The Garden Guy Blog

Lindheimer Muhly Grass Texas Superstar for Texas Landscaping

Lindheimer Muhly Grass Texas Superstar for Texas Landscaping

Meet the Texas Superstar! Lindheimer muhly is a clump-forming, tough, warm-season perennial grass native to Texas. The plant's rounded to-fountain-shaped canopy is composed of long-arching aqua to blue-green, strap-like, keeled leaves. The canopy is topped by 8- to 18-inch long narrow flower panicles that open with a hint of purple/red, turning silver/white to gray/white as they mature, and eventually light brown or gray/brown as seeds ripen from summer to fall.

Chromium, Copper & Arsenic, oh, my!

Chromium, Copper & Arsenic, oh, my!

Garden Guy explains  (CCA)-treated wood in dyed mulch. Todd is Sugar Land's Aggie Horticulturist with more than 30 years of experience, designing and installing creative landscapes with plants that thrive in Texas.  🔑 Key Takeaways with Garden Guy: Dyed Mulches don't break down easily or naturally, poor wood product from dyed mulches robs nitrogen from soils and plants, dye in mulch runs off into watersheds and into our environment, (CCA)-treated wood in dyed mulch is toxic, albeit low-levels, Chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood may cause environmental problems. Educate others and eliminate the usage of dyed mulches in landscaping CCA's in dyed mulches are awful.  Stop it.

Natural Mulch from Big Box Store

Natural Mulch from Big Box Store

Mulching landscaping helps protect the soil and plants and can dramatically improve the appearance of a yard.

Mulch is an excellent way to provide a layer of protection to the base of plants and trees, and to the garden soil below. It also helps provide insulation, reducing shock to roots from temperature fluctuations.

Types of organic mulch include bark, leaves, straw, or grass clippings and will eventually decompose.

Mulch slows down water evaporation from the soil, which can help retain consistent moisture levels for the plants. In addition, mulch helps put a stop to weed growth, by blocking sunlight and overcrowding, reducing the number of pesky little weeds coming up.

Lastly, mulch provides an aesthetically pleasing finish to the garden, helping to unify all the different elements.

What mulch can you just drive up to Lowes or Home Depot and buy that will be beneficial to your soils, plants, and the environment?  We found one for you.

Garden Guy Recommends Texas Native® Hardwood, Cedar, or Native Pine Mulch (undyed).

Mulch Volcanoes are Bad

Mulch Volcanoes are Bad

A mulch volcano is made by piling mulch up around the base of a tree or shrub in the form of a cone or volcano-like structure, either with or without an opening at the top.

The original purpose of creating a mulch volcano around a tree was probably for water retention and to also help protect young trees from debris and temperature fluctuations.

As far as the Gulf Coast is concerned though, this volcano mulching practice is out of control; destroying and weakening trees and large shrubs instead of protecting them.

While mulch does not provide trees with any extra nutrition, it does help to trap moisture in the soil and provide the tree with a buffer from changing temperatures. If applied correctly, mulch around a tree acts as just that, a moisture trap.

Trapping moisture against the bark: a recipe for a weak tree.

Just say No to Dyed Mulch

Just say No to Dyed Mulch

Find out why dyed mulches are harmful here. Garden Guy is Houston’s number one residential garden consultant with 30+ years of real experience at homes just like yours. If it happens in backyard and front yard landscaping, he’s seen it! Garden Guy has been designing and installing landscaping for homes for more than 30 years in Houston and Sugar Land.

How to do a Scratch Test on Trees and Plants

How to do a Scratch Test on Trees and Plants

“On the woody ornamentals do the scratch test. Scratch the stem and see if it’s green.  Using your fingernail, or a small knife or anything sharp, scratch some bark off of the dead-looking part of the plant. If you see green, the plant is alive and will hopefully flush out new growth in the spring, advises Garden Guy.“

“Be patient with your woody ornamentals if you find green in the stems.  Cut back the plant with sharp pruning shears and then wait for it to flush out again, quipped Garden Guy.” 

If you feel like too much of the plant is brown and you don’t want to wait for it to grow back, you can, of course, replace it with a new plant too, he added.

Just because there are brown leaves on a tree or shrub does not mean it is dead.  The leaves froze and they will fall off.  That is perfectly fine. Check us out here in the video below talking about leaves being brown on shrubs: