In the News: Oak Defoliation by Caterpillars

Tent CaterpillarEarly Spring, our residents will see activity and potential defoliation caused by either Forest Tent Caterpillar or Live Oak Tussock Moth.

The Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) or the Live Oak Tussock Moth (Orgyia detrita) are moth species with a life cycle coinciding with Coastal Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) leaf emergence in the spring. Live Oak Tussock Moth favors Coastal Live Oak trees as a host plant, and Forest Tent Caterpillar can be found in different tree species or in high populations on surfaces (buildings, cars, etc). The Forest Tent caterpillar does not build a tent but spins a loosely woven resting mat on trunks and larger branches. Dozens of caterpillars may congregate on these mats between feedings.

Emerging caterpillars may partially defoliate the tree. Note that healthy trees can tolerate a total defoliation without suffering permanent damage. By the time homeowners notice the leaf damage on their trees, most caterpillars have stopped feeding and are entering the non-feeding pupal stage. A stressed tree may not recover from this type of damage, and preferred control can involve the use of insecticides. Always assess the health of your tree with proper monitoring and cultivate a healthy tree through cultural methods (mulching, appropriate watering). For further information, see the links below:

Insects and Diseases

Brazoria County Master Gardeners Website

Urban Orchard

Urban Orchard Series workshops: Fruit Tree Pruning (2/23); Pecan Grafting (4/13); Orchard Maintenance (6/15); and Exotic Fruit Trees (9/21). For more information and to register, click here.

Aggie Horticulture – research-based home and commercial horticulture, with FAQ sheets and articles from fruits to vegetables and ornamental plants

Chill hours (CH) – chilling requirement calculated from cumulative cool weather events (between 32 to 45-degrees) that initiate bloom for fruit-bearing trees. Annual chill hours for Brazoria County can range from 200 to 400 hours. 2018 Fall Brazoria County first frost: 11/14/2018 @ 32-degrees.

Calculate current cumulative chill hours – http://getchill.net/ (service of Weather Underground). Include the following station ID for Angleton:  KTXANGLE7

Historic chill hour data for Angleton, TX:

  • 2014 – 2015 = 178 CH
  • 2015 – 2016 = 147 CH
  • 2016 – 2017 = 77 CH
  • 2017 – 2018 = 297 CH
  • 2018 – 2019 = 171 CH

National Weather Service: https://www.weather.gov/ (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Keep up to date with current and historic weather events

Want to know what the weather is like at this moment in Angleton? Click here to check on the weather at the Brazoria Environmental Education Station, 799 E Hospital Drive, Angleton

Hot Horticulture Topics and Resources

Brazoria County Master Gardeners Association Website

2019 Texas Master Gardener training registration is now closed! We have had great interest in the program and encourage you to put yourself on our interest list to be considered for the future training in 2020. More than a garden club, certified Texas Master Gardeners provide volunteer service through education about best horticultural practices to our county and regional public. Interested in becoming a Texas Master Gardener in Brazoria County? Click here and sign up on our training interest list.

The Brazoria County Master Gardener Association is a volunteer development program offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, designed to increase the availability of horticultural information and improve your quality of life through horticultural projects. Master Gardeners aid AgriLife Extension by answering telephone requests for horticultural information; establishing and maintaining demonstration gardens at the Brazoria Environmental Education Station (B.E.E.S.); working with special audiences in the community; and assisting with AgriLife Extension programs. Visit our Master Gardeners program online for additional information at: http://txmg.org/brazoria/. Want to know more about the Texas Master Gardener program in Brazoria County? Click here for an FAQ webpage.

Have a gardening question? Brazoria Master Gardeners are here to help. Questions can also be left through message at (979) 864-1558. Need a timely answer through email? Send an email to: sbrueggerhoff@tamu.edu. To find out more about the Brazoria County Master Gardeners Association, Click Here

Community Partners and Programs:

Keep Pearland Beautiful: http://keeppearlandbeautiful.org/
Keep Pearland Beautiful is a non-profit environmental organization whose mission is to empower Pearland citizens to take responsibility for their environment. Garden lectures are supported through Keep Pearland Beautiful 2nd Thursday of every month.

For more information about Brazoria County Horticulture programs or to request professional service, contact Horticulture Agent Stephen Brueggerhoff by email or call (979) 864-1393.

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