currently in Austin


Drought: not out of the woods with our trees

Thanks to cool weather and restorative rain, weary plants rebounded to attend my garden’s fall prom.

asters and oxalis Austin Texas #CentralTexasGardener Country Girl chrysanthemum austin texas garden

Cenizo with Iceberg rose and thryallis
My native evergreen sumac (Rhus virens) is in high gear, pumping out flowers and fruits for wildlife, joined by Mexican redbud to the right.

Evergreen sumac Rhus virens Austin Texas garden

According to Texas A&M, the Comanche Indians mixed evergreen sumac’s sun-cured leaves with tobacco for smoking, and as a remedy for asthma.

Still, we can’t rest on our recent rain laurels.

anole on cotton plant Austin Texas Garden #CentralTexasGardener

Across town and across Texas, we’ve lost frightening numbers of trees due to drought and secondary issues resulting from stress. Unlike little perennials that jumped back after a good douse from above, troubled trees may not rebound.

This week, April Rose from TreeFolks joins Tom for proactive tips to protect our trees.

Tom Spencer and April Rose, TreeFolks Austin Texas

Although I scheduled this segment weeks ago, a recent viewer question prompted some of the conversation. Like many of us with older homes, Jaimi has Arizona ash trees that were planted 40 – 50 years ago by the original owners, and are getting mighty scary.

Arizona ash in danger photo by Jaimi

April suggests options to replace dead trees or to plant for the first time. If you have a tree on its way out, she also recommends installing a sapling to take its place down the road.

Sapling to replace old tree TreeFolks Austin Texas

Get TreeFolks’ complete list of recommended trees, info on free sapling days, workshops, tree care resources, and how to join their volunteers to reforest Austin and Bastrop.

TreeFolks Austin volunteers Reforest after Bastrop fires TreeFolks

Since Texas Arbor Day is the first Friday in November, it’s a great time to plant! Check out this diagram to start your new tree off right.

how to plant a tree TreeFolks Austin Texas

Join TreeFolks on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. for hands-on tree planting and mulching. Bring the kids to make seed balls and get tree tattoos. Plus, there’s live music and lunch!

One thing they’ll demonstrate is how to mulch a tree. Do you mulch to the drip line?

how to mulch a tree TreeFolks Austin Texas

Now, if you’ve seen this technique around “professional” landscapes, don’t do it!

why not to volcano mulch Daphne Richards Travis County Extension

Daphne explains why “volcano” mulching can end your tree’s life prematurely.

Her Pick of the Week is Texas Superstar native Chinkapin oak (Quercus muhlenbergii).

chinkapin oak Austin Texas chinkapin oak leaves and acorns

Would you like to grow vegetables on a balcony or patio? Well, winter crops like lettuce, kale and chard work just fine in containers! Trisha shows how to combine fragrant and edible flowers and food. You can even plant in trugs, old wheelbarrows and old nursery pots, jazzed up with a little paint!

Vegetable containers Trisha Shirey

Our Viewer Picture of the Week features succulents in charming upcycled containers. Gardener Tammy recycled a $5 “milk can” from Goodwill and a rusted soap dish.

Milk can succulent container photo by Tammy soapdish succulent container photo by Tammy

On tour, head to San Antonio’s historic King William district where designer Elizabeth McGreevy and homeowner Gary Woods united indoor and outdoor spaces with an equally sustainable garden.

Ed Fuentes tapes Elizabeth McGreevy and Gary Woods Central Texas Gardener Elizabeth McGreevy garden design San Antonio Elizabeth McGreevy garden design San Antonio

Despite hot weather and drought, Gary’s garden is still looking good on his no-water regimen!

San Antonio drough tough garden photo by Gary Woods

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda