the show

Proactive Tree Care

air date: September 16, 2017

How can we help our troubled trees or avoid problems? Consulting arborist April Rose takes us from the ground up for made-in-the-shade tips to nurture your trees. Daphne identifies fungal leaf spot on native Texas ash trees and explains what to do. Plant of the Week is native American beautyberry, beloved as an understory tree in shade that feeds pollinators and birds. In Lytton Springs, creative recycling designers Alicia and Joe Thornton turn yesterday’s trash into today’s treasures. Casie Luong joins Trisha Shirey to make refreshing spring rolls with tips from her Vietnamese-born parents and Trisha’s fresh harvests. Get their recipe!


Episode Segments

On Tour

Starting Over Creative: Alicia and Joe Thornton

When Alicia and Joe Thornton bought land in Lytton Springs, they restored the grounds and pond for wildlife. While building charming spaces, chicken coop and vignettes from scavenged finds, they started a new business, ArtisansbyDesignTX.  From reclaimed and salvaged materials, they craft beautiful custom-designed furniture and artwork. Their motto: “Saving the Planet One Board at a Time.” They also became a refuge for abandoned ducks, geese, chickens, dogs and cats.

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Question of the Week

What are these spots on native Texas ash leaves?

Thank you to Shannon Viscardi for this great question about spots on her Texas ash tree. We consulted Dr. Kevin Ong, Extension plant pathologist and director of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab, for this one, and he reminded us that disease development is always reliant upon environmental conditions.

When weather is rainier and/or cooler than “normal,” diseases take advantage of the situation. And when spring arrives earlier or later than normal, this also contributes to disease development, with some, perhaps normally less common, diseases becoming more prevalent due to abnormal weather patterns.

The weather also has an effect on our ability to treat for diseases, since many products should not be used once temperatures turn hot and the air becomes dry. And that is the case here.

The problem on this ash tree appears to be some sort of fungal leaf spot, so, while a fungicide would be in order, by the time Shannon noticed the problem, summer had settled into Central Texas in full force.

Also, fungal treatments for leaf issues are most effective when the leaves are developing, before their waxy cuticle develops. Once summer arrives, most plants take a break from growing, so no new, susceptible leaves are formed, thus, no need for treatment.

Another reason to avoid treatment in summer is that in our extreme heat products can easily burn and damage the plant. And so, our best recommendation is to let this problem run its course and see if it develops again next year, when you can get on top of the situation from the very start.

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Plant of the Week

American Beautyberry

American Beautyberry

Callicarpa Americana

Beautyberry does best in a partial shade location. In fall the arching branches load down with clusters of purple fruits. A white fruiting form is also available. This plant adds interest to shady areas of the landscape. Provide dependable moisture levels for best results. This is a low care plant that is seldom bothered by pests and diseases. Remember, fall is prime time for planting trees and shrubs!