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Grow Up!

air date: June 28, 2014

Pat McNeal from Vertical Growing Systems grows up with wall containers for food and ornamentals to save water, cool down buildings, and garden in narrow spaces or indoors.  On tour, visit Elayne Lansford’s healing garden where a Bottle World art project helped her during battles with cancer. Daphne Richards explains how to control June bugs and shows off wildlife plant Senna.  Trisha Shirey promotes lovely self-seeding annual gomphrena (globe amaranth) for wildlife attraction and great dried flower crafts.

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Episode Segments

On Tour

Elayne Lansford's Healing Garden

Elayne Lansford’s Bottle World healing garden is a tribute to triumph over life-threatening illness and the power of healing through gardening. Reframing her reality by giving new life to old objects helped her when husband John Villanacci faced a random disease and lung transplant, soon after she recovered from breast cancer. It was a twist for Elayne, a psychologist who helps clients every day.  In her refuge of sanctuary and peace, she worked out some of her sorrow and anger through hands-on activity and creation.

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Question of the Week

June Bugs

When do I control June bug grub worms?

As their name suggests, June bugs are most visible in June.  And it seems like this year we have been inundated with them.  But if you weren’t out after dark, you might not have even noticed them.  While out on my nightly walk with Augie, there were so many June bugs flying around neighborhood lawns that it sounded like it was raining.

There seem to be so many flying around this year, pelting us if we’re outside under lights.

While the adults are simply a nuisance, the larvae of this beetle can be damaging in landscapes, especially in turf grass.  And with so many adults flying around this year, it’s likely that we now have lots of larvae developing in our yards.  June bugs, especially the males, are attracted to light, so the best way to keep them from annoying you is to turn off all outdoor lights at night.

The females are more often found buzzing around in the landscape, since after they mate they begin to look for a nice, soft place to lay their eggs.  And to make sure that those eggs are protected, females burrow up to 5 inches underground.

As with most insects, knowing the life cycle is critical to controlling June bugs, whose larvae are often called white grubs.  There are many different beetles that have white grub larvae. Some are not a threat  to your plants.  Non-threatening ones include those that you might find in your compost pile, where they’re actually beneficial.

But if you have a problem with white grubs in your landscape, you should definitely treat for them, and timing is critical.  Early stages of growth, when the larvae are small and actively feeding, is the only time you can kill them.  This occurs from about mid-June through July, so now would be a perfect time to treat.

If you’d like to use beneficial nematodes, which are great for controlling white grubs, it’s important that you get the RIGHT species of nematode, since each species of nematode only attack specific species of white grubs.

June bugs are actually June beetles, so when reading labels on potential products to purchase, you’ll see June beetle on the label.  Here’s a Texas A&M publication with more information. Please note that the spiked sandals mentioned in this article are not really the easiest or practical solution for most of us!

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Plant of the Week

Senna

Senna

Senna corymbosa

Sennas are a beautiful evergreen addition to most any landscape. Drought and heat tolerance are at the top of the list of plant characteristics for most people these days, and this plant has plenty of both. It thrives with only once a week watering, and will survive on much less. The gorgeous yellow flowers that cover Senna in summer are a bonus, since the vibrant green leaves are beautiful enough by themselves, all year round. As with most naturally-shrubby desert species, Senna can be trained into a small tree, if you prefer. Or, you can leave it bushy and full, since it has a naturally round, pleasing shape with absolutely no pruning whatsoever. It can take the worst of our intense summer heat and sunlight, so if you have a spot with reflected heat where nothing else seems to grow, this is a good choice. It also takes the worst of our Central Texas cold snaps, and has survived in our demonstration garden at the Extension office through some uncommonly cold winters. For a shrub, it doesn't take much space, only getting about 5 feet tall and wide.

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