Friday, June 18, 2010

Julian Sauls' Texas Red Oaks

This seedling is a Texas Red Oak or Quercus shumardii cv texana.   Dr. Julian Sauls and one of his co-workers has been breeding this tree since the 1970s.   They are choosing characteristics that will perform well in the Rio Grande Valley.  

The original selection was from a wild tree somewhere near Breckinridge - that trees location is no longer known.  Seed from the Breckenridge tree were planted in Arlington, Texas in the mid 70s.  Then seed from the Arlington tree were planted in Tyler in the late 70s.  These seedlings came from the Tyler tree.  Unfortunately the Arlington plantings were lost to urban development quite a few years ago.

Dr. Sauls was generous enough to give a number of seedlings to the Cameron County Master Gardeners a few months ago.  It's time to bump them up to a larger container.     In a few years, one should be large enough to transplant into The Arboretum.    Hopefully, we'll have another tree that will perform well in our area!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Gardening To-Do List

Time to plant:

Flowers: Mexican heather, ruellia, gerbera daisy, dusty miller, gazania, vinca, night and day purslane, iceplant, moss rose, caladium, coleus, celosia.

Trees: Natives: live oak, anacua, Rio Grande ash, mesquite, retama, wild olive.

Non-native: Cottonwood, crepe myrtle. Buy only container grown plants. But if must buy trees with root balls wrapped in burlap, make sure the tree is green and healthy.

Palms:  Summer is the perfect time to plant palms. 
Shrubs: bougainvillea, plumbago, manzanita (barbados cherry), lantana, hachinal ,coral bean, yucca, butterfly bush (buddleia) butterfly weed, wild petunia (ruellia), hibiscus. Note: most of these shrubs attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

Vegetables: Peppers.

Herbs: mint, rosemary, rue, oregano, hierba buena.

-When planting trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs use mulch around the base of the plant to conserve moisture.

-Water recently planted materials once or twice a week and water deeply.

-Try to give your tomatoes afternoon shade.

-Keep all flower beds and vegetable garden areas free of weeds so they don’t compete with your plants for moisture and nutrients.

-Add 1 inch of organic matter to your gardens and beds, work it in.

-Regularly check for whitefly and aphids, control with soapy water spray. Be sure to spray under the leaves.

-Check for grubs in your lawn. Brown patches are an indicator. Control with a granular insecticide such as Dursban or Diazinon.

(Information source: Successful Gardening in the Magic Valley of Texas, Dist. VI, Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. and Native Trees- and Native Shrubs-of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas Landscape Uses and Identification, Native Plant Project, PO Box 1433, Edinburg, TX)