Category Archives: Horticulture

Variegated Ginger – Surprising 2021 Winter Storm Survivor by Kirk Walden

Micro-climate, Macro-effect The Snowmageddon of February 2021 totally wiped out 26 of my agaves. But a tender perennial, variegated ginger, made a surprising comeback. My Variegated Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) was a real specimen plant, anchoring one end of my front porch. It was ideally situated: sheltered by the house on one side and the porch on the other, next to an intake to a French drain. It got six hours or less of sun a day. Over the eight years it had been in place, it had grown… Read More →

In the January Vegetable Garden

Freeze Wallops the January Vegetable Garden And just like that the hard freeze arrives and wipes out a good portion of my January vegetable garden. Happy new year to you too mother nature! Like many of you, I’ve been gardening like crazy up until a few days ago and enjoying constant harvests from just about everything. I was even picking okra! But not anymore. All those tender vegetables and herbs are blackened and shriveled from the hard freeze that hit my Austin garden. I’ve been paying attention to… Read More →

Huisache – the 2021 Winter Storm Survivor by Kirk Walden

The Right Plant for the Right Place Driving around the Austin area you see a lot of trees suffering winter storm damage from the February 2021 freeze. And while arborists have been busy cutting down trees, I have a great success story to share. In September of 2020, a Wax Myrtle across from my front door died inexplicably. I didn’t want such a prominent spot to be empty for long, so set to selecting a replacement. I wanted something showy, since it sits directly across from the front… Read More →

Austin Landscapes Survive 2021 Winter Storm Uri by Yvonne Schneider

Travis County Master Gardeners Track Winter Freeze Recovery Process Numerous landscape plants and trees were toppled by the freezing rain and snow sent by Winter Storm Uri in February, with most plant foliage becoming brown and crispy within days or weeks. Homeowners and gardeners wondered – do we have to start over with the landscape, and how much is all this going to cost? Can we even find the plants we’d like to buy? The Travis County Master Gardeners had the same questions, and researched the progress of… Read More →

In the December Vegetable Garden

When is it Winter in Austin Texas? Winter is a relative term for the December vegetable garden if you live in Austin. The first freeze hasn’t arrived yet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t lurking around the corner (the average frost date is the first week of December.) It is classic weather for Austin – which means anything can happen. According to NOAA, we have entered into a La Nina weather pattern, which for us here in Central Texas means we can expect warmer than normal temperatures and… Read More →

Carpenter Ants May Be a Problem This Year by Wizzie Brown

Carpenter Ants Capitalizing on Freeze Damage With the freeze we had earlier this year, many people lost trees or branches of trees. Many people have already cleaned up their yard but others are still waiting for help from arborists to cut down dead trees or prune damaged limbs. If you, or your neighbor, is one of the people who choose to leave things in place, you may now be dealing with carpenter ants. Identifying Carpenter Ants Carpenter ants are large ants varying in color from all black to… Read More →

Why You Should Care About Oak Wilt by Linda Drga

What is Oak Wilt and Why Do We Care About it? Trees are a valuable resource, so we do not want to lose them to disease. Oak Wilt is caused by Bretziella fagacearum, (formerly called Ceratocystis fagacearum), a non-native invasive fungus. It can be found in MN, NY, Tx, IL, OH all together 21 states are infected. In 1944 it was discovered in oak trees in the Midwest. It is spread through the vascular (water-conducting system) roots at about 75 feet per year. All oak trees are susceptible… Read More →

In Austin’s November Vegetable Garden

First Frost on the Way Fall has arrived and winter is on the way, but there is still plenty to do in the November vegetable garden. The first frost to Central Texas usually arrives after Thanksgiving (the average is the first week of December.) We are lucky that even with the occasional frost we have many  mild days that are perfect for cool season vegetable growth. Your November vegetable garden plan is to get your plants through the cold snaps so they can keep growing until ready for… Read More →

In the October Vegetable Garden

Fall Finally Arrives in the October Vegetable Garden I am so thankful for fall weather. Shorter days and cool mornings have brought back the gardening enthusiasm that the relentless heat of summer usually drains. If you haven’t already, take advantage of the mild, frost-free weather this month and get cole crops, root crops, greens, and garlic established in the garden. Try Garlic This Year Garlic makes a great addition to any garden as long as you pick the right variety for the time of year you plan to… Read More →

In the September Vegetable Garden by Patty Leander

Still Sizzling in September Vegetable Garden Central Texas is known for parched, sizzling summers but what a difference the unexpected and well-timed rains made in our gardens and rain barrels in June and July. Peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, especially cherries, produced longer than usual, okra flourished and even Austin’s hiking trials are verdant and dense. It’s hard to imagine that earlier this year Texas was was hammered by a record-breaking deep freeze. Vegetable gardeners welcome the arrival of September because it means that cool weather is on the… Read More →