June 2015

- 2:20 pm - June 1st, 2015


 

Discount Trees of Brenham Newsletter 
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Business After Hours and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

July 2


The Burleson County Chamber of Commerce invites members to attend the "Business After Hours" and "Ribbon Cutting Ceremony" on Thursday, July 2, 5:30-7pm at Discount Trees of Brenham; 10050 SH 36 N. Brenham.

There will be $250 in Door Prizes!  Also, we will be having a pottery sale throughout the month of July.  Come by and see our pottery showcase!

Beverages by Wine and Roses of Somerville, TX and New Republic Brewery of Bryan, TX.  Light snacks provided by Discount Trees.

Hope to see you there!

For more info call: 979-836-7225
Burleson County Chamber of Commerce     
301 N Main, Caldwell, TX 77836
(979) 567-0000, Fax (979) 567-0818
info@burlesoncountytx.com
www.BurlesonCountyTx.com

JUNE 2015

Plant of the Month
Vitex
(Vitex agnus-castus)

Featured Plants

  • Vitex
    • (Vitex agnus-castus)
  • Esperanza
    • (Tecoma stans)

Insect / Weed / Fungus Control


Featured Cabin


Upcoming Events


Do's and Don'ts


Modern American Poetry

    

     We have made it to June!  Now that the summer is very close at hand, it makes sense to recap our weather for late winter and spring.  We managed to escape without a late frost, and this was very beneficial in that many fruits and vegetables got a good head start on the growing season.  The amount of rain we have received has been a blessing,  but it has made it difficult to plant trees and work in the garden.  Our fields have been water-logged and there is nowhere for the rainwater to go.  We can't remember a time in recent memory when we have actually asked for a break in the rainfall.  Just a couple of years ago this thought was unimaginable, and we can only hope that the weather saves some precipitation for July and August because it is certain that the summer heat will be back around.  Even with all the rain, most plants and trees in our landscape don't have a problem with this much moisture as long as they are not standing in knee-deep water.  Roots don't grow well when their surrounding soil is completely saturated, and this type of environment can promote root-rot.  If you envision desert plants in your yard or garden, it is imperative that they be planted in raised areas with soil or rock that doesn't stay soggy for long after the rain has passed.  Whether our rainfall is feast or famine, some plants have water requirements that allow them to take a certain amount of drought and flooding.  The Vitex is a flowering plant that, when planted in well-drained soil, can thrive in both conditions.
 
 

Featured Plant of the Month


Vitex

(Vitex agnus-castus)
Shoal Creek Vitex
The Vitex, sometimes called the Chaste tree, is a deciduous, flowering shrub or small tree that is native to Asia and the Mediterranean.  There are numerous varieties, with the most common forming fragrant, violet blue flower spikes from spring to late summer in the Brazos Valley. (There are white and blue flowering varieties as well.) It grows up to 10'-15' tall and 10'-20' wide as a shrub, but may also be trained into a single-trunk tree.  The vitex is very attractive to butterflies and bees, and some birds may nest in it's thick canopy.  In fact, the tree is often planted in areas where honey is marketed to promote excellent honey production. In our region of Texas there are no problems with winter hardiness as the vitex is recommended to zone 7.  Pests and diseases are not issues for these tough plants.
 

Esperanza

(Tecoma stans)
 Texas Native Gold Star Esperanza
The Esperanza is a native, flowering perennial shrub that explodes with yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers during the warm seasons of the year.  Also known by the name "Yellow Bells," the esperanza can grow to 6'-10' tall and is a member of the trumpet vine family.  It is very attractive to bees and hummingbirds. Used by indigenous peoples for bows, beekeeping, and medicines, the plant is somewhat sensitive to frost when it is planted in unprotected areas. When planting esperanza in our region care should be taken to protect it from cold north winds in the winter.  Very heat tolerant, the "Gold Star" cultivar produces flowers earlier in the spring than other esperanza varieties.  This is a plant with low water requirements that can take full sun to part shade.
 


Controlling Insects, Weeds, and Fungus

 
     With all the rain we have received this winter and spring, insect, weed and fungus control are important topics for discussion.  Wet spring conditions promote many types of pests and diseases that can harm our plants.  We are living in a time when many people are becoming more aware of the dangers that conventional agricultural chemicals represent to our bodies and our environment.  For years, we have wantonly sprayed pesticides and herbicides on food crops in an attempt to lower labor costs and produce higher yields.  Over time, insects and weeds have developed resistances requiring ever higher dosages.  These chemicals build up in the soil and possibly in our bodies when we ingest the food. (We would like to hear an explanation of how any food crop that is designed to be unaffected by chemical herbicides can possibly be good for our bodies over the long term...) Many of these chemicals also destroy beneficial insects that are necessary for pollination. Clearly, there has to be a better solution to treat these problems than dangerous chemicals.  At the same time, we can't allow pests and diseases to ravage our gardens unchecked. 
     Due to the number of people that are now conscious of what they put in their bodies, organic foods and vegetables now have a larger market and more manufacturers are making safe and organic products for home gardeners.  The net effect is that it's now easier and cheaper to practice sustainable and healthy agriculture, which has in turn helped to spawn the local food movement that has grown tremendously over the past decade.  Something to consider about this is that many of these products are not one-stop, one-shot bug and weed killers.  The idea is to control the pests to the extent that a balance is achieved between healthy plants, healthy soil, and good yields of crops.
     This natural approach to farming produces a healthy, balanced environment that will be better able maintain itself without lots of external inputs.  Crop rotation, companion planting, and beneficial insects help to create and sustain the healthy, biologically active soils necessary to achieve this goal.  A simple example of crop rotation is to make sure that plants such as tomatoes aren't grown in the same location for more than 2 consecutive seasons.  The reason for this is that pests that attack tomatoes can gain a foothold if they are allowed to remain for long periods of time.  By rotating the plants, you also rotate the food sources and environment for these pests and essentially starve them out. 
     A well-known example of companion planting is the age-old "Three Sisters" companion plants.  Native Americans saw that corn, beans, and squash thrived when grown together.  One reason for this is that the corn provides a support for the bean vines, the bean vines fix nitrogen into the soil, and the squash provides shade to suppress weeds and maintain soil moisture.  At the end of the growing season, all three are tilled back into the soil to provide new organic matter for biological life. Another simple example is planting flowers such as marigolds in and around your garden.  The roots and flowers deter harmful nematodes, aphids, and bean beetles. Marigold leaves can also be brewed into an organic insect spray.  Planting "trap" crops such as dill around tomatoes will attract the tomato hornworm, while nasturtium around lettuce will attract aphids.  You are essentially sacrificing the trap crop to spare the food crop.  While there are many such companions, the main takeaway is that when we foster a mutually beneficial environment, the healthy plants that grow are able to better take care of themselves and each other without chemical inputs. 
     Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has also become important to this type of agriculture.  IPM techniques rely on correctly identifying pests (by use of monitoring and traps) and determining a threshold (the "economic injury level") where action must be taken to control pests (as opposed to attempts at complete eradication by blasting insecticide on all the plants on regularly scheduled dates.)  This may begin with hand-picking pests off the plants or tilling as an initial response, followed by stronger countermeasures as the "economic injury level" rises.  In other words, a couple of grasshoppers won't devastate a garden, but a plague of them requires action to protect the harvest.  Beneficial insects such as ladybugs (which eat aphids) and trichogamma wasps (which parasitize many types of insects' eggs) further help in the quest to control pest populations naturally.  These can now be purchased at garden centers or attracted naturally by planting flowers such as zinnias in your garden.  When conventional pesticide regimens are used to control pests, many of the beneficial insects are killed as well, making the problem worse and requiring more pesticides.
     Other solutions, such as neem oil, can solve multiple problems at the same time.  Neem oil is the natural extract of the neem tree, and works by suffocating pests and their eggs.  Also, when pests feed on foliage, it triggers a reaction in the pest leading to it's death.  In addition, it doesn't harm beneficial insects when applied correctly.  It is organic, effective and easy to use, however, it should be applied early in the morning or late in the evening to prevent sunburn on the leaves of the plant.  It is also effective at controlling fungi such as Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, and Brown Patch.  Organic insecticidal soaps have similar effects on spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.
     With all of the factors that come into play in this type of farming and gardening, people may think that it is too complicated or time-consuming.  While this may be true at the beginning of the learning and application processes, once these management practices are in place for a couple of growing seasons the results will become apparent.  Less time will be needed for pulling weeds and picking bugs off plants because a more holistic environment will develop.  A monocultural garden will develop many more pest problems than a "messy" garden developed for synergy.  At the end of the day, spending a little more time in your garden getting to know plant and insect life-cycles will surely green-up your thumb as well.  After all, as Rudyard Kipling said, "Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful!' and sitting in the shade."

 
 

FEATURED BUILDING

 

The Maverick

By General Shelters of Texas
Like all of our models, it is very spacewise, but at less that $62/sq.ft (loaded w/ appliances,) this floor plan is the epitome of efficiency.  Delivery and set-up is built into the price (w/in 50 miles of our lot) so there are no hidden expenses.  The Maverick makes a great guesthouse or weekend retreat, and is available with a washer and dryer for residential applications.  All floor plans can be adjusted as needed to better suit your intentions, so drop on by to see our show models and let us help you design your dream cabin!
 

UPCOMING EVENTS


JUNE
  • 6/1-6/30  - Mill Creek WPP will be open for comments all month.
 
  • 6/10  - Gardening with the Masters Series - Herbs   (12pm - 1pm)
    • Master Gardener Sally Ann Hnatiuk will give a presentation on growing herbs. An informal educational program on herb growing by Master Gardener, Sally Ann Hnatiuk. The program features varieties of herbs for this area. A tour of the gardens with a Q&A is included. Bring your lunch for a relaxed, enjoyable time of learning. Handouts will be provided. The public is invited at NO CHARGE.
    • Takes place at Brazos County Extension Office - Dig Pavilion
      • 2619 Hwy 21 W, Bryan TX 77803
      • contact Janice Anderson  (979-823-0129)
 
  • 6/17  - Business After Hours - Baylor Scott and White Hospital  (5-7pm)
    • Make new connections at this networking event!  Come enjoy some delicious food and refreshments. Bring plenty of business cards to share with other members.
    • Takes place at Baylor Scott and White
      • 700 Medical Pkwy, Brenham, TX
      • Contact: Jane Hinze 979-836-3695
 
  • 6/18  - Gardening with the Masters Series - Natural Pest Control Techniques (1:30pm-2:30pm)
    • Skip Richter, host of the weekly KAMU-FM program “Garden Success” is our special guest for Gardening with the Masters. Skip will present the important and timely subject of natural pest control techniques. Extension Horticulture Agent in Harris County, Skip is the author of Texas Month by Month Gardening. Copies of his book will be available for sale for $24.36 and he will accept cash, checks, MasterCard and Visa. The public is invited at no charge.
    • Takes place at Brazos County Extension Office - Dig Pavilion
      • 2619 Hwy 21 W, Bryan TX 77803
      • Contact Janice Anderson  (979-823-0129)
 
  • 6/23  - Brazos County Master Gardeners Monthly Program -  Unusual Edibles
    • Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialist.  “Unusual Edibles” Go to the next level in vegetable gardening with unusual edibles. Interesting, diverse homegrown food. Veggie Adventures - Swap commonly grown edibles for the uncommon and turn your veggie harvest into uncommon delicacies. The public is invited at NO CHARGE.
    • Takes Place at Brazos Center
      • 3232 Briarcrest Dr., Bryan TX 77803
      • Contact Janice Anderson  (979-823-0129)

JULY
 
  • 7/2  -  Business After Hours and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Discount Trees of Brenham
    • The Burleson County Chamber of Commerce invites members to attend the "Business After Hours" and "Ribbon Cutting Ceremony" on Thursday, July 2, 5:30-7pm at Discount Trees of Brenham; 10050 SH 36 N. Brenham.
 
  • 7/11, 7/18, 7/25 - Hot Nights Cool Tunes at Courthouse Square in Downtown Brenham - 7pm
    • For a great time, bring your lawn chairs to the Courthouse Square in Downtown Brenham.  Fun for the whole family.  Classic car cruise-in.  Food and drink sales support the community and keep the concerts free.  For more info go to http://www.downtownbrenham.com/hotnights/index.php
 


Things to Do in June:

  • June is a good time to plant fruits and vegetables such as okra, black-eyed peas, pumpkins, watermelons and cantaloupe.  Plant heat-loving annuals and perennials such as zinnias, marigolds, esperanza, sunflowers, periwinkles, and morning glory vines.
  • Try to work in your garden in the morning or evening.  If you choose to work in the heat of the day, make sure to wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • As the heat of the summer comes on, lawns will continue to grow faster and faster.  Keep up with your mowing, and try to cut the grass high to protect your soil.  When you mow, let the grass clippings fall down into the lawn to recycle plant nutrients.
  • Mulch trees and plants to conserve soil moisture!  Also, mulch eliminates patches of bare dirt that can be a breeding ground for weeds.
  • "Side dress" your garden plants and vegetables with a high nitrogen fertilizer to keep them green and growing throughout the summer months.
  • Make sure to keep the soil moist on newly planted trees and plants.  Your lawn sprinkler will probably not be sufficient to keep them watered during the first year, so hand watering will be necessary.  Stick your finger in the soil to determine the depth of the moisture.
  • Crape myrtles will begin blooming soon, so now is a good time to pick out which color best complements your home or garden.  Make sure to get the correct variety for both the color AND size you want.  The proper selection for size limitations will eliminate a lot of pruning!
  • Dead-head roses and other faded flowers to keep production at maximum.

 

And the Don'ts:

  • Don't water the leaves of your plants when the sun is out and the temperature has risen above 90 degrees.  This can scorch the leaves.
  • Don't bite off more than you can chew in your garden.  If you have a garden for 2 people, you don't need a 50 foot row of okra. 
  • Don't get lazy with chores such as pulling weeds.  It is much easier to get rid of weeds in your garden when they are young and don't have a strong root system.
  • Don't overfill your containers or pots with plants.  Give them room to grow!
  • Don't build a "mulch volcano."  When mulching around trees, keep it 3-6 inches from the base of the trunk to prevent bark rot.
  • Don't prune your azaleas after June 1.  You will be removing next year's blooms!
 

Modern American Poetry


"The rain to the wind said,
'You push and I'll pelt.'
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged - though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

Lodged by Robert Frost
 
 
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