Friday, December 18, 2015

Water Wells in North Texas

In North Texas we don't hear a lot about the ground water supply. We are mostly concerned with the surface water supply. In North Central Texas, we have one major aquifer, the Trinity Aquifer, and one minor aquifer, the Woodbine Aquifer. There are also those hand dug wells, found at old home sites, that recharge from relatively shallow ground water.
In Collin County water wells are not common, primarily due to the lack of quality ground water and the depth of drilling to access the aquifers. The aquifers decrease in depth in a southern easterly direction. Meaning the further southeast that you move through Collin County, the deeper the aquifer. Unfortunately the water from the deeper portions of the aquifer are poorer quality. The quality is poor because of the high concentrations of sodium. The high sodium concentration make the water unsuitable for irrigation. The concentrations are so high that it can kill all your plants and damage the soil. There are many wells in Collin County that are 1,000 to 1,500 feet deep and the water obtained from these wells is unsuitable for irrigation. A 1,500 foot well is very expensive to drill, and considering the lack of quality water at these depths, drilling a well in Collin County can be a risky investment. At one site it cost $60,000 to drill and case a well at 1,500 feet deep. Unfortunately the water from this well can't be used because the Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR) had a value of 28. Depending on the crop, we generally want to see SAR values less than 10. Some salt sensitive crops may require lower values. More information can be this and other water quality standards can be found at
If you are considering drilling a water well you need to check with your ground water conservation district for permitting and regulations. In Collin, Cooke, or Denton Counties you need to contact the North Texas Groundwater Conservation District or your county developmental services department. So if you don't have access to ground water or a water well, what are your options? A popular options has been building a pond, however some properties aren't suitable. Utilizing municipal or rural water sources is routine, but expensive for production agriculture. Rainwater harvesting can be an effective alternative if enough storage capacity can be created or installed.
A recent publication from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service on water wells received recognition by the American Society of Agronomy. The "Well Owner's Guide to Water Supply" is a very comprehensive resource that helps well owners and others better understand the ground water supply and managing this natural resource. Download this and other publications for free at the Texas Well Owner Network website:  

Other informational resources:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

B.I.G. Horticulture Program

Income Growth Conference to discuss herd rebuildingThe B.I.G. Horticulture program isn't just large, but rather focuses on growing yields and income for farmers in the Blackland Prairie. B.I.G. stands for Blackland Income Growth and is a long running annual conference occuring in Waco, Texas every year.  During the BIG Conference on January 5th, 2016 there will be a Horticulture session but also 8 other concurrent sessions on other crops, livestock, rangeland, wildlife, and forage. The Horticulture session includes the following topics:

Micro Greens & Baby Vegetables
Introduction to Aquaponics
High Tunnels
Protecting Pollinators
Super-Star Edibles
Edible Landscapes
Canning/Preservation of Produce

The Horticulture session will start at 9:00 am on January 5th at the Waco Convention Center, Room: Ranger 106-107 and end at 5:15 pm. There is a $20 registration fee payable at the door (no pre-registration). Registration starts at 8:00 am. Participants receive 2 CEU for TDA, and 5 CEU for TNLA. If you can questions contact the McLennan County Extension Office at 254-757-5180.

For more information download the conference brochure: BIG Conference Brochure


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Extending the Growing Season changing of the seasons to cooler weather with periodic freezes leaves gardeners missing the warmer temperatures. Serious gardener find a way to garden on the fringes of the seasons. Using methods to extend the growing season can allow harvesting to extend through the fall and early winter, and allow earlier planting in late winter and early spring. Check out this great article written by my colleague and friend, Skip Richter, Harris County Horticulture Agent.


Extending the Growing Season

Protecting Plants from Frosts and Freezes
Written by Robert “Skip” Richter
County Extension Agent – Horticulture

Fall, winter and spring bring the danger of frosts and freezes to our gardens and landscapes. An early fall frost can bring an end to our warm season gardens, while the threat of spring frosts make gamblers of tomato growers, and worriers of anyone with a peach tree in full bloom. Winter cold threatens plants that are marginal in our zone.

The Science of Frosts and Freezes
When the water inside a plant freezes it forms ice crystals that pierce the plant’s cell walls. When the temperature warms up, the cells leak out their fluids as they die and turn to mush. Freeze damage first shows up as dark, water-soaked tissues which then turn brown or black and dry up.
Frost appears on the surface of plant tissues and other exposed surfaces. During the night, these surfaces radiate heat to the sky. When the temperature of an object drops to the dew point, the water vapor contacting the object freezes on the surface. This is similar to water condensing on your iced tea glass because the glass is colder than the air around it.
Can you have a frost without a freeze? The answer is yes…and no. It is possible for frost to form when the air temperature is above freezing. For example, solid surfaces lose heat faster than air on a cold night. The windshield on your car radiates its heat, dropping in temperature faster than the air around it. As a result, we see frost on a windshield when the surrounding landscape may not show frost. Those surfaces with exposure to clear sky cool more rapidly at night than understory plants or surfaces that have a shelter above them to slow their radiation loss.

Plants similarly may lose radiation on clear sky nights and be colder than the measured air temperature. On a cold night, the surface of a leaf can drop as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit below the temperature of the air around it causing frost to form on its surface. So you can have a frost without the temperature of the air dropping below freezing, but frost is a sign that the plant tissues have dropped below freezing.
Anything that reflects the radiating heat back down will deter frost formation. For example, you may have noticed frost on your lawn where it is exposed to the sky but not beneath a tree canopy or picnic table. Clouds perform the same radiant heat-reflecting function. On a clear night, temperatures drop fast. On a cloudy night, some heat is reflected back to the ground slowing the temperature drop and in many cases preventing a frost.

Early fall or late spring radiative frosts are usually brief as the temperature drops just below freezing at the end of the night and then rise above freezing soon after the sun comes up. We can do a lot to protect plants on a still night when the temperature doesn’t drop too low and the duration is brief.
On the other hand, when a hard freeze hits with windy conditions and lasts for a day or more it is more difficult to protect our gardens. The wind displaces any heat that might have helped protect the plants and speeds cooling of plant tissues.

The first parts of plants to freeze are tender new growth and the areas between leaf veins where the leaf is thinnest. Some plants vary in cold hardiness as they grow and mature, and not all plant parts are equally cold hardy. Broccoli, for example, is quite hardy as a strong, growing plant but the flower buds, the part we eat, are much more sensitive to cold.

Plant Protection Techniques
Our winters are usually brief with moderate to cool temperatures typified by several mild frost events but only occasional severe freezes. Here are a few techniques to help avoid frost or freeze damage to landscape and garden plants.

Plants under drought stress are more susceptible to cold damage. Water plants several days before cold weather threatens to alleviate drought stress. Water is also a great “heat sink.” That is, it holds warmth and releases it slowly over the course of a long cold evening. This alone won’t provide protection from a hard freeze but can be used with covers to make a difference on mild frost night, and every little bit helps!

You may have also seen commercial fruit producers sprinkle plants with water on a cold night. This works because water gives off energy (heat) as it changes it’s state from liquid to solid (ice). A gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds and yields 1,200 Btu’s of heating power as it freezes. That is the key to using water to protect plants.

Water is sprinkled on the plants and then freezes releasing a small amount of heat as it changes from liquid to solid form. Then another water drop lands and freezes releasing more heat. As long as there is a thin layer of liquid water on the surface, the interior of the ice coating on a branch will not drop below about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A common misconception is that the ice is insulating the plant tissues against the cold, but ice is a poor insulator, so once new droplets of water stop being applied, the leaves or branches also continue to cool below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and may be damaged.
So why not just sprinkle plants and be done with all this worrying over freezes? If the freeze is not too severe or too long AND if you can install sprinklers that put out a small amount of water constantly over time, it could be a feasible strategy. However, lawn sprinklers put out too much water and when left on overnight can create very soggy soil conditions that exclude oxygen from a plant’s roots. If the freeze lasts very long the accumulating ice load can break trees and shrubs, and flatten garden plants.

If you use sprinklers, you must start watering before the air temperature reaches 32 (so that sprinklers are not stopped up with ice) and continue to water through the night and next morning until the temperature rises far enough above 32 degrees Fahrenheit that the ice is rapidly melting. Otherwise the process works in reverse. As the ice goes from solid to liquid water it absorbs heat causing super cooling in the branch or leaf tissues inside the ice. A familiar example of this is homemade ice cream. When the salt causes the ice to change to liquid it pulls heat out of the ice cream mixture causing it to freeze! Therefore protecting plants with sprinklers, while possible in some situations requires a large volume of water and is seldom a viable landscape or garden option.
Covering PlantsCovering plants with sheets, blankets, or rowcovers is the simplest, most practical way to protect against a frost or freeze. Keep in mind, however, that a blanket doesn’t keep a plant warm, at least not to any significant degree. Blankets keep us warm because our bodies produce heat that the blanket helps hold in. If you wrap up the branches of a small tree or shrub with a blanket you aren’t doing it much good other than some minor slowing of the cooling process. The practice of covering a plant and tying the cover to the trunk creates “landscape lollipops” which are still quite susceptible to the cold temperatures.
On a cold night, warmth from the soil rises up around the plants. A blanket can help trap this warmer air within the plant’s canopy and make a significant difference on a cold night. The air need not be warm, just warmer than freezing. If you keep the air temperature around plants from dropping below freezing you have accomplished your goal. Even cool soil is significantly warmer than freezing air and thus a source of “warmth” on a cold night.
To cover plants effectively, lay the cover over the plant and allow it to drape down to the soil on all sides. Then secure it with boards, bricks, rocks, or soil to hold in the air. Sealing the air inside the cover prevents a breeze from cooling the plant down faster. The next day, remove the covers to allow the sun to warm the soil surface a little and then replace the covers just before sundown, if another freeze is forecasted. Spunbound polyester rowcover fabric works quite well in holding heat. The lighter weight types are not as effective as the heavier types, which are generally sold as “frost blankets”.
When you run out of sheets, blankets, or frost cover material, you can use cardboard boxes and large garbage cans to cover plants. Plastic sheeting or any material that radiates its heat out quickly will freeze damage plant tissues where it touches them. Clear plastic also tends to not reflect the radiant heat back down as well. Plastic is good, however, for holding in the air on a windy night so it is sometimes helpful to cover the blanket or sheet with plastic when it is going to be breezy and cold.
Another technique is to set up hoop tunnels with 1/2” PVC pipe stuck into the ground to form a series of arched hoops down the row. You can also drive short sections of 3/8” rebar into the soil and then slide the PVC onto them. Space the hoops about 4 feet apart and attach another piece of PVC down the row along the top of the hoops for added support. The hoop tunnel is useful for preventing a tarp or other heavy material from crushing plants. Longer PVC arches can also be used to create a structure to hold a tarp over a citrus or other valuable small tree or shrub.
Adding HeatAdding a source of heat beneath a cover can make a big difference, especially if you have a good cover that is secured to prevent wind from moving the warmer air out from beneath it. Common heat sources include a mechanic’s light, a clamp on flood light, or a string of Christmas lights (the ones with large bulbs, not the very small ones that don’t put out any heat). Check for shorts in the wiring and make sure rain or other moisture can’t get into the fixtures. Don’t allow
a hot light bulb to come close to plant tissues or it can cause damage. When
protecting small plants such as tomato transplants, a container of water such as a milk jug can provide a little warmth. Place one or two jugs right up against a new transplant to provide maximum protection. The larger the container of water, the more latent heat it can hold.
Soil and MulchMulch is a great way to protect tender perennials that are marginally hardy in our climate. Prune back the plants to near the soil and cover it with a thick mulch of hay or leaves to hold in the soil’s warmth.
Soil is also a good plant protector during freezes, because it transfers the heat of the earth to the plant parts that it contacts. Citrus growers often mound soil up around the base of the tree’s trunk when a hard freeze is forecast. If the top portion of the tree is lost they will still have a strong root system and graft union above which a new tree can sprout and regrow, saving the expense of replanting new trees.

If you have citrus trees in the landscape, consider adding this measure of protection when a hard freeze is forecast. Use a loose, lightweight soil such as a sand or sandy loam and pull it back away after the danger of frost is past to avoid promoting rot diseases of the lower trunk. The soil mound should be in contact with the soil below the lower limbs and above the graft, but not heaped on top of mulch or leaves which breaks the contact of the soil mound with the soil in the surrounding earth.
Protecting Container Plants
The roots of plants growing in containers lack the insulation of the earth and will get much colder than roots of in-ground plants. Roots are often less hardy than the top portions of the plant, sustaining root death when temperatures in the container drops much below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
A garage or other protected location is a good way to protect container plants during a killing freeze. The next best option is to mass the containers close together on a protected side of the home or other structure. For added protection pile leaves over the containers and/or place a tarp or blanket over them.

Assessing Damage After A Freeze
After a freeze is over, damaged plant tissues may show up immediately as water soaked or withering foliage. Cold damage to branches or trunks often doesn’t show up right away. Wait a few days and then use a knife or thumbnail to scrape back the outer bark on young branches. Cold damaged areas will be brown beneath the bark, while healthy tissues will be green or a healthy creamy color. If in doubt, wait to prune out any cold damage until new growth begins in the spring. It will then be evident how far back to prune the plant to remove any freeze damaged areas.

Download a copy of this article here: 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kissing Bug and Chagas Disease in Texas

The Kissing Bug and Chagas Disease has received significant attention by the news media. Although this disease has little to do with horticulture, it is worth mentioning to increase public awareness and because gardeners are more aware of insects around their gardens.
Chagas Disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a inflammatory, infectious disease cause by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. The protozoan is transmitted by the kissing bug within the genus Triatoma sp. and family Reduviidae. There are three species of kissing bugs found in Texas (see photo). The kissing bug transmits the protozoan by biting then subsequently defecating near the site of the bite. The disease affects humans and other mammals. There are multiple symptoms of Chagas Disease. Find out more at the Center for Disease Control and the Mayo Clinic. 

Preventing exposure to the insect is an important step to disease prevention. It important to take steps to controlling the insect in and around your home. Eliminating habitat for the kissing bug is first step to preventing exposure to the insect and disease. Destroy trash and debris piles, bird and animal nests and remove animal burrows. Control rodents and other animal pest around the home. Inspect your home and seal places that pest could enter your home. Consider using a licensed, qualified pest control professional to treat the home and assist with other integrated pest management strategies.

There are numerous resources available by Texas A&M and other governmental agencies. The Texas A&M Veterinarian and Biomedical Science Department has created a website to assist with understanding the issue and identification of the insect. Visit the site for more information

Other resources:

Insects in the City (Extension Urban Entomology)
Texas Department of State Health Services
Interactive Map of kissing bug occurrence in Texas

Written by Greg Church, Ph.D, Horticulture Agent

Monday, November 16, 2015

Citrus Canker found in South Texas

Citrus Canker Disease has been found in south Texas on October 16th, 2015, the first time since the 1940s. This disease can be devastating to health of the citrus crops, but also has significant implications on the trade and shipment of citrus out of Texas. This is bad news considering citrus producers, state and federal officials have already been working to eradication another exotic disease called Citrus Greening over the past few years.

Florida fought to eradicate citrus canker for almost 100 years before giving up in 2006 after the historic hurricane seasons of 2004 (by the way I lived through it). Texas had eradicated the disease nearly 70 years ago, but now faces another battle of keeping this disease quarantined.

Citrus Canker 1 mile plain.pdfLet's hope that Texas can learn valuable lessons from Florida, about what works and what doesn't work. Florida spent ~$1 billion and removed 16.5 million citrus trees over ten years trying to eradicate the disease, but later gave up on their eradication efforts. Quarantine and eradication is the best first step, but spending time and money on research to develop disease resistance and other control strategies is also a wise choice. Extension education programs are important to raise awareness and understanding of Citrus Canker and other exotic diseases.

For addition information visit the following links:

 Valley Morning Star - Citrus Canker News

Texas A&M AgriLife Today - Citrus Canker News

Citrus Canker Information from American Phytopathological Society 

Citrus Canker Information at Florida Dept of Agriculture

Written by Greg Church, Ph.D, Horticulture Agent - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Roses losing the battle with Rose Rosette Disease

Roses have been losing the battle with Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) all over Collin County. As a plant pathologist I had seen and worked with this disease in the past, but never have I seen this level of disease pressure, infection rate, and wide spread infection. There are lot of theories on how and why this has happened, but likely they will just remain theories. At our recent Rose Rosette Disease Seminar held at Collin College, we heard from a rose breeder, plant diagnostician, and virologist. They presented research information about this disease and strategies for managing the problem. There were several new discoveries presented that shed some light on the disease and how it is spread.

In late 2014 the Rose Rosette Eradication Alliance (RREA) was formed in an effort to educate the landscape industry, property managers, government officials, homeowners, and the general public. During 2015, the RREA has organized numerous conferences, seminars, and presentations to help increase the availability of information about this disease and how to manage it. The RREA has helped to develop publications, videos, and recommendations for RRD, and assisted with getting out message out.

There is no cure for this viral disease of roses. The management strategy relies heavily on removing roses exhibiting symptoms of the disease so the spread of disease is limited. The virus that causes the disease is spread by a microscopic mite. In North Texas there are countless landscape beds densely planted with roses, which has made it easy for the disease to spread. Landscapes should be designed with a diverse species of plants to prevent the spread of RRD, as well as other disease and insect problems.

New information presented at the recent seminar was the incubation period for this disease is much longer than we previously thought. The incubation period is the time between when the plant is infected and symptoms develop. Current data suggest this can be from 2 weeks to 18 months. A longer incubation period makes managing the disease more difficult, because roses could be a source of infection for a long time before the symptoms develop. Meaning that a healthy rose can be infected, but we just don't know it yet. Therefore removing symptomatic roses, while still very important, won't have as quick of an impact on controlling the spread of the disease as we once hoped. Gardeners should remain vigilant with the community wide effort to remove RRD symptomatic roses.

We have compiled information about Rose Rosette Disease and posted it our our Collin County Master Gardener website. You can watch the following 5 minute video or visit our YouTube channel. New videos from our recent seminar are posted at: Dealing with Rose Rosette Disease - Dr. Kevin Ong.

Written by Greg Church, Ph.D., Horticulture Agent, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Stressed Trees Lead to Disease and Insect Problems

Understanding Tree Stress

Diseases - HYPOXYLON CANKERQuestions about trees are by far the most common questions we get at the Extension Office. Trees that are showing symptoms of problems can also be the most difficult to diagnosis. The health of trees is directly related to stress. So what causes stress in trees? In my experience, water issues are the most common stresses. Drought stress has plagued many of our trees in North Texas. Trees are among the toughest plants on Earth but they don't always give us clues they are struggling until it is too late. Other environmental conditions can cause stress on trees and reduce their ability to defend themselves against diseases and insect damage. There are numerous diseases and insects that cause problems with trees. However, two pests tend to attack tree more often during stressful conditions. Hypoxylon Canker is a fungal disease that will kill a tree that is stressed. Wood-boring insects are the most common insect we see killing trees in Collin County. The most important thing you can do to protect the health of your tree is to prevent trees from becoming stressed. Learn more at the Texas A&M Forest Service - Forest Health website.

Watering a Tree

During times of drought, I recommend watering a tree at least once per month by irrigating the top 6 inches of soil within the drip line of the tree (area under the canopy). Most homeowners believe a tree gets enough water from a lawn sprinkler system, but these type of irrigation systems are designed to irrigate turfgrass, not trees. Trees require a irrigation method that allows the water to slowly penetrate deep within the soil profile. The majority of the tree roots are within the top 6 or 12 inches of the soil, so when we irrigate we need to water that profile. Hand watering trees is practical, but if you use a irrigation system then select drip tubing, bubblers, and other device specifically designed for trees. The Texas Forest Service has great video on how to water your tree.

Tree Selection and Planting
Trees are an important part of our landscapes and the natural environment. Fall is a great time of the year to plant a tree. A tree planted in the fall has a better chance of getting established, than any other time of the year. If you are going to plant a new tree or you are replacing a dead tree, there are many important things to consider. The Collin County Master Gardeners provide resources on selecting the proper tree. The Texas A&M Forest Service has educational videos and Tree Planting website that help make your next tree planting a success. 

Removing a Tree

Trees provide countless benefits to humans and the environment. The loss of a tree within your landscape can be difficult. It is important to understand the risk that dead, damaged, or weak trees can have to your neighborhood and surrounding property. The Texas A&M Forest Service publication provide information on Liability of Hazardous Trees. During the process of removing a tree, one of the most importance considerations is selecting a Tree Care Professional to remove the tree. This publication provides advice on how to select a professional. I recommend using a Certified Arborist that has the proper insurance, professional references, and recommendations from trusted sources. You can find a Certified Arborist at the International Society of Arboriculture

Written by Greg Church, Ph.D. - Horticulture Agent, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fall is great time to plant Fruits and Nuts

Fresh fruits and nuts are a delicious addition to any meal or snack. Fruits and nuts offer countless health benefits and are an essential part of any diet. Although North Texas isn't the ideal growing condition for many fruits and nuts, with a little planning gardeners and producer can be successful. The fall is an ideal time to install these plants. Proper planning and design of a fruit garden or orchard can pay dividends later when they start producing. These crops are perennials and start producing years after planning, therefore your investment in money and time is greater than with annuals like vegetables. Selecting recommend varieties is essential for success. Below is a list of varieties recommended for North Texas. Visit the Aggie Horticulture site for details on growing fruits and nuts. Here is a video on Fruit Gardening in North Texas:

Recommended Varieties for North Texas

Monday, November 9, 2015

Garden Wise Gazette

The Collin County Master Gardener help create an outstanding newsletter that covers all sorts of interesting gardening topics. Check out the latest issue below or read up on past issues at the Collin County Master Garden Website

2015 Nov-Dec Issue Garden Wise Gazette

Earth-Kind Environmental Stewardship

Earth-Kind Annual, Perennial, and Grape Research Gardens at Myers Park 
The Earth-Kind Environmental Stewardship program is a major part of Extension Horticulture education in Collin County. The basis of what we teach is based on research. We are proud of the Earth-Kind research that we have conducted in Collin County. With the help of many partners we have been able to conduct a significant amount of research. Research is great, but if you are unable to extend that information out to public, then it is almost like you never did it. The adoption of those research-proven practices by the public is our goal. I believe that through efforts in Collin County, we have been able to properly educate the public on Earth-Kind practices. It is our hope that if you visit the Earth-Kind Gardens you will adopt the practices we have demonstrated as effective.

Current Earth-Kind Projects in Collin County:
  1. Earth-Kind Perennial Research Garden
  2. Earth-Kind Annual Research Garden
  3. Earth-Kind Rose Research Garden
  4. Earth-Kind Crape Myrtle Research Garden
  5. Earth-Kind Vegetable Research Garden
  6. Earth-Kind Grape Research Vineyard
  7. Earth-Kind Dwarf Shrub and Dwarf Ornamental Grass Research Garden (Prosper)
  8. Earth-Kind Shrub, Perennial, Annual Research and Demonstration Garden (Allen)
  9. Earth-Kind Rain Water Harvesting Demonstration
  10. Earth-Kind Demonstration Potager Garden
  11. Earth-Kind Demonstration Landscapes
  12. Earth-Kind Demonstration Rain Gardens
  13. Earth-Kind Demonstration Garden at Environmental Learning Center (Rucker Elementary, Prosper)

 Future Gardens at Myers Park and Event Center:
  1. Earth-Kind Demonstration Shade Garden (2016)
  2. Earth-Kind Herb Research Garden (2016)
  3. Earth-Kind Turfgrass Research (2016)

Collin County Wildlife Blog

Wildlife are a natural resource that can be both beneficial and destructive. Feral Hogs (aka Wild Hogs) have become a pest in many parts of Texas and the Southeast. In Collin County wild hogs are increasing in population and destructiveness. Visit our Collin County Wildlife page to watch educational videos to learn more about wild hogs and their control.

Watch out for the first freeze of the season

In the fall we anticipate the first freeze of the season. The average first freeze is November 15 and can affect a number of plants here in Collin County, Texas. The freeze can be negative depending on the type of plant and its stage of development. The freeze shouldn't be considered a negative event, if you and your plants are prepared. If you are growing tropical plants the freeze can be a death sentence, but if you are growing cold hardy plants recommended for your hardiness zone there are no worries. For warm season vegetables, the freeze will likely kill the plants. However, with our cool season vegetable and annuals the freeze shouldn't damage the plants. The first freeze will cause many herbaceous perennials to die back to the ground, but as long as it is adapted to your cold hardiness zone, it will come back in the spring. It is important to realize that November 15th is just an average. The NWS gives you idea of the different extremes dates that we have seen in the past: NWS Earliest Freeze Dates It is recommended that you monitor the forecast and provide protection for plants that can be damaged by freezing weather. For more information on plants for Collin County visit the Collin County Master Gardeners.

Renew your Texas Agricultural and Timber Registration

State Government is getting the word out to agriculture and timber producers about the renewal of the registration. This program is administered by the State Comptroller's Office and allows producers to purchase certain items for their operation without paying sales tax.  As you may recall, several years ago producer's had to obtain a registration number to get the sales tax exemption.  All of these initial registrations will expire on December 31, 2015 and must be renewed for continued use.   It is my understanding that everyone who currently holds a registration number will receive information by mail for renewal.  Here is an article with more information and links for renewal information Here is the renewal information More information on the Ag and Timber number and renewal Information on how to get a number if you do not have one

EPA Proposed Changes to Re-certification for Pesticide Applicators

The Federal Government is changing regulations on pesticide applicators. They are requesting comments from the public on these changes. The deadline to comment on the proposed EPA regulation changes is November 23th, 2015.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposal to revise the "Certification of Pesticide Applicators" rule. The link below will provide direct access to the EPA website where interested parties can review the FRN, Proposed vs. Current C&T Regulation Comparison Table and the Preamble document.  The Preamble document provides detailed information on the proposed changes, the rationale for the changes, and procedures for you to submit comments directly to EPA concerning the C&T Regulations during comment period. EPA is accepting comments on the proposal until November 23, 2015. For more information and to comment on the proposed legislation, visit this link to the EPA website.

New Cotton Root Rot Control for Grapes

Cotton Root Rot is blamed for the death of many plants on the heavy clay soils of Texas. This disease is particularly devastating in Vineyards. A recently discovered fungicide that controls Phymatotrichopsis omnivora, the causal agent of the disease, is now available for use in Texas vineyards. The fungicide is called flutriafol. To find out more read this article: Researchers discover control for devastating disease in Texas vineyards

Turfgrass Trial goes National

In Texas, Texas A&M is well known for the research and extension program in the area of Turfgrass. In the last several years Extension has recruited several outstanding Turfgrass Extension Specialists to help serve the people of Texas.  Dr. Casey Reynolds and Dr. Matt Elmore are testing the performance of turfgrass in College Station and Dallas. They are now participating in a National Turfgrass Evaluation Program. Find out more in this recent AgriLife Today article: There’s more to picking a good grass than just green

National Turfgrass Evaluation program

New Horticulture Blog

Welcome to AggieExtension Horticulture Blog. This is my first post to my blog. This blog will provide information about all things Horticulture and topics related to plant science, agriculture, environmental science, irrigation, water, natural resources, and more. I will post educational information and announcements. I will be re-posting information from the Extension Service and other organizations. Okay, enough said, let's get started...
Myers Park and Event Center
Myers Park and Event Center