A Note From our President, Teresa Wilts
I hope everyone has been surviving the hot summer weather. In spite of the heat, our demonstration gardens look great. Thank you so much to everyone for all your work on these and other MG projects. I know it isn't easy to work outdoors in this heat and I appreciate everyone's efforts.
If you can't work outside or are having trouble finding volunteer events when you are available, please contact me and I can help you. We even have a few jobs that can be done from home for recertifying MGs.
Construction of the new building is still ongoing. We don't have a move in date yet, but we do have some more information on the new training room. It will hold 40 people with tables and 55 people without tables. This means that it will not be big enough to hold our monthly meetings or even Hands On In the Garden. It will hold committee meetings and the MG classes though.
There will be a larger room that may be available but it is not being booked yet.
The current training room will be available for us to book after hours and on weekends. It can still be booked during the day until October 31st. If you need to book a room after 10/31, it would be best to make other arrangements in case the new building is not ready. All room bookings will continue to go through the AgriLife extension office.
I hope but the time you read this, we will have had some rain, but if not, keep up your watering!
Timely Tips by Winola VanArtsdalen
August, the most challenging month of the year! The key word is “survival” for both the landscape and the gardener. Take care of the gardener by working in the morning or in shade and protecting against insect bites.
Keep watch to help the landscape make it through until middle to late September, when there is usually a major change in temperatures and moisture.
Be sure beds are mulched to keep more even temperatures and retain moisture as well as to control weeds. Do not allow equipment or footsteps on soil, especially when wet.
Water deeply less often, preferably in the morning, for deeper root growth. Use a moisture meter or a tool such as a screwdriver to check that moisture reaches root depth. Check irrigation equipment is working properly. Low volume drip irrigation is best for garden and bedding plants, because it not only saves water, but reaches roots of plants.
Keep watch daily for water needs and insects to catch problems early. Footsteps, grass blades curling, plants wilted in morning are symptoms of plants needing water. Potassium helps plants in stress, and seaweed is a good source, but foliage must be sprayed early in morning before sun hits plant leaves or after sundown.
Consider how to improve moisture retention in your beds and turf with more compost and/or supplements like expanded shale. If soil depth is a problem, keep adding top dressing with some soil in mix each spring and/or fall. Do not top dress in hot weather, as the nitrogen will burn turf. Do not fertilize if you spread top dressing, as this would be too much nitrogen.
Plan and prepare beds for fall planting. Remember plants need drainage and nutrients from soil. New beds need at least 4-6 inches compost added. Have soil tested to see what specifically is needed in your location. It is much better to prepare beds early, cover with mulch, and plant later, preferably as much as five weeks later.
Website for soil test is http://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/solutions/soil-testing/
Best time to plant perennials, except tropicals, in Central Texas is fall, so they can develop strong root systems over winter to be prepared for summer stress and require less watering. Choose native or adapted plants to be healthier, drought tolerant, and friendly to wildlife.
Divide old bulbs and perennials.
Keep watering trees deeply and slowly in dry weather. Mulch flower beds.
Apply pre-emergent for annual winter weeds.
Apply one-fourth to one-half inch top dressing after temperatures lower, usually mid-September. This will aid moisture retention and save water next summer.
September 15-30, monitor for brown patch. Symptoms are a circle of yellow or brown grass that wilts and expands with a “smokey ring.” Another symptom is the leaves of the grass are easily pulled from the stolons. You can google TAMU Brown Patch for further information.
Paint all wounds on oak trees any time, any size immediately.
Average earliest frost date for our area is October 15, but can be earlier. Be sure all beds are well mulched, but mulch must be kept away from stem/trunk of plant.
Buy supplies for frost covers now while available in stores. Spraying plant foliage with seaweed improves freeze resistance, but it must be done before sunup or after sundown.
We can cut back on watering when temperatures lower, but watch that new plantings have moisture.
Divide old bulbs and perennials, remembering that herbs and bulbs, especially, need good drainage.
Consider planting naturalizing bulbs that return every year ie., Leucojum aestivum, often called ‘Summer Snowflake’ and Narcissus ‘Grand Primo.’ They can be planted under deciduous trees, as they will get light during the winter, but they must not be overwatered. Plant them with the basal plate on bottom and the pointed end on top, and they should not be too deep.
The best way to learn gardening is by volunteering. Berry Springs offers a great opportunity for you. There are over two dozen flower beds and several natural areas that always need TLC. Susan Blackledge is willing to work with your schedule to train you on taking care of these areas, so that you can then volunteer when it is convenient for you. Contact her @ email@example.com or 512-930 0040 to discuss and to coordinate.
It would be fun to get together with a few of your new-found friends, or old friends, in Master Gardeners to do this. What a fun way to have time together and much better for the waistline than going out to lunch!
Snout Butterflies by Wizzie Brown
In late summer and into fall Central Texas can sometimes have an outbreak of snout butterflies where thousands, if not millions, of these butterflies can be seen in mass migration. While the migration lasts a relatively short period of time, a couple of weeks, it can be a beautiful sight.
Snout butterflies are called such due to elongated mouthparts called palps that extend forward from their head to form a snout. These butterflies have front wings with a squared off tip. Wings are edged in brown with orange towards the base. The underside of the hindwing is a mottled violet- grey. Caterpillars are green with light stripes running longitudinally along the body. They have small heads and appear to be humped because the first couple of abdominal segments are swollen.
Caterpillars primarily feed on tender foliage of hackberry trees. Adults feed on nectar from flowers and can also be attracted to decaying fruit. Males are often seen patrolling near host plants seeking females. When adults are at rest on plants with wings folded up over the abdomen, they mimic dead leaves.
Snout butterflies have a complete life cycle with the winter being spent in the adult stage. There can be up to four generations per year. No management is typically needed.
For more information or help with identification, contact Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Program Specialist at 512.854.9600. Check out my blog at www.urban-ipm.blogspot.com
This work is supported by Crops Protection and Pest Management Competitive Grants Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27188 /project accession no. 1013905] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding
that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Extension or the Texas A&M AgriLife Research is implied.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service provides equal access in its programs, activities, education and employment, without regard to race, color, sex,
religion, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
This Newsletter brought to you by...
This issue of the Williamson County Master Gardener Newsletter was made possible because of the contributions of the following Williamson County Master Gardeners: Teresa Wilts (President), articles by: Wizzie Brown and Winola VanArtsdalen. Temporary Editor: Catherine Nickle. If you would like to contribute to the next Williamson County Master Gardener Newsletter, please send your submission to Wayne Rhoden at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 10, 2018. As you garden, volunteer and learn, please take a moment to share your stories and experiences with others in our organization.
The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service or the Texas A&M AgriLife Research is implied. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Provides equal access in its programs, activities, education and employment without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity.