Why Texas has its own Arbor Day …

Texas Arbor Day is right around the corner, which is prime time to buy and plant your favorite shade, ornamental and /or fruit trees. You might be thinking, “Isn’t Arbor Day in April?” Yes, if you live in most of the country.

The first Arbor Day in the United States was celebrated April 10, 1872, in Nebraska, and the idea of an official day promoting and planting trees quickly spread throughout the country.

One hundred years after its first celebration, a National Arbor Day was declared as the last Friday in April. The only problem with this is that many times (including this past National Arbor Day), North Texas can see temperatures well into the 80s with heat indexes into the 90s during late April. Then the trees have Texas summers to look forward to…

More at https://www.dallasnews.com/life/gardening/2017/11/01/texas-arbor-day-fall

Planting The Right Trees for Texas Arbor Day

In most of the country Arbor Day has been historically celebrated the last Friday in April, but in 2013 Texas declared its own State Arbor day on the First Friday in November.

The main reason is that Fall is a better time than Spring to plant trees in Texas. We have much cooler temperatures so its easier for trees to establish as they are beginning to slow down and go dormant. Then as things begin to warm up in early Spring they kind gently wake up in there new environment for a better transition.

It’s a lot of fun to get even get friends, family and co-workers involved! Whether you’re interested in fruit trees , trees that have awesome flowers, or trees that will provide shade from the Texas heat, now is the right time to plant! The first step is to select a tree that is adapted to our area. We have a great database at WaterUniversity.tamu.edu with our favorite trees to pick from. Its important to pick the right tree for the right spot, so it has enough room to grow and doesn’t interfere by being planted too close to a building or powerlines.

Its also important to pick a healthy tree that’s adapted to our area and to plant it the right way, so it stays healthy over the life of the tree.

Folks should first be sure to remove any tags or wires so they don’t cut into the tree as it grows. Its also important to make sure that the root flare stays visible above ground, so don’t plant the tree too deep, a tree planted slightly above the grade is perfect. Also because most of us have heavy clay soil it’s important to dig a wide hole 2-3 times as wide as the root ball. This will help establish a healthy root system.

More at
https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Why-Texas-Has-Its-Own-Arbor-Day-454964623.html

Tips for Growing Herbs in North Texas

 

Fall is a Great time to plant many beautiful and tasty easy to grow herbs that thrive in North Texas, and with the holidays fast approaching, planting them now gives them time to grow and flourish before harvesting for your favorite dish!

Its hard to believe there’s only six weeks until Thanksgiving! One of my favorite Thanksgiving herbs that will brighten and spice up any Turkey recipe is culinary sage. Not only does it have cool fuzzy gray foliage but it also has beautiful purple blooms that are also edible. Its easy to harvest by just pulling or cutting of leaves whenever you need it for a recipe.

Thyme, and Rosemary , Parsley and Chives are also great herbs for bringing out flavors and aroma of Turkey and dressing.

The best thing about planting perennial herbs that come back year after year is that we can get multiple harvests and it doesn’t take much of the plant to add big flavor to a recipe. Most of these herbs like Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, will still be green throughout the winter holidays to use for Hanukah, Christmas, Kwannza and even through the new year for gatherings with friends and family. AND are not only great for poultry like turkey or chicken, but also really complement lamb or pork dishes as well!

As a horticulturist, I love vegetables and so many vegetable dishes can be improved by using fresh herbs. Try chives, rosemary and thyme with anything potatoes. But really any of our common herbs and a different dimension to dishes with corn, squash, carrots, greens leafy vegetables or can be used as a garnish for a fancy presentation!

Many of these herbs Especially Rosemary , Thyme (and if it doesn’t get too cold, mint) are ALSO great for dressing up and spicing up cocktails or non-alcoholic mock tails throughout the holiday season as well!

Sage, Varigated Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Flat Parsley, Curled Parsley, Lemon Thyme, Oregano, Golden Oregano, Chives, and Mint are readily available at you local nursery or garden center and can be planted now to be used throughout the Holliday season!

AgriLife has a website WaterUniversity.tamu.edu with more info and even free classes taught around DFW and feel free to contact me anytime on social media with plant questions @TXPlantGuy!

 

Daniel Cunningham shares some tips on growing herbs in the fall season.

//www.nbcdfw.com/video/#!/news/local/Tips-for-Growing-Herbs-in-North-Texas/449971753

Daniel Cunningham visits NBC 5 to discuss claims that suggest simply growing certain plants in your yard will deter or even repel mosquitoes

Can Plants Really Repel Mosquitoes? Only If You Use Them a Certain Way

 

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Can-Plants-Really-Repel-Mosquitoes-Only-If-You-Use-Them-a-Certain-Way-441417613.html

 

This might bug some folks, but while there have been quite a few claims that suggest simply growing certain plants in your yard will deter or even repel mosquitoes, we don’t quite have the science to back that up.

Extracting the Oils

There is no doubt that some botanical compounds repel mosquitoes, but most often they have to be extracted from the plant to be effective. Certain plants have natural chemicals that can work in one of three ways to take the sting out of mosquito season here in Texas: They can mask human scents, actively repel mosquitoes (to some degree), or contain substances toxic to insects.

CLICK HERE to read more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News.

Source: Can Plants Really Repel Mosquitoes? Only If You Use Them a Certain Way – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Can-Plants-Really-Repel-Mosquitoes-Only-If-You-Use-Them-a-Certain-Way-441417613.html#ixzz4qakXpPNg

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Texas A&M AgriLife experts on tax-free holiday: Choose wisely

Writer: Gabe Saldana, 956-408-5040, gabe.saldana@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Daniel Cunningham, 972-952-9223, Daniel.Cunningham@ag.tamu.edu

DALLAS – A state tax-free holiday on “water-efficient products” from May 27-29 includes all plants, trees and grasses for non-commercial shoppers, according to the Texas Comptroller’s Office. Texas A&M AgriLife Research horticulturists urge residents to be vigilant in selecting plant life that conserves water resources.

“We know a good number of plant species out there require lots of water and other resources, like pesticides and fertilizers to grow well in certain regions,” said AgriLife Research horticulturist Daniel Cunningham. “We want to avoid those as much as possible.”

Cunningham is project manager for Texas A&M AgriLife’s Dallas-based public outreach water conservation program known as Water University. The program is a partner of the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense initiative to evaluate and label water efficient consumer products. All WaterSense labeled products are tax exempt for businesses and individual buyers during the tax-free holiday, according to the Comptroller’s Office.

More at AgriLifeToday.org

Put away the tiller and try earth-friendly sheet mulching for garden beds

There’s a growing trend toward less lawn and more plants. Homeowners are creating larger planted beds that incorporate pollinator-friendly native and adapted flowers, shrubs and even fruits and veggies.

So how do you take back some of your own turf?

Traditional do-it-yourself methods of building new perennial flower beds and vegetable gardens typically require chemical herbicides and/or a large, heavy tiller to get rid of weeds. To many of us, that’s not appealing. But there is another option: sheet mulching.

… Read More at DallasNews.com

Can plants really repel mosquitoes? Only if you use them a certain way

This might bug some folks, but while there have been quite a few claims that suggest simply growing certain plants in your yard will deter or even repel mosquitoes, we don’t quite have the science to back that up.

Extracting the oils

There is no doubt that some botanical compounds repel mosquitoes, but most often they have to be extracted from the plant to be effective. Certain plants have natural chemicals that can work in one of three ways to take the sting out of mosquito season here in Texas: They can mask human scents, actively repel mosquitoes (to some degree), or contain substances toxic to insects.

But the mere presence of these plants themselves in your landscape — even in close proximity to a patio, pergola or seating area — won’t quite do the trick. In almost every case, action needs to be taken to get those plant-based oils out where they can have some effect.

… Read more at DallasNews.com