Author Archives: stephen.brueggerhoff

Landscape Freeze Damage FAQ

3/10/2021; Adapted from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Galveston County Freeze Damage FAQ Winter Storm Uri inflicted widespread freezing damage to our landscapes. The following are common questions from homeowners. We hope you find this information useful as our landscapes repair over the coming weeks: How do I know if my plant has been damaged and when can I prune off the dead tissue? Different plants will show different damage symptoms. Discoloration, vegetation softening and or becoming dry and brittle are all signs of damage. Herbaceous plants… Read More →

Winterizing Your Lawn

Late Summer and early Fall are great seasons to schedule fertilization, preparing your lawn for spring when the grass emerges out of winter dormancy. St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is the predominant warm season grass of choice for home yards and appropriate for our region. The species is preferred for lawns because it forms a dense cover, spreading vegetatively with above-ground stems (stolons) and rooting readily at nodes along these prostrate stolons. It can manage light traffic, competes well with most weeds and is one of the few turf… Read More →

Hibiscus Tea for Summer Cool

Hibiscus tea is a delicious drink that I look forward to when at home or out on the town during our hot and humid summer months. The drink is a prominent agua fresca accompanying mid-day meal in Mexico and referred to as jamaica or agua de flor, a taste similar to cranberries and enlivened with sugar and ginger, sweet, tart and refreshing. The drink has also regained popularity in current community culture as roselle, lauded for its nutritive content high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, iron and Vitamin A… Read More →

Fabulous Figs: Summer Harvest

Mid-summer fruit culture is celebrated with a bounty of figs. All of the fruit from varieties in our demonstration orchard in Angleton are beginning to mature and harvest will be coming soon. We currently host eight different varieties, some standards like Brown Turkey (also known by the name Texas Everbearing), Mission, Magnolia and Celeste, others offering unique fruit color and texture like LSU Purple, Italian Black, Alma and a mystery green fruiting fig called Mysteak. Even though each fruit variety is slightly different, I wish to impart information… Read More →

Home Grown Tomato Research

Howdy, fellow gardeners! The time is ripe for harvesting tomatoes, and I am pleased to share with you results of a tomato demonstration project committed and tended by yours truly and Brazoria County Master Gardeners. Before I get into the meat of this article, I encourage readers to improve personal eating habits by consuming tomatoes. Referencing Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Path to Plate initiative, tomatoes are fat-free, low in sodium, are a good source of vitamins A and C, and can provide 15% value of daily recommended vitamin… Read More →

Ask the Expert Gardening Questions

It is truly an honor to support an estimated 330,000 Brazoria County residents. I receive a steady number of landscape and gardening questions weekly and I try to address every inquiry that passes through my desktop in a timely fashion. Sometime questions can be seasonal, such as reasons for lackluster cucumber production. On average I’ll field questions regarding tree health. I want to share a few questions that may seem familiar and relate to your gardening and landscape practices. You can submit a question to our service on… Read More →

Herbs for Landscape Color

Culinary herbs have fascinated and filled my senses through the decades, the way airy globe-shaped clusters of dill flowers seem to frolic in a light breeze, the clean camphor aroma sensed from brushing against a stand of rosemary, or the surprising white -colored flowers peeking through long-stemmed oregano. I do value the outstanding flavor herbs bring by helping us use less salt, fat and sugar in our diets, a practice that follows the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Path to Plate initiative, a program helping consumers understand how… Read More →

Forest Tent Caterpillars in the Trees

My office receives a number of phone calls from citizens in surrounding areas in southern Brazoria County about this time of year describing large numbers of caterpillars that appear to cluster on outdoor walls, driveways and especially in the canopy of trees. County citizens are concerned with the large numbers of these insects and surprised at this occurrence, requesting information for insect eradication and prevention. This article is meant to help us learn a little bit more about the insect we have identified as Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma… Read More →

Pruning Fruit Trees for Future Harvest

Fruit trees in our urban orchards are beginning to show signs of annual growth, and it is now time to prune and shape them. Annual pruning of your established fruit trees is a must for several reasons: pruning enhances tree productivity, maintains a balanced framework to support fruit development, increases new growth for next year’s production and can improve local environmental conditions such as enhance air circulation and light penetration through the canopy. Pruning fruit trees is a worthy effort that requires attention, and I will share a… Read More →

Chill Hours for Fruit Trees

Home fruit production is a part of our gardening experience. I have had quite a number of phone calls and email over the years by homeowners interested in fig, blackberry, persimmon, pear, citrus and peach varieties appropriate for Brazoria County. One of the best ways to begin planning for winning varietals is to rely on observed and predictive data specific to our county. We have all experienced subtropical climatic conditions in Brazoria County, fussing through hot and humid summers and welcoming mild to cool winter. This climate puts us… Read More →