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Gardening -  Pecan Entomologist Bill Ree Image



The Fall Pecan Field Day will be held on Thursday, September 27, 2007, at 4:00 p.m. at Jim Hall’s Pecan Orchard [located at 11813 - 28th Street] in Santa Fe. Texas A&M Extension Pecan Entomologist Bill Ree (pictured above) will provide a presentation on insect pests on pecans.

Photo credit: William M. Johnson

October’s garden checklist includes plant sale

By Dr. William M. Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent - Horticulture

September 26, 2007


Educational programs

WHAT: Fall Pecan Field Day

DATE: September 27, 2007

TIME: 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

PLACE: Jim Hall's Pecan Orchard located at 11813 28th St. in Santa Fe

CONTACT: Galveston County Extension Office (218-534-3413, ext. 1-2) or web site below.

WHAT: Rose Propagation Workshop

DATE: September 29, 2007

TIME: 9:00 - 11:30 a.m.

PLACE: Galveston County Extension Office , 5115 Hwy. 3, Dickinson

RSVP: Pre-registration required. Contact Galveston County Extension Office (218-534-3413, ext. 1-2) or visit web site below.

Plant Seminar & Sale

WHAT: Master Gardeners’ Ornamental & Perennial Seminar & Sale

DATE: October 6, 2007

TIME: Seminar at 8:00 a.m., plant sale from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

PLACE: Wayne Johnson Community Center located in Carbide Park at 4102 FM 519 in La Marque CONTACT: Galveston County Extension Office (218-534-3413, ext. 1-2) or web site below.

October is almost here and I am waiting for the first “genuine” cool front to arrive. With all due respect to the science of meteorology, my definition of a genuine cool front is one that gets your attention by uplifting your spirit when you first walk outside in the morning!

As our summers go, this summer was a relatively pleasant one. Daytime temperatures were fairly moderate with temperature gauges pushing the triple digit mark on one occasion only and we had ample rainfall. Considering the number of states that experienced—and are still experiencing— critical drought levels, we should not have any complaints about the weather.

As temperatures begin to moderate during the fall season, the desire to work in the yard returns to Gulf Coast gardeners. Be sure to make a notation on your gardening calendar to attend the upcoming Ornamental & Perennial Seminar & Sale sponsored by the Galveston County Master Gardeners on Saturday, October 6. More than 200 types of perennials, vines, ornamental grasses and flowering shrubs will be available including many hard-to-find varieties. (Refer to the inset for location and time and visit my web site given at the end of this column.) Additional activities for the fall gardener include the following:

Practice Fall Sanitation in the Garden: October is a good time to reduce the potential for insect and disease problems in next year's garden. Clean up the garden, removing all plants that have completed their life cycle. All stems, leaves and unwanted fruits of spent tomato, cucumber, okra, pepper and other garden plants should be thoroughly tilled into the soil. The population level of many disease-causing organisms, as well as insect pests, can be reduced by soil incorporation of all remaining top growth.

Plant material can also be either composted or placed out for garbage pickup. The moral of the story is to not leave plant debris (dead leaves, stems, fruits, etc.) on top of the soil over the winter.

Plant Cool Season Vegetables: Transplants of broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage can be set out now until mid-October. Seeds of beets, carrots, kale, lettuce, mustard, radish, and turnips can be planted and cloves of garlic can be set out throughout October.

Control Cool Season Weeds: Most lawn weeds that we see during late winter and early spring actually sprout in the fall. They are cool season weeds and, in fact, their germination is stimulated in the fall by the onset of cool temperatures. They grow during winter if temperatures stay warm enough, then produce a crop of seeds in the spring and die out when hot weather arrives.

Use of pre-emergent herbicides to control cool season weeds is effective only if properly timed, i.e., you need to apply it soon after the onset of relatively cool weather conditions. Several pre-emergent herbicides are approved for lawn use and are sold under a variety of commercial labels. Check with your area garden center or feed store for available products. Always read and follow label directions.

Use Diversity for Early Spring Color: Pansies are cool weather plants and perform best if planted during the last two weeks of October and during November. (Caution: If the weather is unusually warm during the later part of October, it is advisable to delay planting pansies.)

Pansies need well-drained soil and at least a half day of sun. It's best to use started plants as seed is difficult to handle. Also check your nursery or garden center for plants of snapdragons, pinks (also called dianthus), and calendulas. Planted now, they will usually provide a riot of spring color.

Save Caladium Tubers: If you wish to save caladium tubers for another year, be sure to dig them up before the top growth disappears--those tubers can be mighty difficult to locate after the top growth is gone. Allow the tubers to air dry for 7-to-10 days in a well-ventilated but shaded area.

After drying, gently remove any attached leaves and large soil particles from the tubers then store in dry peat moss, vermiculite or similar material in a well-ventilated container. Pack so that the tubers do not touch each other. Dust with an all-purpose fungicide to help prevent decay. Store the tubers in an area where temperatures won't drop below 50 degrees F.

Brown Patch in Lawns: Lawn grasses, especially St. Augustine, have taken a pounding this year–dry spells, fungal leafsopts, white grubs, etc. With the onset of fall and cooler temperatures, a fungal disease known as brown patch will be a problem in some lawns.

This fungal disease is most easily controlled when symptoms first become evident. If brown patch was a problem in previous years, then it's especially likely to again be a problem this fall given the stressful growing conditions this year.

Brown patch is primarily a cool weather problem so do not be confused by brown areas of the lawn that developed during the summer which may be the result of other fungal or insect problems. Fungicides containing bayleton (such as Green Light's Fung-Away and a variety of other labels), benomyl (Benlate), chlorothalonil (Daconil 2787), or PCNB (Terraclor) will control brown patch when applied according to label instructions.

Divide Spring Flowering Perennials: October is an excellent time to divide and reset overcrowded beds of perennials such as phlox, Louisiana iris, day lily, amaryllis, and shasta daisy.

Plant Shrubs and Trees: This is an excellent time for planting container-grown ground covers, shrubs and trees. Thanks to our mild winters, trees and shrubs planted now will have several relatively stress-free months to establish a good root system before hot, dry weather returns.

Collecting for Dried Arrangements: Carefully harvest material for dried arrangements at this time. Choose cockscomb, flowering artemisia, already mature okra pods, flowering oregano stalks and others to enhance fall and winter bouquets.

Purchase Bulbs: October through November is an excellent time to purchase bulbs while you still have a good selection in the garden center. They may be planted at any time with the exception of tulips and hyacinths. Tulip and hyacinth bulbs must be chilled in the refrigerator until mid or late December before planting. The lower part of the refrigerator is best. Do not leave bulbs in airtight plastic bags during refrigerated storage.

Caring for Christmas Cactus: Keep Christmas cactus in a sunny spot where night temperatures can be kept below 65 degrees F. Buds will drop if you allow night temperatures to go above 70 degrees F. or if you allow the plant to become excessively dry. They should also be kept in total darkness from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. for about 30 days in October to initiate flower buds.

Dr. Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County Extension Office of Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University. Visit his web site at

Gardening: Scale insects and pampas grass - July 17, 2004 article

Gardening: Bananas - August 1, 2004 article

Gardening: August Gardening Calendar - August 16, 2004 article

Gardening: Trio Of Extension Programs Includes Pear Tasting, Master Naturalist Class & Rose Seminar - August 20, 2004 article

Gardening: Prepare Now For Fall Gardens - August 26, 2004 article

Gardening: September's Garden Calendar Includes Fall Pecan Field Day - September 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Ornamental Grasses - September 8, 2004 article

Gardening: Don't Let Landscape Become A High-Maintenance Nightmare - September 22, 2004 article

Gardening: Oct. 10 Plant Sale & Seminar To Feature Butterfly Gardening - Butterflies Bring Color, Motion to Garden - October 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Plant It And They Will Come: Getting the Butterflies of Galveston County to Grace Your Yard - October 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Rose Propagation & Seasonal Decorating Workshops To Be Held - October 13, 2004 article

Gardening: Extension Office To Sponsor Open House On October 29, Seasonal Decorations and Onion and Garlic Workshops - October 20, 2004 article

Gardening: Extension Office To Sponsor Open House On October 29 and County Pecan Show - October 27, 2004 article

Gardening: November Is Pansy Time - November 6, 2004 article

Gardening: County Pecan Growers Display Their Successes - November 11, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Questions On Fall Crops - November 17, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Q&As For November - November 28, 2004 article

Gardening: Gardeners' December Checklist Includes Citrus Show On Dec. 9 - December 3, 2004 article

Gardening: Citrus Show A Huge Success With 185 Entries - December 19, 2004 article

Gardening: Trees and Shrubs - December 23, 2004 article

Gardening: Cold Weather Impact - January 4, 2005 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Checklist For January Includes Several Educational Programs - January 7, 2005 article

Gardening:Announcing the 2005 Galveston County Master Gardener Training - January 13, 2005 article

Gardening:Peach & Plum Growers' Workshop To Be Held Saturday, January 29 - January 19, 2005 article

Gardening: Gardening for Texas Wildlife - January 28, 2005 article

Gardening: Wide Variety of Citrus to Be Available at February 5 Fruit Tree Sale and Home Citrus Production - January 31, 2005 article

Gardening: Fruit Trees Of The Gods Featured In February 5 Master Gardener Plant Sale - February 2, 2005 article

Gardening: "If I Were A Tomato, I Would Want To Be Grown In Texas . . . Galveston County, That Is!" Workshop to be held February 12 - February 9, 2005 article

Gardening: February Is Rose Pruning Time...Attend Rose Care Seminar to Learn How - February 16, 2005 article

Gardening: Extension Activities At The Home & Garden Show On Feb. 26-27 - February 23, 2005 article

Gardening: March Gardening Calendar Includes Seminar On Butterfly Gardening - March 2, 2005 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Q&As From The Galveston Home & Garden Show - March 10, 2005 article

Gardening: Extension Offers Program On "Living To Be 100 . . . A Commonsense Approach." - March 16, 2005 article

Gardening: Program On Plumeria Offered On March 26- March 29, 2005 article

Gardening: Garden Checklist For April Includes Pecan Field Day - April 6, 2005 article

Gardening: Hints On Harvesting Vegetables For Peak Flavor - April 15, 2005 article

Gardening: Fresh Blueberries From Your Home Garden Seminar On Saturday, April 23 - April 22, 2005 article

Gardening: Learn About Weed Control - April 27, 2005 article

Gardening: Home Gardening Chores and May 14 Home Fruit Growers’ Tour - May 5, 2005 article

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