By Bob Dailey
- Follow the Integrated Pest Management program promoted by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. IPM integrates best practices for control of pests and diseases. It includes preventive cultural practices, monitoring, mechanical controls, biological controls, and finally chemical controls if all else fails. For more complete information, call the Montgomery County Master Gardeners Hotline at 936-539-7824.
- Water your lawn only when the Weekly Irrigation Recommendation email advises it. Every week, Woodlands Water sends out this eblast to over 21,000 residents of The Woodlands with irrigation recommendations based on evapotranspiration information as well as rainfall. If you’re not on the email list, go to www.woodlandswater.org and sign up for email.
- Always use organic matter when installing turf or other vegetation. You can accomplish this either by making your own or buying it from a facility that is certified organic. For more information, see findacomposter.com.
- Mow winter weeds before they create seed heads instead of using weed and feed products.
- Give a gift of landscape design (perhaps to yourself). If you want something less expensive but still of value, purchase a landscaping book. A large number of them, many featuring Texas landscape designs, are on the market.
- Mulch flower beds and shrubs. It saves water, helps prevent disease and weeds, and helps keep the soil at a more moderate temperature.
- Check your irrigation system. Make sure your sprinkler heads are spraying in the proper direction and not watering sidewalks, driveways and streets. If you haven’t done so already, schedule a free inspection ($75 value) by the W.I.S.E. Guys. Go to the Woodlands Water website to sign up.
- If you mow yourself, get your mower tuned up and the blades sharpened.
- If you plan to buy topsoil next year, buy carefully. Much topsoil has nutsedge in it. Nutsedge is almost impossible to eradicate. Buy your topsoil from a reputable dealer and ask where it comes from.
- Thou shalt not commit “crepe murder” by over-pruning crepe myrtles or any other shrub or tree. Knuckling of crepe myrtles shortens their lives, encourages disease and pest damage, and overall damages the tree.
- Do not plant winter rye. Winter rye may be pretty, but this type of turf requires much more water than St. Augustine or Zoysia, and also requires a lot of nutrients from the soil.
Following these practices can give you a headstart on any problems that may arise in your yard. It will also save you money in the long run.