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November Landscapes – Christmas Lights!

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Time to plan and schedule your Christmas display!

Growing number of homeowners have their lights up by Thanksgiving

One of the primary tasks many folks in Texas take on each holiday season is the installation of Christmas lights. While it’s true that Christmas is almost two months away, a great number of homes have their Christmas lights on by Thanksgiving.

You find this information in a landscape column because the relationship between the landscape company and the handling of Christmas lighting in that same landscape only makes sense. And many landscape companies offer this service.

Basic displays of Christmas lights will include the use of C7 and C9 lights along roof lines, walkways, driveways, etc., These are often displayed in white (clear), red or green, or combinations of all. These lights are typically affixed by using plastic fasteners/clips.


You will want to pay special attention to the amount of electricity you are using per outlet. Especially if you’re using incandescent lights. You may want to have an electrician inspect the amount of load you’re pulling before you begin turning them on each night. If you’re using LED lighting, then you can have more lights on the same circuit. It is wise to have the circuit loads checked regardless.

When the time comes to pack them away for the year, know that your time and success next year will depend on how well you pack those lights this year. Label everything.


Mini-lights are often used to wrap tree trunks and limbs, fence rails, doorways, etc. Garland looks nice when draped over and around an entry way or even a fence gate. And of course wreaths accent the display in either lighted or unlighted versions.

For specialty lighting, you really need to speak to your landscaper well in advance to allow time for him/her to locate what you’re looking for. I can recall a request from a local NBA player who wanted a Santa shooting a basketball into a hoop, using lights to show action. It took about a month to find one but one emerged in San Diego, California.

Getting the consultation done now gives you plenty of time to have your lights done in a timely fashion. The consultation is where you will speak with your landscaper or lighting technician and express to them what your budget is and what type of display you would like. They will then follow through with an estimate for you and proposed installation date.




What to do with those leaves!

In the coming weeks, thousands upon thousands of leaves will fall into many of your finely kept landscapes. They will accumulate wherever the winds take them, mostly into your garage, along your foundations, into your pool or pond, and everywhere in between.

So it’s important to keep up with those leaves. You basically have three ways of going about this.

1. Gather the leaves and bag them. Using a blower or rakes or both, gather the leaves into central locations around the lawn and insert them into plastic bags for disposal.




2. Using a mower with a bagging attachment, mulch the leaves while collecting them with the bagger attachment. Dispose of the bagged leaves into a compost bin. If you do not compost, chances are there is someone living in your neighborhood who does and would probably gladly accept your mulched leaves to add to their compost bin.

3. Using a mulching mower, mow over the leaves in the lawn to get the leaves ground up into small pieces and disposed back into the turf. While doing this, you can blow the leaves from the beds, entry ways, garages, etc., into the lawn before starting. This method puts the nutrients right back into the soil and gives a little insulation for the turf roots below.

Those are three good options, but either way, don’t just allow the leaves to stay in place. Aside from being unsightly, they can be a fire hazard, too.


Things to do this month . . . .

1. Remove your Hummingbird feeders and bring them inside for the fall/winter. We bring them in before freezing weather occurs so that they are not encouraged to hang around and instead fly south. If they are here when it freezes, they will be at high risk of death. While you have them in, clean them out and store them in a dry place until early spring.

2. Bring your bird houses down and clean them out. They are not used in the winter so this is a perfect time to get them down, make any necessary repairs. Make sure to remove any bedding from previous nest inside. Many types of birds won’t use a birdhouse with a nest already inside.

3. Either flip your bird bath bowl upside down or bring them inside. Some types will break or crack if frozen so its best to avoid that headache. Flipping them upside down insures they don’t hold water/ice.

4. Your last pre-emergent application of the year should come within the first two weeks of this month. You may also want to apply pre emergent to your beds as well as your lawn. However, do not apply if you’re overseeding rye grass in the lawn or have flowers that depend on seed to re-emerge each season in the beds.

5. If you still haven’t planted your tulip bulbs, you still have a little time to get them in. You want to make sure you get quality bulbs as that will determine how successful your blooming season will be. The colder the winter, the more impactful the blooming season will be with most bulb plants. You may want to sprinkle some granular Potash into the soil with your bulbs for their growth during the cold months.

6. One of the worst things you can have happen is for your sprinkler system to have leaks and then freezing weather hits. Right now is a great time to get a sprinkler inspection done to make sure your system has no issues as we go into the cold weather.

7. For those of you with Palm trees, you will want to get them wrapped/covered this month. Wrap the trunks of Palms like Mediterannean Fan Palms. Those with Pindo Palms will want to wrap the trunks and tie up the fronds. Sago Palms should be covered using freeze blankets (white). In any instance where you use freeze blankets to cover shrubs, choose a blanket that is white or very light colored so that the plant can continue to get sunshine while under cover. When installing a freeze blanket, you will want to secure it well enough that it can withstand our winter winds.








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  • joeywa pinned this topic
  • 3 weeks later...
6 hours ago, doc longhorn said:

I've got two spiral cut cedar tress in my front yard garden in Katy.  Both appear to be dying and Google says it could be a fungus of which there is no cure.  You familiar with this malaise?

Yes, I am. We see this a lot and you can get all kinds of incorrect information on the web. For instance, your google says its incurable and thats not correct. 

More than likely you have a canker fungus working in the root zone.

The response is to perform a soil drench in the root zone of the affected tree. Before doing this, you will want to break up the soil in the area you're going to drench so that our soil drench will sink in faster.

Take a 5-gallon bucket and mix three tablespoons of Propiconazole (any product with this chemical in it) and mix into bucket while filling with water. You will also want to mix in .05 ounces of SuperThrive plant hormone. Once filled, pour around the base of the tree. A larger tree will require more product. So for a 15-18 ft tree, apply 30 gallons of the above mixture to the root zone area.

A company called Lesco makes a product called "Spectator" Ultra 1.3 Fungicide. This is what I use. It has the Propiconazole as its active ingredient.

You do not want to create stress for the plant, so if these are irrigated continue to run your sprinklers as you normally would. However, perform the soil drench a day after watering.

Warning – this chemical stinks, has a real stark odor which will subside once you have it on the ground.


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6 hours ago, doc longhorn said:

Outstanding.  At some point I need to pull you out to my farm in Brenham and let you and my wife converse.  She will probably want to adopt you.


(and, by-the-way, canker fungus really sounds nasty)


Oh Lord, it truly is. There are several varieties of it, too. Some of them strike certain species more than others, which is how it was easy to diagnose. 

By the way, when early March rolls around, you will want to repeat the process I described above. That will help insure the fungus doesn't re-emerge.

I bet your place in Brenham is just beautiful. 

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