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Lazy Gardener & Friends - November 10, 2022

By: Nature's Way Resources | Published 11/10/2022

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Many of you know that I have been working on a habitat reconstruction at my retirement property near La Grange. Last week I planted 20 Texas Redbuds (Cercis canadensis var. texensis). These were purchased through the rural land’s reforestation program by the Texas Forest Service.

During my research I discovered that there is a white form of this tree often sold by the common names Texas White and Royal White. I checked with several of our local growers and they are all sold out.

Hence, I was wondering if any of our readers have any experience with this variety and are aware of anyone whom is selling it.

I am reading a new book on fungi and their role in horticulture. In nature many to most plants form symbiotic relations with fungi in the soil. Especially the mycorrhizal fungi. These good fungi help the plant collect water and nutrients, produce plant growth hormones, and help protect the plant from disease and pest insects.

New research has found that many species of plants from grasses to vegetables and flowers, due to hybridization and selected breeding, have lost the ability to work with symbiotic fungi in the soil. The result is that these modern varieties are much more susceptible to insects and diseases and require much more care.

For example, I often hear on the gardening shows folks calling in about mildew on their crepe myrtles. I have never had this issue as my crepes are over 40 years old. At my farm, according to the county forester, there are a few crepes that are over 80 years old. They never get fertilized or watered, they grow in poor soils from heavy clay to limestone, they never get disease or pests, and they are full of bees and other pollinators. So, I wonder if the modern problems may be a result of the breeding and loss of the beneficial fungi.

Mycorrhizal fungi also provide other services to plants and soils. For example, they can loosen clay soils and help create good soil structure. In sandy soils they can glue the sand particles to their hyphae keeping it from eroding and again build soil structure as shown in the photo above. 

Mycorrhizal fungi also have the ability to help balance soil nutrients and bring them into balance. The hardness of a soil is often a function of the calcium (Ca) to magnesium (Mg) ratio. If there is an excess of calcium, these good fungi can form calcium oxalate crystals on their hyphae by pulling the excess calcium out of the soil solution so it is no longer available, correcting the mineral imbalance.

However, if we apply a fungicide, till the soil, apply artificial fertilizers, not to mention pesticides or herbicides, we kill many of these good guys and we lose the services they provide.

This is another reason why properly made composts and composted (aged) native mulches work so well as they are natural bioinoculants in addition to their many other benefits.

If you want to learn more on this subject there is a very good article from Acres USA magazine that can be found at www.ecofarmingdaily.com

It seems like every time I open a journal or newsletter there is another study being released on the dangers of glyphosate which is used in the brand Round Up.

A paper in the Journal of Neuroinflammation (2022) has found this toxic chemical can infiltrate the brain and increase pro-inflammatory cytokines which are linked to neurodegenerative disorders.

They found the damage was dose dependent, hence the more glyphosate one is exposed to, the greater the damage.

Another reason to avoid GMO products as they have the highest level of this toxic chemical on them and purchase organically certified foods whenever possible. The best solution is to grow one’s own food organically.

LAZY GARDENER & FRIENDS HOUSTON GARDEN EVENTS:

SAT., OCT. 22: MAINTAINING YOUR GARDEN, 10-11am, Beauty's Community Garden, 3201 Airline Dr. Free but register: https://bit.ly/3RSTppZ

 

SAT., OCT. 22-DEC. 2: PECAN SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED FOR 2022 GALVESTON COUNTY PECAN SHOW, 4102-B Main St, La Marque. Galveston County AgriLife Extension event. galveston.agrilife.org/horticulture/

 

TUES., OCT. 25: GROWING HERBS FOR HEALTH AND THE HOLIDAYS (Zoom) by SHERRY CRUSE, 7:00-8:30pm. Urban Harvest eventurbanharvest.org/education/classes/ 

 

WED., OCT 26: PHOENIX'S BOTANICAL GARDEN & ARIZONA'S SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK by DR. ANDREA VARESIC,7pm. Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, 1475 West Gray St. Houston Cactus and Succulent Society event. hcsstex.org

 

FRI.-SAT., OCT., 28-29: TEXAS COASTAL PRAIRIE CONFFERENCE: PRESERVING LANDS & LEGACIES. University of Houston Clear Lake Bayou Building,https://www.prairiepartner.org/conference

 

WED., NOV. 2: BEES AND THE ENVIRONMENT by ED BOYER, 9:30-11am, Webster Presbyterian Church, 201 NASA Pkwy, Webster. Gardeners By The Bay event. gbtb.org

 

FRI., NOV. 4 - SUN., NOV. 13: BETTY AND JACOB FRIEDMAN HOLISTIC GARDEN HOLISTIC STORE SONGBIRD & POLLINATOR PLANT SALE, Rice University. Inventory, ordering & pPickup: ebank.rice.edu/C21279_ustores/web/store

 

SAT., NOV. 5: 49th ANNUAL HERB FAIR by THE HERB SOCIETY OF AMERICA, SOUTH TEXAS UNIT, 9am-2pm, Southside Place Clubhouse, 3743 Garnet St. Free. herbsociety-stu.org

 

SAT., NOV. 5: DISEASES AND INSECTS, 10-11am, Beauty's Community Garden, 3201 Airline Dr. Free but register: https://bit.ly/3RSTppZ

 

SAT., NOV. 5: NATIVE TEXAS PLANTS by MARK BOWEN, 10:30, Wabash Feed and Garden, 4537 N. Shepherd,$10. Register here https://bit.ly/3VbBD3mwabashfeed.com

 

THURS., NOV. 10: PEST FREE ORGANICALLY by JAY WHITE, 7-9pm, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1819 Heights Blvd. Houston Rose Society/Houston event. Free. Virtual: meet.goto.com/475926661   

 

SAT., NOV. 11: HARVEST, HANDLING & STORAGE, 10-11am, Beauty's Community Garden, 3201 Airline Dr. Free but register: https://bit.ly/3RSTppZ

 

SAT., NOV. 12: FRIENDS OF MERCER BOTANIC GARDENS VIRTUAL CAMELLIA & WINTER COLOR SALE, 8am, 713-274-4166, friendsofmercer.com

 

SAT., NOV. 12: GOOD SOIL IS THE LIVING LAYER OF EARTH 9am-noon, Texas AgriLife Extension, 9020 Airport Rd., Conroe. 936-539-7824. MCMGA.com

 

MON., NOV 14, BOTANICAL LATIN FOR THE GARDENER by ANNE MULLINS, 6:30-8:30pm. Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 2920 Woodland Hills, Kingwood. Lake Houston Garden Club event, Free 

 

TUES., NOV. 15: ALL ABOUT BROMELIADS by ALICIA BAKER,10am, St. Basil's Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land. Free. sugarlandgardenclub.org

 

THUR., DEC. 1, PLANTABLE CHRISTMAS TREE ALTERNATIVES (virtual) by BRANDI KELLER, 10-11am. Free. Registerhomegrown2022.eventbrite.com

 

WED., DEC. 7: HOW TO GROW AMARYLLIS by PATTY CORDRAY, 9:30-11am Webster Presbyterian Church, 201 NASA Parkway, Webster. Gardeners By The Bay 

 

 

 

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