Author Archives: stephen.brueggerhoff

Fruit Tree Planting: Dig In!

This is the time of year to be planting your orchard with fruit and citrus trees. Let’s dig in with a brief review of site selection and planting basics for a healthy and productive orchard. As mentioned in previous articles, the success of any planting starts from the ground up. The challenge in Brazoria County is the predictable unpredictability of our native soil profile. The success of your orchard relies on deep, well-drained soil with adequate amounts of organic matter. Invest in the health of your orchard by… Read More →

Persimmon for a Fruitful Winter

I am a recent convert to the delicious taste of persimmon. We have a tree at Extension’s Brazoria Environmental Education Station (BEES) orchard in Angleton that produced fruit with a sweet and almost jelly-like flesh that was outstanding in taste and texture. I invite you to consider persimmon for your home orchard. While native varieties such as the American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) can be cultivated, varieties of Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki), sometimes called Oriental persimmon or Kaki, are often used in space constricted urban orchards. These fruiting members… Read More →

Cole Crazy: Broccoli for a Winter Garden

Right about this time of year is when we witness unpredictable weather. We hope for a little consistency and temperance with our daily and nighttime temperature. Here in Texas we like to brag ‘if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute’, a saying that has lost its source author but sounds great when joking about a Texas Gulf Coast winter. I would like to highlight one vegetable that is a storm and cold tolerant trooper in the garden: broccoli. There will be similarities in growing conditions… Read More →

Poinsettia Brings Welcome Holiday Color

Cheerful and bright color plays a very important part in our social lives at this time of year, which we instinctively try to cultivate and enhance our indoor environment through plants or artificial decoration. Silver and gold colors certainly for their effervescent qualities that appear to brighten up even the darkest corner outside or indoors. Greenery through wreaths, bowers or even container plantings brings a sense of ongoing life at a time when plants shed their leaves through winter dormancy. Then there is red, a seasonal fall experience… Read More →

Preserve and Serve: Fig Trees for Brazoria County

The end of summer is the perfect time to start thinking of adding to your orchard, and one fruit tree prized as a dooryard standard are fig trees. Fig (botanical name Ficus carica) are considered a classical fruit, a prized sweet-tasting commodity celebrated from ancient western Asia to Mediterranean civilizations. Figs were imported to California from Spain in the mid eighteenth century, making their way across the southern United States with expansion. In general, fig trees are not cold tolerant, limited to regions with mild winters well above… Read More →

It’s a Lawn Story: Watering Grass in Summer

Keeping up with lawn appearances can have its challenges in the heat of a good old Gulf Coast summer. We had a long stretch this summer where plentiful seasonal spring rains became a memory, and watering regimes may or may not have been modified to fit the season. Our efforts should be focused on home turf maintenance practices that are based on science and a little bit of common sense. Let’s talk St. Augustinegrass, the grass of choice for home yards and appropriate for our region. St. Augustinegrass… Read More →

Silken Webs on Tree Trunk: Bark Lice

Howdy, friends! I thought I would take a slightly different approach to addressing public questions about landscapes. I’ve created a 2 minute video describing bark lice, a beneficial insect that creates a fine silk webbing that surrounds trunks of our trees about this time of year (end of July/early August). Enjoy the video, and I’ll see you in the garden.

Edible Landscaping with Herbs

I have always included herbs in my gardens, a tradition that started when I was introduced to the crisp, clean camphor aroma of an upright rosemary bush some 40-odd years ago at the Houston Garden Center in Hermann Park. I have expanded my culinary palette over the years to include the standard ‘Mediterranean’ types of herbs that we bring into our kitchen: parsley, sage, oregano and thyme to name a few. We must not ignore a nutritional component involved with gardening herbs; they flavor foods while helping us… Read More →

Tasting Home Grown Tomatoes

Our very own Brazoria County Master Gardeners Association and Brazoria County AgriLife Extension just finished hosting a Tomato Celebration, an event supporting Open Garden Days at the Brazoria County Environmental Education Station (BEES garden center) in Angleton this past Saturday, June 9, 2018. The event was a way to show off the gardens while celebrating a popular fruit with our community. Yours truly gave a presentation on tomato culture in Brazoria County, we toured interested friends and family through the many themed garden areas (rose garden, square-foot garden,… Read More →

Stop the Chop on Crepe Myrtle

I recently delivered a presentation on pruning trees, and questions that often come at this time of year is the obsessive attention that we give to pruning an iconic belle of the south: our beloved Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia sp.) There is a pruning practice that is ingrained in our culture called topping, often referred to as “crepe murder”, unnecessarily applied to these beauties and disrupting the elegance of their natural growth habit. I urge our readers to reconsider pruning traditions that can lead to malpruning, and guide you… Read More →