A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family

An intimate and personal exploration of the life of one of Texas’s most beloved gardeners, In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family gathers in a single volume the first nine years of Greg Grant’s columns from Texas Gardener magazine.

Revised and updated from their original publication, these 54 essays reveal the heart and soul of a seventh generation native Texan who has devoted his entire life to gardening, nature and family. With degrees in floriculture and horticulture from Texas A&M University and extensive hands-on experience as a horticulturist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Stephen F. Austin State University, Mercer Arboretum and San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Grant has successfully introduced dozens of plants to the Texas nursery industry, all while maintaining long-held family property and renovating the homes of his ancestors in Arcadia, Texas.

In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature and Family is a must-read for every Texas gardener.

Available only for Kindle. Order directly from Amazon by clicking here.

Wish you'd saved them?

Are you missing an important issue of Texas Gardener? Or, perhaps, just tired of thumbing through stacks of back issues looking for the tips and techniques you need to make your garden grow? These new CDs provide easy access to all six issues of
volume 20 (November/December 2000 through September/October 2001),
volume 21
(November/December 2001 through September/October 2002),
volume 22
(November/December 2002 through September/October 2003),
volume 23
(November/December 2003 through September/October 2004),
volume 24 (November/December 2004 through September/October 2005),
volume 25 (November/December 2005 through September/October 2006),
volume 26 (November/December 2006 through September/October 2007),
volume 27 (November/December 2007 through September/October 2008),
volume 28 (November/December 2008 through September/October 2009),
volume 29 (November/December 2009 through September/October 2010), and
volume 30 (November/December 2010 through September/October 2011)*.

$16.99 per CD includes tax and shipping

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

*Other volumes will be available soon.

Fiber row cover valuable year-round

Grow-Web encourages plant growth and development, and also provides protection from insects, birds, diseases and frosts. It is also air and water permeable and allows for ventilation. Grow-Web provides excellent protection to seedlings when applied directly to the seedbed.

$30.64 per 12.3’ x 32.8’ roll (includes shipping!)

Order by calling 1-800-727-9020 or order on-line.

(Discover, MasterCard and Visa accepted.)

Become a Texas Gardener fan on Facebook

Become a fan of Texas Gardener magazine on Facebook. See what we're up to at

Texas Gardener’s Seeds is published weekly. © Suntex Communications, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved. You may forward this publication to your friends and colleagues if it is sent in its entirety. No individual part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.

Missed an issue? Back issues of Texas Gardener’s Seeds are available at

Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken

Texas Gardener’s Seeds, P.O. Box 9005, Waco, Texas 76714 ●