2019 Garden, Lawn and Home Expo

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Join us for our 15th Annual Expo!!

When: Saturday, March 30 8am-4pm
Where: Bonham Civic Center (former Armory)
What:  Vendor Booths, Food Truck, Silent Auction, Door Prizes and Educational Speakers

Dr. Joseph Masabni, Small-Acreage Vegetable Specialist
9:00 a.m. “Do’s and Don’ts in a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden”
This program is based on his successes and mistakes growing vegetables in a raised bed.
1:00 p.m. “Everything You Wanted to Know about Tomatoes”
Will cover the history, production practices, pest management and grafting of tomatoes.  Dr. Masabni is the author of the book Easy Gardening in Texas. He will be available throughout the day at the Master Gardener booth to answer questions. His book will be available for purchase, and he will have copies of extension publications related to vegetables available.
For more information about Dr. Masabni go to https://overton.tamu.edu/faculty-staff/dr-joe-masabni/

Steve Upson, Senior Agricultural Consultant with the Noble Research Institute in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
11:00 a.m. “Sustainable Practices for Home Fruit and Vegetable Production.”
This program will help homeowners design a people friendly/space efficient garden that promotes soil health, integrates pest management practices, encourages pollinators and beneficial insects and conserves resources. Attendees will learn how to manage climate risks, utilize technology, recycle/repurpose materials, and choose recommended (efficient) varieties of fruits and vegetables. At the end of the presentation Steve’s intention is that participants will appreciate that sustainability encompasses more than environmental awareness. To be fully sustainable a garden must also be sustainable socially and economically.
For more information about Steve go to https://www.noble.org/staff/steve-upson/

Bethany Arie, County Extension Agent for Family and Community Health in Fannin County.
2:00 p.m. “Path to the Plate”
An unbiased examination of agriculture, the food we eat, and the connection to our health developed by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to educate consumers so they can make informed decisions when it comes to agriculture and their health.

To view our flyer and share with others, click 2019 Expo Flyer.

Are your succulents suffering?


Your succulent could be suffering because of a plant pathogen, an insect pest, or an abiotic factor.   To find out more, read this great article written by Extension Assistant, Hannah Ayala.

Soft Spot for Succulents


2018 Fruit and Pecan Tree Sales

The Annual Fruit and Pecan Tree Fundraiser is currently taking place.  Below you will find the tree order form and descriptions.   You’ll notice landscape trees and grapes are included again this year.  This is a fundraiser that takes place every year and the proceeds will benefit the Fannin Soil and Water Conservation District, Fannin County Master Gardeners, and Fannin County 4-H.

Orders will be accepted through December 18, 2018. Pick-up of the trees will be on January 17 and 18th.

2018 Fruit Trees Order Form

2018 Tree Sales Info

Signup NOW – Deadline is January 23!

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We are pleased to announce that we will offer a Master Gardener training program in the spring of 2019. The program will begin on February 6, 2019 and end on April 24, 2019. Classes meet once a week on Wednesdays (except the third Wednesday of each month) from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Attendance at all class sessions is strongly recommended. The cost of the training program is $175 which includes the Master Gardener Handbook.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Read below to determine if this program is a good fit for you.
  • Fill out the application and return it to us either by mail or by dropping it off at the extension office at 2505 N Center St, Bonham, TX 75418.
  • You will be contacted by the group to schedule an appointment for an interview. More details about the interview/screening process below.


What sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, individuals who become Master Gardeners volunteer their time, working through their cooperative Extension office, to provide horticultural-related information to their communities.

Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and to help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people.


To help you decide if you should apply to be a Master Gardener, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?

  • Am I eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?

  • Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?

  • Do I have enough time to attend training and to complete the volunteer service?

If you are a Fannin County resident and answered yes to these questions, this program could be for you.


The purpose of the interview is to create a two-way conversation to find the best qualified applicants for the Master Gardener program. We also intend to provide accurate and appropriate information to the applicant about the volunteer program and its requirements. Upon selection into the program, you will be notified by phone or email. At that time you will be required to pay the $175 training fee. It is our hope that all applicants are invited into the program.


If accepted into the Master Gardener program, you will attend a 9-week Master Gardener training course. Classes are taught by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists, staff, and local experts.

The Fannin County program offers a minimum of 50 hours of instruction following the Texas A&M AgriLife EarthKind practices of landscape management covering soil and plant nutrition, insect, disease, and weed management; trees; vegetable and herb gardening, lawn care, plant selection, composting, and water conservation. We also offer field trips that support the classroom training.


In exchange for training, Fannin County participants are asked to volunteer time to their Extension program. Fifty hours of volunteer service, within one year following the training, is required to become a Texas Master Gardener.

The type of service done by Master Gardeners varies according to community needs and the abilities and interests of the Master Gardeners. Our current volunteer projects include our annual Garden, Lawn and Home Expo and overseeing development of the beds surrounding the Bonham courthouse square. We also plan half-day programs several times a year on various topics for the community. We offer a help desk on Tuesday mornings to answer telephone requests for horticultural information, and we are putting in a rainwater harvesting system in anticipation of developing a demonstration garden in the area behind the Extension office.

Fannin County Master Gardeners are representatives of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. In all volunteer work related to the program, Master Gardeners follow the research-based recommendations of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and utilize “Earth Kind” principles. The title “Texas Master Gardener” can be used by volunteers only when engaged in Extension Service-sponsored activities.


Participants become certified Texas Master Gardeners one year after they have completed the training course. During that year they must fulfill their volunteer commitment. In order to retain the certification, master gardeners must volunteer at least 12 hours and attend 6 hours of recertification education.

For more information regarding Fannin County Master Gardeners training call the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 903-583-7453.

NOTE: The Master Gardener program is an educational and volunteer program offered through the Cooperative Extension Service of the Texas A&M University system. Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas cooperating. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is an equal opportunity program provider. Individuals with a disability needing an accommodation should contact Texas A&M AgriLife Extension at least one week prior to the event.

Chigger Season!

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Check out this great article about chiggers written by Mike Merchant of Insects in the City .

If my phone calls are any indication, this appears to be a whopping chigger season.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  You should count your blessings.

Chiggers are my personal worst nightmare. They are tiny mites, barely visible to the eye, that live on the soil surface and, in their larval stage, are parasites on humans and other vertebrate animals. Chigger bites itch terribly for 1-2 days, then slowly shrink to mildly itchy red marks that take 1 or 2 weeks to disappear. The only good thing I can say about chiggers is that, as far as we know, they don’t carry disease.

Bites typically occur in the most sensitive of places, especially around areas of tight clothing (belt line, sock line) and thin, sensitive skin (you can imagine where).

So why do chiggers seem worse this year? If I had to guess, I’d say it’s been our high humidity and above average temperatures the past month. Chiggers love hot and humid.

The most common places to encounter chiggers is in bramble patches, woods and fields with long grass. But in a year like this, chiggers can be a problem even in manicured lawns. Chiggers are often said to prefer shaded areas, but workers in our blazing-sun-drenched turfgrass plots at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Dallas have annual problems with chiggers beginning around late May and early June.

Your first protection against chiggers is a good repellent. DEET, our most popular mosquito repellent provides significant protection against chiggers.  Dusting sulfur is a cheap and convenient alternative for some. Traditionally old-time Texans make it a habit to carry around an old sock filled with sulfur (in the pickup truck of course). When getting out of the truck they swing the sock against their shoes and lower legs to dust themselves before they set off to ride, roundup, plant, fix bob wire, or whatever else good Texans do these days.

The larval chigger (circled) is the only biting stage in the chigger life cycle. Larval chigger season runs from May through August in north Texas. Drawing modified from Mullen and Durden, Medical and Veterinary Entomology. Artist: Rebecca L. Nims.

Here are my three tips for self protection in chigger country:

  • Use a good repellent, applying to your shoes, socks and pants legs before stepping into chigger danger.
  • Tuck your pant legs into your socks to make it harder for chiggers to get in your pants and find the tender places.
  • Scrub yourself well in the shower after you think you might have been exposed. Chiggers typically take several hours to settle down and begin feeding. If you can shower before they begin chowing down, you can reduce the number and severity of bites.

If you have chiggers in your lawn or backyard, consider using a liquid insecticide spray like bifenthrin. These sprays can significantly reduce chiggers.  Before spraying, mow your lawn. This reduces humidity on that critical soil surface and makes it easier for sprays to contact the chiggers.

If your lawn is full of dandelions, clover or other flowers, make sure you spray for chiggers in the evening to avoid spraying pollinators, like honey bees, while they are foraging. Follow all label directions to avoid harm to good insects.

Good luck, and may the chiggers stay on the other side of the fence for you this year. For more information about chiggers, see our factsheet, E-365.



Master Gardener Fundraiser

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five below

Spring has sprung!  Looking for inexpensive garden decor and plant kits? Shop five below in Sherman from March 31 to April 15 and 10% of the total dollars spent will be donated back to the Fannin County Master Gardeners.  Just print the flyer and present at checkout.  Thanks for supporting your local master gardeners!




March Gardening Tips and Tricks






  • Apply pre-emergent to lawns during the first two weeks of March and water in lightly. Do not use a pre-emergent on grass planted last fall.
  • Be ready to protect tender young plants from late killing frosts with frost cloths.  
  • Watch for fire blight in pears and apples. Branches will suddenly die back from their tips and the leaves will turn dark and stay in place. Cut out the dead branches and be sure to clean your pruners with a 10-percent bleach solution between each cut to avoid spreading the disease.


  • This is your last chance to get those cool season leafy green and root crops such as spinach, chard, turnips and beets in the ground. Plant these in the first two weeks of the month.
  • Hold off on the warm season vegetables until after the average date of the last killing frost which is March 26 in our area. These vegetables like warm soil (60 degrees or warmer), so even though you plant the seeds early, they may not germinate until later, or they could rot in the ground.     
  • In the landscape, decide which shrubs and trees you want to add to your yard and shop the nurseries early for the best selection. Nurseries may be able to order any special varieties you want.
  • Purchase cool season annuals such as sweet alyssum as soon as they appear in the garden centers for the longest color.
  • Warm-season annuals such as marigolds, moss rose, pentas and copper plants will be available later in the month.  Remember, these plants like warm soil, so even if they are planted early they will sit until the soil warms up to their liking before they really start to grow. Spend this time getting your beds ready by loosening the soil, pulling winter weeds and working in needed soil amendments such as compost.



  • Continue basic clean-up of dead or damaged branches and shaping of shrubs and trees.
  • Remember, most spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythia bloom on their growth from the previous summer so don’t prune your blooms away by cutting back the branches at this time.  



  • For pecan trees, apply an all-nitrogen fertilizer, mainly near the drip-line at one pound per inch of trunk diameter at ground level.  
  • Fertilize any annuals with a half dose of high-nitrogen fertilizer one week after planting.
  • When the buds begin to swell on trees, shrubs and groundcovers, apply a lawn-type fertilizer.
  • Avoid weed and feed products.
  • Wait to fertilize spring-flowering trees and shrubs until immediately after they finish blooming.

For horticulture questions call 903-583-7453 or email fanninmastergardeners@gmail.com.  

Helpful sites http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/

2018 Garden, Lawn and Home Expo

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Saturday, March 24, 2018
8:30 am – 4:00 pm

Bonham Civic Center
Hwy 121 & Hwy 56

Admission: Free/Donations Accepted

Speaker Sessions Free

  • 9am Michael Cook, Denton Co Viticulture Specialist “Backyard Viticulture: Growing Grapes in North Texas”
  • 11am Steve Chamblee, Candor Gardens “Texas Tough 50
  • 1pm Steve Chamblee, Candor Gardens “Great Garden Ideas
  • 2pm Blake Shook, Texas Bee Supply “Hobby Bee Keeping

Food Trucks, Vendor Booths, Silent Auction and Door Prizes

Fannin County Master Gardeners’ Horticulture Conference

Outside seminar with horticulturalist

Bonham Civic Center
Hwy 121
Bonham, Texas 75418

E-Mail: fannin@ag.tamu.edu
Phone: (903)583-7453


Dr. Mike Merchant, Beneficial Insects in the Landscape

Ashley Hartman, North Central Texas College Horticulture Director

Cody Maxwell, Lawn and Turf

Admission: Free / Donations Accepted Speaker Sessions Free