the show

Summer Fireworks

encore date: May 5, 2016

original air date: May 7, 2016

Get the hottest new plants with Jessica Robertson of Greenleaf Nursery. On tour, innovative designer Casey Boyter’s garden respects resources where people, plants, and planet unite.  Daphne answers: What is that strange growth on Texas persimmon and is it harmful?  Find out how to grow silvery gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida), our Plant of the Week. Ouch, mosquitoes are already in full gear! John’s got the tips to spare your misery.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Casey Boyter Innovative Courtyard Garden

Casey Boyter’s an innovative designer who conserves resources through green roofs, low water landscapes, and creative recycling. At home in east Austin’s Govalle neighborhood, her garden’s a personal test site and sweet retreat. Zac Zamora of Variance Design installed a living wall in her office shower room to continue her exploration of plants, people, and planet.


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Question of the Week

What is this growth on Texas persimmon?

Thanks to Kim Johnson for this question about her Texas persimmons! Last fall, blisters appeared on the leaves of her young persimmon tree. She’s tried spraying with water and insecticidal soap, but the blisters remain, and now some of the new growth has them. What is it and what can she  do about it?

Well, Kim, these are persimmon leaf galls, which are caused by a mite, which lays its eggs on the leaves, causing the plant to react by producing those blister-like cysts on the surface. Since the leaf tissue surrounds and protects the young mites, spraying with any sort of product won’t have any effect, so there’s no need to waste your time or money.

While the mites definitely aren’t the best thing for the plant’s healthy growth and development, they usually aren’t more than a nuisance and the plant recovers. Because your tree is so young, with so few leaves, it’s a bit more of a problem, simply because the plant doesn’t have as many leaves to compensate for the issue.

But ultimately, as the tree gets larger, the problem will be less of an issue. Most times mites and other gall-making insects are cyclical problems, often with many years of non-infection between problem years.

Texas persimmons are tough, and my bet is that your tree will overcome this setback. Treat the plant the way you would if it were completely healthy, and the problem should right itself within a few seasons; hopefully sooner!


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Plant of the Week

Gopher Plant, Silver Spurge

Gopher Plant, Silver Spurge

Euphorbia Rigida

Euphorbia rigida is commonly known as silver spurge or gopher plant. This mounding perennial is often referred to as a shrub, but it definitely does not fit most people’s mental image of what a shrubby plant is, since it doesn’t get woody, or even all that large. In years with warmer winters, silver spurge may be evergreen, but the stems do die back after flowering, so it’s best if you prune out those old, dead stalks at the end of the flowering season. Getting to about two feet tall and spreading to about 3 feet wide, silver spurge looks great along the borders of garden beds, perhaps with a bit of space to flop over and trail slightly over the edge. Bright yellow flower clusters form in late winter and early spring, and silver spurge will flower well into the summer. Leaves are a bright gray, making the plant really stand out. Plant in full sun, or only light shade, in well-drained, even rocky soils, and water about once a month, unless we’re getting rain.

Viewer picture goes to Phyllis and Charlie Hirst for their Texas-true bottle tree made from hand-blown tequila bottles!