Frequently Asked Questions
Grayson County Master Gardeners FAQ’s
QUESTION: What are the best plants for my garden in Grayson County?
ANSWER: Look for native or adaptive plants, these will give you a better chance of a successful garden.
Native Plants for Texoma Landscapes include:
Blue eyed grass
Texas yellow columbine
Red and yellow columbine
Gulf coast penstemon a
Mid-spring through early summer
Hibiscus moy grande
Texas rock rose
Glorious a daisy
Indian summer daisy
Late summer through fall
Brown or. Lack-eyed Susan
Texas fall aster
Mexican mint marigold
QUESTION: What kind of soil do I need if I want to plant earth kind roses?
ANSWER: Roses really respond to well drained soil. Depending on your type of soil, below are the recommendations:
Sandy and loan soils – incorporate 3-4 inches of organic matter such as compost
Clay soil – incorporate 3 inches of organic matter, compost, and 3 inches of expanded shale. Plant in raised beds that are at least 4-6 inches above the surrounding soil.
Roses like to be fertilized, they especially like nitrogen. They need to be fertilized in March, June, and lightly in late August.
No matter what type of soil you have protect your roses year round with a 3-4 inch layer of organic matter, this can be tree leaves or cypress bark.
In some parts of Grayson County the irrigation water is salty, if this applies to your area, drip irrigate your roses. Salty water applied to the leaves can burn the foliage badly.
QUESTION: How do I get rid of fire ants?
ANSWER: Treating individual mounds with insecticide can be expensive and labor intensive, it is very easy to apply more insecticide than is needed. So in Texas, the two-step method is recommended. First broadcast a fire ant bait once or twice a year to reduce ant colonies by 80-90%. Step 2 treat mounds, such as colonies that move into the bait treated areas with a light sprinkling of insecticide, the second step may not be needed.
QUESTION: Why won’t my wisteria bloom?
ANSWER: Several possibilities:
- Perhaps you pruned the plant in winter. Wisteria sets buds in fall; do all wisteria
- Plant is in the shade; they need 6-8 hours of sunlight to bloom.
- Too much nitrogen. Keep high nitrogen fertilizers away from wisteria roots from August on.
- Severe iron deficiency. If leaves are yellowed or white, add an iron supplement.
If, after all that, it still will not bloom, it may need to be root pruned in September. Use a sharp shooter spade to cut all the lateral roots 20-24 inches out from the trunk. This often triggers good bud set.
QUESTION: How often should I water my plants?
ANSWER: Frequency depends on temperature, humidity, wind, soil type and type of plants. Learn to recognize dry soil and water when the soil is dry an inch or two below the surface. It is better to let the plant get slightly dry between watering and water deeply rather than lightly and frequently.
QUESTION: Why are my plant leaves sticky?
ANSWER: Aphids and other insects secrete sticky “honeydew” as they feed on host plants. This can be a common problem with crepe myrtles, pecans, oaks and others. Treat with approved insecticide as soon as you see the first sticky drips. Left unchecked it will host black sooty mold, which can disfigure foliage, stems and even hard surfaces on which it grows.
QUESTION: Why are my plant leaves turning brown at their tips and edges?
ANSWER: Tip and marginal leaf scorch indicates severe moisture stress either at one point in time or ongoing. If new growth is produced and it is not scorched, the problem is probably over. If the leaves continue to turn brown at the tips something is stopping the flow of water throughout the plant. The ends and edges are furthest from the roots so they will dry first. Besides simple lack of water, other causes can be excess mineral salts such as sodium or fertilizers, drying winds, trunk injury, and root damage or loss.
QUESTION: Why are my tomatoes rotting at the bottom?
ANSWER: Blossom end rot can affect fruit at all stages of development. It is caused by a calcium deficiency induced by water stress. Careful water management is key. Irrigation and mulching are important. Applications of lime or calcium prior to planting may help. Liquid fertilization using calcium nitrate can be used.
QUESTION: What are these white specks all over my plants?
ANSWER: Scale insects. They move very slowly across leaf and stem tissues before they secure themselves and start sucking the life out of your plants. Control scales outdoors with a horticultural oil spray applied in late winter, before new growth begins or with the same spray diluted during growing season. Systemic insecticides also help. Dead scales will not fall off but will be dry and flaky when rubbed. For houseplants, use a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol to remove as many as possible then apply a tender houseplant insecticide.
QUESTION: How and when do I prune my nandinas?
ANSWER: Nandinas should be pruned in very later winter, just before new growth begins. Prune the tallest canes completely back to the ground. Leave shorter canes in place.
QUESTION: What is the little spreading weed with the round kidney shaped leaves? How do I control it?
ANSWER: Dichondra. Any broadleaf weed killer will control it. Use a pump sprayer and apply precisely onto the leaves. Use a fine mist and completely coat the leaves. Late spring and early summer are the best times to disseminate it.
QUESTION: What is the weed with the round, scalloped leaves and little purple flowers that is taking over my lawn?
ANSWER: Henbit. It germinates in fall and grows all winter. Mowing will get rid of most of it. Broadleaf weed killer will eliminate it and a pre-emergent weed killer in September will keep it from showing up again. CAUTION: some weeds are more aggressive and hardy than others so you may have to apply multiple times or multiple years.
When do I dig and divide perennials? Dig fall-blooming perennials in early spring and spring-blooming perennials in early fall.
When is the first fall frost? The average first fall frost is mid-to-late November, usually between Nov. 14-26, rarely earlier.
When is the last spring frost? The average last spring frost is mid-to-late March, Mar. 20-Apr. 1, but has come as late as early April. Keep up with the weather forecast!
When do I fertilize forsythia, azalea, quince and other spring-blooming shrubs and trees? Fertilize AFTER they bloom, never before.
When do I fertilize my lawn? For Bermuda or St. Augustine, fertilize mid-March, early June, and mid-September. Well established turf will only require feeding twice a year – spring and fall. Rye or fescue should be fertilized January or February and October.
When do I fertilize my trees and shrubs? If they are planted in an area where they receive lawn food and the lawn is fertilized twice a year, nothing more is required. Otherwise, fertilize them in April and August. Another application in January is fine too. Weed killer chemicals, such as those found in “weed and feed” can damage trees and shrubs, so avoid fertilizers that contain herbicides.
When do I fertilize roses? Late February or early March is the time to plant, fertilize and prune roses (accept for climbers and once-blooming spring bloomers which can be pruned after blooming). Fertilize again in early-mid August.
When should I plant a new lawn? April, when the soil warms up, sow seeds for Bermuda grass. Seed for winter grasses such as fescue and rye should be sown in the fall between September and October.
When do I plant tomatoes? Start tomatoes grown from seed indoors late January (or late June for the fall garden). Transplant(s) outdoors mid-March to late April; August to mid-September for the fall.
When do I plant and fertilize asparagus? Late January through March. Plant asparagus crowns in trenches at least 6-8in deep.
When do I plant trees and shrubs? November through February is the BEST time to plant trees and shrubs outdoors. Bare root plants must be planted in the dead of winter (Jan.-Feb.) while they are completely dormant. Container grown trees and shrubs can be planted anytime.
When do I sow wildflower seeds? August through October.
When do I prune Crape Myrtles? Other than light deadheading late during the blooming period, Crape Myrtles should not be prunes. If you need to prune in order to shape or control the size, do so in the dead of winter.
When do I prune/spray fruit trees? Get a schedule from your local Texas Agricultural Extension Service or see this website:
When should I put up/take down my hummingbird feeder? Put the feeders up in June. Although humming birds arrive in mid-March, they will only require supplemental feeding when it’s hot and dry. Take them down at the end of October.
How often should I turn my compost pile? It depends on how fast you want the compost to finish. The more you turn it, the sooner you can use it. Once a week will yield timely results. Whether you turn it regularly or not, a moist (but not wet) and well-aerated and fed compost pile will deliver.