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Name: Landscapes & Gardens
Community: Mueller Community
Moderator: bgierisch15
Description: L&G is for anyone interested in our flora and fauna, whether it be our fabulous Blackland Prairie in the SW Greenbelt, our personal flowers and shrubs, other public spaces, or your own herb, veggie and container gardens. We plan meetings and events to educate ourselves and our neighbors to create and maintain a natural environment that's friendly to native plants, animals, birds, bees, butterflies and future generations.

Join the group to get in the loop for meetings, workshops, Friends of the Prairie and other fun. This is not a stuffed-shirt garden club, it's a down-in-the-dirt way to enjoy and enhance our natural environment. If you can dig it, dig it here and join the group ... Non-Mueller neighbors welcome!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on January 21st, 2017
Wild Foods....Could you survive off the land in Austin?

Learn how Native Americans and early settlers survived using native plants for food, medicine, fiber and "recreation."

Patty Leslie-Pazstor, an ethnobotanist, will reveal surprising uses for native plants on Saturday, Jan. 28, in Wildflower Terrace (3801 Tom Miller) from 10 to 11 a.m..

Kids and adults will love this talk.

This talk is free, open to all, and sponsored by the Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee and the Friends of the Mueller Prairie.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on October 27th, 2016

A Winter of
Birding at Mueller

Monday, Nov. 7, 7-9 p.m.
Wildflower Terrace Theater
Corner of Berkman and Tom Miller
Free and open to all

Kickoff presentation for a Winter of Birding

Jane Tillman of the Travis Audubon Society will present a slideshow and discuss the birds that might be seen at Mueller in the winter. She will cover four general environments: our lakes, our prairies, our urban areas, and the sky overhead. Dr. Tillman is a noted Texas bird expert who is a popular speaker.

AJ Johnson, also of Travis Audubon Society, and an adviser to the Mueller P.O.A. on bird habitat, will show photos of the barn owl family that lives in our Control Tower.

This presentation will be suitable for beginners and experienced birders alike.

Upcoming Outdoor Birding Sessions

One day every month, bird experts will be available at Mueller. They will bring spotting scopes and binoculars to assist anyone who wants to learn more about birding in winter. Winter is an excellent time to observe many bird species that enjoy Central Texas.

Watch for announcements of time and date!

This presentation is brought to you by your Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee, a group of volunteers committed to preserving our green open spaces in Mueller.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 24th, 2016
Pollinators: Bees and More!

9 a.m., Sunday, June 5
Wildflower Terrace

Valerie Bugh, a butterfly, bee and spider expert, will give a talk on native pollinators illustrated with her own gorgeous photography. Then she will take us on a nature walk in the Mueller grounds to show us pollinators and their habitat.

Native pollinators as well as domesticated bees are in steep decline. These insects are critical to our gardens, our food crops and our native plants. Come and find out how Mueller is supporting these creatures and how you can help in your own yard.

Program presented by your Mueller POA Landscape Committee
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Lorrie wrote
on January 28th, 2016
Anyone interested in a small indoor composter? Keep it in your garage & use compost in your garden. Here's a link: http://www.citicite.com/mueller/index.php?module=Forums&op=posts&ForumID=22&TopicID=11682&page=1#Post39851
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on September 17th, 2015
The Native Plant Society of Texas will have experts at the Sept. 26 Mueller Greenways Garden Tour.

Native plants are essential to the health of our environment and the health of our native birds and butterflies.

Native plants can also be beautiful in the home landscape, as well as require less water and supplements.

Come visit with the Native Plant Society expert and learn why Mueller uses native plants in its landscape.

Mueller Greenways Garden Tour
Meet at the Spider
9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 26

Face-painting for kids
Free live music

Sponsored by the Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on September 12th, 2015
Support Friends of the Mueller Prairie
at the Mueller Community Yard Sale

Got stuff? Donate it to the Friends of the Mueller Prairie. We will sell it at the Mueller Community Yard Sale on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Proceeds will support purchase of native seeds and plants, educational event costs, and other prairie-support activities.

Bring your donated items to the house on the corner of Antone and Mendez (across from Ella Wooten Park) by 8:30 a.m., Sept. 26.

Any items left unsold will be donated to Goodwill.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the sale table, please contact Janelle.

Thank you!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on September 12th, 2015
Support Friends of the Mueller Prairie
at the Mueller Community Yard Sale

Got stuff? Donate it to the Friends of the Mueller Prairie. We will sell it at the Mueller Community Yard Sale on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Proceeds will support purchase of native seeds and plants, educational event costs, and other prairie-support activities.

Bring your donated items to the house on the corner of Antone and Mendez (across from Ella Wooten Park) by 8:30 a.m., Sept. 26.

Any items left unsold will be donated to Goodwill.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the sale table, please contact Janelle.

Thank you!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on September 3rd, 2015
Would you like to be part of the Mueller Greenways Garden Tour and rub shoulders with our great line-up of experts? Easy tasks the week before and the day of. Event is the morning of Saturday, Sept. 26.

If you are interested, please send me a private message or post a comment here.

We have experts in these areas:

Birds
Spiders
Herbs (growing, cooking, skin care and traditional uses)
Native Plants
Design of the Mueller Greenways and Mueller Orchard
Fruit trees and vegetables
Urban wildlife

Janelle
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 27th, 2015
Do you want this guy in your garden? (See the photo on the General Rumors section of Citicite.)

One of our Mueller residents is sun-bathing. Who is he (or she)?

Find out on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Mueller Greenway Garden Tour. Drop by between 9 a.m. and noon, and a Master Naturalist will identify this little critter for you. She'll tell you what it eats, what eats it, where it lives, how it raises its young and why we are so happy it lives in our neighborhood,

This event is FREE and OPEN to everyone!
Children are welcome.
Come to the Mueller Native Plant Demonstration Garden near Tom Miller and Sahm


Sponsored by your Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee

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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 26th, 2015
Learn about growing fruits and herbs!

Colleen Dieter of Red Wheelbarrow Landscaping will be on hand the morning of Sept. 26 to advise you on how to grow fruits and herbs (as well as vegetables) in your Mueller yard or community garden plot.

Colleen will be one of the many plant and urban wildlife experts available at the Mueller Greenways Garden Tour on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Meet Colleen in the Mueller Fruit Orchard on the corner of Berkman and Tom Miller across from Wildflower Terrace.

Colleen can also advise you on pruning your landscape plants to prepare for the winter.

The Mueller Greenways Garden Tour is sponsored by your Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 26th, 2015

Hi, Friends:

Betsy Ross of Sustainable Growth Texas will be speaking at the Mueller Greenways Garden Tour on the morning of Sept. 26. Betsy is conducting a soil improvement test on a section of the prairie. Her approach is to boost the microbes in the soil and to bring the balance of soil fungi and soil bacteria to a level appropriate for native plants.

Betsy has successfully raised cattle on native grass pastures for years. She has undertaken many native grass improvement projects on private ranches. Betsy is a fascinating person and I know you would enjoy meeting her.

Betsy will be on-hand at the Mueller Greenways Garden Tour the morning of Sept. 26. She looks forward to explaining her approach to growing native grasses and her view of the benefits of native plants in the Texas environment.

Many other native plant and animal experts will be present to visit with event attendees.

Where: Sahm and Tom Miller at the Demonstration Garden
When: morning of Saturday, Sept. 26 (exact time to be announced)
Cost: FREE!

Sponsored by your Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee

Janelle Dozier
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 21st, 2015

Hi, All:

The Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee is trying something new to revitalize the Mueller Prairie. Below is a short article I wrote describing the project for the Mueller Messenger. An update follows. I think you will find this an interesting approach to improving our prairie. In addition, it gives you an idea of some of the concentrated effort that has been happening in the background.

Janelle

Soil Biology Experiment in Mueller Prairie
or
Feeding the Soil, So the Soil Can Feed the Plants


by Janelle Dozier
Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee


Some of you may have encountered a whiff of "eau d' compost" as you jogged down the granite path next to the blooming prairie on Tom Miller in June. A section of the Mueller Prairie (from Zach Scott to Antone) was treated with a liquid compost extract to improve the soil. The Mueller P.O.A. has hired Sustainable Growth Texas to conduct an experiment to see if feeding the soil will encourage native prairie grasses and discourage invasive species such as johnsongrass.

According to Betsy Ross, the founder of the company, the reason we have so much johnsongrass, Bermuda grass, and other invasive exotic plants growing in our prairie is that the soil has the wrong proportions of fungi to bacteria. Her company treats the soil to address this imbalance.

Betsy has developed a system of natural soil improvements through years of trials on ranch land and native pastures in Texas. Betsy has found that the proportion of soil fungi to soil bacteria affects what kinds of plants flourish in a particular parcel of land. Native Texas plants like a ratio of 1 to 1 fungi to bacteria. Invasive weeds like johnsongrass and bermuda grass like soils that are completely dominated by bacteria. Conifers and old-growth forests like the proportion of fungi to be as much as 10,000 times that of the bacteria in the soil!

Betsy's company sprays a specially-brewed batch of compost extracts on the soil which include beneficial micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. This inoculates the soil and stimulates the development of a robust, diverse, and complex soil food web appropriate to the type of plants we want to grow. Betsy says that not only will the grasses grow taller and healthier above ground, but their roots will be able to penetrate deeply into the soil. This makes the soil much more water-absorbent, reducing runoff, and making water more available to the plants.

We will give the experiment time to show results, at least a year. If we see significant improvement in the growth of native grasses and decline in invasive species, we will consider applying Sustainable Growth Texas' technique to the rest of the prairie.

To learn more of the technical details go to http://www.sustainablegrowthtexas.com . Betsy also sells grassfed beef from her own ranch on pastures on which she uses these products. This technique is organic.

Update August 19, 2015

The prairie was mowed in early August, after the wildflowers had set seed. Per the Wildflower Center's and Betsy Ross's request, the new landscape contractors (5 Star) brought in different equipment and set the mowing height as high as possible, giving us an effective cut of about six inches. Native grasses as a rule do not do well with low mowing, and it also encourages the accursed Bermuda grass. With our previous landscape contractors, we had not been able to achieve a mowing height above four inches, and sometimes less, which has had a negative effect on the native grasses.

On August 17 we watered the experimental section of the prairie with the equivalent of a 1/4 inch rain. Sustainable Growth sprayed another batch of liquid treatment on August 18. This treatment includes microbes that will hopefully help break down the "litter" of the mowing into soil nutrients. Betsy tells us that up to now the litter layer has been oxidizing rather than breaking down in to nutrients accessible to the plants. This is because the soil doesn't have the correct microbes to break down the plant debris. Sustainable Growth will follow up with a treatment of minerals and other nutrients.

Essentially, we are trying to jump-start the soil chemistry by about 200 years! If we just left the prairie alone, that's about the length of time it would take for natural processes to transform the compacted clay underneath the layer of conserved topsoil into something approximating healthy soil. Since we humans don't live on a geologic time scale, we're hoping Sustainable Growth will speed up the process.

We have been told by both the Wildflower Center and Betsy Ross that it is time for our prairie to be moving from dominance by annual wildflowers and grasses to dominance by perennial grasses and perennial blooming plants. The prairie seems to be stalled at this point, and we are hoping Betsy's soil treatments will get us into this transition. Annual wildflowers and grasses have been excellent to hold the soil and cover the ground. But, perennials that will have a better chance of out-competing the invasives. Perennials also have very deep roots, which allows them to survive drought better than many other plants. These deep roots will also gradually break up the compacted soil underneath our prairie.

So, wish the prairie luck! We're hoping to see progress in a year.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 21st, 2015

Hi, All:

The Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee is trying something new to revitalize the Mueller Prairie. Below is a short article I wrote describing the project for the Mueller Messenger. An update follows. I think you will find this an interesting approach to improving our prairie. In addition, it gives you an idea of some of the concentrated effort that has been happening in the background.

Janelle

Soil Biology Experiment in Mueller Prairie
or
Feeding the Soil, So the Soil Can Feed the Plants


by Janelle Dozier
Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee


Some of you may have encountered a whiff of "eau d' compost" as you jogged down the granite path next to the blooming prairie on Tom Miller in June. A section of the Mueller Prairie (from Zach Scott to Antone) was treated with a liquid compost extract to improve the soil. The Mueller P.O.A. has hired Sustainable Growth Texas to conduct an experiment to see if feeding the soil will encourage native prairie grasses and discourage invasive species such as johnsongrass.

According to Betsy Ross, the founder of the company, the reason we have so much johnsongrass, Bermuda grass, and other invasive exotic plants growing in our prairie is that the soil has the wrong proportions of fungi to bacteria. Her company treats the soil to address this imbalance.

Betsy has developed a system of natural soil improvements through years of trials on ranch land and native pastures in Texas. Betsy has found that the proportion of soil fungi to soil bacteria affects what kinds of plants flourish in a particular parcel of land. Native Texas plants like a ratio of 1 to 1 fungi to bacteria. Invasive weeds like johnsongrass and bermuda grass like soils that are completely dominated by bacteria. Conifers and old-growth forests like the proportion of fungi to be as much as 10,000 times that of the bacteria in the soil!

Betsy's company sprays a specially-brewed batch of compost extracts on the soil which include beneficial micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. This inoculates the soil and stimulates the development of a robust, diverse, and complex soil food web appropriate to the type of plants we want to grow. Betsy says that not only will the grasses grow taller and healthier above ground, but their roots will be able to penetrate deeply into the soil. This makes the soil much more water-absorbent, reducing runoff, and making water more available to the plants.

We will give the experiment time to show results, at least a year. If we see significant improvement in the growth of native grasses and decline in invasive species, we will consider applying Sustainable Growth Texas' technique to the rest of the prairie.

To learn more of the technical details go to http://www.sustainablegrowthtexas.com . Betsy also sells grassfed beef from her own ranch on pastures on which she uses these products. This technique is organic.

Update August 19, 2015

The prairie was mowed in early August, after the wildflowers had set seed. Per the Wildflower Center's and Betsy Ross's request, the new landscape contractors (5 Star) brought in different equipment and set the mowing height as high as possible, giving us an effective cut of about six inches. Native grasses as a rule do not do well with low mowing, and it also encourages the accursed Bermuda grass. With our previous landscape contractors, we had not been able to achieve a mowing height above four inches, and sometimes less, which has had a negative effect on the native grasses.

On August 17 we watered the experimental section of the prairie with the equivalent of a 1/4 inch rain. Sustainable Growth sprayed another batch of liquid treatment on August 18. This treatment includes microbes that will hopefully help break down the "litter" of the mowing into soil nutrients. Betsy tells us that up to now the litter layer has been oxidizing rather than breaking down in to nutrients accessible to the plants. This is because the soil doesn't have the correct microbes to break down the plant debris. Sustainable Growth will follow up with a treatment of minerals and other nutrients.

Essentially, we are trying to jump-start the soil chemistry by about 200 years! If we just left the prairie alone, that's about the length of time it would take for natural processes to transform the compacted clay underneath the layer of conserved topsoil into something approximating healthy soil. Since we humans don't live on a geologic time scale, we're hoping Sustainable Growth will speed up the process.

We have been told by both the Wildflower Center and Betsy Ross that it is time for our prairie to be moving from dominance by annual wildflowers and grasses to dominance by perennial grasses and perennial blooming plants. The prairie seems to be stalled at this point, and we are hoping Betsy's soil treatments will get us into this transition. Annual wildflowers and grasses have been excellent to hold the soil and cover the ground. But, perennials that will have a better chance of out-competing the invasives. Perennials also have very deep roots, which allows them to survive drought better than many other plants. These deep roots will also gradually break up the compacted soil underneath our prairie.

So, wish the prairie luck! We're hoping to see progress in a year.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 14th, 2015
Mueller Greenways Garden Tour cancelled

The threat of rain and the saturated ground in the garden and orchard have made it necessary to cancel the tour. We will reschedule in September.

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Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 14th, 2015
Mueller Greenways Garden Tour cancelled

The threat of rain and the saturated ground in the garden and orchard have made it necessary to cancel the tour. We will reschedule in September.

User Profile Image
Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 14th, 2015
Mueller Greenways Garden Tour cancelled

The threat of rain and the saturated ground in the garden and orchard have made it necessary to cancel the tour. We will reschedule in September.

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Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 8th, 2015
Curious about how to grow fruit trees and herbs in our small yards?

Colleen Dieter, a garden coach, and Susan Norwood from the Austin Herb Society will be on hand Saturday, May 16, to answer all your questions.

Loquats, olives, peaches, pears, citrus and more have been planted in the Mueller Orchard. An herb garden has also been planted.

Mueller Greenways Garden Tour
Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m. - noon

A dozen expert speakers will be there!

Sponsored by your Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 8th, 2015
Curious about how to grow fruit trees and herbs in our small yards?

Colleen Dieter, a garden coach, and Susan Norwood from the Austin Herb Society will be on hand Saturday, May 16, to answer all your questions.

Loquats, olives, peaches, pears, citrus and more have been planted in the Mueller Orchard. An herb garden has also been planted.

Mueller Greenways Garden Tour
Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m. - noon

A dozen expert speakers will be there!

Sponsored by your Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on January 18th, 2015
The long awaited Mueller Community Gardens are scheduled to open this Fall. Here are the details:

* 132 raised beds, 4 feet by 8 feet, filled with good garden soil
* 16 beds raised to tabletop level for gardeners with disabilities
* 10 foot wide walkways
* 4 hose bibs
* 2 compost systems with three bins
* tool shed
* shade structure made from the old Mueller Airport bus stop canopies (how cool is that?)
* 4 foot high decorative metal fence, probably with vines growing on top

This is a state of the art garden!

The garden will need a committee to determine the rules of membership and use before it opens. Sunshine Gardens has promised to provide advice and guidance to the committee. The committee will be a P.O.A. committee similar to the pool committee and the landscape committee.

To volunteer for the committee or to get on the waiting list for a garden plot, contact Jennifer Harvey the Mueller Property Manager. jharvey@allianceonline.net
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on July 17th, 2014
Lorrie, your lawn guy gave you good advice. It is always better for the environment to save poisons for serious problems that can't be cured any other way. A roach outside is not a cause for concern. It is probably feeding on dead plant material and helping to recyle it. Wasps and fire ants are a good reason to wear shoes outside! Wasps also hve a place in the ecosystem, and like your lawn guy says, nothing to worry about unless your lawn is not usable (or you have an allergy to wasp stings). I make an exception for fire ants!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on July 17th, 2014
Lorrie, your lawn guy gave you good advice. It is always better for the environment to save poisons for serious problems that can't be cured any other way. A roach outside is not a cause for concern. It is probably feeding on dead plant material and helping to recyle it. Wasps and fire ants are a good reason to wear shoes outside! Wasps also hve a place in the ecosystem, and like your lawn guy says, nothing to worry about unless your lawn is not usable (or you have an allergy to wasp stings). I make an exception for fire ants!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on July 17th, 2014
Lorrie, your lawn guy gave you good advice. It is always better for the environment to save poisons for serious problems that can't be cured any other way. A roach outside is not a cause for concern. It is probably feeding on dead plant material and helping to recyle it. Wasps and fire ants are a good reason to wear shoes outside! Wasps also hve a place in the ecosystem, and like your lawn guy says, nothing to worry about unless your lawn is not usable (or you have an allergy to wasp stings). I make an exception for fire ants!
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Lorrie wrote
on July 16th, 2014
I found out it was a ground wasp that I saw. The lawn guy said not to worry unless I see a bunch more nests.
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Lorrie wrote
on July 15th, 2014
I think I saw a roach digging a hole in my grass. Is that possible? It ran so fast I couldn't really tell. Today I see a little pile of dirt and the hole. Any suggestions on what I should do? Should I just spray some insecticide at the opening of the hole?
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Karen Lipinski wrote
on May 23rd, 2014
I would love to join this committee. How do I join?

I will not be in town & I'm gone all summer. How do I get a copy of the tour map? When I'm back in Austin, I would love to drive past the houses.

Karen Lipinski
Karenslipinski@gmail.com

Gardening is one of my passions!
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Karen Lipinski wrote
on May 23rd, 2014
I would love to join this committee. How do I join?

I will not be in town & I'm gone all summer. How do I get a copy of the tour map? When I'm back in Austin, I would love to drive past the houses.

Karen Lipinski
Karenslipinski@gmail.com

Gardening is one of my passions!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on October 30th, 2013
Research shows that drought continues to stress trees seven years afterward. Even though we have gotten great rain this last month, Mueller trees have been hit by severe drought for several years. Even if they have survived the drought, they have depleted their strength and are susceptible to disease. Come to the Tree Care Workshop, 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 2 and see a demonstration of proper pruning and hear how to care for your valuable trees. 4233 Threadgill. Thanks to Joe Denton and the POA Landscape Committee. It's FREE!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on October 16th, 2013
What: Butterfly Gardening for Texas
Geyata Ajilvsgi, noted author, will do question and answers about butterflies in the landscape
Where: Zilker Botanical Garden Center Building
When: Oct. 28, 7 p.m.
Cost: FREE to the public


Oct 28 Butterfly Forum meeting: “Butterfly Gardening for Texas”
Speaker: Geyata Ajilvsgi

Geyata Ajilvsgi has authored several books about butterfly gardening and wildflowers. Her new book is “Butterfly Gardening for Texas” (Louise Lindsey Merrick Natural Environment Series). There will be some copies for sale at the meeting, or the book can be ordered at:
http://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Gardening-Lindsey-Merrick-Environment/dp/1603448063/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379134506&sr=1-1&keywords=geyata
Geyata's favorite format is to open the floor to questions and allow the audience's interests to carry her from topic to topic. Judging from a previous talk, this is sure to be a popular meeting
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on October 16th, 2013
What: Butterfly Gardening for Texas
Geyata Ajilvsgi, noted author, will do question and answers about butterflies in the landscape
Where: Zilker Botanical Garden Center Building
When: Oct. 28, 7 p.m.
Cost: FREE to the public


Oct 28 Butterfly Forum meeting: “Butterfly Gardening for Texas”
Speaker: Geyata Ajilvsgi

Geyata Ajilvsgi has authored several books about butterfly gardening and wildflowers. Her new book is “Butterfly Gardening for Texas” (Louise Lindsey Merrick Natural Environment Series). There will be some copies for sale at the meeting, or the book can be ordered at:
http://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Gardening-Lindsey-Merrick-Environment/dp/1603448063/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379134506&sr=1-1&keywords=geyata
Geyata's favorite format is to open the floor to questions and allow the audience's interests to carry her from topic to topic. Judging from a previous talk, this is sure to be a popular meeting
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on October 14th, 2013

What: Tree Care Workshop
When: Sat., Nov. 2, 10-11:30 a.m.
Where: 4233 Threadgill
Who: Tim Brosnan, certified arborist
Cost: FREE to everyone
Sponsor: Mueller POA Landscape Committee

Fall and Winter are the ideal times to prune and trim your trees.

Come to a tree care workshop to learn how to feed, water and mulch your trees.

See a demonstration of proper pruning techniques on a Mueller homeowner's trees!

Tim Brosnan, a certified arborist, ISA, and owner of Outdoor Craft, LLC, will demonstrate techniques and answer your questions. Tim is a neighbor living in Windsor Park. He did the landscape design and installation for Contigo, and he has a real passion for working with trees.

Tree care handouts and brochures will be available.

Bring your questions!

Thanks to Joe Denton for organizing this workshop sponsored by the Mueller POA Landscape Committee. Many thanks also to the Mueller homeowner who has offered her trees for the demonstration!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 30th, 2013
Here are Neil Sperry's tips on dealing with drought in the garden. You can sign up for his excellent monthly newsletter. He is based in Dallas, so his recommendations are fairly applicable to Austin.

• Start with adapted plants. That is, plants that are suited to your part of Texas. It really doesn't matter whether those plants are native to Texas or not. It's much more important that they will thrive in your gardens.

• Fall (October/November) is the best time for planting. It gives the new plants the maximum time to establish new roots before summer returns.

• Hand-water plants every couple of days the first summer or two after planting. Sprinkler irrigation alone won't be enough, especially when you're on strict watering curtailments.

• Eliminate all weeds and unwanted plants that rob the soil of available moisture. Weeds use far more water than most of our landscaping plants.

• Mulch beds to reduce soil-to-air contact. Mulches make very great differences in speed with which soils dry out. Organic mulches (bark, compost, shredded tree leaves, etc.) have several benefits over gravel, rubber and other inorganic mulches.

• Do not apply nitrogen fertilizer during the hottest times of the summer. Fall feedings are the most important of the entire growing season.

Note that raising the lawn mower blade does not conserve moisture as some will have you believe. It's better to keep mowing at the recommended height (for the type of grass that you're growing) 12 months a year.

Finally, "smart" controllers conserve a great deal of water when they're installed by a professional and kept in good working order. They take into consideration factors like plant species, soil type, sun/shade, slope, type of sprinkler heads, temperature, wind and recent weather to determine when the sprinkler system should run, also for how long each station will irrigate. Typical savings with these modern controllers is 30 to 50 percent of prior consumption.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 29th, 2013
Hi, Mueller Gardeners:

Want to work with plants, but it is just too darn hot outside in Austin? How about joining the Ikebana Study Group? Or the Orchid Society? Or the African Violets Society?

Want to grow edibles, but your Mueller yard is too darn small? How about joining the Herb Society?

Want to identify all those butterflies flitting past your porch? Join the Austin Butterfly Forum.

Many other specialized garden interests have their own organization for learning and activities.

Details on the Garden Clubs of Austin Open House are below.

Janelle


ZILKER BOTANICAL GARDEN
OPEN HOUSE
2220 Barton Springs Rd.
Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

What's the best place to learn about Central Texas gardening? Zilker Botanical Garden! Austin Area Garden Council's 30 member garden clubs give numerous programs every month, most of which are free and open to the public. Some of this year’s topics include rainwater harvesting, composting and growing earth kind roses. If you have questions such as which plants will attract butterflies, how do I prune this bonsai, or what is eating my plant, you can find help at the Garden Center.


Join us at our Open House to learn more about our clubs. Featured events include:
· Garden Tours
· Plant Clinic - for free advice about that sick plant, bring a cutting!
· Flower Arranging Demonstrations
· Growing Culinary Herbs


Participating clubs include the Creative Designers, Master Gardeners, Organic Gardeners, Iris Society, Herb Society, Butterfly Forum, Daylily Society, Pond Society, Violet Crown Garden Club, Bonsai Society, Bamboo Society, Yaupon Garden Club, Ikebana Study Group, Cactus & Succulent Society, Zilker Garden Club, African Violet Society, Begonia Society, East Austin Garden Club, Orchid Society, Western Trails Garden Club, Porcelain Arts Club, Rose Society and Zilker Docents.


Volunteer opportunities include horticulture, docents, gift shop and Zilker Garden Festival.

http://www.zilkergarden.org/


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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 27th, 2013

Valerie Bugh's talk about Austin butterflies last night had some advice for gardeners:

1. Butterflies like any flower that has good nectar. They aren't picky! In Austin, we will have some butterflies year-round, so gardeners should try to have some flowers blooming all year.

2. Butterflies are very picky in the plants that they will lay their eggs on. The eggs hatch into caterpillars and the caterpillars feed on the host plant....which may be your prized lemon tree! But, without caterpillars there are no butterflies, so think twice before killing caterpillars.

3. Butterflies and caterpillars face many hazards: birds, wasps that lay eggs inside the caterpillar, then hatch and eat their way out (visions of "Alien"), jumping spiders, etc., but the scariest hazard is pesticide in the hands of uninformed gardeners.

4. Learn more about butterflies and caterpillars:

Valerie Bugh does a fauna survey every Saturday at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. She invites people to attend. Call for information.

Valerie is also teaching a course on butterflies for the Lifetime Learning Institute. Eight weeks for only $20. What a deal! Catalogs are in city libraries.

Valerie Bugh's fold-out laminated guide "Butterflies of Central Texas" is available at most bookstores and many nurseries. It's about $8, but worth it.

Geyata Ajilvsgi has written a new guide "Butterfly Gardening in Texas" which is available through Texas A&M Press. She will speak Oct. 28 at Zilker Gardens.

The Austin Butterfly Forum is a great organization for both newbies and fanatics.

Janelle
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 19th, 2013
Butterfly talk by Valerie Bugh
Aug. 26, 7 p.m.
Zilker Botanical Center

If you missed Valerie's exceptional talk and prairie walk at Wildflower Terrace awhile back, here's a chance to catch her again.



The Austin Butterfly Forum meets at the Zilker Botanical Garden Center at 7:00 pm on the 4th Monday of every month except for December. Most meetings are free and open to the public.
August 26 meeting: “Butterflies” by Val Bugh. Zilker Botanical Garden 7 pm. Free.
There is a lot more to butterflies than just pretty wings. These insects are a dynamic component of the ecosystem and offer people a manageable glimpse into the complex world of arthropods. This program covers the major groups of butterflies, their predators, behaviors, challenges, life cycle, and survival strategies.
Valerie Bugh is a local naturalist specializing in the arthropods of the Austin area, with interests in taxonomy and photography. She runs the Fauna Project at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, leads insect discovery walks, provides insect/spider identifications, gives talks to local organizations, and has published a pocket guide to "The Butterflies of Central Texas." See her website at: http://www.austinbug.com
Val is one of the best speakers in the Austin area. Her talks are illustrated with amazing original photos, and she always has interesting stories and facts to share. Come join us for a fun and informative evening!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 19th, 2013
Butterfly talk by Valerie Bugh
Aug. 26, 7 p.m.
Zilker Botanical Center

If you missed Valerie's exceptional talk and prairie walk at Wildflower Terrace awhile back, here's a chance to catch her again.



The Austin Butterfly Forum meets at the Zilker Botanical Garden Center at 7:00 pm on the 4th Monday of every month except for December. Most meetings are free and open to the public.
August 26 meeting: “Butterflies” by Val Bugh. Zilker Botanical Garden 7 pm. Free.
There is a lot more to butterflies than just pretty wings. These insects are a dynamic component of the ecosystem and offer people a manageable glimpse into the complex world of arthropods. This program covers the major groups of butterflies, their predators, behaviors, challenges, life cycle, and survival strategies.
Valerie Bugh is a local naturalist specializing in the arthropods of the Austin area, with interests in taxonomy and photography. She runs the Fauna Project at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, leads insect discovery walks, provides insect/spider identifications, gives talks to local organizations, and has published a pocket guide to "The Butterflies of Central Texas." See her website at: http://www.austinbug.com
Val is one of the best speakers in the Austin area. Her talks are illustrated with amazing original photos, and she always has interesting stories and facts to share. Come join us for a fun and informative evening!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 17th, 2013
Thursday night's one-inch rainfall was great, but that is only a two-week reprieve for our drought-stressed urban trees.

Because of the on-going severe drought in Central Texas, Austin is under Stage 2 watering restrictions. Declining lake levels will probably trigger Stage 3 restrictions.

Restrictions severely limit when we can use our automatic irrigation systems or hose-end sprinklers. You can only use the automatic irrigation system ONE day a week. Under Stage 2, It can only run between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Under Stage 3, you can run the automatic irrigation between midnight and 6 a.m. Also, ornamental fountains cannot have an "aerial fall" of water greater than 4 inches unless the aeration is needed to "preserve habitat for aquatic life." Go to Waterwise Austin for more details on Stage 2.

We rarely hear about a few important methods of watering which are ALLOWED on ANY day, even during Stage 2 and Stage 3 restrictions. Below, I'm listing the methods most applicable to Mueller homeowners.

ALLOWED methods of watering: Remember: Runoff down the street is illegal even if you are using these methods.

1. Watering BY HAND with a hose. You need to be holding the hose in your hand, not letting it run unattended.
2. Watering using a "refillable watering vessel." This is a BUCKET or watering can.
3. Using DRIP irrigation.
4. Watering TREES using an automatic BUBBLER system. The bubbler must be under the drip line of the tree canopy.
5. Watering TREES using a SOAKER hose. The soaker hose must be under the drip line of the tree canopy.
6. Watering VEGETABLE gardens with a SOAKER hose.

Currently, I water my trees using 20-gallon fiberglass plant pots with drip holes. This way I can tell how much water I am putting on the trees and the water runs out of the pot slowly. I figure that these can be considered "refillable vessels" but I keep an eye on them so that they don't overflow or cause runoff. I try to water every two weeks if we have not had at least an inch of rain.

These alternative methods should be enough to keep our trees alive, keep a vegetable garden going, and get new Fall plantings established, especially if the plants are native or adapted to the Austin climate. From what I hear, Stage 2 restrictions will likely be the norm. Native and adapted plants will have an easier time dealing with this watering regime than plants adapted to more moist climates. Local, independent nurseries tend to stock locally-appropriate plants.

Good luck!

Janelle
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Claire T. wrote
on August 15th, 2013
Janelle, thanks so much for the info about the Monarch talk and the prairie mowing update :-)

I did try growing milkweed last year from seeds I got on Amazon.com. Trying to get them to germinate was a little tedious. Next time I'll just scatter the seeds in the bed and wish them luck. Small plants tolerate being moved, so don't worry if they come up in weird places.

I can vouch for the aphid attraction. Glad it's not just my yard ;-) The milkweed plants don't mind the jet spray from the hose, though, and that takes care of the aphids.

The seed pods are pretty obvious, so if you want to save some for next season or spread seeds in a particular area, you'll get the opportunity.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 15th, 2013
Due to an acute shortage of bison, the Mueller Prairie will be mowed in August. Our mowing schedule follows recommendations by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Why we mow the prairie:

1. Periodic mowing mimics the effect of grazing by native bison. Before settlement of Austin, bison would move through the prairie in massive herds, eating the grasses and herbs (flowers). Their hooves scuffling the top of the soil which would break up hard crusted soil making it more able to absorb rain. Their manure would fertilize the soil. Unlike pastured livestock, the bison would intensely graze an area and move on, not coming back for months.

While we miss out on the manure and "hoof action," we do leave the mown grass on the prairie. This plant matter decomposes and enriches the soil with the types of nutrients and microscopic life that makes the soil more receptive to native plants.

2. Summer-flowering wildflowers (bluebonnets, Indian blankets, Mexican hats, etc., ) and many native grasses have set their seed heads now. Mowing scatters the seeds and allows sunlight to reach the soil in places which will stimulate them to germinate.

New protective measure for prairie wildlife during mowing

Our prairie has developed a population of wildlife, including native birds, reptiles, and small mammals. Mowing removes habitat for some of these animals. Consequently, the POA Landscape Committee (who are also Friends of the Mueller Prairie) has recommended that a 20-foot diameter circle be left standing around the trees. This will provide refuge for existing wildlife.

In addition, the prairie Bowl will remain unmowed. This area also provides a refuge for existing wildlife.

If you have any questions about prairie mowing, please email me at janelledozier@yahoo.com

Thank you for supporting the Mueller Prairie!

Janelle
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 15th, 2013

I attended Mike Quinn's presentation on monarch butterflies yesterday. He is an entomologist and expressed interest in doing a workshop for us on monarchs in the future.

Here are some highlights of his talk. (I am not a scientist, so I'm just reporting what I understood Mike to be saying. Please let me know if there are glaring errors! Thanks to Lynn Hill for catching an earlier error!)

1. Austin is on the Eastern edge of the Fall migration of monarchs from Canada to Mexico. Typically, they fly a bit farther to the West. Another group of monarchs flies farther to the East over the Gulf Coast. In the Spring, Austin is in the main path of travel for monarchs. We will likely see them in April and May. So, we will typically see more monarchs in the Spring than in the Fall.

2. In the Fall, the Monarchs are coming back to Mexico to over-winter. It is a kind of hibernation. For the most part, they are just passing through Austin in early October, and are not laying eggs. In the Spring, the Monarchs are definitely laying eggs in Austin. So, the Spring crop of caterpillars needs milkweed growing and in bloom.

3. Monarchs don't really beat their wings in flight all the way from Canada to Mexico. In their travels, they mostly drift on the prevailing winds.

4. Monarchs don't fly at night. So, they don't fly over the Gulf of Mexico. It's too far for them to make it in daylight. They follow land down to Mexico and back.

5. Monarch caterpillars live on milkweeds, native and tropical. Without milkweeds, the caterpillars will starve, meaning no more monarchs. In the butterfly stage, Monarchs feed from many nectar sources, from native wildflowers to zinnias. It's the caterpillars that are so milkweed dependent.

6. The numbers of monarch butterflies are falling drastically for several reasons.

a) Storms in their wintering area in Mexico caused 80% mortality in 2001-2. Another storm in 2003-4 killed 70% of the monarchs. (Janelle's note: Storms are natural. We can't really do anything (quickly) about the weather.)

b) Threatened habitat loss due to illegal logging in their Mexican winter refuge.

c) Genetically-engineered farm crops in the U.S. The main monarch flyway from Canada to Mexico is over Midwestern agricultural land. Ninety percent of all soybeans and nearly all corn is genetically engineered with Bt genes and resistant to Round-Up herbicide. The Bt gene causes all caterpillars to die if they eat any part of the plant, including corn pollen that blows onto other plants. This is not as bad a problem for monarchs as the fact that farmers spray so much Round-Up on their crops, that the fields are completely without weeds.....meaning no milkweed. Ever since farmers began plowing fields in the U.S., milkweed in crop fields has been the main source of food for monarch caterpillars. (Yes, it is Monsanto who developed Round-Up Ready seed and inserted the Bt gene into corn and soybeans.)

An interesting sidelight: In natural North American prairies, milkweed is a rare plant. Milkweed likes disturbed soil, such as farm fields. So, it is likely that before large scale crop agriculture in the U.S. the monarchs had lower numbers than they did after widespread plowing.

Mike's point seems to be that although the Mexican government's efforts to save the monarch butterflies from illegal logging operations is challenged by the huge area the government needs to patrol (over 150,000 acres of mountains) and the elusiveness of the loggers, the biggest force pushing the monarchs toward extinction is the loss of milkweed.

7. It is a good idea for gardeners to plant milkweed to help the monarch butterflies. Tropical milkweed (Mexican milkweed) grows easily in garden environments. It is native to tropical Mexico. According to Mike, it does not tend to become an invasive weed here in Austin....our conditions are too tough for it. The several types of Texas native milkweeds are very fussy about germination and are difficult to grow in gardens. Antelope horn is one example of a native Texas milkweed. The six-foot tall roadside milkweed that I grew up with in Missouri is native to the Midwest and won't grow here. Native Texas milkweeds are antelope horn, green milkweed and zizotes milkweed.

8. If you want to grow milkweed, either grow it from seeds or buy plants from an organic source. Here's an ironic story: Milkweed is always attacked by aphids. Plant nurseries control for aphids in milkweed by treating the plants with a systemic pesticide that kills the aphids. Unfortunately, the systemic pesticide also kills the monarch caterpillars feeding on the milkweed. So, you can buy milkweed from a Big Box store and end up killing all the monarch caterpillars that eat it. The pesticide lasts as long as six weeks.

Native American Seed Company sells a Monarch Migration milkweed packet that includes seeds of native milkweeds and information on how to successfully germinate them. A cheaper alternative is to buy tropical milkweed seed in a garden store.

9. Tropical milkweed won't live through a winter with hard freezes, but it may reseed itself or you can plant new seeds.

10. An IMAX movie on the discovery of the monarch overwintering spot in Mexico is running at the Bob Bullock Museum.

11. Mike also recommended "Four Wings and a Prayer" by Sue Halpern about monarch migration. (Janelle's note: Barbara Kingsolver's novel "Flight Behavior" is also interesting.)

So...I guess we need to go out and buy milkweed seeds!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 15th, 2013

I attended Mike Quinn's presentation on monarch butterflies yesterday. He is an entomologist and expressed interest in doing a workshop for us on monarchs in the future.

Here are some highlights of his talk. (I am not a scientist, so I'm just reporting what I understood Mike to be saying. Please let me know if there are glaring errors! Thanks to Lynn Hill for catching an earlier error!)

1. Austin is on the Eastern edge of the Fall migration of monarchs from Canada to Mexico. Typically, they fly a bit farther to the West. Another group of monarchs flies farther to the East over the Gulf Coast. In the Spring, Austin is in the main path of travel for monarchs. We will likely see them in April and May. So, we will typically see more monarchs in the Spring than in the Fall.

2. In the Fall, the Monarchs are coming back to Mexico to over-winter. It is a kind of hibernation. For the most part, they are just passing through Austin in early October, and are not laying eggs. In the Spring, the Monarchs are definitely laying eggs in Austin. So, the Spring crop of caterpillars needs milkweed growing and in bloom.

3. Monarchs don't really beat their wings in flight all the way from Canada to Mexico. In their travels, they mostly drift on the prevailing winds.

4. Monarchs don't fly at night. So, they don't fly over the Gulf of Mexico. It's too far for them to make it in daylight. They follow land down to Mexico and back.

5. Monarch caterpillars live on milkweeds, native and tropical. Without milkweeds, the caterpillars will starve, meaning no more monarchs. In the butterfly stage, Monarchs feed from many nectar sources, from native wildflowers to zinnias. It's the caterpillars that are so milkweed dependent.

6. The numbers of monarch butterflies are falling drastically for several reasons.

a) Storms in their wintering area in Mexico caused 80% mortality in 2001-2. Another storm in 2003-4 killed 70% of the monarchs. (Janelle's note: Storms are natural. We can't really do anything (quickly) about the weather.)

b) Threatened habitat loss due to illegal logging in their Mexican winter refuge.

c) Genetically-engineered farm crops in the U.S. The main monarch flyway from Canada to Mexico is over Midwestern agricultural land. Ninety percent of all soybeans and nearly all corn is genetically engineered with Bt genes and resistant to Round-Up herbicide. The Bt gene causes all caterpillars to die if they eat any part of the plant, including corn pollen that blows onto other plants. This is not as bad a problem for monarchs as the fact that farmers spray so much Round-Up on their crops, that the fields are completely without weeds.....meaning no milkweed. Ever since farmers began plowing fields in the U.S., milkweed in crop fields has been the main source of food for monarch caterpillars. (Yes, it is Monsanto who developed Round-Up Ready seed and inserted the Bt gene into corn and soybeans.)

An interesting sidelight: In natural North American prairies, milkweed is a rare plant. Milkweed likes disturbed soil, such as farm fields. So, it is likely that before large scale crop agriculture in the U.S. the monarchs had lower numbers than they did after widespread plowing.

Mike's point seems to be that although the Mexican government's efforts to save the monarch butterflies from illegal logging operations is challenged by the huge area the government needs to patrol (over 150,000 acres of mountains) and the elusiveness of the loggers, the biggest force pushing the monarchs toward extinction is the loss of milkweed.

7. It is a good idea for gardeners to plant milkweed to help the monarch butterflies. Tropical milkweed (Mexican milkweed) grows easily in garden environments. It is native to tropical Mexico. According to Mike, it does not tend to become an invasive weed here in Austin....our conditions are too tough for it. The several types of Texas native milkweeds are very fussy about germination and are difficult to grow in gardens. Antelope horn is one example of a native Texas milkweed. The six-foot tall roadside milkweed that I grew up with in Missouri is native to the Midwest and won't grow here. Native Texas milkweeds are antelope horn, green milkweed and zizotes milkweed.

8. If you want to grow milkweed, either grow it from seeds or buy plants from an organic source. Here's an ironic story: Milkweed is always attacked by aphids. Plant nurseries control for aphids in milkweed by treating the plants with a systemic pesticide that kills the aphids. Unfortunately, the systemic pesticide also kills the monarch caterpillars feeding on the milkweed. So, you can buy milkweed from a Big Box store and end up killing all the monarch caterpillars that eat it. The pesticide lasts as long as six weeks.

Native American Seed Company sells a Monarch Migration milkweed packet that includes seeds of native milkweeds and information on how to successfully germinate them. A cheaper alternative is to buy tropical milkweed seed in a garden store.

9. Tropical milkweed won't live through a winter with hard freezes, but it may reseed itself or you can plant new seeds.

10. An IMAX movie on the discovery of the monarch overwintering spot in Mexico is running at the Bob Bullock Museum.

11. Mike also recommended "Four Wings and a Prayer" by Sue Halpern about monarch migration. (Janelle's note: Barbara Kingsolver's novel "Flight Behavior" is also interesting.)

So...I guess we need to go out and buy milkweed seeds!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 15th, 2013

I attended Mike Quinn's presentation on monarch butterflies yesterday. He is an entomologist and expressed interest in doing a workshop for us on monarchs in the future.

Here are some highlights of his talk. (I am not a scientist, so I'm just reporting what I understood Mike to be saying. Please let me know if there are glaring errors! Thanks to Lynn Hill for catching an earlier error!)

1. Austin is on the Eastern edge of the Fall migration of monarchs from Canada to Mexico. Typically, they fly a bit farther to the West. Another group of monarchs flies farther to the East over the Gulf Coast. In the Spring, Austin is in the main path of travel for monarchs. We will likely see them in April and May. So, we will typically see more monarchs in the Spring than in the Fall.

2. In the Fall, the Monarchs are coming back to Mexico to over-winter. It is a kind of hibernation. For the most part, they are just passing through Austin in early October, and are not laying eggs. In the Spring, the Monarchs are definitely laying eggs in Austin. So, the Spring crop of caterpillars needs milkweed growing and in bloom.

3. Monarchs don't really beat their wings in flight all the way from Canada to Mexico. In their travels, they mostly drift on the prevailing winds.

4. Monarchs don't fly at night. So, they don't fly over the Gulf of Mexico. It's too far for them to make it in daylight. They follow land down to Mexico and back.

5. Monarch caterpillars live on milkweeds, native and tropical. Without milkweeds, the caterpillars will starve, meaning no more monarchs. In the butterfly stage, Monarchs feed from many nectar sources, from native wildflowers to zinnias. It's the caterpillars that are so milkweed dependent.

6. The numbers of monarch butterflies are falling drastically for several reasons.

a) Storms in their wintering area in Mexico caused 80% mortality in 2001-2. Another storm in 2003-4 killed 70% of the monarchs. (Janelle's note: Storms are natural. We can't really do anything (quickly) about the weather.)

b) Threatened habitat loss due to illegal logging in their Mexican winter refuge.

c) Genetically-engineered farm crops in the U.S. The main monarch flyway from Canada to Mexico is over Midwestern agricultural land. Ninety percent of all soybeans and nearly all corn is genetically engineered with Bt genes and resistant to Round-Up herbicide. The Bt gene causes all caterpillars to die if they eat any part of the plant, including corn pollen that blows onto other plants. This is not as bad a problem for monarchs as the fact that farmers spray so much Round-Up on their crops, that the fields are completely without weeds.....meaning no milkweed. Ever since farmers began plowing fields in the U.S., milkweed in crop fields has been the main source of food for monarch caterpillars. (Yes, it is Monsanto who developed Round-Up Ready seed and inserted the Bt gene into corn and soybeans.)

An interesting sidelight: In natural North American prairies, milkweed is a rare plant. Milkweed likes disturbed soil, such as farm fields. So, it is likely that before large scale crop agriculture in the U.S. the monarchs had lower numbers than they did after widespread plowing.

Mike's point seems to be that although the Mexican government's efforts to save the monarch butterflies from illegal logging operations is challenged by the huge area the government needs to patrol (over 150,000 acres of mountains) and the elusiveness of the loggers, the biggest force pushing the monarchs toward extinction is the loss of milkweed.

7. It is a good idea for gardeners to plant milkweed to help the monarch butterflies. Tropical milkweed (Mexican milkweed) grows easily in garden environments. It is native to tropical Mexico. According to Mike, it does not tend to become an invasive weed here in Austin....our conditions are too tough for it. The several types of Texas native milkweeds are very fussy about germination and are difficult to grow in gardens. Antelope horn is one example of a native Texas milkweed. The six-foot tall roadside milkweed that I grew up with in Missouri is native to the Midwest and won't grow here. Native Texas milkweeds are antelope horn, green milkweed and zizotes milkweed.

8. If you want to grow milkweed, either grow it from seeds or buy plants from an organic source. Here's an ironic story: Milkweed is always attacked by aphids. Plant nurseries control for aphids in milkweed by treating the plants with a systemic pesticide that kills the aphids. Unfortunately, the systemic pesticide also kills the monarch caterpillars feeding on the milkweed. So, you can buy milkweed from a Big Box store and end up killing all the monarch caterpillars that eat it. The pesticide lasts as long as six weeks.

Native American Seed Company sells a Monarch Migration milkweed packet that includes seeds of native milkweeds and information on how to successfully germinate them. A cheaper alternative is to buy tropical milkweed seed in a garden store.

9. Tropical milkweed won't live through a winter with hard freezes, but it may reseed itself or you can plant new seeds.

10. An IMAX movie on the discovery of the monarch overwintering spot in Mexico is running at the Bob Bullock Museum.

11. Mike also recommended "Four Wings and a Prayer" by Sue Halpern about monarch migration. (Janelle's note: Barbara Kingsolver's novel "Flight Behavior" is also interesting.)

So...I guess we need to go out and buy milkweed seeds!
User Profile Image
Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 15th, 2013

I attended Mike Quinn's presentation on monarch butterflies yesterday. He is an entomologist and expressed interest in doing a workshop for us on monarchs in the future.

Here are some highlights of his talk. (I am not a scientist, so I'm just reporting what I understood Mike to be saying. Please let me know if there are glaring errors! Thanks to Lynn Hill for catching an earlier error!)

1. Austin is on the Eastern edge of the Fall migration of monarchs from Canada to Mexico. Typically, they fly a bit farther to the West. Another group of monarchs flies farther to the East over the Gulf Coast. In the Spring, Austin is in the main path of travel for monarchs. We will likely see them in April and May. So, we will typically see more monarchs in the Spring than in the Fall.

2. In the Fall, the Monarchs are coming back to Mexico to over-winter. It is a kind of hibernation. For the most part, they are just passing through Austin in early October, and are not laying eggs. In the Spring, the Monarchs are definitely laying eggs in Austin. So, the Spring crop of caterpillars needs milkweed growing and in bloom.

3. Monarchs don't really beat their wings in flight all the way from Canada to Mexico. In their travels, they mostly drift on the prevailing winds.

4. Monarchs don't fly at night. So, they don't fly over the Gulf of Mexico. It's too far for them to make it in daylight. They follow land down to Mexico and back.

5. Monarch caterpillars live on milkweeds, native and tropical. Without milkweeds, the caterpillars will starve, meaning no more monarchs. In the butterfly stage, Monarchs feed from many nectar sources, from native wildflowers to zinnias. It's the caterpillars that are so milkweed dependent.

6. The numbers of monarch butterflies are falling drastically for several reasons.

a) Storms in their wintering area in Mexico caused 80% mortality in 2001-2. Another storm in 2003-4 killed 70% of the monarchs. (Janelle's note: Storms are natural. We can't really do anything (quickly) about the weather.)

b) Threatened habitat loss due to illegal logging in their Mexican winter refuge.

c) Genetically-engineered farm crops in the U.S. The main monarch flyway from Canada to Mexico is over Midwestern agricultural land. Ninety percent of all soybeans and nearly all corn is genetically engineered with Bt genes and resistant to Round-Up herbicide. The Bt gene causes all caterpillars to die if they eat any part of the plant, including corn pollen that blows onto other plants. This is not as bad a problem for monarchs as the fact that farmers spray so much Round-Up on their crops, that the fields are completely without weeds.....meaning no milkweed. Ever since farmers began plowing fields in the U.S., milkweed in crop fields has been the main source of food for monarch caterpillars. (Yes, it is Monsanto who developed Round-Up Ready seed and inserted the Bt gene into corn and soybeans.)

An interesting sidelight: In natural North American prairies, milkweed is a rare plant. Milkweed likes disturbed soil, such as farm fields. So, it is likely that before large scale crop agriculture in the U.S. the monarchs had lower numbers than they did after widespread plowing.

Mike's point seems to be that although the Mexican government's efforts to save the monarch butterflies from illegal logging operations is challenged by the huge area the government needs to patrol (over 150,000 acres of mountains) and the elusiveness of the loggers, the biggest force pushing the monarchs toward extinction is the loss of milkweed.

7. It is a good idea for gardeners to plant milkweed to help the monarch butterflies. Tropical milkweed (Mexican milkweed) grows easily in garden environments. It is native to tropical Mexico. According to Mike, it does not tend to become an invasive weed here in Austin....our conditions are too tough for it. The several types of Texas native milkweeds are very fussy about germination and are difficult to grow in gardens. Antelope horn is one example of a native Texas milkweed. The six-foot tall roadside milkweed that I grew up with in Missouri is native to the Midwest and won't grow here. Native Texas milkweeds are antelope horn, green milkweed and zizotes milkweed.

8. If you want to grow milkweed, either grow it from seeds or buy plants from an organic source. Here's an ironic story: Milkweed is always attacked by aphids. Plant nurseries control for aphids in milkweed by treating the plants with a systemic pesticide that kills the aphids. Unfortunately, the systemic pesticide also kills the monarch caterpillars feeding on the milkweed. So, you can buy milkweed from a Big Box store and end up killing all the monarch caterpillars that eat it. The pesticide lasts as long as six weeks.

Native American Seed Company sells a Monarch Migration milkweed packet that includes seeds of native milkweeds and information on how to successfully germinate them. A cheaper alternative is to buy tropical milkweed seed in a garden store.

9. Tropical milkweed won't live through a winter with hard freezes, but it may reseed itself or you can plant new seeds.

10. An IMAX movie on the discovery of the monarch overwintering spot in Mexico is running at the Bob Bullock Museum.

11. Mike also recommended "Four Wings and a Prayer" by Sue Halpern about monarch migration. (Janelle's note: Barbara Kingsolver's novel "Flight Behavior" is also interesting.)

So...I guess we need to go out and buy milkweed seeds!
User Profile Image
Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 15th, 2013

I attended Mike Quinn's presentation on monarch butterflies yesterday. He is an entomologist and expressed interest in doing a workshop for us on monarchs in the future.

Here are some highlights of his talk. (I am not a scientist, so I'm just reporting what I understood Mike to be saying. Please let me know if there are glaring errors! Thanks to Lynn Hill for catching an earlier error!)

1. Austin is on the Eastern edge of the Fall migration of monarchs from Canada to Mexico. Typically, they fly a bit farther to the West. Another group of monarchs flies farther to the East over the Gulf Coast. In the Spring, Austin is in the main path of travel for monarchs. We will likely see them in April and May. So, we will typically see more monarchs in the Spring than in the Fall.

2. In the Fall, the Monarchs are coming back to Mexico to over-winter. It is a kind of hibernation. For the most part, they are just passing through Austin in early October, and are not laying eggs. In the Spring, the Monarchs are definitely laying eggs in Austin. So, the Spring crop of caterpillars needs milkweed growing and in bloom.

3. Monarchs don't really beat their wings in flight all the way from Canada to Mexico. In their travels, they mostly drift on the prevailing winds.

4. Monarchs don't fly at night. So, they don't fly over the Gulf of Mexico. It's too far for them to make it in daylight. They follow land down to Mexico and back.

5. Monarch caterpillars live on milkweeds, native and tropical. Without milkweeds, the caterpillars will starve, meaning no more monarchs. In the butterfly stage, Monarchs feed from many nectar sources, from native wildflowers to zinnias. It's the caterpillars that are so milkweed dependent.

6. The numbers of monarch butterflies are falling drastically for several reasons.

a) Storms in their wintering area in Mexico caused 80% mortality in 2001-2. Another storm in 2003-4 killed 70% of the monarchs. (Janelle's note: Storms are natural. We can't really do anything (quickly) about the weather.)

b) Threatened habitat loss due to illegal logging in their Mexican winter refuge.

c) Genetically-engineered farm crops in the U.S. The main monarch flyway from Canada to Mexico is over Midwestern agricultural land. Ninety percent of all soybeans and nearly all corn is genetically engineered with Bt genes and resistant to Round-Up herbicide. The Bt gene causes all caterpillars to die if they eat any part of the plant, including corn pollen that blows onto other plants. This is not as bad a problem for monarchs as the fact that farmers spray so much Round-Up on their crops, that the fields are completely without weeds.....meaning no milkweed. Ever since farmers began plowing fields in the U.S., milkweed in crop fields has been the main source of food for monarch caterpillars. (Yes, it is Monsanto who developed Round-Up Ready seed and inserted the Bt gene into corn and soybeans.)

An interesting sidelight: In natural North American prairies, milkweed is a rare plant. Milkweed likes disturbed soil, such as farm fields. So, it is likely that before large scale crop agriculture in the U.S. the monarchs had lower numbers than they did after widespread plowing.

Mike's point seems to be that although the Mexican government's efforts to save the monarch butterflies from illegal logging operations is challenged by the huge area the government needs to patrol (over 150,000 acres of mountains) and the elusiveness of the loggers, the biggest force pushing the monarchs toward extinction is the loss of milkweed.

7. It is a good idea for gardeners to plant milkweed to help the monarch butterflies. Tropical milkweed (Mexican milkweed) grows easily in garden environments. It is native to tropical Mexico. According to Mike, it does not tend to become an invasive weed here in Austin....our conditions are too tough for it. The several types of Texas native milkweeds are very fussy about germination and are difficult to grow in gardens. Antelope horn is one example of a native Texas milkweed. The six-foot tall roadside milkweed that I grew up with in Missouri is native to the Midwest and won't grow here. Native Texas milkweeds are antelope horn, green milkweed and zizotes milkweed.

8. If you want to grow milkweed, either grow it from seeds or buy plants from an organic source. Here's an ironic story: Milkweed is always attacked by aphids. Plant nurseries control for aphids in milkweed by treating the plants with a systemic pesticide that kills the aphids. Unfortunately, the systemic pesticide also kills the monarch caterpillars feeding on the milkweed. So, you can buy milkweed from a Big Box store and end up killing all the monarch caterpillars that eat it. The pesticide lasts as long as six weeks.

Native American Seed Company sells a Monarch Migration milkweed packet that includes seeds of native milkweeds and information on how to successfully germinate them. A cheaper alternative is to buy tropical milkweed seed in a garden store.

9. Tropical milkweed won't live through a winter with hard freezes, but it may reseed itself or you can plant new seeds.

10. An IMAX movie on the discovery of the monarch overwintering spot in Mexico is running at the Bob Bullock Museum.

11. Mike also recommended "Four Wings and a Prayer" by Sue Halpern about monarch migration. (Janelle's note: Barbara Kingsolver's novel "Flight Behavior" is also interesting.)

So...I guess we need to go out and buy milkweed seeds!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on August 15th, 2013

I attended Mike Quinn's presentation on monarch butterflies yesterday. He is an entomologist and expressed interest in doing a workshop for us on monarchs in the future.

Here are some highlights of his talk. (I am not a scientist, so I'm just reporting what I understood Mike to be saying. Please let me know if there are glaring errors! Thanks to Lynn Hill for catching an earlier error!)

1. Austin is on the Eastern edge of the Fall migration of monarchs from Canada to Mexico. Typically, they fly a bit farther to the West. Another group of monarchs flies farther to the East over the Gulf Coast. In the Spring, Austin is in the main path of travel for monarchs. We will likely see them in April and May. So, we will typically see more monarchs in the Spring than in the Fall.

2. In the Fall, the Monarchs are coming back to Mexico to over-winter. It is a kind of hibernation. For the most part, they are just passing through Austin in early October, and are not laying eggs. In the Spring, the Monarchs are definitely laying eggs in Austin. So, the Spring crop of caterpillars needs milkweed growing and in bloom.

3. Monarchs don't really beat their wings in flight all the way from Canada to Mexico. In their travels, they mostly drift on the prevailing winds.

4. Monarchs don't fly at night. So, they don't fly over the Gulf of Mexico. It's too far for them to make it in daylight. They follow land down to Mexico and back.

5. Monarch caterpillars live on milkweeds, native and tropical. Without milkweeds, the caterpillars will starve, meaning no more monarchs. In the butterfly stage, Monarchs feed from many nectar sources, from native wildflowers to zinnias. It's the caterpillars that are so milkweed dependent.

6. The numbers of monarch butterflies are falling drastically for several reasons.

a) Storms in their wintering area in Mexico caused 80% mortality in 2001-2. Another storm in 2003-4 killed 70% of the monarchs. (Janelle's note: Storms are natural. We can't really do anything (quickly) about the weather.)

b) Threatened habitat loss due to illegal logging in their Mexican winter refuge.

c) Genetically-engineered farm crops in the U.S. The main monarch flyway from Canada to Mexico is over Midwestern agricultural land. Ninety percent of all soybeans and nearly all corn is genetically engineered with Bt genes and resistant to Round-Up herbicide. The Bt gene causes all caterpillars to die if they eat any part of the plant, including corn pollen that blows onto other plants. This is not as bad a problem for monarchs as the fact that farmers spray so much Round-Up on their crops, that the fields are completely without weeds.....meaning no milkweed. Ever since farmers began plowing fields in the U.S., milkweed in crop fields has been the main source of food for monarch caterpillars. (Yes, it is Monsanto who developed Round-Up Ready seed and inserted the Bt gene into corn and soybeans.)

An interesting sidelight: In natural North American prairies, milkweed is a rare plant. Milkweed likes disturbed soil, such as farm fields. So, it is likely that before large scale crop agriculture in the U.S. the monarchs had lower numbers than they did after widespread plowing.

Mike's point seems to be that although the Mexican government's efforts to save the monarch butterflies from illegal logging operations is challenged by the huge area the government needs to patrol (over 150,000 acres of mountains) and the elusiveness of the loggers, the biggest force pushing the monarchs toward extinction is the loss of milkweed.

7. It is a good idea for gardeners to plant milkweed to help the monarch butterflies. Tropical milkweed (Mexican milkweed) grows easily in garden environments. It is native to tropical Mexico. According to Mike, it does not tend to become an invasive weed here in Austin....our conditions are too tough for it. The several types of Texas native milkweeds are very fussy about germination and are difficult to grow in gardens. Antelope horn is one example of a native Texas milkweed. The six-foot tall roadside milkweed that I grew up with in Missouri is native to the Midwest and won't grow here. Native Texas milkweeds are antelope horn, green milkweed and zizotes milkweed.

8. If you want to grow milkweed, either grow it from seeds or buy plants from an organic source. Here's an ironic story: Milkweed is always attacked by aphids. Plant nurseries control for aphids in milkweed by treating the plants with a systemic pesticide that kills the aphids. Unfortunately, the systemic pesticide also kills the monarch caterpillars feeding on the milkweed. So, you can buy milkweed from a Big Box store and end up killing all the monarch caterpillars that eat it. The pesticide lasts as long as six weeks.

Native American Seed Company sells a Monarch Migration milkweed packet that includes seeds of native milkweeds and information on how to successfully germinate them. A cheaper alternative is to buy tropical milkweed seed in a garden store.

9. Tropical milkweed won't live through a winter with hard freezes, but it may reseed itself or you can plant new seeds.

10. An IMAX movie on the discovery of the monarch overwintering spot in Mexico is running at the Bob Bullock Museum.

11. Mike also recommended "Four Wings and a Prayer" by Sue Halpern about monarch migration. (Janelle's note: Barbara Kingsolver's novel "Flight Behavior" is also interesting.)

So...I guess we need to go out and buy milkweed seeds!
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Mark Barnett wrote
on July 17th, 2013
Hey,

If it's still raining at 6:30 this evening, then the "Fun with Trees" Meetup on Antone Street will be postponed to a new date. I'll post it when able.

Thanks!
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Mark Barnett wrote
on July 15th, 2013
Further Tree Stuff for the 6:30 Wed. Night Meetup [1932 Antone St.]

The Treefolks.org contact won't be attending. They can't help us. It turns out that Catellus requires any tree planted in front of our houses to have a 65 gallon root ball. TF.org's trees are 5 gallon. A little small.

Still working on getting someone to handle some tree q & a for Wednesday night though.

Also, I have slow release watering bags for small trees available to the 1st [9] interested parties [free!].

Note: if it's raining, we'll try it again another evening.

Thanks!
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Mark Barnett wrote
on June 19th, 2013
Sick and Drought Stunted Trees?

Some of us here on Antone Street are weighing options about what to do our leafy, long suffering friends.

Who would be interested in meeting with a representative from Treefolks.org sometime in the next [2] to [3] weeks?

Here's a blurb from TF.org's website:

"TreeFolks is central Texas’ only charity that promotes comprehensive urban forestry practices to public, private and government audiences. Since 1989 TreeFolks has planted 250,000 trees in and around Austin at schools, parks, in medians, right of ways, community gardens and greenbelts. Our impact preserves Austin’s quality of life by cooling the air, cleaning precious water, sheltering us from the hot Texas sun, and by providing a shaded sense of place that fosters a healthy, connected community."

- See more at: http://www.treefolks.org/about/about-us/#sthash.egTfqPcM.dpuf
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dodger wrote
on May 22nd, 2013
Janelle, I would like some Cosmos. Let me know what I need to do. Marsha
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dodger wrote
on May 22nd, 2013
Janelle, I would like some Cosmos. Let me know what I need to do. Marsha
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 22nd, 2013
FREE COSMOS PLANTS! A gardener in Windsor Park asked me to post this notice. Let me know if you are interested and I will put you in contact with her.
I have a flower bed that has a bunch of orange Giant Cosmos plants that I need desperately to thin out and I am willing to dig them up and deliver to anyone in Mueller who might want some. They are sun loving and usually do not require much water after they are established
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 22nd, 2013
FREE COSMOS PLANTS! A gardener in Windsor Park asked me to post this notice. Let me know if you are interested and I will put you in contact with her.
I have a flower bed that has a bunch of orange Giant Cosmos plants that I need desperately to thin out and I am willing to dig them up and deliver to anyone in Mueller who might want some. They are sun loving and usually do not require much water after they are established
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on May 22nd, 2013
FREE COSMOS PLANTS! A gardener in Windsor Park asked me to post this notice. Let me know if you are interested and I will put you in contact with her.
I have a flower bed that has a bunch of orange Giant Cosmos plants that I need desperately to thin out and I am willing to dig them up and deliver to anyone in Mueller who might want some. They are sun loving and usually do not require much water after they are established
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on April 28th, 2013
Fourth Annual Mueller Garden Tour: Edibles

Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Pick up maps at Ella Wooten Park
FREE!
Children are welcome.

Stroll the alleys and sidewalks of Mueller. Meet gardeners who are growing vegetables, fruit trees and fruiting vines in our pint-sized yards.
Who knew we could make blackberry pies from our own fruit?
Brought to you by your neighbors on the Mueller POA Landscape Committee
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on April 28th, 2013
Fourth Annual Mueller Garden Tour: Edibles

Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Pick up maps at Ella Wooten Park
FREE!
Children are welcome.

Stroll the alleys and sidewalks of Mueller. Meet gardeners who are growing vegetables, fruit trees and fruiting vines in our pint-sized yards.
Who knew we could make blackberry pies from our own fruit?
Brought to you by your neighbors on the Mueller POA Landscape Committee
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on April 12th, 2013
Mueller is hosting Spring Fest, a family-friendly event complete with music and activities for kids. This event will be held in conjunction with the weekly Mueller Farmers Market from 10am to 2pm at the Hangar. Majic 95.5 will be in attendance to broadcast live and give away prizes.

For Mueller residents with questions about their trees, landscapes, watering rules, or the wonderful Mueller Prairie; Friends of the Prairie will have an information table with helpful hand-outs and resident experts to answer your questions. Come by and chat - we can learn from one another!
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on April 5th, 2013
A quick reminder that Steven Schwarzman will show photos and lead a small tour of Mueller wildflowers tomorrow (Sat) at 10am - meet in the Auditorium of Wildflower Terrace Apts (3801 Berkman Dr.) for the show. It's FREE and open to all, not just Mueller residents. For more information email bobby@ruraltx.org or call 512-499-8948.
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on March 28th, 2013
Friends of plants and prairies: I'm bumping the photo and tour event with Steven Schwarzman to be sure it's on your calendars. Here are the details:

April 6 @ 10am: In an encore of this very popular program, Steven Schwartzman will show his beautiful portraits of wildflowers (and associated critters) in the Auditorium of the Wildflower Terrace Apartments (3801 Berkman Drive) and then take us into the Mueller prairie to enjoy the real thing! See his wonderful photographs – many shot in the Mueller Prairie – and his blog at http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/ … then join us on April 6 to see them on the BIG screen at WFT and enjoy Steven’s wonderful commentary. The showing will begin at 10:00am, with the trip to the prairie (it’s just across the street!) around 10:45am.

This program is FREE and is brought to you by the Mueller POA Landscape Committee and the Friends of the Mueller Prairie. For more information email bobby@ruraltx.org or call 512-499-8948.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on March 8th, 2013
Mueller Habitat Challenge Kickoff

Learn how easy it is to certify your Mueller doorstep garden as a Wildlife Habitat.

Dr. Diane Shaktman, Master Naturalist, will meet with Mueller folks at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 23. Gather at the gate to the pool in Ella Wooten Park.

Dr. Shaktman will describe how to attract native wildlife to your garden She will also tour a typical Mueller garden and show how it can be tweaked to be a qualifying habitat.

This will kick off Mueller's entry into the National Wildlife Federation's and the City of Austin's Neighborhood Habitat Challenge. The top three neighborhoods in numbers of new habitats and who complete their community project will be recognized by the City and become eligible for prizes.

But, the Grand Prize will be the sight of all the hummingbirds, monarchs, and anoles cavorting in our gardens!

Certifying a wildlife habitat is a great activity for children and grandchildren. Complete lesson plans are available for homeschoolers.

Helen Mason is heading up this campaign for the Mueller POA Landscape Committee. For more information, call her at 512-305-3558 or email her at bobandhelenmason@yahoo.com .


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Janelle Dozier wrote
on March 8th, 2013
Mueller Habitat Challenge Kickoff

Learn how easy it is to certify your Mueller doorstep garden as a Wildlife Habitat.

Dr. Diane Shaktman, Master Naturalist, will meet with Mueller folks at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 23. Gather at the gate to the pool in Ella Wooten Park.

Dr. Shaktman will describe how to attract native wildlife to your garden She will also tour a typical Mueller garden and show how it can be tweaked to be a qualifying habitat.

This will kick off Mueller's entry into the National Wildlife Federation's and the City of Austin's Neighborhood Habitat Challenge. The top three neighborhoods in numbers of new habitats and who complete their community project will be recognized by the City and become eligible for prizes.

But, the Grand Prize will be the sight of all the hummingbirds, monarchs, and anoles cavorting in our gardens!

Certifying a wildlife habitat is a great activity for children and grandchildren. Complete lesson plans are available for homeschoolers.

Helen Mason is heading up this campaign for the Mueller POA Landscape Committee. For more information, call her at 512-305-3558 or email her at bobandhelenmason@yahoo.com .


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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on March 6th, 2013
Thanks, Claire. I am very interested in getting the agaves and will help pull them. Give me a call at 499-8948 and we can make arrangements.
bg
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Claire T. wrote
on March 6th, 2013
Bobby, Aman and I have five or six Rough Agave pups that we transplanted as placeholders in our yard. Some of them are 18" tall now and have pups of their own. Oops. At maturity, they're supposed to be 5' in all directions (or however big the Rough Agave in our front bed is at this point). Let me know if you're interested :-) We were planning on pulling them out anyway so that we can put our roses where the pups are now.

Claire
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on March 3rd, 2013
If anybody is eliminating agaves, yuccas or other yucca-like plants from your landscaping - including the baby 'pups' - I'd love to take them off your hands. I have a spot for several and would appreciate them. Call me at 499-8948. I would also be interested in clumps of tall grasses you might be getting rid of.
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on March 3rd, 2013
April 6 @ 10am: In an encore of this very popular program, Steven Schwartzman will show his beautiful portraits of wildflowers (and associated critters) in the Auditorium of the Wildflower Terrace Apartments (3801 Berkman Drive) and then take us into the Mueller prairie to enjoy the real thing! See his wonderful photographs – many shot in the Mueller Prairie – and his blog at http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/ … then join us on April 6 to see them on the BIG screen at WFT and enjoy Steven’s wonderful commentary. The showing will begin at 10:00am, with the trip to the prairie (it’s just across the street!) around 10:45am.

This program is FREE and is brought to you by the Mueller POA Landscape Committee and the Friends of the Mueller Prairie. For more information email bobby@ruraltx.org or call 512-499-8948.
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langhugh wrote
on September 27th, 2012
Oops, here is the link to Maplewood's "Green Apple Day of Service" http://service.mygreenapple.org/page/event/detail/wgq
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langhugh wrote
on September 27th, 2012
Please accept this invitation to visit Maplewood Elementary School, and offer your hand in preparing our gardens for the fall-spring growing seasons. You need not stay for the full three hours. Any help is appreciated. Rain or Shine, we'll have projects happening around the school.

Maplewood Garden Prep Party
Saturday, September 29, 2012, 9:00am-Noon

In cooperation with the US Green Building Council’s “Green Apple Day of Service”, Maplewood hosts a party to prep our vegetable beds, repair some rain barrels, maybe build a few picnic tables and a hugelkultur garden bed too(look it up!). If you are interested, you can learn more details and RSVP at the “Green Apple Day of Service” website.

• 9:00am – Noon: Garden Bed Prep (Bring garden tools. We’ll have snacks and drinks.)
• Noon : Maplewood School Garden Orientation. If you are interested in volunteering with the Maplewood School Gardening program, then stick around for short orientation.


Dusty
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on August 14th, 2012
Folks, just a reminder ... local wildflower photographer Steven Schwarzman will be at Wildflower Terrace after the MNA meeting on Aug. 18 to show fabulous photos -- many taken at Mueller -- and talk about plants, photo techniques, etc. That's 11 am on Sat, Aug. 18 in the very comfy auditorium at Wildflower Terrace. See his Portraits of Wildflowers at http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on August 14th, 2012
Folks, just a reminder ... local wildflower photographer Steven Schwarzman will be at Wildflower Terrace after the MNA meeting on Aug. 18 to show fabulous photos -- many taken at Mueller -- and talk about plants, photo techniques, etc. That's 11 am on Sat, Aug. 18 in the very comfy auditorium at Wildflower Terrace. See his Portraits of Wildflowers at http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/
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ret1ree00 wrote
on August 3rd, 2012
Without looking at the tree it sounds to me like mites. I would recommend continued application of an insecticidal soap. My brother (phd research entomologist) gave me his formula years ago (100 oz water, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup Pomolive Green dish soap and 1 oz of liquid fertilizer such as Miracle Grow). He was adamant about the Pomolive Green soap. The liquid vertilizer give the plant some feeding through the leaves to help give the plant a boost.

He suggested spraying (soaking) every 3 days until the bug problem went away. I have used it on Cottony Scale and Aphids with good success. The problem is to get up under the leaves so a pressure sprayer from home depot works best.

Another thought would be to use Neem Oil.

Joe
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Kateg wrote
on August 3rd, 2012
Looking for advice with our redbud. It has a bug infestion, aphids? on the underside of the leaves. The leaves are turning yellow as they desicate them. I have done water spraying & applications of Safer Soap, & they only seem stronger. The tree needs lower branches removed & I was going to wait till fall, but am considering removing now, which would reduce the # of aphids but would likely also stress the tree. I'm at a loss of what to do. Suggestions? Or should I not be too worried?

Kate,
4133 Scales if you want to come inspect the tree ;)
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Kateg wrote
on August 3rd, 2012
Looking for advice with our redbud. It has a bug infestion, aphids? on the underside of the leaves. The leaves are turning yellow as they desicate them. I have done water spraying & applications of Safer Soap, & they only seem stronger. The tree needs lower branches removed & I was going to wait till fall, but am considering removing now, which would reduce the # of aphids but would likely also stress the tree. I'm at a loss of what to do. Suggestions? Or should I not be too worried?

Kate,
4133 Scales if you want to come inspect the tree ;)
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on August 3rd, 2012
Plant and photo friends ... local wildflower photographer Steven Schwarzman will be at Wildflower Terrace after the MNA meeting on Aug. 18 to show fabulous photos -- many taken at Mueller -- and talk about plants, photo techniques, etc. That's 11 am on Sat, Aug. 18 in the very comfy auditorium at Wildflower Terrace. See his Portraits of Wildflowers at http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on July 24th, 2012
What is Psycho Light and why should Muellerians care?

Well, it's the light that most of us get on our side yards where is shady all day long, exc. for the 2-3 hours that it gets blistering sun. Come hear Linda Lehmusvirta, producer of KLRU's Central Texas Gardener program, and her entertaining talk, "Psycho Light and Plants that Love it!". Its 10-Noon at Wildflower Terrace this Saturday, July 28.

Linda will show examples of plants from her own East Austin yard that thrive in these conditions.

Although the focus of Linda's talk is about in-ground plants, she can field questions about plants in those containers on west-facing balconies.

It's FREE, open to everyone and presented by the Mueller POA Landscape Committee.
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on July 24th, 2012
What is Psycho Light and why should Muellerians care?

Well, it's the light that most of us get on our side yards where is shady all day long, exc. for the 2-3 hours that it gets blistering sun. Come hear Linda Lehmusvirta, producer of KLRU's Central Texas Gardener program, and her entertaining talk, "Psycho Light and Plants that Love it!". Its 10-Noon at Wildflower Terrace this Saturday, July 28.

Linda will show examples of plants from her own East Austin yard that thrive in these conditions.

Although the focus of Linda's talk is about in-ground plants, she can field questions about plants in those containers on west-facing balconies.

It's FREE, open to everyone and presented by the Mueller POA Landscape Committee.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on June 24th, 2012
Texas Gardener had a great article on water-saving tips written by Travis County's former horticultural agent, Skip Richter. Here are a few of his observations:

1. When you redo landscape beds add organic matter to the soil (compost). This loosens clay soils (as we have in Mueller) allowing both air and water to percolate deeper into the soil. This encourages roots to grow deeper so they can draw on a larger area for water and nutrients.

2. Water deeply and infrequently. It takes at least 1/2 inch of water to wet most soils to an acceptable depth. Use a tuna can under your sprinker to measure 1/2 inch of water.

3. Allowing the soil to partially dry out between deep waterings allows air to move down into the space between soil particles. This alternate wetting and partial drying promotes deep rooting. Keeping soil constantly wet can promote root rots.

4. Mulch! Use a 2 inch layer of mulch in flower and vegetable beds and three-inch mulch layer around trees and shrubs. (NOTE: Do not let mulch touch the tree trunk or strub stalk.) (NOTE: Mueller discourages cypress mulch because of concerns about harvesting. I have good luck with Mueller Home Depot's Native Hardwood Mulch. Mulches that are dyed red or black are not a good idea because of the chemicals used in the dye.)

5. Do not over-fertilize. Too much fertilizer on turf encourages top growth rather than root growth. If you leave your grass clippings on the lawn, you may not need additional fertilizer.

6. Switch from sprinklers to drip irrigation. Less is lost to evaporation. The water goes directly to the roots where it is needed.

Texas Gardener, July/August, 2012.
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on June 16th, 2012
List of plants resistant to cotton root rot and suitable for Mueller yards
Janelle Dozier
I have adapted this list from “Plants Resistant to Cotton Root Rot” Texas A&M Extension and compared it with the Mueller Landscape Guidelines (see The Texas Native Landscape: Mueller Residential Landscape Modifications Guidelines, April 2008) which are available at muelleraustinonline. Not all the lists of resistant plants agree with one another. Don’t take this list as exhaustive, but it is the best list for Texas I have come across in my brief research.
Trees (30 feet and over)
Pecan (may only be tolerant, not resistant)
Huisache
Eastern Red Cedar (These are not the “bad” cedars. We have some in the Southwest Greenway.)
Live Oak
Cedar Elm (Replacements for diseased Lacebark Elms in Mueller.)
Small Trees / Large Shrubs (10 to 25 feet)
Texas Persimmon (Mexican)
Possumhaw Holly
Yaupon Holly
Retama
Mexican Plum (only tolerant to cotton root rot, not resistant)
Pomegranate
Texas Mountain Laurel (only tolerant, not resistant)
Shrubs (under 10 feet)
Century Plant
Aloe
American Beautyberry
Texas Sotol
Kumquat
Red Yucca
Dwarf Yaupon Holly
Lavender
Agarita
Oleander
Rosemary
Salvia Greggi (Autumn Sage)
Santolina
Coral Berry
Yucca
Herbaceous / Flowering Plants / Vegetables
Janelle’s Note: From other sources, it seems clear that annuals have such a short life cycle that cotton root rot is not a problem. They die naturally before the fungus can kill them. Annuals are plants that grow from seed each year. Or, you buy them as seasonal plants. The following plants are perennials that live for more than one year.)
Columbine
Canna
Caladium
Texas Bluebell
Freesia
Gladiolus
Daylily
Hyacinth
Iris
Lily
Bluebonnet
Mint
Narcissus /Daffodil
Baby Blue Eyes
Blue Sage/Salvia
Grasses
Janelle’s note: All grasses are resistant to cotton root rot, so any native or adapted grass would be suitable for Mueller.
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MuellerFan wrote
on June 14th, 2012
Hi Janelle, thanks for the extensive info - very interesting. Do you happen to know in particular which blocks of Emma Long and Zach Scott were affected?

Thanks,

Joy
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MuellerFan wrote
on June 14th, 2012
Hi Janelle, thanks for the extensive info - very interesting. Do you happen to know in particular which blocks of Emma Long and Zach Scott were affected?

Thanks,

Joy
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MuellerFan wrote
on June 14th, 2012
Hi Janelle, thanks for the extensive info - very interesting. Do you happen to know in particular which blocks of Emma Long and Zach Scott were affected?

Thanks,

Joy
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MuellerFan wrote
on June 14th, 2012
Hi Janelle, thanks for the extensive info - very interesting. Do you happen to know in particular which blocks of Emma Long and Zach Scott were affected?

Thanks,

Joy
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MuellerFan wrote
on June 14th, 2012
Hi Janelle, thanks for the extensive info - very interesting. Do you happen to know in particular which blocks of Emma Long and Zach Scott were affected?

Thanks,

Joy
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on June 14th, 2012
Cotton Root Rot:

( A very long post)

Since we have a number of cases of deadly cotton root rot in Mueller that has killed Lacebark Elms on Emma Long Street and on Zach Scott Street, I have done some research on this so-far incurable disease. Since our own house on Emma Long Street has two seemly-healthy large Lacebark Elms, this problem is immediate to us.
I have pasted below the Cotton Root Rot section of a University of Arizona Publication. But, if you don’t want to wade through it, I have made a list of the pertinent facts. (I am an amateur, so this is my best interpretation of the information. Please chime in if you have more advanced knowledge.)
1. Cotton root rot is caused by a fungus that is harbored in the soil. This fungus is most prevalent in cropland that has grown cotton or alfalfa. It lingers for decades and cannot be eradicated. Since Mueller was an airport since the 1930s, there haven’t been any crops grown on it in over 70 years. I do not know whether this was cotton cropland before then. But, additional soil was brought in by the builders, and there is no telling where that came from.
2. Cotton root rot affects both crops and many urban ornamental plants (trees, shrubs, perennials). See list below.
3. The fungus attacks in warm weather and when water (rain or irrigation) is plentiful. Annual winter plants are not affected because the fungus isn’t active in cold weather. (Note: I don’t know what the temperature cutoff is for “cold.”)
4. The fungus can live very deep in the soil (8 feet). The plant roots don’t get infected until they hit the infected soil. So, many trees may live as long as five years before their roots hit infected soil and they die.
5. Typically, an infected plant suddenly becomes stressed, wilts and dies in a few days. Essentially, its roots have rotted and can no longer take up water.
6. There is no recommended treatment or prevention for ornamental plants, including trees. (I saw one Texas agriculture bulletin about a chemical treatment for cotton that has just been allowed by regulators, but that is an annual, agricultural crop, not an ornamental crop. )
7. The only way to avoid plant death from cotton root rot is to plant resistant species. Grasses are immune.
8. Common ornamental and garden plants susceptible to cotton root rot include: almonds, apricots, cherry, sweet cherry, sour cherry, nectarines, plums, peaches; Arizona ash, cottonwood, chinese elm (Janelle: including Lacebark / Drake elms planted here in Mueller) and siberian ulm , figs, honey locust, magnolia; pear; pecan; pistachio; pomegranate; sycamore, american and london plane and; chinaberry tree; willow, weeping and golden, bottle tree, silk oak pepper tree, Brazilian and California; Japanese privet; African sumac, xylosma, oleander, carob and Cassia. Other genera with susceptible species include: grape, holly, cotoneaster), apple, walnut, butterfly bush, lilac),Pittosporum, wisteria), roses), berries, and spirea.
9. The Lacebark Elms that have died from cotton root rot are being replaced (at least on Emma Long Street) with native Cedar Elms that are resistant.
10. Resistant plants: Plants grown as summer or winter annuals normally escape infection All monocotyledonous plants (one-leaved plants), either annuals or perennials, are immune to the disease. This includes large numbers of ornamentals in the Amaryllidaceae, Liliaceae, Iridaceae, Palmaceae, (Janelle: this is amaryllis family, lily family and iris family) and the large grass family, Gramineae.
11. I am posting separately a Texas A&M publication of resistant plants.

What should a Mueller gardener on a block that has been hit by cotton root rot do?
So far, cotton root rot is not in our block of Emma Long Street, the 1900 block. I don’t know if we can hope that we were lucky and did not get infected soil, or if our plant roots have just not hit a pocket of fungus. Right now, it is “wait and see.” I probably would not invest a lot of money in a susceptible tree, but I have already planted a number of susceptible plants, such as a fig tree and blackberries.
If cotton root rot was already in my block, I would replace plants that die with resistant plants.
Janelle Dozier


University of Arizona Agriculture Extension Publication “Diseases of Urban Plants”
The most important disease of woody, dicotyledonous plants including perennial ornamentals, perennial vines and perennial shrubs and trees in Arizona is Phymatotrichopsis root rot (Cotton or Texas root rot) caused by a unique and widely distributed soil-borne fungus, Phymatotrichopsis omnivora.

Figure 1. Symptoms of Phymatotrichopsis root rot in peaches. Note the dead trees with attached foliage.
The fungus is indigenous to and occurs in the alkaline, low-organic matter soils of the southwestern United States and central and northern Mexico. Of the thousands of fungi that cause disease in plants, P. omnivora is unique in certain biological characteristics. The fungus has one of the largest host ranges of any known fungal pathogen. Over 2300 species of unrelated plants are susceptible to the disease. Isolates of the fungus are non-specific in their pathogenicity. For example, isolates that kill hundreds of deep rooted dicotyledonous, urban plants are also pathogenic to important crop plants in Arizona such as cotton, alfalfa, stone fruits, and grapes. Isolates from these crop plants are in turn pathogenic to urban plants. Thus, home sites established in old cotton or alfalfa fields, or other areas with a history of Phymatotrichopsis root rot can become disaster areas for urban landscapers.
The fungus has almost no method of dissemination but has the unusual capability of surviving in soil in the absence of hosts for very long periods of time. The disease symptoms usually appear during the summer. The fungus only infects roots of mature plants. Seedlings are not susceptible to this disease.
Distribution of the Disease in Arizona: Heavily infested areas of Phymatotrichopsis root rot include the flood plains and certain tributaries of the Gila River (Safford, Duncan, Solomon, Thatcher, Fort Thomas, Pima, Eden, Florence, Sacaton, Buckeye, Gila Bend, Agua Caliente, Growler, Roll, Mohawk, and Dome Valley); the Santa Cruz River (Sahuarita, Tucson, Cortaro, Avra Valley, Rillito, Marana, Red Rock, and Eloy); the San Pedro River (Hereford, St. David, Benson, Pomerene, Redington, Mammoth, and Winkelman); Colorado River (Parker, Poston, Ehrenberg, Yuma, Somerton, and Gadsden) and certain locations of the Salt River and Queen Creek. Other infested areas include Chandler, Aguila, San Simon, Bowie, McNeal, Douglas, and Duncan.
The "mesa" (land at elevations above the influence of the Colorado River) in Yuma County seems to be free of the disease, whereas many "valley" sites are infested. Phymatotrichopsis root rot occurs at elevations as high as 4,700 feet in the Elgin and Sonoita areas of Santa Cruz County, in the Nogales area and Sierra Vista. Disease has never been detected in the Bonita area north of Willcox to Kansas Settlement, but in the Sulphur Springs Valley, the disease is found near Elfrida, McNeal, and Douglas.
The fungus is not uniformly distributed in local situations. Two distribution patterns are common. In one situation the fungus may occur in many small scattered circular areas, a "shot-gun" scenario. In other situations the infested areas are large and few in number. This explains why the disease may occur in one small area of a landscape throughout the property.

Figure 2. A typcial spore mat of Phymatotrichum omnivorum. These fungal structures occur in the soil surface in shaded areas during the summer "monsoon"season.
Symptoms: Infected plants suddenly wilt during the summer when temperatures are high. Dead or dying foliage remains attached to the infected plant. The roots of the infected plants are rotted and brown in color. Most of the plants discussed in this publication when planted into areas infested with P. omnivora show no symptoms during the first few years after planting. This is in contrast with certain tap rooted crop plants such as cotton and alfalfa that become infected and die the first summer after spring planting. The fungus is deep seated in the soil, and it may simply be that roots of many susceptible plants do not grow into the deeper, infested areas for a number of years. In grapes, for example, symptoms usually first appear two to four years after planting. Some trees show no symptoms for five or more years after planting. Symptom development and fungal activity is different in plantings in low elevations in Arizona as compared to plantings above 3,600 feet. Symptoms at low elevations consist primarily of initial stress, wilting of foliage and death of the entire plant within a few days after initial symptoms. This death usually occurs from late May through September. At higher elevations, plants may not wilt suddenly, but die more slowly.

Figure 3. Strands of Phymatotropsis omnivora growing on the surface of an infected root.
Because plants may die during the summer for reasons other than Phymatotrichopsis root rot, it is necessary to examine root tissue for the presence of the fungus. The only positive proof of death caused by P. omnivora is to examine the cortical tissue of rotted, decayed roots and to identify the characteristic mycelial strands that are produced by the fungus on the surface of cortical tissue from decayed roots.
This examination can be made by an experienced person with the use of a hand lens. However, these strands, masses of vegetative mycelial growth that are unique to this pathogen, can be more easily identified in the laboratory under a dissecting or compound microscope.

Figure 4. The appearance of the strand in Fig. 3 as seen under the compound microscope.
Phymatotrichopsis omnivora may produce fungal spore mats on the surface of soil during the monsoon rain period.
The spore mats are occasionally seen in shaded areas at the base of infected plants during hot, rainy periods in July and August. They are not seen at other times. The usual size of the spore mat is 4 to 8 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. The spore mats appear, almost mystically, overnight. The mats are initially white in color but become brownish in color after 2 or 3 days of growth. The powdery mass of spores produced on the surface of the mat are non-functional. They have never been germinated, and they seem to play no role in dissemination of the pathogen.
Biology of P. omnivora: The fungus appears to occur deep in the soil in localized patterns. P. omnivora has no effective method of dissemination since there are no aerial or soil-borne spores that spread the fungus. The pathogen produces two important structures, sclerotia and strands. Sclerotia enable P. omnivora to survive in soil for many years. The sclerotia are small (up to 1/4 inch in diameter), roundish masses of hyphae. When mature, they have a thick outer rind. Sclerotia have been found in soil at depths up to 12 feet. Mycelial growth from germinating sclerotia initiate root infection. The fungus then produces interwoven masses of hyphae known as strands. The strands grow and colonize root tissue. Extensive root infection results in wilting and plant death. Strands, utilizing infected root tissue as an energy source, grow short distances through the soil to infect healthy roots.
Growth of strands from one host to another is probably the only available method of spread for the fungus and explains a typical pattern of kill in home landscaping situations where susceptible trees or shrubs are planted adjacent to each other. The fungus may kill one plant 2 or 3 years after the initial planting. Spread occurs in later years by strand growth from infected to healthy root tissue. Eventually, the entire group of plants may succumb to the disease.
It should be emphasized that the fungus is only a pathogen of mature roots of dicotyledonous plants. All monocotyledonous plants are immune to this disease. Winter annuals escape the disease because P. omnivora is not active in cold soils.
Control: A positive identification of the pathogen on roots is essential. In a disease situation not all roots are infected. Select roots with discolored, rotted outer bark. The diseased roots should be about 3/4 inch thick and 6 to 9 inches in length. Microscopic examination will reveal the unique strands of the fungus on the outer bark. Strands can be most easily identified on fresh material. However, they can also be seen on the surface of old, dead roots.
The only real effective method of control is to plant immune or highly resistant species in infested areas. Diocotyledonous plants grown as summer or winter annuals normally escape infection by P. omnivora. All monocotyledonous plants, either annuals or perennials, are immune to the disease. This includes large numbers of ornamentals in the Amaryllidaceae, Liliaceae, Iridaceae, Palmaceae, and the large grass family, Gramineae. Important immune plants from these plant families that are commonly grown in Arizona include palms in the genera Washingtonia (fan palms), Phoenix (date palms), and Arecastrum spp. (Queen palms), Agave and Yucca spp., bamboos and many perennial ornamental grasses.
Other dicotyledonous desert plants, although not immune to the disease, are tolerant and usually grow normally in infested areas. They include species in the genus Cercidium, C. floridum (blue palo verde), C. microphyllum (foothills palo verde), C. praecox (Sonoran palo verde); the genus Prosopis, P. velutina (honey mesquite), P. chilensis (Chilean mesquite); Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba); Parkinsonia aculeata (Parkinsonia), Condalia lycioides (gray thorn) and Chilopsis linearus (desert willow). Other plants include Amorpha fruiticosa (false indigo), Celtus spp. (hackberry), A. greggi (catclaw), Larrea tridentata (Creosote), Fouquieria splendens (ocotillo).
There are probably many other native plants in this category. As interest increases in the use of drought and heat tolerant native plants for landscaping purposes, our list of resistant plants may increase. We do know that some commonly planted non-native dicotyledonous trees and shrubs such as mulberry, Aleppo pine, and citrus are rarely affected by the disease. The list of susceptible plants is more reliable than plants in the resistant list. This, of course, is due to the fact that plants that succumb to the disease can be easily catalogued whereas plants that appear resistant may appear so simply because they have not been exposed to the pathogen. Susceptible plants grown in Arizona include: Prunus spp. including almonds, apricots, cherry, sweet cherry, sour cherry, nectarines, plums, peaches; Fraxinus spp. including Arizona ash (F. velutina); cottonwood, (Populus deltoides), Ulmus spp. including chinese elm (U. parvifolia) and siberian ulm (U. pumula); Ficus spp. (figs); honey locust (Gleditsia spp.); magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora); pear (Pyrus communis); pecan (Hicoria pecan); pistachio (Pistacia spp.); pomegranate (Punica granatum); sycamore, american and london plane (Platanus occidentalis and P. acerifolia); chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach); willow, weeping and golden (Salix babylonica and S. alba), bottle tree (Brachychiton populneum), silk oak (Grevillea robusta); pepper tree, Brazilian and California (Schinus terebinthifolia and S. molle); Japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum); African sumac (Rhus lancea), xylosma (Xylosma congestum), oleander (Nerium oleander), carob (Ceratonia siliqua) and Cassia. Other genera with susceptible species include: Vitis spp. (grape), Ilex spp. (holly), Cotoneaster spp. (cotoneaster), Malus sylvestris (apple), Juglans spp. (walnut), Buddleia spp. (butterflybush), Syringa spp. (lilac), Pittosporum spp. (Pittosporum), Wistaria spp. (wisteria), Rosa spp. (roses), Rubus spp. (berries), and Spiraea spp. (spirea).

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Janelle Dozier wrote
on June 14th, 2012
Cotton Root Rot:

( A very long post)

Since we have a number of cases of deadly cotton root rot in Mueller that has killed Lacebark Elms on Emma Long Street and on Zach Scott Street, I have done some research on this so-far incurable disease. Since our own house on Emma Long Street has two seemly-healthy large Lacebark Elms, this problem is immediate to us.
I have pasted below the Cotton Root Rot section of a University of Arizona Publication. But, if you don’t want to wade through it, I have made a list of the pertinent facts. (I am an amateur, so this is my best interpretation of the information. Please chime in if you have more advanced knowledge.)
1. Cotton root rot is caused by a fungus that is harbored in the soil. This fungus is most prevalent in cropland that has grown cotton or alfalfa. It lingers for decades and cannot be eradicated. Since Mueller was an airport since the 1930s, there haven’t been any crops grown on it in over 70 years. I do not know whether this was cotton cropland before then. But, additional soil was brought in by the builders, and there is no telling where that came from.
2. Cotton root rot affects both crops and many urban ornamental plants (trees, shrubs, perennials). See list below.
3. The fungus attacks in warm weather and when water (rain or irrigation) is plentiful. Annual winter plants are not affected because the fungus isn’t active in cold weather. (Note: I don’t know what the temperature cutoff is for “cold.”)
4. The fungus can live very deep in the soil (8 feet). The plant roots don’t get infected until they hit the infected soil. So, many trees may live as long as five years before their roots hit infected soil and they die.
5. Typically, an infected plant suddenly becomes stressed, wilts and dies in a few days. Essentially, its roots have rotted and can no longer take up water.
6. There is no recommended treatment or prevention for ornamental plants, including trees. (I saw one Texas agriculture bulletin about a chemical treatment for cotton that has just been allowed by regulators, but that is an annual, agricultural crop, not an ornamental crop. )
7. The only way to avoid plant death from cotton root rot is to plant resistant species. Grasses are immune.
8. Common ornamental and garden plants susceptible to cotton root rot include: almonds, apricots, cherry, sweet cherry, sour cherry, nectarines, plums, peaches; Arizona ash, cottonwood, chinese elm (Janelle: including Lacebark / Drake elms planted here in Mueller) and siberian ulm , figs, honey locust, magnolia; pear; pecan; pistachio; pomegranate; sycamore, american and london plane and; chinaberry tree; willow, weeping and golden, bottle tree, silk oak pepper tree, Brazilian and California; Japanese privet; African sumac, xylosma, oleander, carob and Cassia. Other genera with susceptible species include: grape, holly, cotoneaster), apple, walnut, butterfly bush, lilac),Pittosporum, wisteria), roses), berries, and spirea.
9. The Lacebark Elms that have died from cotton root rot are being replaced (at least on Emma Long Street) with native Cedar Elms that are resistant.
10. Resistant plants: Plants grown as summer or winter annuals normally escape infection All monocotyledonous plants (one-leaved plants), either annuals or perennials, are immune to the disease. This includes large numbers of ornamentals in the Amaryllidaceae, Liliaceae, Iridaceae, Palmaceae, (Janelle: this is amaryllis family, lily family and iris family) and the large grass family, Gramineae.
11. I am posting separately a Texas A&M publication of resistant plants.

What should a Mueller gardener on a block that has been hit by cotton root rot do?
So far, cotton root rot is not in our block of Emma Long Street, the 1900 block. I don’t know if we can hope that we were lucky and did not get infected soil, or if our plant roots have just not hit a pocket of fungus. Right now, it is “wait and see.” I probably would not invest a lot of money in a susceptible tree, but I have already planted a number of susceptible plants, such as a fig tree and blackberries.
If cotton root rot was already in my block, I would replace plants that die with resistant plants.
Janelle Dozier


University of Arizona Agriculture Extension Publication “Diseases of Urban Plants”
The most important disease of woody, dicotyledonous plants including perennial ornamentals, perennial vines and perennial shrubs and trees in Arizona is Phymatotrichopsis root rot (Cotton or Texas root rot) caused by a unique and widely distributed soil-borne fungus, Phymatotrichopsis omnivora.

Figure 1. Symptoms of Phymatotrichopsis root rot in peaches. Note the dead trees with attached foliage.
The fungus is indigenous to and occurs in the alkaline, low-organic matter soils of the southwestern United States and central and northern Mexico. Of the thousands of fungi that cause disease in plants, P. omnivora is unique in certain biological characteristics. The fungus has one of the largest host ranges of any known fungal pathogen. Over 2300 species of unrelated plants are susceptible to the disease. Isolates of the fungus are non-specific in their pathogenicity. For example, isolates that kill hundreds of deep rooted dicotyledonous, urban plants are also pathogenic to important crop plants in Arizona such as cotton, alfalfa, stone fruits, and grapes. Isolates from these crop plants are in turn pathogenic to urban plants. Thus, home sites established in old cotton or alfalfa fields, or other areas with a history of Phymatotrichopsis root rot can become disaster areas for urban landscapers.
The fungus has almost no method of dissemination but has the unusual capability of surviving in soil in the absence of hosts for very long periods of time. The disease symptoms usually appear during the summer. The fungus only infects roots of mature plants. Seedlings are not susceptible to this disease.
Distribution of the Disease in Arizona: Heavily infested areas of Phymatotrichopsis root rot include the flood plains and certain tributaries of the Gila River (Safford, Duncan, Solomon, Thatcher, Fort Thomas, Pima, Eden, Florence, Sacaton, Buckeye, Gila Bend, Agua Caliente, Growler, Roll, Mohawk, and Dome Valley); the Santa Cruz River (Sahuarita, Tucson, Cortaro, Avra Valley, Rillito, Marana, Red Rock, and Eloy); the San Pedro River (Hereford, St. David, Benson, Pomerene, Redington, Mammoth, and Winkelman); Colorado River (Parker, Poston, Ehrenberg, Yuma, Somerton, and Gadsden) and certain locations of the Salt River and Queen Creek. Other infested areas include Chandler, Aguila, San Simon, Bowie, McNeal, Douglas, and Duncan.
The "mesa" (land at elevations above the influence of the Colorado River) in Yuma County seems to be free of the disease, whereas many "valley" sites are infested. Phymatotrichopsis root rot occurs at elevations as high as 4,700 feet in the Elgin and Sonoita areas of Santa Cruz County, in the Nogales area and Sierra Vista. Disease has never been detected in the Bonita area north of Willcox to Kansas Settlement, but in the Sulphur Springs Valley, the disease is found near Elfrida, McNeal, and Douglas.
The fungus is not uniformly distributed in local situations. Two distribution patterns are common. In one situation the fungus may occur in many small scattered circular areas, a "shot-gun" scenario. In other situations the infested areas are large and few in number. This explains why the disease may occur in one small area of a landscape throughout the property.

Figure 2. A typcial spore mat of Phymatotrichum omnivorum. These fungal structures occur in the soil surface in shaded areas during the summer "monsoon"season.
Symptoms: Infected plants suddenly wilt during the summer when temperatures are high. Dead or dying foliage remains attached to the infected plant. The roots of the infected plants are rotted and brown in color. Most of the plants discussed in this publication when planted into areas infested with P. omnivora show no symptoms during the first few years after planting. This is in contrast with certain tap rooted crop plants such as cotton and alfalfa that become infected and die the first summer after spring planting. The fungus is deep seated in the soil, and it may simply be that roots of many susceptible plants do not grow into the deeper, infested areas for a number of years. In grapes, for example, symptoms usually first appear two to four years after planting. Some trees show no symptoms for five or more years after planting. Symptom development and fungal activity is different in plantings in low elevations in Arizona as compared to plantings above 3,600 feet. Symptoms at low elevations consist primarily of initial stress, wilting of foliage and death of the entire plant within a few days after initial symptoms. This death usually occurs from late May through September. At higher elevations, plants may not wilt suddenly, but die more slowly.

Figure 3. Strands of Phymatotropsis omnivora growing on the surface of an infected root.
Because plants may die during the summer for reasons other than Phymatotrichopsis root rot, it is necessary to examine root tissue for the presence of the fungus. The only positive proof of death caused by P. omnivora is to examine the cortical tissue of rotted, decayed roots and to identify the characteristic mycelial strands that are produced by the fungus on the surface of cortical tissue from decayed roots.
This examination can be made by an experienced person with the use of a hand lens. However, these strands, masses of vegetative mycelial growth that are unique to this pathogen, can be more easily identified in the laboratory under a dissecting or compound microscope.

Figure 4. The appearance of the strand in Fig. 3 as seen under the compound microscope.
Phymatotrichopsis omnivora may produce fungal spore mats on the surface of soil during the monsoon rain period.
The spore mats are occasionally seen in shaded areas at the base of infected plants during hot, rainy periods in July and August. They are not seen at other times. The usual size of the spore mat is 4 to 8 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. The spore mats appear, almost mystically, overnight. The mats are initially white in color but become brownish in color after 2 or 3 days of growth. The powdery mass of spores produced on the surface of the mat are non-functional. They have never been germinated, and they seem to play no role in dissemination of the pathogen.
Biology of P. omnivora: The fungus appears to occur deep in the soil in localized patterns. P. omnivora has no effective method of dissemination since there are no aerial or soil-borne spores that spread the fungus. The pathogen produces two important structures, sclerotia and strands. Sclerotia enable P. omnivora to survive in soil for many years. The sclerotia are small (up to 1/4 inch in diameter), roundish masses of hyphae. When mature, they have a thick outer rind. Sclerotia have been found in soil at depths up to 12 feet. Mycelial growth from germinating sclerotia initiate root infection. The fungus then produces interwoven masses of hyphae known as strands. The strands grow and colonize root tissue. Extensive root infection results in wilting and plant death. Strands, utilizing infected root tissue as an energy source, grow short distances through the soil to infect healthy roots.
Growth of strands from one host to another is probably the only available method of spread for the fungus and explains a typical pattern of kill in home landscaping situations where susceptible trees or shrubs are planted adjacent to each other. The fungus may kill one plant 2 or 3 years after the initial planting. Spread occurs in later years by strand growth from infected to healthy root tissue. Eventually, the entire group of plants may succumb to the disease.
It should be emphasized that the fungus is only a pathogen of mature roots of dicotyledonous plants. All monocotyledonous plants are immune to this disease. Winter annuals escape the disease because P. omnivora is not active in cold soils.
Control: A positive identification of the pathogen on roots is essential. In a disease situation not all roots are infected. Select roots with discolored, rotted outer bark. The diseased roots should be about 3/4 inch thick and 6 to 9 inches in length. Microscopic examination will reveal the unique strands of the fungus on the outer bark. Strands can be most easily identified on fresh material. However, they can also be seen on the surface of old, dead roots.
The only real effective method of control is to plant immune or highly resistant species in infested areas. Diocotyledonous plants grown as summer or winter annuals normally escape infection by P. omnivora. All monocotyledonous plants, either annuals or perennials, are immune to the disease. This includes large numbers of ornamentals in the Amaryllidaceae, Liliaceae, Iridaceae, Palmaceae, and the large grass family, Gramineae. Important immune plants from these plant families that are commonly grown in Arizona include palms in the genera Washingtonia (fan palms), Phoenix (date palms), and Arecastrum spp. (Queen palms), Agave and Yucca spp., bamboos and many perennial ornamental grasses.
Other dicotyledonous desert plants, although not immune to the disease, are tolerant and usually grow normally in infested areas. They include species in the genus Cercidium, C. floridum (blue palo verde), C. microphyllum (foothills palo verde), C. praecox (Sonoran palo verde); the genus Prosopis, P. velutina (honey mesquite), P. chilensis (Chilean mesquite); Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba); Parkinsonia aculeata (Parkinsonia), Condalia lycioides (gray thorn) and Chilopsis linearus (desert willow). Other plants include Amorpha fruiticosa (false indigo), Celtus spp. (hackberry), A. greggi (catclaw), Larrea tridentata (Creosote), Fouquieria splendens (ocotillo).
There are probably many other native plants in this category. As interest increases in the use of drought and heat tolerant native plants for landscaping purposes, our list of resistant plants may increase. We do know that some commonly planted non-native dicotyledonous trees and shrubs such as mulberry, Aleppo pine, and citrus are rarely affected by the disease. The list of susceptible plants is more reliable than plants in the resistant list. This, of course, is due to the fact that plants that succumb to the disease can be easily catalogued whereas plants that appear resistant may appear so simply because they have not been exposed to the pathogen. Susceptible plants grown in Arizona include: Prunus spp. including almonds, apricots, cherry, sweet cherry, sour cherry, nectarines, plums, peaches; Fraxinus spp. including Arizona ash (F. velutina); cottonwood, (Populus deltoides), Ulmus spp. including chinese elm (U. parvifolia) and siberian ulm (U. pumula); Ficus spp. (figs); honey locust (Gleditsia spp.); magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora); pear (Pyrus communis); pecan (Hicoria pecan); pistachio (Pistacia spp.); pomegranate (Punica granatum); sycamore, american and london plane (Platanus occidentalis and P. acerifolia); chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach); willow, weeping and golden (Salix babylonica and S. alba), bottle tree (Brachychiton populneum), silk oak (Grevillea robusta); pepper tree, Brazilian and California (Schinus terebinthifolia and S. molle); Japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum); African sumac (Rhus lancea), xylosma (Xylosma congestum), oleander (Nerium oleander), carob (Ceratonia siliqua) and Cassia. Other genera with susceptible species include: Vitis spp. (grape), Ilex spp. (holly), Cotoneaster spp. (cotoneaster), Malus sylvestris (apple), Juglans spp. (walnut), Buddleia spp. (butterflybush), Syringa spp. (lilac), Pittosporum spp. (Pittosporum), Wistaria spp. (wisteria), Rosa spp. (roses), Rubus spp. (berries), and Spiraea spp. (spirea).

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Janelle Dozier wrote
on June 8th, 2012
I was out of town when our garden (1908 Emma Long St.) was on the walking tour. Don did a good job holding down the fort. I prepared a list of plants but didn't have enough copies for Don to hand out. If anyone would like a plant list, let me know and I'll email you one.

Many thanks to Helen Mason for organizing the Mueller Garden Walking Tour!

Janelle janelledozier@yahoo.com
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on June 8th, 2012
I was out of town when our garden (1908 Emma Long St.) was on the walking tour. Don did a good job holding down the fort. I prepared a list of plants but didn't have enough copies for Don to hand out. If anyone would like a plant list, let me know and I'll email you one.

Many thanks to Helen Mason for organizing the Mueller Garden Walking Tour!

Janelle janelledozier@yahoo.com
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on June 8th, 2012
I was out of town when our garden (1908 Emma Long St.) was on the walking tour. Don did a good job holding down the fort. I prepared a list of plants but didn't have enough copies for Don to hand out. If anyone would like a plant list, let me know and I'll email you one.

Many thanks to Helen Mason for organizing the Mueller Garden Walking Tour!

Janelle janelledozier@yahoo.com
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ret1ree00 wrote
on April 25th, 2012
Shellie, Oozing sap is an indicator of several problems, first it could be just a result of the tree attempting to heal itself from a wound, second it could be an indicator of tree borers (but you would see small holes not large splits) finally it could be a disease such as cancor. Austin Tree Farms specialize in crape mrytles, Dan Picatte is the manager and is an arborist. You might give him a call.
He is the person that came out last year to do the tree seminar.
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ret1ree00 wrote
on April 25th, 2012
Shellie, Oozing sap is an indicator of several problems, first it could be just a result of the tree attempting to heal itself from a wound, second it could be an indicator of tree borers (but you would see small holes not large splits) finally it could be a disease such as cancor. Austin Tree Farms specialize in crape mrytles, Dan Picatte is the manager and is an arborist. You might give him a call.
He is the person that came out last year to do the tree seminar.
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shellrose wrote
on April 25th, 2012
I'm got a question about my crape myrtles - today I noticed that both my CM had a white substance running down the trunks. After closer inspection, I noticed small vertical splits in the bark and it appears to be sap running out. I can even push on the bark by the split and sap will ooze out. Should I be worried, proud, happy?
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shellrose wrote
on April 25th, 2012
I'm got a question about my crape myrtles - today I noticed that both my CM had a white substance running down the trunks. After closer inspection, I noticed small vertical splits in the bark and it appears to be sap running out. I can even push on the bark by the split and sap will ooze out. Should I be worried, proud, happy?
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on April 24th, 2012
Folks, please check out the Mueller Butterfly Walk & Talk, with noted entomologist, photographer, naturalist and frequent lecturer Val Bugh. It's on May 12 and details are on the Events calendar here at CitiCite. And looking ahead, the self-guided tours of Mueller gardens -- the third annual! -- is June 2. It's also posted on the Events calender.
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on April 24th, 2012
Folks, please check out the Mueller Butterfly Walk & Talk, with noted entomologist, photographer, naturalist and frequent lecturer Val Bugh. It's on May 12 and details are on the Events calendar here at CitiCite. And looking ahead, the self-guided tours of Mueller gardens -- the third annual! -- is June 2. It's also posted on the Events calender.
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Regina Emmitt wrote
on April 18th, 2012
Janelle,
Your article was exactly the information I remember reading. Thank you so very much for taking the time to re-post it for me!
Regina
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Regina Emmitt wrote
on April 18th, 2012
Janelle,
Your article was exactly the information I remember reading. Thank you so very much for taking the time to re-post it for me!
Regina
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on April 18th, 2012
Here is a short article I wrote for the FPF awhile back identifying the street trees in Mueller. Janelle


Name that Tree!

Janelle Dozier
Travis County Master Gardener, Mueller POA Landscape Committee Member

On these blazing summer days, imagine walking from your house to the corner mailbox under a continuous canopy of trees, their interlacing branches shading your entire trip. Mueller’s design includes numerous medium to large shade trees that will ultimately shade and cool the pavements…and the walkers. Dense tree cover will help make Mueller an oasis of urban cool in more ways than one.

Below is a listing of Mueller streets with their trees. Thanks to Christina Martin of RVi for the identifications.

Tom Miller: bur oaks (Quercus macrocarpa) These native Texas trees are drought resistant (once established). If one of the giant acorns falls on your head, you will notice it! The acorns attract wildlife. Bur oaks are excellent shade trees.

Pinckney, Mendez, Mattie and part of Simond: cedar elms (Ulmus crassifolia) This is a native Hill Country tree. Cedar elms are considered to be an adaptable tree for the urban environment. They are tough and drought tolerant (once established). A cedar elm makes a great shade tree.

Emma Long: Drake elms (a variety of lacebark or Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia 'Drake') This rapidly-growing tree has fall color and ornamental peeling bark. Good for urban situations. It does not have a strong central trunk (called a leader). At about five feet above ground, the trunk splits into several co-dominant trunks. So, do not prune it back to one leader. This is the natural shape of the tree. It is an Asian tree with few disease issues.

Zach Scott: lacebark elms (standard U. parvifolia) See Emma Long St.

McCloskey: chinquapin oak (or chinkapin oak) (Q. muhlenbergii) This native Texas tree provides fall color. Its acorns attract wildlife. These oaks are excellent shade trees. (Chinquapin oaks are not the same as pin oaks.)

Berkman: live oaks (Q. virginiana) This tree is evergreen. Live oaks of this variety (Q. virginiana) are more resistant to oak wilt than Escarpment live oaks. It tolerates heat well.

Threadgill, Scales, Sahm, and Hermalinda: Mexican sycamore (Platanus mexicana) This rapidly-growing tree has fall color, interesting bark, flowers, large leaves with silvery undersides. Mexican sycamores attract wildlife. It grows rapidly. One source indicates that Mexican sycamores prefer more moist soils than the oaks and elms we have at Mueller.

Camacho: Mexican white oak (Q. polymorpha) (also called Monterrey oaks) These trees are native to southern Texas and are becoming popular urban trees. This is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant oak fairly resistant to oak wilt.

Littlefield, Antone: Shumard oak (Q. shumardii) This rapidly-growing Texas native is a red oak and has reliable red or orange fall color. Shumard oaks tolerate drought well (once established). Its acorns attract wildlife. This oak should be monitored for oak wilt.

Lawless, Gochman, Hargis , Cal Rodgers: Texas red oak (Q. texana) is native to Texas. This grows into a large tree with a narrow, open and rounded canopy. It has interesting bark, fall color, and attracts wildlife. Texana is the best variety for Austin. Again, this oak should be monitored for oak wilt.

All of our Mueller trees are good shade trees and most have fall color. Some, such as the lacebark elms and Mexican sycamores, have ornamental peeling bark. The oak acorns will attract wildlife. Most of the trees are native, and the few that are not native are well-adapted to Central Texas which makes them more reliable survivors and good performers. Most of the trees are considered drought-tolerant. But, all trees need some tender loving watering when they are getting established, especially the first year.

Our oaks must be monitored for oak wilt, which is always an issue here in Austin. Any homeowner with an oak tree should never prune it or wound the bark except in the coldest weather in December, January and early February. Always paint the wounds on oak trees, according to the Texas A&M experts.
Remember: Take the stakes off your year-old trees! Many Mueller trees are in danger of being killed by girdling of their bark.

Tree information is taken from the Tree Selection Chart for Central Texas from the City of Austin, the Texas Tree Planting Guide of the Texas Forest Service and various Texas A&M websites.


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Tay2217 wrote
on April 16th, 2012
S. A., Just be aware that in the winter all the leaves fall off of these trees. So it will be completely bare. It's a bit sad, so please consider your fall/winter imagery as well.
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Regina Emmitt wrote
on April 16th, 2012
I know I remember seeing a list somewhere of all of the Mueller streets and the particular species of trees planted on each of them. Can anyone send me in the right direction for that information? Thanks for the help.
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schroed wrote
on April 16th, 2012
You must be talking about the Lacebark elms, aka Chinese Elms. We have one in our courtyard and it is filling the space very well!
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S. A. wrote
on April 16th, 2012
Can anyone help me to identify the trees planted between the sidewalk and the street along Zach Scott ? They are growing in nicely and I am considering adding one to our yard. Thanks!
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S. A. wrote
on April 16th, 2012
Can anyone help me to identify the trees planted between the sidewalk and the street along Zach Scott ? They are growing in nicely and I am considering adding one to our yard. Thanks!
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on July 6th, 2011
If you missed Brian Loflin's nature photography workshop at Mueller this spring, or if you attended that workshop and want to get more in-depth training, check out this UT Informal Classes course that Brian is teaching. Everyone at the Mueller workshop can attest to Brian's talents as an instructor.

The Mueller Prairie is a great location for nature photography, whether your interest is grasses, flowers, birds, butterflies, water or sky.

Here's the scoop:

Nature Photography: This exciting course will cover the skills and techniques required to enable the participant to capture photographic images of natural subjects and the world around us. Geared for the SLR camera, it will illustrate the procedures and equipment to make excellent images of living plants and flowers, animals and landscapes. This class brings the students the behind-the-scenes look at “How do you do that?” It is valuable to the film and digital photographer alike.

Class #: IC11334
Date: July 13-Aug. 17
Day: Wednesdays (6 meetings)
Time: 7:00 PM- 9:00 PM
Location: Thompson Conference Center, Room 3.120
Price: $85.00
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on July 6th, 2011
If you missed Brian Loflin's nature photography workshop at Mueller this spring, or if you attended that workshop and want to get more in-depth training, check out this UT Informal Classes course that Brian is teaching. Everyone at the Mueller workshop can attest to Brian's talents as an instructor.

The Mueller Prairie is a great location for nature photography, whether your interest is grasses, flowers, birds, butterflies, water or sky.

Here's the scoop:

Nature Photography: This exciting course will cover the skills and techniques required to enable the participant to capture photographic images of natural subjects and the world around us. Geared for the SLR camera, it will illustrate the procedures and equipment to make excellent images of living plants and flowers, animals and landscapes. This class brings the students the behind-the-scenes look at “How do you do that?” It is valuable to the film and digital photographer alike.

Class #: IC11334
Date: July 13-Aug. 17
Day: Wednesdays (6 meetings)
Time: 7:00 PM- 9:00 PM
Location: Thompson Conference Center, Room 3.120
Price: $85.00
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Lorrie wrote
on April 18th, 2011
Sorry for all the duplicates! The post comment button didn't seem to be working. Guess you could say my message is taking over your mailbox!
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Lorrie wrote
on April 18th, 2011
Anyone know how to get rid of ryegrass? It's taking over my lawn.
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Lorrie wrote
on April 18th, 2011
Anyone know how to get rid of ryegrass? It's taking over my lawn.
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Lorrie wrote
on April 18th, 2011
Anyone know how to get rid of ryegrass? It's taking over my lawn.
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Lorrie wrote
on April 18th, 2011
Anyone know how to get rid of ryegrass? It's taking over my lawn.
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Lorrie wrote
on April 18th, 2011
Anyone know how to get rid of ryegrass? It's taking over my lawn.
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Lorrie wrote
on April 18th, 2011
Anyone know how to get rid of ryegrass? It's taking over my lawn.
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dianeg wrote
on April 9th, 2011
Reminder: Mueller Family Plant Fest and Plant Sale is today!!!

Join your neighbors and their families in celebrating the arrival of spring.

Buy plants (both landscape and culinary herbs) to support Maplewood Elementary School and Clifton Career Development School.

Flowers, native plants, vegetables and herbs will be available, as well as Clifton’s magic Aerobic Compost Tea (bring a gallon container).

Donated nature books and plants will be sold to raise money for the Friends of the Mueller Prairie’s educational and prairie-improvement activities.

Boy Scouts will pre-sell installations of square foot vegetable gardens!

Nature-related activities will entertain children while adults enjoy Elixier’s coffee, and lunch available from Mmmpanada and Short Bus Subs.

Where: The Browning Hangar at Mueller
When: Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Who: Everyone is invited!
Cost: Entrance is free!

This event is brought to you by the Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee and the Mueller P.O.A. Activities Committee.
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on March 18th, 2011
Am reposting this ... it's 10-noon on March 26.

Hey You Nature Photographers, grab your cameras and come ...

Professional photographer Brian Loflin will conduct a hands-on workshop on photographing nature. Brian and wife Shirley have published outstanding books on native grasses and succulents and have exhibited at many shows. Whether it's the wildflowers, birds, critters or landscapes, Brian has done it (see his work at http://www.loflin-images.com/index.html) and he will share his know-how and tips with YOU! The workshop will consist of 45 minutes of "classroom" at the City Theater (a short walk from Mueller), then an hour in the prairie. It's free, everyone's invited ... so come on!
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on March 12th, 2011
Plant Sale Preview for April 9 Mueller Family Plant Fest

Save space in your landscape and containers for great plants at the Mueller Family Plant Fest, April 9, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Browning Hangar at Mueller.

Here's a list of plants to tempt you into the garden! The Clifton School will have the plants listed below available for sale at unbeatable prices.* Proceeds will support the school and its special-needs students.

Antique roses: Varieties likely available: Martha Gonzales, Marie Pavie', Maggie, Laughter, Prairie Sunrise, Lady Banks (yellow) (pots will be $5 and $8)

Staghorn ferns: Small staghorns, $10. Giant staghorns: $100

Herbs: lavender, rosemary, etc.

Ferns: compact Boston fern, Boston fern, Australian fern, native Texas silver cloak fern (hanging baskets of ferns will be $8)

Sago palms: small pot, $6

Bulbine
Mountain laurel
Mexican heather
Vinca: mixed colors
Geraniums: various colors, $4
Petunia baskets: red, white and blue $6

Compost tea made from the school's special recipe will be available. This "magic juice" feeds plants and also helps plants develop good root structure. One gallon for $7. Bring your own container (milk jug, etc.) if possible.

*Note: Plant available and prices may vary slightly on the day of the sale.

At the Plant Fest, you will also have the chance to buy plants propagated by the Maplewood School children, to benefit their school.

Friends of the Mueller Prairie will have plants for sale to raise money for educational programs and prairie improvement.

Travis County Master Gardeners will be available to advise you on how to care for your new plants and to answer any of your gardening questions.

Children's activities, music and food will make for a fun day!

Janelle Dozier

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Janelle Dozier wrote
on March 12th, 2011
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Janelle Dozier wrote
on March 12th, 2011
Nature-Book Donations and Sale


Is your house overflowing with books that need a new home?

Would you like to support the Mueller Prairie and the critters that call it home?

Donate your nature-related books to the Friends of the Mueller Prairie for resale at the Mueller Family Plant Fest on April 9.

Proceeds from the sale of donated books will support activities to preserve and improve the Mueller Prairie, and to teach the public about the benefits of prairies and their animal inhabitants. These activities include purchasing native grass and wildflower seeds, buying orange spray paint for marking invasive plants, developing bird, butterfly and “critter” habitat, and educational activities.

Any books you have on any nature-related topics: birds, butterflies, wild animals, weather, vegetables, geology, water, stars, native plants, trees, flowers, etc. would be welcome. Children's books on these topics would be great.

Bring the books, even if they have seen better days. Unsold books will be donated to Recycled Reads (Austin Public Library).

You can deliver your books (in boxes or bags) to 1908 Emma Long Street. Or you can bring your books to the Browning Hangar before 10 a.m., April 9, the day of the Plant Fest.

Thanks for helping preserve and improve the Mueller Prairie!

Mark your calendar for the Mueller Family Plant Fest and Plant Sale,

10 a.m. – 2 p.m., April 9 at the Browning Hangar.

Plants! Food! Music! Children’s Activities!

Brought to you by the Mueller P.O.A. Landscape Committee, the Mueller P.O.A. Activities Committee, and The Friends of the Mueller Prairie

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Anita S. wrote
on March 12th, 2011
Bobby,

What is the date & time of the Brian Loflin photography event you posted about? It sounds great!
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Anita S. wrote
on March 12th, 2011
Bobby,

What is the date & time of the Brian Loflin photography event you posted about? It sounds great!
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on March 12th, 2011
Hey You Nature Photographers, grab your cameras and come ...

Professional photographer Brian Loflin will conduct a hands-on workshop on photographing nature. Brian and wife Shirley have published outstanding books on native grasses and succulents and have exhibited at many shows. Whether it's the wildflowers, birds, critters or landscapes, Brian has done it (see his work at http://www.loflin-images.com/index.html) and he will share his know-how and tips with YOU! The workshop will consist of 45 minutes of "classroom" at the City Theater (a short walk from Mueller), then an hour in the prairie. It's free, everyone's invited ... so come on!
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shellrose wrote
on February 18th, 2011
We have a Live Oak tree that needs to be taken out so we can build a deck and it is too close to our house. Anybody want it? Let's talk
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shellrose wrote
on February 18th, 2011
We have a Live Oak tree that needs to be taken out so we can build a deck and it is too close to our house. Anybody want it? Let's talk
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on October 12th, 2010
I am happy to remove tree stakes whenever residents are ready to get rid of them. Rule of thumb is about a year, but it's really whenever the tree is firmly "set" or anchored in the ground by its roots. If they're removed too soon, there's a risk the tree could be toppled by a strong windstorm; but leaving them too long can damage the vascular system just below the tree bark that will weaken or kill the tree.

If you will email me your name and address, I'll get the stakes, resell them and donate the funds to our fund for landscaping and prairie projects. Email is bobby@ruraltx.org
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Bobby Gierisch wrote
on October 12th, 2010
I am happy to remove tree stakes whenever residents are ready to get rid of them. Rule of thumb is about a year, but it's really whenever the tree is firmly "set" or anchored in the ground by its roots. If they're removed too soon, there's a risk the tree could be toppled by a strong windstorm; but leaving them too long can damage the vascular system just below the tree bark that will weaken or kill the tree.

If you will email me your name and address, I'll get the stakes, resell them and donate the funds to our fund for landscaping and prairie projects. Email is bobby@ruraltx.org
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Lorrie wrote
on October 12th, 2010
That's so nice of you, Regina! I felt bad for the poor trees in front of the Standard Pacific model that have been there for a couple of years with the stakes. So I contacted the salesperson and she had them removed. Most people don't think about the stakes harming the trees after a while.
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Regina Emmitt wrote
on October 12th, 2010
Thanks for the quick responses about tree stakes. I have forwarded the information to my neighbors.
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Regina Emmitt wrote
on October 12th, 2010
Thanks for the quick responses about tree stakes. I have forwarded the information to my neighbors.
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ret1ree00 wrote
on October 12th, 2010
Bobby has the tree stake puller. The landscape group will be glad to take them off your hands.

Joe
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Regina Emmitt wrote
on October 12th, 2010
This question is for Bob, or anyone else who can answer. Is there anyone who is interested in pulling/picking up tree stakes for trees which have reached their one-year anniversary? My neighbors across the street need to remove their stakes. Please contact me through email if possible and I will forward contact info. Thanks! (rkemmitt@gmail.com)
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Elixer Coffee wrote
on August 8th, 2010
This looks like the appropriate spot to type this but wanted to let all gardeners know that I have organic coffee grounds available daily for pick up. I am new and located next to the Hangar (Elixer Coffee). just come on by and ask for them.
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ret1ree00 wrote
on June 26th, 2010
Any one interested in cutting from a Mutabilis Rose? I need to do some controlled pruning soon. Most of the canes I will be pruning would be suitable for starts. If interested please sent me a PM.

Thanks
Joe
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on May 27th, 2010
Clay Pot Irrigation

This is an ancient irrigation technique used in arid parts of China as well as in the ancient Americas. It is supposed to be twice as efficient as drip irrigation and 10-times more efficient than flooding the soil surface. This is an adaptation for modern gardens.
Take an 8-inch terracotta flower pot. Plug the drainage hole with silicone caulk or something similar. Bury the pot up to the rim in your garden. Fill it with water and cover the top with a terracotta saucer (to slow evaporation and foil mosquitoes). Water will slowly leak through the walls of the pot into the surrounding soil.
“The lower concentration of water in dry soil is what draws moisture out of the pots---and as the soil moistens, the water’s outward movement naturally slows. But, as plant roots absorb water, the soil dries and the flow increases.” I’m not a scientist, but this explanation seems logical.

I have tried this on an experimental scale and it seems to work. When I replant my square-foot garden, I will sink pots in several of the squares. This technique provides slow watering and keeps the water from splashing on the plant leaves which is a major cause of mildew on vegetables and roses. This technique will probably only work well if you have amended your heavy clay Mueller soil with lots of compost or if you are using raised beds. The source below says that you only need to fill the pots once a week, but I would check them every day until you find out how your garden soil works.
The source recommends spacing the pots eight inches apart for growing flowers (cosmos, marigolds, zinnias, etc.)
If you try this, let me know how this works for you!
This information is from Water-Wise Gardening: America’s Backyard Revolution by Thomas Christopher.
Janelle
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Bhagya Amirapu wrote
on May 23rd, 2010
Very beautiful plant! We just grabbed it. Thank you Marsha.

Bhagya.
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dodger wrote
on May 23rd, 2010
Rescure an azalea plant please! My houseguests for the weeke nd were kind enough to have an azalea plant delivered to my house. It looks great now, but won't last long under my care. I don't have the know-how to plant it in my yard and to keep it alive. Will anyone out there adopt it: Janelle, Babs, Betsy??? I guess I could have secretly abandoned it on one of your porches, I'm putting it on my porch at 2600 Tom Miller and it is up for graqbs to a good home. If it does't get rescued, I'll understand. Marsha
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hectoranddebbie wrote
on April 17th, 2010
Something fun and garden-related to do this morning -

Clifton Community Development Center is having their spring plant sale today, and it is tax free today until 1:00. Clifton is a sheltered workshop situation, so your dollars go to a good cause. They will have vegetables, ferns, bedding plants, etc., and my experience last year was that the plants were beautiful and very inexpensive. It is very close by - 1519 Coronado Hills Drive. Call for directions or information - 512-841-3365.
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ret1ree00 wrote
on March 29th, 2010
You might give Don'ate Landscape a call, They are primarily a lawn care service (mowing etc.) but I used them this winter since their business was slow. They were hard working and very reasonable. They helped me move a lot of dirt and spread a lot of road base.

Joe
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Bhagya Amirapu wrote
on March 29th, 2010
Hi,

I hope this is not out of place here.

We have been slowly developing the yard around our home in order to make it suitable for gardening in general. Until now, we have done it all by ourselves. However, for what we are conceiving for our front yard, we will need help (labor). The involved tasks include re-shaping/extending existing plant beds, building tiered beds around existing plants, transplanting medium-large plants from the front-side to the alley-side, filling the plant beds with dirt, compost, mulch, etc.

If you have any recommendations for a good quality source of such help at a reasonable cost, please kindly post them.

Thanks,
Bhagya.
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ret1ree00 wrote
on March 16th, 2010
Tree Trimming and Tree Care. March 27th 10:00 til 12:00. 4001 Mendez

Dan Pacatte, manager of Austin Tree Farm, will be presenting a brief workshop on how to best take care of your trees, including trimming, feeding and general plant health. Also we will have an opportunity for you to see first hand how to properly trim those branches that are starting to hang over the sidewalks.

Dan brings 27 years of experience in the wholesale nursery business, public sector City of Austin Arborist and as a landscape architect. Dan is also past chairman of the Texas Nursery Landscape Architects and a former board member of Austin Tree Folks.
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ret1ree00 wrote
on March 12th, 2010
Just a quick heads up with more details to follow. I have made arrangements with a friend (Tree Farmer, landscape architect and former board member of Tree Folks) to teach a hands-on work session on tree trimming and tree care on Saturday March 27th from 10;00-12:00. We will host here at 4001 Mendez.

I know this is short notice but it's the only time he can do so. More details to follow.
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ret1ree00 wrote
on March 9th, 2010
I recommend either the Natural Gardner or the Great Outdoors on South Congress. They carry native Texas redbuds. Do not get the redbuds from Lowes or Home Depot as they are usually the eastern or oklahoma redbuds. Texas Redbuds do much better in our heat. Both places have great staff to help you.

Joe
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Kateg wrote
on March 9th, 2010
Anyone have a recommendation for a nursery to purchase a redbud tree from? I know it isn't the season to plant one, but we just removed the crepe myrtle and I want to put on in asap in it's place. I've previously purchased trees from Treefolks during their annual sales but don't know where else to go, esp. somewhat locally.

thanks
Kate
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bgierisch15 wrote
on March 3rd, 2010
The PLant Fest Planning Group will meet at Asbury Methodist this Saturday, March 6, immediately after the Plant Propagation Workshop. Bring a brown bag lunch and stay join us for the meeting - the more the merrier.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on March 1st, 2010
Learn to make a "Coke Bottle Propagator"
at Plant Propagation Workshop

Bring a clean, empty, 2-liter soda bottle with its cap and a pair of scissors to the Plant Propagation Workshop on Saturday, 10-noon at Asbury Methodist Church, Cherrywood and 38 1/2.

You will go home with a miniature propagation greenhouse.

Vicki and Becky will bring materials for 25 people, including some plant material to use.

If you have a plant or a neighbor's plant (shrub like a rose or rosemary or a vine such as a coral honeysuckle, etc.) that you would like to try to propagate, you could bring a couple cuttings along (wrap in damp paper towels and bring in a baggie).

Vicki and Becky will also discuss growing plants from seeds.

Get your green thumbs ready!
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on February 25th, 2010
Find the Wildflower Center's Andrea DeLong-Amaya's "Dirty Dozen" spring garden chores at the following link. This is from Neil Sperry's email newsletter. These are great tips.

http://neilsperry.com/articles/2010/02/19/wild-about-texas.html

Happy Gardening!
Janelle
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bgierisch15 wrote
on February 12th, 2010
Welcome, Regina. Hope you will be engaged with us in the Plant Fest on April 10. There's a planning session tomorrow, Feb. 13, at 2600 Tom Miller - immediately following the MNA meeting. Come by and meet some of the plant-friendly Muellerites!
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bgierisch15 wrote
on February 12th, 2010
Welcome, Regina. Hope you will be engaged with us in the Plant Fest on April 10. There's a planning session tomorrow, Feb. 13, at 2600 Tom Miller - immediately following the MNA meeting. Come by and meet some of the plant-friendly Muellerites!
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on February 12th, 2010
Spring Vegetable Gardening
Free Seminar
Saturday, March 13,10 am-noon
Zilker Botanical Garden
2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin TX

Mueller Gardeners: If you missed Patty Leander's fantastic Mueller Vegetable Gardening seminar last Fall, here's another chance for you to catch her. Go early! Her seminars fill up fast.
Janelle

Enjoy juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and delectable green beans straight from your garden. Learn how to plant and maintain a spring vegetable garden from Master Gardener
Vegetable Specialist Patty Leander, who will share her expertise on vegetable varieties that perform well in Central Texas, recommended planting times, and composting.
This seminar is loaded with basic facts and helpful ideas, useful to both new and experienced vegetable gardeners. This seminar is free and open to the public. This is one of our most popular seminars, so please come early to get a seat. Presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association, a volunteer arm of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, go to http://www.tcmastergardeners.org or call the Master Gardeners desk at (512) 854-9600.
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Regina Emmitt wrote
on February 10th, 2010
Hello Landscapers and Gardeners:
We moved to Mueller in December and I've just moved my Master Gardener membership to Travis County (from Bexar.) Looking forward to getting to know neighbors with similar interests and being involved in projects! Thanks for the opportunity to join the group.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 31st, 2010
A comprehensive guide to growing tomatoes organically by Skip Richter, the Agrilife Extension guru, is available on the Texas Gardener website (see link below). It is full of good advice to put into effect right now to get a jump on tomato production before hot weather hits.

The article includes tips on growing tomatoes in containers.

http://www.texasgardener.com/pastissues/janfeb02/tomatorganic.html
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 31st, 2010
Mueller Plant Propagation Workshop

Date: Saturday, March 6
Time: 10 a.m.-Noon
Location: Asbury Methodist Church

Do you covet your neighbor's roses?

Would you like to multiply some of your favorite plants?

Are you interested in growing vegetables and flowers from seeds or bulbs?

Do root division and backyard cloning sound like cool hobbies?

Would you like to make-your-own plants for free?

Becky Waak and Vicki Blachman, Travis County Master Gardeners, will show how easy it is to grow plants from seeds, bulbs, root divisions and stem cuttings. This workshop will demonstrate propagation techniques featuring some plants commonly found in our Mueller landscapes or grown in vegetable gardens.

This workshop is brought to you by the Mueller Garden and Landscape Group.

Asbury Methodist is at the corner of Cherrywood and 38 1/2, just a couple minutes from Mueller. It's an easy bike or nice walk.
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bgierisch15 wrote
on January 22nd, 2010
This weekend the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center in hosting a "Tree Talk and Winter Walk". Admission is free, so it's a great time to check out the Wildflower Center and get some tips on tree maintenance.

Tree Talk and Winter Walk
Saturday, January 23, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free Admission.

"Our annual Tree Talk Winter Walk is a perfect time to explore the beauty and benefits of native trees and shrubs. Get tips on landscape design and tree maintenance and learn about native species with walks and talks led by local tree experts; from 10 am to 3 pm. Shop for that "just right" tree and shrub at a special plant sale in our Courtyard. Rootmaker potted trees and shrubs available, as well as a limited number of Wildflower Center grown species. Visit with staff from the Texas Forest Service and learn about wildfire awareness and the Urban-Wildland Interface."

Check out their website for more details and a schedule of presentations/demonstrations. http://www.wildflower.org/ttww/
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 13th, 2010
Mueller Plant Fest Planning Meeting

Time: 10 a.m.-noon
Date: Saturday, Jan. 16
Place: 2600 Tom Miller

Update:

- Felicia says that Maplewood School will be taking part again.
- Kim Aaron says the parents will be involved in children's activities again.
- We have a Master Gardener's Plant Clinic scheduled.
- I have a request out for a Junior Master Gardener event.

Please come with your ideas for speakers, organizations to recruit for information tables, activities, etc.

Food for thought:

Do we want to invite Mueller-based (or neighboring community-based) for-profit businesses (e.g., landscapers, nurseries), or do we want to keep the focus on non-profits and educational organizations?

Do we want to invite some of the Mueller-based or neighboring businesses to sponsor us? Or to provide freebies for attendees? (Mueller Home Depot, Mueller Starbucks, other local coffee shops, East Side Cafe, etc.)
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 11th, 2010
Mueller Plant Propagation Workshop

Saturday, March 6
10 a.m.-Noon
Location: to be announced

Do you covet your neighbor's roses? Would you like to multiply some of your favorite plants? Are you interested in growing vegetables and flowers from seeds or bulbs? Do root division and backyard cloning sound like cool hobbies?

Becky Waak and Vicki Blachman, Travis County Master Gardeners, will show how easy it is to grow plants from seeds, bulbs, root divisions and stem cuttings. This workshop will demonstrate propagation techniques featuring some plants commonly found in our Mueller landscapes or grown in vegetable gardens.


This workshop is brought to you by the Mueller Garden and Landscape Group.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 9th, 2010
Results of soil test in Mueller front yard, January, 2010

These are the results of a basic soil test done by Texas A&M with their recommendations for a vegetable garden in this soil.
pH 7.9 (moderately alkaline, better level is 6.5) (note: baking soda is 9)
conductivity 344 umho/cm (no recommendations)
Nitrate-N 77 ppm (high) (no recommendations)
Phosphorus 4 ppm (very low, good level is 50) (recommended 3.7 lbs P205/1000 sqft)
Potassium 138 (moderate, good level is 175) (recommended 0.8 lbs K20/1000 sqft)
Calcium 31,972 (very high, good level is 180) (no recommendations)
Magnesium 146 (high, good level is 50) (no recommendations)
Sulfur 37 (high, good lvel is 13) (no recommendations)
Sodium 90 (very low)
Conductivity 344

The recommendations are for a vegetable garden. The soil lab also recommended that (for a garden) 1 lb N/1000 sqft be added every 4-6 weeks to maintain vegetative growth.
Not being a soil scientist, I’m trying to figure out what exactly these numbers mean and how I should improve the soil. These are my notes. If anyone in the group is more up on soils than I am, please comment. I am going to see if the extension agent can advise me on interpreting the results.

Vegetables do best in a pH of 6 to 7. High pH ties up zinc, magnesium and iron in the soil which can result in plant nutrient deficiency (e.g., iron chlorosis).
The soil in my yard is deficient in potassium and phosphorus. But, these will build up in the soil and cause problems, so adding these nutrients is tricky.
Conductivity (electrical conductivity) is related to sodium/salt levels. Normal conductivity is under 100 umho/cm. Salt damage occurs over 500 umho/cm. I don't know why the sodium levels are low if the conductivity is high.
Normal calcium for clay soils is over 2,500. Mueller soil came in over 30,000. Calcium can tie up phosphorus so that plants can’t use it.
My current plans are to break up the huge clods of clay and till in a lot of composted manure. I also found out that ground alfalfa is a 2.5-1-3 NPK ratio and cottonseed meal is 6-3-1 NPK, so I may add them.
Texas A&M recommends testing the soil every two years if you are adding organic matter to it. This lets you see if you are being successful in improving your soil, and helps avoid overdosing your soil on potassium and phosphorus.

Janelle
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 8th, 2010
Plant Propagation Workshop

Saturday, March 6
10-noon
Location: TBA

Vicki Blachman will discuss and demonstrate plant propagation techniques.

Vicki is a Travis County Master Gardeners and a frequent contributor to Texas Gardener magazine. She is a popular speaker on gardening topics.

More details will follow.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 8th, 2010
Planning Meeting for Mueller Plant Fest

Bring your ideas!

Saturday, Jan. 16
10-noon
Location: to be announced

Last year's Mueller Plant Fest drew over 70 dedicated attendees despite the chilly, wet weather. This year, we've scheduled the Plant Fest a month later, April 10. The weather should be warm, the wildflowers should be flourishing in the prairie, and all the Mueller gardeners will be deep into spring planting. So, we can expect to draw many more attendees from Mueller and our neighboring communities.

Last year we had a great line-up of speakers, information booths, school plant sales, scouts selling mulch, and some great activities for youngsters.

Think about what you enjoyed the most about last year's Plant Fest and what you would like to repeat.

Come to the planning meeting with your ideas for new activities, speakers and demonstrations. We have room for more booths and activities than we had last year.

The Plant Fest focus includes a wide range of topics, not limited to the following:
* home landscaping (for example, using native and adapted plants in very small urban settings)
* vegetable gardening for small spaces
* wildlife habitat gardening
* Mueller Prairie topics: wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, wildlife (especially birds and butterflies), prairie ecology

Activities involving children of all ages are of especial interest, as would participation by neighborhood schools.

The Travis County Master Gardeners have already committed to holding a Plant Clinic at the Plant Fest.

Request for a meeting space:
Would anyone with a largish living room be willing to host this meeting? If so, please email me.

Thanks for all your ideas and participation!

Janelle
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hectoranddebbie wrote
on January 4th, 2010
I took seeds from the bluebonnets in the meadows last spring and sprinkled some in my flowerbeds and yard. I did nothing else - no sanding, no raking. A number of them are growing! They still look pretty small, so we'll see if there are any flowers this year.
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Jerod Morales wrote
on November 17th, 2009
Thanks for responding about the bluebonnets, Janelle and Joe. I ended up getting some seeds from the Eastside Cafe on Manor (they have a garden behind the restaurant & sell different plants). UT puts together a "seed ball" that is supposed to help the plant sprout without too many problems. We'll see if they work. Thanks for the advice! Cheers!
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on November 14th, 2009
Second Annual Mueller Plant Fest!

Saturday, April 10, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Wildflowers will be in full bloom.

Naturalist-guided prairie walks, urban wildlife presentations, gardening with native plants, Master Gardener Plant Clinic, much more!
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on November 14th, 2009
Re: Bluebonnets

Howard Garrett says that bluebonnet seed is hard to germinate, although you have more luck if you scarify the seeds (you can lightly sand them with sandpaper, I have heard). Seeds may take 2 or 3 years to germinate. Do NOT fertilize! Once established the bluebonnets will continue to reseed themselves.

Jill Nokes points out that hard seed coats are an adaptation to unpredictable rainfall. Only a percentage of the seeds will sprout in any one year, so that if those sprouts die of drought, the next year's sprouts might survive.

Hope this helps, Janelle
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ret1ree00 wrote
on November 11th, 2009
I don't think you need to do much other than scatter the seeds and then lightly rake them in. They basically just need to make contact with the soil. (It least that is my understanding) . I do think bluebonnet seeds need to be scarified to maximize germination. Janell may have more to add on this.

The cheapest way to aerate the soil is to use a turning fork and then perforate the soil every 6 inches to a depth of 4-5 inches. I do this to help areas that water runs off off quickly. Also in yards where the grass is not doing well.

A couple of considerations. One-our grasses have not really gotten established and you may actually pull the sod up as you aerate. Especially if you rent a roller style aerator. Second-if you have drip systems between the street and the sidewalk (which I understand is now the new city code) you could actually put holes in the tubes.

Joe
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the Morales Family wrote
on November 11th, 2009
Does anyone know if you need to aerate in order to plant blue bonnets? If so are there any inexpensive ways to aerate a lawn? Thanks for your help!
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hectoranddebbie wrote
on October 8th, 2009
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will hold its fall plant sale and garden festival this weekend. Information on hours, etc., can be found here:

http://www.wildflower.org/plantsale/

The list of plants that will be available for sale is found here:

http://www.wildflower.org/collections/collection.php?collection=fall_sale

I'll be going early on Saturday for the best selection of plants. There is a members-only preview on Friday, and they snap up a lot of the good stuff.
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Betsy wrote
on October 7th, 2009
The 10th installment of the Cherrywood Plant and Book Swap will be Saturday, October 10 from 9 to 11:30 am at Cherrywood Green (Cherrywood Rd. and E.34th).

Share your plentiful plants and/or books you have read or tired of. At the same time, acquire some new and interesting plants and books.

It's close, it's cheap (free actually), it's earth-friendly, sustainable and you will meet new people. Share your knowledge or learn something new. Introduce your kids to gardening. Tell your friends.

WORKSHOP: 10am The Garden Posse will conduct a demonstration of making a seed bomb. "Seed bombs, or seed balls, are rolled up mixes of seeds, compost, and clay that you can throw into a field or your own yard." The workshop should be fun for kids as well as adults.

The event is open to the public and you don't need to bring anything to participate.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on October 6th, 2009
Vegetables and Herbs to Plant in October

This list is from the Travis County Master Gardeners' Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity

Want to learn more? Attend Patty Leander's presentation on vegetable gardening with a Mueller focus on Saturday, October 10, 1-3, Asbury Methodist Church at Cherrywood and 38 1/2th.

Vegetables to plant in October:

Arugula
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Chinese Cabbage
Collard Greens
Kohlrabi
Carrot
Endive
Lettuce
Spinach
Turnip
Beets
Chard
Garlic
Mustard
Muliplier Onions
Radish

Herbs, including: Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Mexican Mint Marigold, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Yarrow
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Betsy wrote
on October 2nd, 2009
Patty Leander

Urban Vegetable Gardening

Presentation with Question and Answer Session

When: October 10, 1-3 p.m.
Where: Asbury Methodist Church (Cherrywood and 38 1/2)

Patty Leander, an Austin vegetable gardening guru, will speak on garden strategies appropriate to Mueller and small urban spaces. Patty toured Mueller Thursday, making notes about our special situations. She will advise us on vegetables appropriate for our small "pocket gardens." Patty will also suggest vegetables that will grow on fence trellises, along our alleys, and in deep planters on our porches.

Patty will discuss vegetables that we can plant now for Fall and Winter harvesting. In case you need time to get your garden bed ready, she will also have suggestions for Spring planting. In addition, Patty will give ideas about composting to help build up our former under-the-tarmac soil.

Patty plans to speak for about an hour and she will answer specific questions about your particular challenges and concerns for another hour.

Patty's gardening presentations are information-packed and illustrated with photos of her own gardening successes. Her regular talks at Zilker Gardens draw standing-room-only crowds, so we are fortunate to have her give us targeted advice for urban gardening. Patty's articles frequently appear in Texas Gardener. Patty is a Travis County Master Gardener.
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ret1ree00 wrote
on September 30th, 2009
Free cutting: I have a few cuttings this morning from my Angels Trumpet if anyone is interested. It is a shade loving plant in the same family as Jimson Weed. Just in case you are not familiar with that family it is poisonous. Call me at 636-2584. They won't last long after cutting.

Joe
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ret1ree00 wrote
on September 30th, 2009
I wanted to pass this along to the garden group. I had a bad infestation of "Cottony Scale" on my roses this year. This was a new bug for me in all my years of gardening. My brother is a Phd entomologist so I consulted with my favorite bug doctor.

Here is his favorite insecticidal soap for aphids,scale and general use.

2 oz. Palmolive Green Soap (Important)
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. HastaGrow or similar liquid fertilizer.
100 oz. Water

He stressed the Palmolive because of it's emulsifing capabilities. The olive oil clogs the bug's breathing, the fertilizer gives the plant a quick boost. He recommended applying every 3 days and soaking the plants especially under the leaves.

It took a while to get the scale under control but I believe it has worked.
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bgierisch15 wrote
on September 8th, 2009
The Mueller Landscapes & Gardens group will host a program on native plants, featuring Brian and Shirley Loflin, authors and photographers of Grasses of the Texas Hill Country, one of the very best photographic guides to prairie grasses of the kind found in the Mueller Prairie and across central Texas. The Loflins have a brand new book on Texas succulents and another on wildflowers that is at press right now.
Brian and Shirley’s illustrated lecture will greatly deepen our appreciation of native plants in general, and of the Mueller restoration project in particular.
Shirley will bring her plant press to show how she presses and mounts grasses (and flowers) on watercolor paper to make herbarium pages. These pages are as beautiful as any original artwork, and Shirley will bring some of her sample pages.

The talk and demonstration will be at Asbury Methodist Church, corner of Maplewood and East 38 ½ Streets, from 1:00-3:00 pm on Saturday, September 26, 2009. For further information, call or email Bobby Gierisch at 499-8948 and bobby@ruraltx.org.
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Tommy Skaggs wrote
on August 31st, 2009
Jennifer sent me a pdf file with the list of acceptable and not. If anyone wants a copy send me a message with an email address and I'll forward it to you. Tommy
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Tommy Skaggs wrote
on August 28th, 2009
Thanks for the info Joe. Tommy
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ret1ree00 wrote
on August 26th, 2009
The Plant list was included in the Mueller Modifications Guidelines which were have been included in the Covenants Package from the builder. Jennifer Harvey can provide you copies if you need them.

I have an Adobe version but for some reason I could not find the link to the Mueller Austin site to provide you with a link. Perhaps someone else could.

The list is essentially the same as the City of Austin Native and Adapted Landscape Plant List. COA has a new undated version available at most nurseries.

Hope this helps.
Joe
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Tommy Skaggs wrote
on August 25th, 2009
Does anyone have a list of plants, shrubs that are or are not to be used in this development or know who I can speak to in order to get a list? Thanks
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ret1ree00 wrote
on August 19th, 2009
For those of you who might want to calculate how much water you should be giving your plants to survive or thrive. I found this on the web. It was developed specifically for Arizona but has lots of application for Texas as well.

Joe

http://www.wateruseitwisely.com/region/arizona/100-ways-to-conserve/outdoor-tips/water-guides/plant-guide.html
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bgierisch15 wrote
on July 30th, 2009
Rainwater Harvesting
and Other Drought-Coping Strategies
with a Mueller Focus

When: Aug. 8, 1-3 p.m.

Where: Asbury Methodist Church, corner of 38 1/2 and Cherrywood

Speaker: Paul Lawrence, Williamson County Master Gardener, Accredited Rainwater Harvesting Professional, specialist in rainwater collection systems and native plant-centered landscapes

Paul will speak on strategies for collecting rainwater, ranging from passive systems that capture runoff in your landscape beds, to rainwater barrels, to timer-controlled hoses on rainwater barrels so that you can automatically water your beds with rainwater. Many of these strategies take little monetary investment.

Learn how to:

* make your own rainbarrel from a 50-gallon food-grade restaurant drum
* connect rainbarrels to double or triple your storage capacity
* build a platform for your rainbarrels to increase pressure in your hoses

Paul will also discuss watering strategies for grass, shrubs and trees in this extreme heat and drought season. These strategies will both conserve water and give your plantings a better chance of survival.

Paul has toured Mueller and has taken note of our specific circumstances. He will tailor his talk to our small urban landscapes.

Once you have your rainwater collection system in place, you have free water. In addition, the tap water in Central Texas tends to be alkaline which can slowly poison some plants over time. Rainwater is slightly acidic, and plants thrive better on it.

This FREE workshop will give you practical tips you can use immediately in your yard.

Contact Janelle Dozier at janelledozier@hotmail.com if you would like more information, or if you have questions you would like Paul to address.
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bgierisch15 wrote
on July 22nd, 2009
Join the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) nationwide team of volunteers who serve their communities as Habitat Stewards™.

The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and NWF, in partnership with the Travis Audubon Society, are offering a specialized training to teach you how to help others create and
restore wildlife habitat in backyards, schoolyards, and other private and public areas. This training is offered through the Parks and Recreation Department’s Wildlife Austin program, which spearheaded the certification of Austin as a NWF Community Wildlife Habitat.

Training Topics Include:

Native Plants for Wildlife
Attracting Birds & Butterflies
Landscape Design Principles
Invasive Plants & Habitat Restoration


Habitat Stewards Receive:

• 30 hours of intensive, hands-on training
• A comprehensive training manual including regional resources
• Advice and practical training from local conservation professionals

• Field trips and hands-on educational sessions with community members

In return for training, volunteers must provide 30 hours of service to NWF within one year of the training.

Projects include: helping neighbors transform their landscapes to benefit wildlife, writing an article for a local newspaper or distributing habitat information at a local festival.

Training fee: $40.00

All Classes Must Be Attended!

Thursday Sept. 10 6:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday Sept. 12 9:00am-3:00pm
Thursday Sept. 17 6:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday Sept. 19 9:00am-3:30pm
Thursday Sept. 24 6:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday Sept. 26 8:30am-12:00pm
Thursday Oct. 1 6:00pm-8:30pm
Saturday Oct. 3 8:30am-12:00pm

Registration deadline is August 27, 2009. Enrollment is limited. Application process required.

Must have Austin address to register. Cancellation policy applicable, see website for more details, http://www.keepaustinwild.com.

Please contact Alice Nance with the Austin Parks & Recreation Department to apply and/or for more information: alice.nance@ci.austin.tx.us or 512-327-8181x29

Keep Austin Wild!
http://www.keepaustinwild.com
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Lorrie wrote
on July 22nd, 2009
Can anyone recommend a good way to kill weeds in the grass? Using the "glove of death" (with Roundup on a glove) didn't really work for me and I've got so many weeds among my grass. What about Ortho® Weed B Gon? I want to be environmentally responsible but I also want to kill the weeds. Thanks!
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Bonnie Northcutt wrote
on July 20th, 2009
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Bonnie Northcutt wrote
on July 20th, 2009
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Claire T. wrote
on July 20th, 2009
Thanks! I have transplanted the moonflowers to the ground. In fact, there were lots of buds yesterday, so I'm hoping to get some good pics of flowers this evening. I got two packets of moonflower seeds from Home Depot. They are pretty easy to please. Just make sure they get lots of sun wherever you choose to plant them, and they will take off!
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shelley hiam wrote
on July 20th, 2009
Claire - I LOVE your shade garden. Are those the moonflowers that bloom at night? I grew those when I was a teenager at my parents house and have been thinking about trying to find some seeds again.
Also - I have a Gerber Daisy, too. Mine is bright red. I've found cutting the blooms off at the first sign of wilting is helpful. How often are you watering it and are you planning on eventually transplanting it to the ground?
I've used some insecticidal soap to treat some of the bug problems. It works, but seems to wear off pretty quickly. My eggplant is suffering the most. And recently I've seen some pretty big holes on my tomato plant :(
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Claire T. wrote
on July 20th, 2009
My boyfriend and I did some major work this spring by putting in some new beds and (literally) tons of compost. Oh yeah, plenty of plants, too. We have a lot of pictures online at http://gallery.me.com/telephonec

Our garden is plagued by lots of tiny bugs. I'm not sure if those are the famed spider mites or not. The really destructive culprits have been Cabbage Looper Caterpillars and Tomato Horn Worms. I pull those guys off and drown them in soapy water. Cutting them in half with your garden shears is quick and dirty, but I don't have the stomach for it. We have had ants eat right through the stalks of several zucchini and through an entire bed of zinnias. They didn't touch the zinnias in the other bed - go figure. I wouldn't consider any of our pest problems solved :-P I'd be glad for any tips, too!
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shelley hiam wrote
on July 20th, 2009
also... I am curious if anyone has had pest problems and what they've done to solve them. ladybugs?
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shelley hiam wrote
on July 20th, 2009
I put in a veggie garden in my backyard. I put down 6-8 layers of newspaper over the grass, soaked it with water, and lined the garden with bricks. I poured soil on top of the newspaper. After a few months, the newspaper broke down after successfully killing the grass underneath it. Now my plants' roots can grow as deep as they desire. I haven't been getting any veggies yet, but the plants are doing quite well.
I'm growing cucumbers, eggplant, tomato, basil, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, and jalapeno.
If anyone wants a sprig off the tomato plant to root and plant in your garden... let me know. It's going like crazy!
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bgierisch15 wrote
on July 18th, 2009
Thanks to the fabulous Eradicators and our own Friends of the Prairie! Thirteen people showed up at 8 am in July to help rid the Prairie of Johnson Grass. And thanks to Jennifer H at the POA for watering last night to soften the ground - it really helped.

The good news for everyone else: there's still lots of Johnson Grass left. Look for future opportunities!
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bgierisch15 wrote
on July 17th, 2009
Friends of the Prairie, earn your spurs!

Join The Eradicators for a joint work day rooting out invasive plants in our Prairie. Meet at 1908 Emma Long Street at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, for a couple hours of eradication.

The Eradicators are a group of volunteers affiliated with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. They jump in to help groups with established programs (like the Friends of the Mueller Prairie) to eradicate invasive weeds in Austin.

Come loaded for bear (er, Johnson Grass) with gloves and your favorite weeding tool. Bring your SW Greenway Field Guide as a reference.

For Info call Janelle at 535-0551.
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bgierisch15 wrote
on July 17th, 2009
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bgierisch15 wrote
on July 9th, 2009
Welcome to the group, Catherine. If you'll PM me your email address we will add you to the email list for notices of workshops, tips, etc. It's an occasional thing and not too intrusive ... if you're interested.
bg
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sdubble wrote
on July 8th, 2009
Another (no cost) option, Robyn has a T post puller, she'd be happy to come over and pull them for you... We live on Littlefield.

Scott Dubble and Robyn Cloughley
Byrd's Bicycle Landscaping/Scorpion EcoIrrigation
(512)636-1472 Robyn
Licensed Irrigator #LI17243
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ret1ree00 wrote
on July 7th, 2009
Need help getting your T bars out of the ground. Heres how we used to do it when pulling fence (when we didn't have the tractor.

Use a high lift jack (used by 4 x 4 and offroaders) and a length of chain. Wrap the fence T-post with the chain near the ground and attach to the jack. Brace the jack by putting a 2x6 or 2 x8 board under the jack so it doesn't sink into the ground. Then CAREFULLY jack the rod out of the ground. A floor jack could also possibly work.

It helps to run some water around the T bar.

Joe
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Lorrie wrote
on June 25th, 2009
Thanks, Joe!
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ret1ree00 wrote
on June 25th, 2009
Lantana is very hardy. I would suggest a thorough soaking weekly and then let it drain completely. They don't like to have their feet wet and prefer to be on the dry side. If it's on the porch facing west you might need to water for often.

Joe
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Lorrie wrote
on June 24th, 2009
Does anyone know how much I should water my Lantana in the summer? It's in a pot.
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bgierisch15 wrote
on May 16th, 2009
The Prairie training session yesterday morning was a great thing! A good dozen or more people showed up for the two-hour session, and all seemed very, very pleased and enthusiastic about the prairie and our opportunities as stewards.

Now I see another session has been set for June 13. That's a Saturday, so those who missed yesterday's session because of work have another chance. Please make it if you can -- you'll be glad you did!
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ret1ree00 wrote
on May 15th, 2009
I don't know what happened to my post(s). I guess I could have had a senior moment. So I apologize for the multiple entry. Also not sure what happened to my comment. See you on the prairie. (Kevin can you delete my erroneous posts)

Joe
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bgierisch15 wrote
on May 14th, 2009
All,

Dr. Mark Simmons will conduct our first prairie training class on Friday, May 15 from 9:00 to 11:00 am. The date for the training has been dependent on Dr. Simmons' schedule, and this was the only opportunity until well into June, when it will only be hotter.

Meet at the demonstration gardens at 9 am sharp. The class will be held in the prairie, so be prepared with hats and sunscreen!

If you are in the Landscape/Garden Interest Group, and would like to join the Friends of the Prairie you are encouraged to come to the training on Friday. Dr. Simmons has a wealth of knowledge and is a gifted teacher.

Our prairie needs its Friends!
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ret1ree00 wrote
on May 14th, 2009
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ret1ree00 wrote
on May 14th, 2009
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ret1ree00 wrote
on May 14th, 2009
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ret1ree00 wrote
on May 14th, 2009
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ret1ree00 wrote
on May 14th, 2009
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ret1ree00 wrote
on May 14th, 2009
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dodger wrote
on May 14th, 2009
We dug a couple of flower beds and made a big muddy mess on our grass, seemingly obliterating it. Will it grow back or do I need put sod back? If I need to put sod back, what kind of sod should I get and where should I get it? Thanks.
P.S. I'm planting all native plants in the beds
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doug wrote
on May 14th, 2009
What if every neighborhood in Austin had its own community garden?

Learn how to start a community garden for your neighborhood THIS SATURDAY!

How to Start a Community Garden Workshop

Saturday, May 16, 10am-4pm
Windsor Park Library, 5833 Westminster Dr

A community garden is a place for growing food, friends, flowers and community. Find out how to contribute to the economic, social, and environmental vitality of your neighborhood by starting a community garden. In this workshop, we will cover how to secure land, finding funding & resources, and organizing friends & neighbors to create a community space. We will also take a tour of an established community garden.

There is a high interest in community gardening in Austin, and very limited space available at existing community gardens. Come learn about how we can work together to start more gardens! Cost is $5 per participant to cover lunch (or you may choose to bring your own).

To register, contact Jessica Guffey at 236-0074, ext. 105 or jess@sustainablefoodcenter.org.

Hope you can come!

Sustainable Food Center cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.



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schnauzerhouse wrote
on May 4th, 2009
EarthKind Free On-Line Training Program

EarthKind and the Texas Master Gardeners have a free on-line training program which you can access at http://earthkind. tamu.edu/ MGtraining. html .
This training program is open to anyone, you do not have to be a Master Gardener.

The Mueller community's focus and the EarthKind program goals are completely in sync. EarthKind Landscaping uses research-proven techniques to provide maximum gardening and landscape enjoyment while preserving and protecting our environment.

EK Landscaping encourages: water conservation, landscaping for energy conservation, reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use and reduction of yard wastes entering landfills. You can read more at http://earthkind. tamu.edu/ index.html
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bgierisch15 wrote
on May 2nd, 2009
Hooray for Valley Crest and whoever got the rye grass on the big vacant lot at Tom Miller and Berkman mowed. It was going to seed and posed a real threat to the native plants in the Prairie right across the street.

The mowed rye will be just as effective at holding topsoil and preventing erosion and dust, but it won't colonize the prairie. Good stroke!
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Kateg wrote
on April 27th, 2009

Subject: Action Alert: Tell PARD to Support Community Gardens


Farm to Plate 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4/27/09


Send Comments to PARD Today in Support of Community Gardens
Community gardens are an essential part of a vibrant, livable, and sustainable city. They offer space for residents who live in apartments or have a shady yard to grow fresh, healthy food. Community gardens help unite neighborhoods, contribute to neighborhood beautification, and connect urban dwellers with nature. They facilitate communication, foster intergenerational and cross-cultural connections, encourage physical activity and provide therapeutic benefits. The impact of these spaces is immeasurable and invaluable.

The number of community gardens in Austin is small compared to other cities of similar size and development pressures are putting community gardens in Austin in jeopardy. An opportunity though to promote community gardens in Austin is here. The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is seeking input about its Long Range Plan for Land, Facilities and Programs, 2010-2015. Let Austin PARD know that you want it to support community gardens by sending your comments to longrangeplan@ci.austin.tx.us.

Use the sample message below or write your own. Be sure to submit your comments by April 30, 2009.

I would like to commend the Austin Parks and Recreation Department on its recognition of community gardens as a growing trend in Austin (PARD Long Range Plan, p. 176). PARD has shown great initiative in devising guidelines for community gardens in parks. I urge the PARD to continue this momentum by keeping the recommendation to provide additional land for community gardens and farmers' markets (Ch. 10) and by including a recommendation to adopt the draft Austin Parks and Recreation Community Garden Information Packet (Appendix Ch. 6 Supporting Documents Public Meetings) in the Long Range Plan for Land, Facilities and Programs, 2010-2015. I also request that PARD incorporate community gardens as an activity or special use in Ch. 2 PARD Definitions and Standards; include Deep Eddy Community Garden when discussing existing facilities in Planning Area 2 in Ch. 3 Existing Facilities; continue to consider community gardens in planning for park and trail development; and work with other city departments to increase their support of community gardens as well.

Thank you for your support of community gardens in Austin!
Sincerely,

To read the Austin Parks and Recreation Department Long Range Plan for Land, Facilities, and Programs, visit: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/longrangeplan.htm. To comment, send an email to longrangeplan@ci.austin.tx.us before April 30, 2009.
About Sustainable Food Center
With roots dating back more than 30 years, SFC is involved in every step of the local food system from seed to table. Our mission is to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.
Contact Information
Susan Leibrock
Community Relations Director
Sustainable Food Center
512-236-0074 ext. 111
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bgierisch15 wrote
on April 25th, 2009
Janelle - thanks for posting the notices about events around Austin. I've yet to make any of them, but I will! And it's good to know there's so much good stuff available.

As I think about our own group here at Mueller, it strikes me that the care and protection of the Prairie is paramount. While I look forward to our own workshops and meetings, we can get good info on just about everything from other meetings around town. But our Prairie is unique. It's a tremendous asset and that's where we residents and neighbors can make a real contribution.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on April 22nd, 2009

Sat May 2, 2009 - Workshop: How To Know and Grow Austin Butterflies.

Learning to identify common butterflies of our area is only one aspect of the Austin Butterfly Forum’s Fourth Annual Butterfly Workshop, held this year from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Zilker Botanical Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd.

Topics will cover butterfly host plants, how raise caterpillars and watch metamorphosis at home, strategies for caterpillar survival, as well as books and resources about this rapidly growing hobby. The workshop will also include a light lunch and a hands-on walk to identify butterflies at Zilker’s Doug Bachly Butterfly Trail. Participants will be given plants to take home to begin attracting butterflies to their own gardens. To register, please call Jeff Taylor at 255-0368 or kscjtaylorprodigy.net. The cost is $35.00.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on April 22nd, 2009
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on April 21st, 2009
Two Gardening Events


Going Native in the Garden
April 30, 2009
7-9pm
Zilker Botanical Garden

Having trouble picking the right plants for your Central Texas garden? Attend our Going Native seminar and hear MG Paula Middleton teach you more about the beautiful native and adapted plants that can grow well in Central Texas and still be earthwise plant choices. Let us help you discover plants that are drought tolerant and resistant to pests and diseases, yet offer the color and texture you desire in your garden. These plants will allow you to build a breathtaking garden while using plants that require less fertilizing, less watering, and less chemical control. Going native is an experience everyone should have in their garden!

Creating a Wildlife Garden

May 2, 2009

10:30am-12:30pm

Hampton Branch, Austin Public Library

5125 Convict Hill Rd.



MG Rebecca Matthews will teach you how to build a habitat that is more attractive to beautiful songbirds, butterflies, frogs, and other beneficial wildlife. Using native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees will increase the beauty of your property, protect the environment, and provide a nurturing refuge for all types of animals. Requirements for building a certified wildlife habitat will also be covered.


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schnauzerhouse wrote
on April 20th, 2009
Hummingbird Feeding

I saw a hummingbird this weekend on some Mexican Bush Sage. So, it may be a good time to start putting out hummingbird feeders. (And it was really a bird, not one of the huge hummingbird-type moths...I checked!)

I've pasted part of a research article on hummingbird feeding below. It says to attract them with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. Then switch to a 4 parts water to one part sugar once the hummingbirds have found you.

Janelle


Sugar Solutions

Considering such large differences In nectar sugar concentrations in flowers, it is possible to mix different solutions of sugar and water to achieve different goals, while still providing food similar to what the birds obtain from plants. Backyard birders have two major goals: to provide food to attract hummingbirds so they continue to visit, and to maintain feeding frequencies so it is easier to watch and enjoy the birds' behavior.

A hummingbird Is more likely to stay at a feeder when it first arrives if the feeder contains a relatively rich sugar solution. A 60 calorie solution can be mixed for this purpose with equal volumes of sugar and water (1:1 ratio). This high concentration is important to replenish energy reserves during migration, and to fuel the territorial exploits of males and nesting activities of females.

Once hummingbirds have been attracted with a rich sugar solution for two or three weeks, a lower concentration will increase their feeding activity and still provide sufficient energy. To promote high rates of feeding activity, mix one part sugar with four parts water (1:4 ratio). This 10-calorie solution is similar to lower sugar concentrations in nectar produced by some plants.

It will seem like there are many more hummingbirds visiting your feeders because each bird will feed 10 to 12 times an hour in comparison to two or three times an hour with richer food. If you wish to make the change from high to low sugar concentrations more gradual, the "average" 35-calorie concentration can be mixed with one part sugar and two parts water (1:2 ratio).

It Is not necessary to always provide the same concentration as the average found In flowers. Like a feeder for seed-eating birds, a hummingbird feeder is efficient because a bird can find and eat a meal very quickly. Although a higher caloric food in a feeder is more efficient for the birds, it decreases their feeding activity. It helps if neighbors coordinate changes in sugar-water concentrations because hummingbirds always prefer a higher sugar-water concentration. By studying the feeding behavior and physiology of hummingbirds in relation to flower nectar sugar concentrations, it has become obvious there is no best or most healthful feeder solution. Regardless of what sugar-water concentration you use, be sure to keep your feeders clean and your nectar fresh for the birds.

Dr. Reed Hainsworth and Dr. Larry Wolf are Professors of Biology at Syracuse University in New York. They have been studying hummingbird physiology and ecology for 25 years in the United States and tropical America.
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Claire T. wrote
on April 19th, 2009
I've got 8 ornamental grasses on Camacho that will be looking for a new home by the weekend of April 25th and 26th. I put photos in an album:

http://www.muellercommunity.com/index.php?module=Photos&op=album&albumID=60

Let me know if you're interested!
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on April 10th, 2009
Gardening Above Ground
April 15, 2009
7-9pm
Zilker Botanical Garden

Love to garden but don't have the space or soil for the plants you love? MG Anne Van Nest will help you increase your knowledge of working with plants in containers. Want to know more about growing flowers or vegetables on a patio, an apartment balcony or in other locations? We will discuss what plants grow well in containers, types of containers, soil, fertilizer and watering. In addition, we will introduce you to using Grow Boxes, an easy to construct gardening container made from a plastic storage box that allows for growing of vegetables or flowers without weeding and only needing infrequent watering. A limited amount of Grow Box kits will be offered for sale.

As always, the seminar is free and open to the public
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langhugh wrote
on April 9th, 2009
Hey guys, these tips and notices of plant sales should be posted to the big message board. These groups are sort of like echo chambers right now.

Please post this stuff to the big board under "Everything Else"
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on April 9th, 2009
Tree Advice from Skip Richter (Travis County horticulturalist)

It is time to lightly fertilize our trees.

Use fertilizer with the ratio of ingredients of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2. Sprinkle one cup of fertilizer per one inch of trunk diameter under the whole spread of the branches.

Water in deeply over the entire spread of the branches....not just at the trunk.

Repeat fertilizer in early summer and mid summer.

Fertilizing our trees is important since a soil test has shown our soil has almost no nutrients! This will promote fast and healthy growth.

Do not use more fertilizer than recommended, it can burn the tree roots.

Get excellent planting, fertilizing and watering advice for shade trees from Skip Richter at http://extension-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/lg_o_art_trees2.htm
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Claire T. wrote
on April 7th, 2009
Spring Plant Sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

http://www.wildflower.org/plantsale/

Hours:
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Admission $7 adults, $6 seniors & students, $3 children 5 through 12, members and children under 12 free.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on April 7th, 2009
Another solution to awful soil:

Plant above-ground in a raised bed. My neighbors and I are having great luck with square-foot gardening. You build simple six-inch-tall frames and fill them with a mix of compost, peat moss and perlite.

Check out Mel Bartholomew's book "All New Square Foot Gardening."

Also, the East Side Cafe on Manor Road has demonstration square foot gardens as well as traditional in-ground gardens. They encourage visitors to walk around and gain inspiration.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on April 7th, 2009
Container Gardening

Free Seminar

April 15, 7-9 p.m., Zilker Botanical Garden

Travis County Master Gardener Association is presenting "Gardening Above Ground." Grow both flowers and vegetables in containers. The seminar will cover the best types of container plants, types of containers, soil, fertilizing and watering. Learn how to make Grow Boxes from plastic storage containers that minimize weeding and watering.

This is perfect for our small Mueller lots.
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bgierisch15 wrote
on April 5th, 2009
The dirt is awful! One resident had a soil analysis done and found it very alkaline (we all know that - from the limestone), and had ZERO nitrogen and potassium! Without an analysis is clear that everything beneath the top inch or two is pure clay. Worse yet, some of this soil was under several feet of concrete runways for the last 50 years, with no sun, no rain, no plant life.

That said, lots of people are getting very nice landscaping results, and we had a great herb garden on the west side of our house last year. It's obviously best to turn the soil several times with a fork or shovel and blend in a lot of sand and organic matter. It's hard work but worth it in the long run. Our herb bed is very pliable this year, so we're hoping for good results again!

PM me if you want more information on the soil amendments.

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Claire T. wrote
on March 31st, 2009
So has anybody pulled up some sod to plant more beds? What's the dirt like? I've only gardened in Northwest Louisiana, so any input about the soil I'm about to find would be greatly appreciated!
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bgierisch15 wrote
on March 12th, 2009
Get your coats and hats, bring your coffee or hot chocolate, but don't miss the Plant fest at 11 am on Saturday! Weather will be on the inclement side ... bring your good spirit and have a good time. At Ella Wooten Park by the Mueller pool.
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bgierisch15 wrote
on March 12th, 2009
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on March 12th, 2009
Need Mulch? Boy Scout Troop 410 will be taking orders for their mulch at the Mueller Plant Fest on Saturday, March 14.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on March 12th, 2009
Regarding raised herb beds: Check with Jennifer Harvey about the raised beds outside your fence. I think you may not need to apply for permission, and Jennifer can tell you immediately. You are definitely allowed to plant vegetables and herbs beside your fence on the outside. It may depend on how high you want the raised beds to be. If they are so tall as to affect the drainage off your lot, that might be a problem. Good luck with your herbs! If you need baby dill plants, I have extras.
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dancer texas wrote
on March 10th, 2009
Another cool "gardening note"... the neighbors (actually my lovely wife suggested the idea and the neighbors are all for it) on our block are suggesting a "community-block herb garden"...where we each plant a specific herb in our front beds.

I can't tell you how many times we've called each other up asking the other if they have specific herb while we are preparing our dinners. It's funny...but this idea is very beneficial to all. This way we just have to walk out our doors to find any herb we need.

I thought the group would enjoy this post.

~t

~t

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dancer texas wrote
on March 10th, 2009
First we wanted to say hello to everyone...we just know we are going to love this group.

Second...we are REALLY itching to put in a couple raised bed vegetable and herb gardens...like NOW.

We've been blessed to have a very large lot with lots of yard space (exceptionally big corner lot). However my plan is to put the raised beds on my tract of land outside of our fence facing the alley. It's big... 29' wide x 12' deep...but most importantly that location gets nearly 10 hours of sun.

I'm assuming that I'll need approval from whoever to put in such a landscape project. Am I correct?

What I'm skeptical about is the wait time to get such a approval. My neighbor requested approval of patio to her yard...she did not hear anything after 30 days...contacted them...and they said they would get back to her in a couple months.

If I need approval...I don't want to wait 3 months for such a response. Planting season is upon us. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

~t



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Claire T. wrote
on March 9th, 2009
I am so bummed that I will be out of town on March 14th. It's my Mom's birthday, though :-)
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sdubble wrote
on March 3rd, 2009
Hello Bryan and Diane,

We'd love to design and install a native plant bird and butterfly garden for you. Please let us know if you'd like us to look at you place and work up a proposal.

Our website isn't up yet, but we're working on it, in the meantime, here's some info about our business and background.

My wife Robyn has roots here in Central Texas and worked in the landscaping business here in Austin in the 80’s before running a horse barn and composting business in Santa Fe, and returned to landscaping when she moved back to Austin.

She's been operating Byrd's Garden Care doing landscape maintenance and property management in Austin and the Hill Country for the last few years. She has always emphasized native plants, organic techniques and low water use.

As Byrd's Bicycle Landscaping/Scorpion (Eco)Irrigation we've expanded our services to include consulting and design, as well as installation and maintenance, emphasizing permaculture design, irrigation design, maintenance and auditing (with an emphasis on water conservation, storage and management), rainwater harvesting, organic gardening, edible landscaping, xeriscaping, petscaping, wildscaping, environmental remediation, natural building and alternative energy.

We want to help people make their outside space more inviting, comfortable, useful and productive, while requiring less energy and money to maintain, by incorporating the local environmental conditions with the wants and needs of the clients and their co-inhabitants in the design. We really like incorporating interconnected relationships and stacking functions in our design process. I like a slightly paraphrased definition of permaculture design as the art of arranging beneficial relationships.

We particularly love finding individualized, lower tech/lower cost, elegant solutions for any sized space, but would also enjoy the luxury of setting up a solar powered/supplemented irrigation system with a fully automated weather station, with rainwater harvesting, with filtration, pumps and disinfection for both potable and landscape use...

Robyn and I prefer to bike to our work sites when possible, she has an Xtracycle on the way (hopefully this week) and in the meantime she pulls her tools and supplies on a bike trailer, and uses electric and hand tools to reduce emissions, noise and pollution. If the distances or loads are too large we use the lowest impact vehicle available, a 41 mpg Echo, a 30 mpg Focus SW with roof rack or a short term rental for larger jobs.

Robyn is a licensed irrigator, and in addition to her lansdcaping, composting and horse barn work, Robyn has experience in veterinary clinics, most recently as office manager at the spay and neuter clinic of the non-profit Animal Trustees of Austin.

I am an environmental chemist and auditor with experience in laboratory analysis and management, field chemistry and microbiology, environmental monitoring, remediation and emergency response. I've worked as a consultant in those fields for the US EPA and state of Washington, at sites in the Pacific NW, Alaska, New England, and Louisiana, and as an environmental laboratory auditor for the state of Texas. I have a permaculture design certificate from the course taught by Dick Pierce last Fall here in Austin, and am pursuing rainwater harvesting accreditation from ARCSA. I have helped set up, and participated in, permaculture trainings at political actions as part of demonstrating the positive life-affirming solutions we support, and propose as alternatives to those destructive disempowering institutions and practices wreaking havoc on our environment and quality of life. (So often in political action the focus is on what we oppose, we have always tried to focus on what we are for.) I have used solar cells to power remote air monitoring equipment, and am studying residential installation applications, as well as passive solar technologies.

I've experienced the transition from Summer gardening on the Washington Olympic Peninsula’s acidic, loamy soils, moderate temperatures and constant, evenly distributed precipitation to year round gardening on Central Texas' alkaline clay and caliche soils, the sporadic, concentrated rainfall, high mineral content water, the more pronounced seasonal solar angle differences and the seasonal and daily temperature extremes... Robyn is also familiar with the high plains/mountains and Winter cold of New Mexico.

Please let us know if we can be of assistance.

Peace, Love, Beauty, Balance, Delight and Abundance,

Scott Dubble and Robyn Cloughley
Byrd's Bicycle Landscaping/Scorpion (Eco)Irrigation
(512)636-1472 Robyn robyn@byrdsgardencare.com
(360)440-1180 Scott scott@byrd'sgardencare.com
1933 Littlefield St
Austin, TX 78723
Licensed Irrigator #LI17243

Design - Maintenance - Installation
Permaculture - Native Plants - Edible Landscapes
Organic - Sustainable - Low Noise/Emissions (no blowers, hand/electric tools, bike when possible/Echo when not)
Rainwater Harvesting, Irrigation Audits...
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on March 3rd, 2009
Master Gardener Plant Clinic at the Mueller Plant Fest March 14. Is it a weed? Is it a bad bug or a good bug? What is killing my plant? What is this flower? How big will this bush grow? Why is my grass yellow? What can I plant in the shade? These and any other plant or insect question can be answered on March 14 by the Travis County Master Gardeners at their Plant Clinic during the Mueller Plant Fest. Bring photos, clippings and captured bugs for identification and diagnosis.
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langhugh wrote
on March 3rd, 2009
bdjones,

I like to forward your request to some friends of mine who are wonderful native landscape designers, David and Christy Ilfrey. I have worked with them in the past, and they are other-worldly knowledgeable and personable. They currently work virtually with clients all over the state, but they reside in Corpus Christi. I'd like to bring them into Austin for a weekend to meet with neighbors.

Dusty
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bdjones wrote
on March 1st, 2009
We are interested in working with a landscaping company to design/construct a native plant/bird and butterfly garden in our back plot. Any suggestions? Anyone done one yet?

Bryan and Diane
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bgierisch15 wrote
on February 28th, 2009
Scott and Robyn, Thanks for the post. There are two 'landscape committees', sort of. One was created by the POA and the other is the larger, informal group that is putting the March 14 Plant Fest together. Janelle Dozier is the pivot person in both. However, since I don't want to post Janelle's contact info here, I'm happy if you want to contact me at 499-8948 or bobby@ruraltx.org.
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sdubble wrote
on February 23rd, 2009
A couple of weeks ago we were watching a hawk in one of the trees on the south end of the SW Greenway lake and saw it swoop out of the tree and catch a small rodent. It is amazing to see that degree of wildness in central Austin.

We are excited about the intent here at Mueller, particularly in the design of the SW Greenway, to connect people's landscaping with the extended green spaces in a more cohesive way, so the flora and fauna habitats of each support the other.

We're looking forward to more details about the event on Mar 14th.

How does one get on or interact with the Mueller Landscape Committee? I didn't see info here in these forums.

Scott Dubble and Robyn Cloughley
Byrd's Bicycle Landscaping/Scorpion (Eco)Irrigation
(512)636-1472 Robyn (360)440-1180 Scott
Design - Maintenance - Installation
Permaculture - Native Plants - Edible Landscapes
Organic - Sustainable - Low Noise/Emissions (no blowers, hand/electric tools, bike when possible/Echo when not)
Rainwater Harvesting, Irrigation Audits
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on February 20th, 2009
Feb. 17 we noticed many Texas Mountain Laurels blooming, bluebonnets and other wildflowers making an appearance in the Southwest Greenway (Blackland Prairie). Several types of butterflies were working the blossoms. Anyone know what these butterflies are? We've also seen a large hawk cruising the park.
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bgierisch15 wrote
on February 10th, 2009
Has anybody noticed - since the rain the bluebonnets on the SW greenbelt are beginning to bloom. Only about a handful so far, but lots of others are ready to burst, esp if we get a little more rain. I've also seen a single new Indian Blanket in bloom ... and a few daisies.

With our irrigation system and everybody else's lack of rain, we may have the only bluebonnets in Central Texas this year ... and we are going to have tons of them.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 29th, 2009
Monthly meetings with garden and landscape experts are being planned by the Mueller landscape and garden interest group. Potential topics include: edible landscapes, effective and efficient use of our watering systems, designing beautiful, low-maintenance, small-scale home landscapes, managing pests and diseases in an environmentally-responsible way, tree care, lawn care, container plantings, attracting birds and butterflies, identifying and eradicating weeds, and numerous other topics. We are thinking of meeting on a weeknight, perhaps Thursdays. If you are interested in being involved or have a topic to suggest, please comment.
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schnauzerhouse wrote
on January 28th, 2009
Saturday, March 14, there will be a Mueller garden and landscaping event. The Travis County Master Gardeners will hold a Plant Clinic where Mueller residents and any interested urban gardener can bring plants (and bugs) for identification and diagnosis. Blackland Prairie tours in the Southwest Greenway will be offered. An expert on urban wildlife habitats will speak and answer questions. Activities for children will be included. A group of interested residents and the Mueller Landscape Committee is organizing the event. There will be tons of information on all kinds of plant and landscape issues. So, if you are interested in native plants, vegetable gardening , flowers, trees, butterflies and birds, plan to come. Volunteers are welcome.
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