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Old 05-08-2015, 12:32 PM
Location: Round Rock, Texas
11,406 posts, read 11,034,236 times
Reputation: 15490


I'm so not a green thumb. I love beautiful landscapes but the maintenance aspect kills me. Not from laziness but more the feeling of...you try, you try and nothing seems to come of it. We moved into a house that has established landscaping (though some of the plants are clearly misplaced (i.e. planting roses beneath a massive heritage oak tree).

This year, it's shaping up to be a wet and mild summer here in Central Texas. I'm digging not having the 100 degree scorchers, but the humidity, days of rain, and no sun have caused fungal, disease, and insect damage throughout the entire lot. Everything, except weeds of course, is coated with mildew or some type of whitish stuff covering the leaves. Roses have what looks to be blackspot. The trees have anthracnose. we moved in too late to do anything preventative. So what should I do? My tree (and shrub guy) likes to take the wait and see approach and not spray for these issues immediately. In fact, he says "oh, it's just fungus". I've read online though that blackspot can decimate a rose garden. He says I should wait and see if it really gets out of hand before spraying or anything. But the landscape is starting to show the effects of these issues -- yellow leaves, spotted leaves, some leaf drop. Do I not do anything since it's constantly raining, etc. and look to next season for a better looking landscape?

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Old 05-08-2015, 01:12 PM
1,566 posts, read 951,487 times
Reputation: 648
well, any kind of fungicidal spray program needs at least a day or so for both the foliage on the affected plants to dry off AND likely another day for any application to completely dry on the treated plants---if your weather conditions do not allow this to happen either for the initial application AND for repeat applications afterwards (most any kind of treatment needs a series of repeat applications to obtain and maintain pest control) you may have to live with the problem this year.

OTOH, you might consider switching from plants like roses that are not happy with these kind of hot, humid conditions and replace them with plants (native or otherwise) that are already better adapted to your general conditions and go with them as the main components of your landscape. most botanic gardens for example will have display gardens based on "low maintenance", "drought tolerant" type plants that might well worth the time and effort of "re-creating" your garden with. other resources like your local county extension agent and/or master gardeners program or local chapter of the texas native plant society may also be able to help you.

won't kid you---potentially changing your present garden in whole or in part to a different kind of plant association and style will likely require a significant investment in time, effort, and money but it just may save you an equal amount or more of the same in the longer term compared to continue having to deal with the current situation. sad to say, there are NO plants that don't require any care at all (except maybe weeds) and no landscapes that you put in (except maybe for awhile a "garden" of concrete or asphalt). hope this helps at least a little. good luck.

Last edited by georgeinbandonoregon; 05-08-2015 at 01:29 PM..
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:55 PM
2,600 posts, read 6,624,592 times
Reputation: 2453
Identifying lawn diseases
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Old 05-09-2015, 06:24 AM
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,592,790 times
Reputation: 4918
The whitish stuff is powdery mildew. Not toxic, but will damage the existing foliage on plants and make them sickly. Central Texas is not such a plant friendly place (although it should be, it isn't).

If you venture out into the nearby open countryside, you will find cactus, yucca, salt cedar, a few oaks, mesquite, weeds. There are two main problems:

1. A very high PH of the soil (alkaline)
2. dense clay surface soil (and rock, depending) with shallowly underlying caliche.

Most plants like neither. Combine that with a high humidity/heat and you have a disease friendly plant climate. The only thing to do, is to plant things which will tolerate these shortcomings.

There are two main Texas gardening gurus, Neil Sperry and Howard Garrett. Neil Sperry is a shill for the landscape plant and chemical industry and is to be generally ignored, Howard Garret is the Texas gardening god. Howard Garrett is your man, find his books (he also does radio and TV) and follow his advice. If you do, you will discover I suspect, that most of the plants you're having trouble with should never have been planted there in the first place. Hybrid tea roses at the top of the list of Things Not To Plant.

I leave you with this, and then you must do the rest yourself. Howard Garrett's Plants for Texas - University of Texas Press

-I spent 25 years trying to grow stuff in Texas, and worked there many years in the nursery business. Any plant that doesn't belong in Texas' difficult growing conditions will get sick and die. Learn to grow things that will tolerate the heat, humidity, and poor soil or be prepared for ongoing failure -
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Old 05-09-2015, 10:50 AM
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
75,320 posts, read 87,742,570 times
Reputation: 46034
I am worried as well. I know we need the rain, I know rain will help the garden and the water bill but so far it is worrying me. I just got our container garden all in and it is growning like crazy. I would just cry and cry if the fungus destroys everything. I am hoping the rain we are getting now doesn't mean a horrible summer.

As for Texas, we lived 13 years in the Dallas area. No matter how hard I tried the only thing we could ever get to grow were cukes. I tried everything, in ground, container. direct sun all day, sun in the morning, etc. I did have fairly good luck with some flowers, but not produce.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:46 AM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
31,874 posts, read 58,058,891 times
Reputation: 34605
Ah, now you know what it's like for us in the northwest. Blackspot on the roses will spread, You need to cut off affected leaves and put them into the garbage. For the mildew on leaves, add 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2-3 drops of dish washing liquid soap to a quart of water and spray them liberally. You will have to repeat every 2-3 days but after a week or so it will be gone. If any leaf starts to turn brown or yellow, it's too late and they need to be cut off and put in the garbage. There are many fungicide sprays available but no need to spend the money and expose yourself to chemicals when baking soda is so cheap and works well.
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