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Sirhornsalot

December Landscapes – Everything connected to Christmas!

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Time to get that home landscape Christmas-ready!

Most folks associate the month of December with Christmas, of course. After all, most of the month is spent either getting ready for or enjoying this big holiday. But there are plenty of things to be doing in the landscape, and Texas weather offers plenty of opportunities to get outside during the month.

But lets start with the items that are connected to the Yuletide season, shall we?

 

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One of the things that commonly happens for most families is to have relatives over during the holidays. And with that, we want our homes and landscapes to look their very best. The leaves are falling and are accumulating all over residential properties during this time. Having a complete landscape clean up will get your home to that holiday look, which would include removing leaves, mulching, trimming, etc.

 

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By now, you will be able to see the Mistletoe growing in the canopies of the Cedar Elms, Mulberries, and other trees. Once the leaves have fallen, Mistletoe becomes very easy to spot as it is the only thing green in the canopy of the tree. In keeping with Christmas tradition you can harvest your own Mistletoe using a pole saw. Just cut the pieces where it meets the limbs. Once you’re done trimming them all, collect the best looking specimens and hang in your home, pass around to your friends.

Mistletoe is a fungus and should be removed, when possible. So you’re really helping the tree when you remove it. If left unchecked, it will cause the decline and eventual death of a tree.

 

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The Poinsettia, America’s Christmas flower, is a very popular plant in the homes of millions each Christmas season. The flower is a native of Mexico’s Pacific coast, growing at moderate elevations in deciduous tropical forests. Its range extends down to Guatemala. Despite it’s tropical origins, the Poinsettia is tolerant of cold temperatures as long as its not exposed to frost. 

The flower’s relationship with Christmas began as a legend in Mexico whereby a young girl, having nothing to give for Christmas, was told to gather weeds by the roadside by an angel and place them in front of the church altar. And from those weeds sprouted the crimson red blooms of the poinsettia.

The flower was named for Joel R. Poinsett, the US Ambassador to Mexico in 1825 and whom brought the first Poinsettia plant to the US.

One of the tasks families take pride and pleasure in each year is picking out their Christmas tree. While many have gone to artificial trees, there are still plenty of households out there who do it the old school way with a real, live tree. Some cut their own while others purchase their trees already cut. The important thing I’d like to stress is to keep the base of the tree in water for the duration of the time you have it in your home.

Understand that with your home’s heating going off and on during this time, the evaporation rate will triple. So it is wise to examine the stand/holder every other day to make sure the tree has plenty of water. This will help extend the green look of the tree. If allowed to go dry for much time, the tree will turn brown.

Freezing weather has already hit most of us once in November and December promises much more. If you haven’t already, get those spigots covered with the spigot protection covers when freezing temperatures are forecasted.

 

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Winter Solstice comes on Dec. 21

For the first 21 days of this month, each day will continue to be shorter. On Dec. 21, we will have our winter solstice. What is a winter solstice? Its when the sun is at its lowest, southern-most point in the sky. This is when we have our shortest day of the year and longest night of the year.
Every day after that will be a little longer than the one before through June, when we’ll have our summer solstice (longest day of the year).
This is important as far as daylight work time being shortened, so the amount of time we have to get things done in the garden is limited. Budget your time wisely this month!

(Mark’s column each month is sponsored by Stagecoach Trailers, Inc., of Naples, Texas. Find them at www.stagecoachtrailers.com)

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Unrelated to your article above but we're thinking of buying a new build and the builder/neighborhood (Austin area) requires the lawn to be Bermuda grass. I've always had St Augustine grass but from what I understand you have to water B more frequently but not as long/deep as SA. You have a link you would recommend me reading as to the differences/advantages/disadvantages of the two types of grass? Appreciate any advice/info you can provide.

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1 hour ago, tejasrulz said:

Unrelated to your article above but we're thinking of buying a new build and the builder/neighborhood (Austin area) requires the lawn to be Bermuda grass. I've always had St Augustine grass but from what I understand you have to water B more frequently but not as long/deep as SA. You have a link you would recommend me reading as to the differences/advantages/disadvantages of the two types of grass? Appreciate any advice/info you can provide.

 

What you won't like – Bermuda goes dormant sooner than our other turfs. It also comes out of dormancy later than other turfs. Why is this a negative? Because weeds can have their way with your lawn in the down time.

I would want to get my Bermuda lawn as thick as possible so that this becomes a non-issue. The thicker your turf, the less likely weeds will make their way in.

What you will like – Bermuda lawns don't typically suffer from fungus. Bermuda does get his by Chinch bugs in late summer from time to time, but it's recovery is very fast, unlike our other turfs.

You were misinformed on the watering. Bermuda is much more drought tolerant than St Augustine or even Zoysia. During July-August, water it during the evenings. Any other times, do morning waterings. You can water Bermuda just like you did with St Augustine, but you just won't need to do it as much. Bermuda likes to dry out between waterings.

Bermuda is not shade tolerant. So when your newly planted trees begin growing up, your Bermuda will suffer (the parts around the tree).

As a side note, you might inquire as to why Bermuda was mandated. Seems silly since you could do Buffalo grass and get more drought tolerance mileage.

You also want to find out what type of Bermuda they are going to use. There are many. "Celebration" Bermuda is the most drought tolerant that I know of. The most common at sod outlets is the hybrid Bermuda Tif 419. Its a straight-blade Bermuda used on many golf course greens because it doesn't mind being cut short. Just ask what type of Bermuda they're using.

 

 

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2 hours ago, tejasrulz said:

Unrelated to your article above but we're thinking of buying a new build and the builder/neighborhood (Austin area) requires the lawn to be Bermuda grass. I've always had St Augustine grass but from what I understand you have to water B more frequently but not as long/deep as SA. You have a link you would recommend me reading as to the differences/advantages/disadvantages of the two types of grass? Appreciate any advice/info you can provide.

I don't mean to belittle your choice of property, but why would someone purchase property with covenant restrictions. It's your property and you should be able to do what you want with it. Anything else used to be un-American.

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50 minutes ago, Baron said:

I don't mean to belittle your choice of property, but why would someone purchase property with covenant restrictions. It's your property and you should be able to do what you want with it. Anything else used to be un-American.

Actually this is quite common today. We're currently conducting projects in new additions in McKinney, Frisco, Aubrey – all of which have rules that make them have Bermuda turf.

This is due to water demand and the fact that Bermuda does not require as much water as St Augustine or Zoysia.

In some cases, you're able to do what you want in the back yard, but the place we're working in now (Aubrey), even that is not the case.

In fact, there is an "approved" plant list that we must go by when we design/build landscapes in those neighborhoods.

HOA's are good in many ways, but they do remove the freedom I would need to be able to live in one. lol

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